After the festivities of Christmas and New Year the dawning of January can bring many people back down to earth with a bump.
The first month of the year can be a pretty gloomy affair with many people on a bit of a comedown from the end of year celebrations. With this in mind, it is the perfect opportunity for people to treat themselves and have something to look forward to. There is no better way to shake off the new year blues than a steam train across the British countryside.
In January and February there are a host of events going on across the country with the heritage railway lines holding a number of special trips. Not only do passengers get to gaze upon the snow-covered fields of rural Britain but there is also the chance to see some of the nation's most loved steam trains back in action.
2015 is no different and there are some great steam train journeys in the opening months of the year. Here is our pick of steam train excursions happening in January and February.
The Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express – January 24th
Cumbria is a train lover's paradise. The area boasts the most picturesque railway line in the UK, the Carlisle to Settle route, and the Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express draws on all of these attributes. Leaving Manchester Victoria, the service passes through the Lancashire heartland of Bolton, Preston and Blackburn then north into Cumbria.
Hauled by two steam locomotives, the No. 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier and the 45690 Leander, the route is both relaxing and scenic. Arriving in Carlisle at midday, passengers have plenty of time to stretch their legs and visit the famous Border City.
Departing Carlisle, travellers are then treated to the famous Settle & Carlisle line where they will see the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct as well as magnificent views over the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.
Norwich and Ipswich to Windsor trail – February 11th
Windsor Castle is one of the most famous landmarks in the British Isles so what better way to visit this stately home than by steam train? Pulled by the unmistakable Mayflower steam locomotive, this service travels from East Anglia into the heart of Windsor allowing people to walk around the castle.
Setting off from Norwich, the Mayflower makes stops at Ipswich, Colchester and Witham before snaking its way through the countryside towards Windsor. Flanking the River Thames it reaches its destination with plenty of time to explore this humble town and then pay a visit to the largest inhabited castle in the world.
Brief Encounter in Brighton – February 14th
For something different on Valentine's Day why not have a romantic trip to Brighton aboard an iconic steam train? The Mayflower is in service once again for a night time excursion to the coast with a special screening of Brief Encounter.
Departing from London Victoria, passengers will be able to sit back and relax and watch stars such as Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson become entangled in this iconic flick. The film itself is celebrating its 70th anniversary and is the perfect accompaniment to this quaint journey through to Brighton.