Iconic 1940s steam trains arrive in Portsmouth for Father's Day trip around Hampshire
A BLAST from the past steamed into Portsmouth with the arrival of two iconic 1940s steam trains, ready to give passengers a day out to remember.
The Steam Dreams Rail Co circular trip around Hampshire saw the 61306 Mayflower and a U Class steam locomotive 31806 arrive into Portsmouth & Southsea station this afternoon.
The pair of locomotives had carried passengers from London to Portsmouth, before picking up more than 200 day-trippers for a jaunt around the Hampshire countryside.
Those on board were set to be served cream teas in the vintage carriages, which was topped and tailed by the locomotives.
The rare sight brought out hundreds of keen trainspotters, excited passengers, and surprised travelers.
Among them was Kelvin Forder, who was embarking on the trip with his family to celebrate his 67th birthday.
Standing next to his 11-year-old daughter, he said: ‘It’s wonderful. I must have been my daughter’s age the last time I was on a steam train.’
Fareham resident Robert Carter and his partner Valerie had booked two previous steam train trips that had been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions – and finally seeing the gleaming green locomotive did not disappoint.
The 67-year-old said: ‘She’s magnificent. People of my age, we can just about remember it when we were kids. It’s that nostalgic feeling. We all look to the past with rose tinted glasses.’
With allocated seating in vintage carriages, passengers could choose between three different classes, including Pullman Style Dining available from £159 per person and First Class at £99 per person , both including a lunch service.
The Steam Dreams Rail Co – which runs services across the UK, including multiple day excursions to Edinburgh – has seen a ‘really reassuring’ return of interest since resuming services in May after a year’s hiatus, according to Aimee Stephenson, head of passenger services at the company.
She said: ‘It’s been really fantastic the response and interest. It’s been a tricky time.
‘But what’s been really reassuring is that there is such a demand and interest for this sort of thing.’
The Steam Dreams Rail Co will next run a day trip around Hampshire departing from Salisbury on Sunday, July 18.