There was a terrific film about the cultural significance of LNER 4472 – Flying Scotsman – the most famous steam locomotive in the world!
You can watch the film, here
I was surprised to learn that steam locomotives didn’t have a speedometer in the cab. When the engine was trying to set the world speed record, and to break 100mph, they had to hitch a specially converted carriage with time-keping equipment.
The driver had to judge the speed, based on experience.
Also, they looked to the standard railway time, as seen on passing station platforms, to keep to schedule.
This put the skill of the drivers and crew into perspective…and made me appreciate them more.
Also, it must have been very dangerous not to have accurate speed and time information in the cab. There must always have been a tendency to go more quickly than strictly necessary.
I’ll have to try and find out why this was so and when things changed.