A FAMOUS locomotive is set to depart from St Helens as it embarks on a journey to give passengers a nostalgic taste of the golden age of rail travel.

Heading for the famous Settle & Carlisle Line, heritage rail special The Cumbrian Mountain Express is scheduled to depart from St Helens Central on Saturday, July 16 this year.

Organised by The Railway Touring Company, The Cumbrian Mountain Express will depart St Helens Central diesel-hauled before being joined by an historic steam loco when it reaches Carnforth. 

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From there it will steam across the dramatic Settle & Carlisle Line, with its iconic Ribblehead Viaduct and magnificent views of the Three Peaks. 

The steam locomotive for July 16 is not confirmed yet, but it will be one from a pool of historic locos based at Carnforth, including: 45690 Leander and 45699 Galatea, both, appropriately for this Queen’s Jubilee year, Jubilee Class locos built in 1936; 1945-built 35108 British India Line; 1927-built 46115 Scots Guardsman; and LMS Stanier Class 8F.

St Helens Star: Jubilee 45690 Leander is another of the locos which could haul The Cumbrian Mountain Express Pic: Bob GreenJubilee 45690 Leander is another of the locos which could haul The Cumbrian Mountain Express Pic: Bob Green

The Cumbrian Mountain Express will take around 320 passengers for the dose of nostalgia and a taste of the Golden Age of rail travel.

Heritage rail operator The Railway Touring Company is celebrating 25 years of organising steam days out. 

Even though British Railways ran its final regular steam-hauled passenger service on the mainline in 1968, fascination with steam is as strong today as ever, say The Railway Touring Company.

St Helens Star: The North Wales Coast Express Pic: Bob GreenThe North Wales Coast Express Pic: Bob Green

In addition to The Cumbrian Mountain Express, The Railway Touring Company’s steam trains from stations in the North West this summer also include ‘The North Wales Coast Express’, which will be steam hauled out of Liverpool, Broad Green and Warrington Bank Quay, taking passengers to Chester and from there into Wales, along the Dee Estuary with views across to the Wirral, through Prestatyn, Rhyl and Colwyn Bay to Llandudno Junction, onwards to Bangor and across the Menai Strait to Holyhead on Anglesey. 

Passengers will be able to choose from visiting Llandudno, Bangor or Holyhead.  Also, ‘The Welsh Mountaineer’ steam special will depart from Preston, Warrington, Frodsham and Chester on Tuesday, July 19, and head up into stunning Snowdonia to visit Blaenau Ffestiniog, known as the Victorian slate capital of the world and a popular tourist attraction today.

The Railway Touring Company says that the safety of passengers, stewards and on train crew are a priority - people can find their Covid-19 safety procedures on their website.

See railwaytouring.net for more or call 01553 661500.