Steam engines are the latest to face ridiculous reassessment for their part in the Industrial Revolution and the imperialist expansion of the colonial powers, with a research project launched to highlight their links to slavery. I pity the poor trainspotters. You know, those nerds in anoraks who stand on bridges and hang around railway stations so they can scribble down the latest sighting of iconic choo-choo trains such as the Flying Scotsman, the Mallard or the Tees-Tyne Pullman. I mean, what harm did those freaks ever do anyone? They travel all over the world, these people, looking for exotic locomotives. Who knows what hideous histories might be hidden within those chuffing bits of metal? Steam bursting out of funnels is suspiciously white and may not be as innocent as it looks. And someone is now paying real money to investigate the inherent racism of steam. The cash — surprise, surprise — is coming from a university fund. The White Rose Consortium is shovelling £9,000 into Britain’s National Railway Museum in York to investigate its collection of steam engines for any links to slavery and colonialism.