Home
Invite
RSS
Search:
Advanced Search
Steam trains in Britain: time travel on our railways

from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/journeysbyrail/10347400/Steam-trains-in-Britain-time-travel-on-our-railways.html

Steam trains in Britain: time travel on our railways

Simon Horsford experiences the golden age of travel as he chugs through the British countryside on a restored steam train.

Steam trains in Britain: time travel on our railways
"There’s something about the toot of the chime whistle, the telltale plumes of smoke and the iconic design that attracts more than the anorak brigade" 
 

 

Steam trains attract a different kind of trainspotter. As we thunder through stations, villages, towns and the spring countryside on a 1940s locomotive, farmers, walkers, schoolchildren and even railway maintenance workers watch, wave or take pictures. There’s something about the toot of the chime whistle, the telltale plumes of smoke and the celebrated design that attracts more than the anorak brigade.

John Betjeman was a big fan, claiming that “steam trains will return” in his poem Dilton Marsh Halt, and as I set out on rough circuit of England and Wales by train on a Moors and Mountains excursion with Steam Dreams ( I joined for four of the eight days), it’s easy to get a sense of the bygone age that so enchanted the former poet laureate.

I board the Clan Line, the first of the steam trains used on the trip, in Salisbury, though the journey for most of the 270 passengers began in London. As it pulls into the station, it makes the local suburban trains look trifling; like a battleship berthed next to a ferry. A muscular reminder of a more industrial age.

The Clan Line is a Merchant Navy-class locomotive dating back to 1948. It last saw service on British Rail in 1968 (the final year of steam) before being taken over by a preservation society, which has run it ever since. Aside from its outings for Steam Dreams, the train is used by Orient Express on its routes around Britain. The old-fashioned carriages – a little shabby but still elegant – are owned by a different preservation society.

Delicious Digg Facebook Fark MySpace
Views: 890 views    Report Inappropriate Content
All Articles