"we climb up to poke our faces over the side of the railway bridge and catch the steam off a coal train coming through."
Steam train 2 (500 * 360)
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumSteam train - Credit: Pete

Although the passenger train the boys travel on to Newbiggin-by-Sea would be a new diesel engine at the time of the story, there were still plenty of steam trains carrying coal from Ellington, Lynemouth and Ashington to the power station at Cambois and other destinations.

Ashington railway complex
Creative Commons AttributionAshington railway complex - Credit: Roger Cornforth