What do these things have in common?

Probably more than you would expect. For the uninitiated, one is Class 55 “Deltic”, a 100mph diesel electric loco used on BR’s Eastern Region. The other is the Matisa tamping machine which the Moseley Railway Trust has on loan from the Tallylyn Railway. They both have a tendency to deafen their drivers, they both require ridiculous levels of maintenance, and they are both twin engined. I will be honest, the similarity end about there. So, where is this going? The tamper has been on site for a few weeks now, and we have had a few experimental tamps – but this Saturday was the first time we really went for it. And what a beast of a machine it is. The driver needs nerves of steel and the concentration levels of a jet fighter pilot, since the machine has a phenomenal number of levers and wheels and clamps and general gizmos. But once the driver enters a karma-like trance and becomes one with the machine, the rate of progress is truly amazing – especially for the gang aching from having manually tamped a set of points that morning. I should, by the way, explain that the objective of the exercise is to compact the track ballast under the sleepers, and therefore achieve the correct vertical alignment for the railway.