Steam Extravaganza to roll into King’s Cross

Posted: Thursday 25th September 2014
  • Rare public showing of two classic full-scale model railways: Gresley Beat and Copenhagen Fields
  • Ride around King’s Cross on a full-size pump trolleys, and step into a real steam carriage
  • Listen to the stories of railway experts
  • Build your very own Lego train track
  • Learn the importance of steam in our steam inspired workshops
  • Enter our coal-shovelling prize competition
  • Indulge yourself in some delicious food and drink

Steam Extravaganza, an indoor free family weekend exploring the golden age of steam power, rolls into King’s Cross on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 October, 11am-4pm. The two-day festival will plunge visitors into an interactive and visual experience, complete with games, tours, talks and mini-workshops. The fun-filled extravaganza will take place in The Crossing, inside the historical Granary Building at King’s Cross, and will have two classic model railways on display – the last chance to see them on public display, and a chance to chat with experts, as well as a brass band and food and drink inspired by times past.

Steam Extravaganza has been inspired by the roaring engines of King’s Cross, which have been serving the north since 1852, and the location as a historic transport hub, humming with passengers and trains for 162 years. As well as trains, steam was used for pumping in mines and to power boats, and was a vital part of England’s infrastructure and power.


1. The term ‘Horsepower’ was adopted in the late 18th century by Scottish engineer James Watt to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses.

2. About 90% of all electric power produced in the world is by the use of steam turbines.

3. The first true commercial steam engine using a piston was developed by Thomas Newcomen and was used in 1712 for pumping in a mine.

4. In 1864, the speed limit for a steam-powered car in the UK was 2mph.

5. Charles Babbage’s original designs for a mechanical computer were steam-powered.

6. The poem Venus and Adonis is the only work by Shakespeare that includes the word ‘steam’.

7. The first commercial steam train (Stephenson’s “Rocket”) managed to reach the speed of 96 kilometers per hour in 1830.

8. Steam is six times more powerful than boiling water for cooking food

9. The first Disney cartoon with sound was called Steamboat Willie, released on November 18, 1928.

10. The $10 Steam-O-Matic of 1938 was the first steam iron to achieve any degree of popularity, and led the way to more widespread use of the electric steam iron during the 1940s and 1950s.

Steve Alderson, from King’s Cross, said:

Steam Extravaganza to celebrate over 150 years of steam history at King’s Cross and to welcome everyone, from steam enthusiasts and families on a day out, to those who just want to find out more about the history of King’s Cross. There will be something for everyone, with lots of activities. Just make sure you leave enough time to experience everything, so you don’t run out of steam!”

The free event will take place in The Crossing, Granary Building, King’s Cross on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 October, from 11am-5pm.

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