Steam trains have long been ingrained into the history and memory of people living in the UK.
People would see these majestic feats of engineering chugging their way through the countryside with great wonderment. Train stations would be packed with eager travellers wanting to catch a glimpse of the locomotives in action. As a country, the UK has been spoilt with the amount of famous steam engines that have graced our railway network.
The likes of The Flying Scotsman and Mallard are names that are known around the world but were created in a South Yorkshire factory. The latter went onto become a record breaker, smashing through the speed barrier for steam engine, an achievement that it still held today. While the UK once dominated the steam industry the 21st century has restricted these engines for special heritage lines and excursions.
Taking a ride on a steam train remains a popular activity for many people especially during the winter. Some parts of the country run Santa Special trains where families can enjoy a day on a steam engine and receive a present from Father Christmas himself. For enthusiasts, however, a trip on a locomotive such as this is a great nostalgic moment bringing memories of years gone by come flooding back.
In Sheffield there is one day a year which railway fanatics look forward and that is when the Britannia 'Pacific' 70013 "Oliver Cromwell" pulls into town. This special excursion between Cleethorpes and Chester passes through Sheffield and gives people the opportunity to sample that 1950s glamour once again. Accommodating 300 passengers across ten coaches, the excursion is a must for any enthusiast.
The Sheffield Telegraph reports the train, run by the Railway Touring Company of Kings Lynn, has become increasingly popular over the years. It's not just passengers who are waiting for this magnificent engine to pull up as there are swathes of spectators just eager for a glimpse of one of the UK's crowning feats of engineering.
One of those people is Mark Packham who told the news provider the sense of nostalgia that trains like these bring to the area: “It gives you a glimpse of the past. To see that on that platform, a steam engine and retaining wall without any modern paraphernalia. It is a bit of nostalgia, but it’s also keeping something alive. With a diesel you just press a button and it goes. But seeing this locomotive this morning, it’s a different world, a different age.”
To experience one of these journeys does not come cheap however with prices for the excursion to north Wales ranging from £78 to £179 depending on what class of travel a passenger chooses. For people like Lynne Tebay though there is no price she would put on experiencing the train in all its glory. She told the newspaper that her father was one of the drivers on the Britannia 'Pacific' 70013 Oliver Cromwell's final journeys when the age of steam was meeting an end in the 1960s.
The regular steam train journeys may be long gone but the heritage lines are keeping the hobby alive.