The past week has seen many parts of the UK blanketed by heavy snow providing a headache for motorists, but a joy for walkers.
When the white stuff does visit the British Isles it transforms the already picturesque countrysides into winter wonderlands. The snow-covered hills and fields provide that perfect postcard scenery and can brighten up what can be a very gloomy January. There is only one thing that tops a view like this – the sight of a steam train chugging its way through.
As we edge our way into 2015, the steam community is already in full swing with a host of events taking place across the country. The snow may have lifted the spirits of many and February provides the perfect time for that little treat or extra expenditure. The financial pressures of January may be easing and there are a number of great steam events happening in the next month.
Here is our pick of the railway events happening in February.
Vintage Diesel Special – Strathspey Steam Railway, Aviemore (throughout February)
Every year people journey to the Highlands of Scotland to enjoy skiing and snowboarding or simply hike around the glorious Cairngorms region. Nestled in the shadow of the Cairngorms mountain range sits the town of Aviemore where holidaymakers base themselves before making the journey up the mountains.
This picturesque part of the British Isles is magnificent at all times of the year but none more so than winter. Throughout February the Strathspey Steam Railway, based in Aviemore, will be holding special vintage diesel special train services which travel between the town and Broomhill.
There is also an opportunity to hop off at Boat of Garten and walk through the wintry Deshar Woods. This event is a must for lovers of the great outdoors and the railways.
Winter Steam Gala – National Railway Museum, Shildon (February 14th to 22nd)
The National Railway Museum's Shildon site is providing the perfect day out for the whole family during the February half term. From February 14th to 22nd, the County Durham attraction will be holding its Winter Steam Gala. This year's theme is Edith Nesbit's 'The Railway Children' and will feature a number of steam locomotives from that era.
Many locomotives on display will have featured in the television and film adaptation of this famous story while there will also be guest locomotives such as the J72 69023 "Joem" and GWR No. 5775 in attendance.
Families will be able to enjoy free arts and craft activities, screenings of The Railway Children and steam train rides throughout the week.
Winter Steam Spectacular – Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (February 27th to March 1st)
What better way to round off February and the traditional winter months than a trip to Keighley & Worth Valley Railway? Situated in rural Yorkshire, this railway will be throwing its annual Winter Steam Gala with a host of steam locomotive set to be in attendance.
Across the weekend there will be freight, express and normal train services in operation with mainline running between Haworth and Oxenhope. This year will allow visitors cab access to one of the steam locomotives.
That's right, visitors will be able to climb aboard the footplate of a steam locomotive – an unforgettable experience for any steam enthusiast.