We are fortunate in this area in having access to several railway routes which are used by steam-hauled excursion trains. Local photographer Tony Bartlett covers steam train sightings for Hungerford’s quarterly CHAIN magazine & website. See his recent sightings in local area and gallery of steam train photographs
To help local train enthusiasts, Tony extracts the timetable of local train journeys from the UK Steam Railtour’s unofficial list of scheduled steam-hauled excursions over Network Rail lines. Click here for the upcoming steam train schedule on CHAIN’s website.
Recent History of Steam Railways
It’s over 45 years since the nationalised British Railways abandoned the use of steam locomotion, bringing to an end dependence on a form of motive power which had seen the country through an unprecedented period of industrial expansion in the 19th century.
In the intervening period the country has gone through many changes and the railways find themselves again in private ownership, albeit in a form unrecognisably different from the days of the Great Western Railway et al. And steam power has re-emerged on the scene – now as part of the leisure industries which have overtaken our once great manufacturing strength as a driver of commercial activity. So those of us of a certain age can indulge in the nostalgia of train travel in steam days, and the younger generations have a chance to see a part of our industrial heritage back in action again.
From initially concentrating on ‘mainline’ steam we are expanding our scope to other forms of heritage railways including excursion trains and freight operators using early classes of diesel locomotive, and steam preservation either working on private railways restored by enthusiasts after closure by British Railways or in various museum situations like the Didcot Railway Centre of the Great Western Society.
All photographs: Tony Barlett