Steam Train Journeys in the UK
This photo was of the steam train Tornado going over the Ribblehead Viaduct. This viaduct carries the Settle-Carlisle railway across Batty Moss in the Ribble Valley in North Yorkshire. This photo was featured in the City.am news on Feb 14th, 2017. It was the first time in 50 years that a steam train was to have a timetabled passenger service the UK.
Mainline steam locomotives were withdrawn in the UK in 1968 except for the Flying Scotsman but the ban was lifted in 1971 due to public demand. Train operating companies came into being and they were licensed to operate and had to negotiate access to Network Rail. They also had to have the infrastructure and timetabling capacity. In 2013 there were two charter TOC’s for steam trains - DB Schencker and West Coast Railways. They find their own coaches, hire engineers, firemen and inspectors and govern their own safety. The steam trains are allowed to go 35-75 miles per hour depending on the trains and the lines where they are running but are often at 25 mph. Steam trains have to stop for water. There are crews as well as support crews on the trains and support cars as well as passenger cars. The Flying Scotsman was out for a decade while it got a refit but returned to service in 2016.
In the UK there are many train enthusiasts and some who go for train trips on specialty trains including steam trains as a hobby.
The 2 popular routes are the Jacobite in the West Highlands of Scotland and the Scarborough Spa Express which runs from York to Scarborough in Yorkshire. However there are other lines such as the North Yorkshire Moors Railways which has a 6 mile stretch in the Esk Valley, the Borders Railway, the Settle to Carlisle run, and the Strathspey Steam Railroad which runs from Aviemore to Broomhill in Scotland.
Companies such as the West Coast Railway, Great Rail Journeys and the Railway Touring Company offer train tours which encompass a tour entirely or partly on a steam train. Some are day trips or steam train travel is included as part of a few days tour package. Being in Cumbria and going from Carnforth to Carlisle and then from Settle to Appleby is a popular trip to take. Other trips are in Somerset, Kent and from Taunton to Cornwall.
Virgin offers luxury tours such as on the Belmond British Pullman train or the Northern Belle Luxury train on various routes with dining options such as champagne, wine and high tea included.
Look up steam train adventures in the UK and take one of these journeys. It will make for a memorable time.