TWO years after its glorious arrival in 1866 the idea of a silent train powered by air pressure alone quickly ran out of steam.

But 147 years later, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s atmospheric railway system was revived, in demonstration form, at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford.

Brunel, played by Steve Manning, pictured, from Exeter, enthralled dozens of children with the tale of the flawed plan to revolutionise the railways on Saturday.

Mr Manning, 52, said: “With no noise and no pollution, given today’s methods it probably would have worked. The railway uses air pressure to propel the trains. Our idea was to show how children can do anything with imagination.

“I really enjoyed it. We had a lot of people asking questions and a lot of children wanting their picture taken with Brunel.

“And, hopefully, it will have done enough to inspire the next level of future engineers.”