Youngest steam train driver qualifies for mainline services

Youngest steam train driver qualifies for mainline services

The youngest steam train driver in over 40 years has qualified on the mainline.

Jim Clarke completed his testing as he "passed out" as a certified driver after taking the Belmond British Pullman from London Victoria to Guildford, Surrey. The 33-year-old is believed to be the youngest person to achieve this accolade since 1968 and follows in the footsteps of father, Don who had driven steam engines since the 1960s.

Clarke Senior spent 49 years working on the railways before his retirement and has been working alongside his son to allow him to achieve this prestigious qualification. His father explained that driving a steam train requires "sheer physical effort" and that he was immensely proud that his son had gained the accreditation.

Prior to the exam, Mr Clarke Junior said: "A good few years of work has gone into it. Before, you have to be passed out as a fireman, work your time, be put forward for driving, go through the training and then hopefully today pass the driver's exam."

The Belmond British Pullman is one of the most prestigious and luxurious steam trains ever to grace the UK's tracks. Stepping aboard the luxurious carriages that have been pulled on famous 1920s services such as The Brighton Belle and The Golden Arrow. It passes through some magnificent scenic views while passengers can enjoy champagne and gourmet cuisine.

It is a voyage not only through the British countryside but also through time. Passengers are treated to a five-course lunch as the train makes its way along the circular tour of the area.

Securing a qualification to drive a locomotive of this level of prestige is a huge honour and now Mr Clarke will be looking forward to running steam services on the mainline.