Age of the steam train as hundreds marvel at Tornado through Cumbria


It was the first time in half a century that a steam locomotive had pulled a scheduled main line service in Britain - and it was on the iconic Settle to Carlisle railway where history was made.

The Peppercorn class A1 steam locomotive, Tornado, set off from Appleby on Valentine's Day morning - an apt occasion for the romance of steam to make its return to the county's tracks.

Because it was a regular service, passengers could travel for no extra cost - prompting hundreds of steam train enthusiasts from across the UK to descend on Appleby for the historic journey.

Carving its way through spectacular snow-capped scenery - from the Eden Valley, over the famous Ribblehead Viaduct across to Skipton - Tornado's journey was the first time in 50 years that a steam train had replaced a regular passenger service.

The initiative, organised by Northern Rail, Network Rail and the Friends of Settle and Carlisle, runs until Thursday with two return journeys each day between Appleby and Skipton.

The first service left Appleby at 8.25am yesterday. Rail enthusiasts snapped up almost all the reserved seats, around half of the 500 seats on each journey, with others queuing for the remaining unsold unreserved tickets.

Paul Barnfield, regional director at Northern Railway, said: "It is great to see so many people supporting this historic venture.

"We always knew that the first timetabled steam services in the UK for 50 years would be extremely popular, but the demand for tickets has been phenomenal."

British Transport Police (BTP) officers are patrolling the route to ensure enthusiasts can enjoy the spectacle from a safe vantage point.

Inspector Neil Hubbs, from BTP, said: "The railway is a hazardous environment. We urge people to use safe vantage points to view and take pictures of the train, stay clear of the line and not to risk their lives and the lives of others by trespassing on the tracks."

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