In the UK, it’s not unusual to see steam trains on the main line railway as they operate on rail tours or train cruises. But on timetabled services? Not since the last steam service ran nearly 50 years ago.
Northern Rail and the A1 Locomotive Trust teamed up to operate the steam Locomotive “60163 Tornado” on the Settle to Carlisle Line.
60163 Tornado at Tyseley Locomotive Works in British Railways Apple Green Livery – Image, Economy Class and Beyond
Tornado will operate two return journeys between Appleby and Skipton until Thursday, with tickets priced at £17 return (and less if you have a railcard). Chartered rail services can be (and normally cost) a lot more to ride.
However, if you’re wanting to make tracks to get a seat aboard – reservations have pretty much vanished according to Northern Rail. Sadly, standing room on the train is not permitted.
— stuart petch (@thelightoutside) February 14, 2017
Tornado crossing the Ribblehead Viaduct
— DB Cargo UK (@DBCargoUK) February 14, 2017
— Northern (@northernassist) February 14, 2017
The Settle to Carlisle Line is one of the most scenic rail lines in the UK (your writer travelled on it in the early 2000s). However, parts of it has been closed since a landslip
In the period, the line has been operated by the usual diesel trains up to Armathwaite, with bus services replacing services between Armathwaite and Carlisle.
The work restoring the full line are due to be completed by the end of March, and if you visit the United Kingdom, I urge you to visit the Settle to Carlisle Line if you love stunning scenery (sadly the pictures my digital camera from around 1998 does not do it justice… well a Casio QV10 wasn’t the newest digital camera technology at that point!).
It’s one of the United Kingdoms Great Railway Journeys for a reason.
An interesting quote from Graeme Bunker – Operations Director of the A1 Steam Locomotives when being intervened for BBC News states:
It’s something we could do once a year, maybe twice a year. It would fit in Cornwall, in Anglia, in Scotland
Whilst not a full return to Steam on the cards, it could be the start of something very special for those who hark back to the days of steam locomotives plying the rails.
60163 Tornado has a very interesting story from conception to delivery – which can be summed up in a dedication plate on the train:
Tornado is not a preserved locomotive like a lot of steam locomotives – rather it was built between 1994 and 2008, being the first steam locomotive constructed since Evening Star (the last one built by British Railways in 1960, withdrawn 1965).
Let’s hope they’re successful.
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