Within 10 years both forms of transport were firmly relegated to history.
The Panther’s single seat sidecar has a ‘dicky’ seat, where one of the two well-wrapped children is nestled. Both are watching the express train “…roll like a toy train over the viaduct below”.
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Said viaduct is in Monsal Dale and passes over the River Wye. The Headstone Viaduct was built by the Midland Railway, immediately after the Headstone Tunnel, travelling north from Great Longstone. The viaduct is often incorrectly called Monsal Dale Viaduct, is 300ft (91m) long, with five 50ft (15m) span arches, and is 40ft high at the centre. When it was built in 1863, at the direction of architect John Ruskin, it was seen as destroying the beauty of the dale, though opinion changed and in 1970 a preservation order was placed on it. Nowadays it’s no longer a train track, but is popular with walkers.
While it’s doubtful that Panthers were ever considered ‘beauties’ in their day, they were trusted, trusty workhorses, capable of amazing endurance. But like the steam train, they were of a time, soon to be outdated. But just like the steam train, the Panther now enjoys an appreciative following.