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09.02.2017

Steaming ahead

How DB Cargo UK is keeping steam traction on the mainline.

First introduced in the 19th century, steam trains continue to be seen on our railways and are a form of leisure and enjoyment for people of all ages. Expertise to build and operate steam trains has been passed down through generations to ensure that it is still possible to travel this way, but this expertise is by no means common place.

DB Cargo UK is one of only two companies still able to operate steam locomotives and its specialist staff includes the UK’s youngest mainline steam driver Jim Clarke, who is 35 years old.

The company traces its ability to offer steam hauled services nationwide back to the days of British Rail and has operated many hundreds of steam charters across Great Britain through Rail Express Systems (RES), English, Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS) and now DB Cargo UK.

This includes many of the most famous British steam locomotives from the 1903 built GWR 4-4-0 ‘City of Truro’ to the recently built LNER A1 Pacific ‘Tornado’. 

 Regular steam operation forms part of contracts held with Belmond British Pullman and the Torbay Express, as well as other steam services covering most of the UK.

Highlights in recent times have seen high speed commemorative runs  in 2013 with LNER A4 Pacific ‘Bittern’ over the East Coast Main Line as well as the inaugural run of  LNER A3 Pacific ‘Flying Scotsman’ from London to York.

In 2017 DB Cargo UK will be involved in the operation of the SR Merchant Navy Class ‘Clan Line’, marking the 50th anniversary of the end of steam in the Southern Region of England.

Enlarge imageJim_Clarke, DB Cargo UK - Julie Whelan

DB Cargo UK’s Jim Clarke, photograph courtesy of Julie Whelan


Steam on the Settle-Carlisle Line

Thanks to DB Cargo UK, Northern, Network Rail and Friends of Settle and Carlisle, a timetabled passenger steam train will run on a mainline railway from 14 -16 February, something that hasn’t happened in England for over 50 years.

The special journeys have been arranged to celebrate the re-opening of the Settle-Carlisle line, which was closed in February 2016 after a 500,000 tonne landslip severed the line. The ‘Pacific’ Tornado, Britain’s newest steam built locomotive, has been secured to provide the unique services.

A major £23million engineering project was required to restore the line, which amongst other things, included Network Rail having to shore up the collapsed bank. DB Cargo UK supported this work by transporting stone to be used in the repair programme.

Richard Corser, DB Cargo UK’s Account Manager for Charters, Special Trains and Resource Hires, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with our industry colleagues on these momentous services celebrating the restoration of the Settle to Carlisle line following last year's landslip.

“It is poignant that the last railway in Britain to be built by pick and shovel has now been restored through a significant project using modern engineering practices.

“The steam services in February pay tribute to the line's history and future and we are pleased to be providing a highly experienced train crew for 60163 Tornado, who have a combined experience of approximately 80 years working on steam locomotives.”

For more information about the Settle-Carlisle line visit: www.northernrailway.co.uk/ 

Enlarge imageSteaming Ahead, Bob Green

Photograph courtesy of Bob Green

Last modified: 09.02.2017

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