Cathedrals Express steam train visit wows nostalgic enthusiasts at Portsmouth Harbour

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MEMORIES of a bygone age of steam train travel were re-lived by those who turned out in droves to watch an 80-year-old locomotive pass through Portsmouth.

On Saturday The Cathedrals Express, hauled by Black Five steam locomotive 45212, took almost 300 passengers on a day trip from Portsmouth Harbour from London Victoria.

Steam Train in Portsmouth - The black locomotive and train approach Havant Station (unfortunately there was not much steam)'Picture: Vernon Nash (180388-0026) PPP-180206-181932006

Steam Train in Portsmouth - The black locomotive and train approach Havant Station (unfortunately there was not much steam)'Picture: Vernon Nash (180388-0026) PPP-180206-181932006

And it was the first time a steam train has visited the city since 2011.

The train then picked up about 150 passengers from Portsmouth & Southsea station for an afternoon tour to Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Ray Schofield, 70, travelled from Bedford to photograph the train, and said: ‘I’ve been a train enthusiast all my life.

‘Portsmouth Harbour station is somewhere I’ve never taken a photograph before so I knew it would be interesting to come down.

‘Steam trains pull into stations regularly all around the country, but a steam locomotive hasn’t been into Portsmouth Harbour for years, it’s not a very common thing.

‘When you find out more about them you realise they’re much more interesting than modern or diesel forms, where it’s a case of pressing a button and off you go.

‘With a steam engine there’s a lot of preparation you have to plan and organise.’

LMS Stanier Black Five 45212 was built in 1935. In 2017 it was re-fitted and certified for main line use.

The 45212 is one of 842 ‘Black Fives’ that were built for the London Midland and Scottish Railway.

In 1968, the engine headed the last steam-hauled revenue-earning service for British Railways in 1968.

Clive James, 64 from Gosport, said at the station: ‘The atmosphere here is great, when you see one of these trains coming into a station you know it.

‘It’s very nostalgic for me because I was brought up with steam trains.’