STEAM rail journeys from York along the world famous Settle and Carlisle line are set to start again this month - and Flying Scotsman will be putting in an appearance.

Late May will see the return of steam along the historic line following a year in which Britain’s finest surviving historic locos have largely been idle due to the pandemic. Heritage rail operator The Railway Touring Company has announced a series of steam dates with equally famed loco 60103 Flying Scotsman putting in a number of appearances.

Yorkshire passengers will be able to join ‘The Waverley’ at York, Leeds, Shipley, Keighley and Skipton for a nostalgic day reliving the golden age of rail travel as this steam service ventures across the challenging route. Dates are Sundays July 11, August 8, 15 and 22 and September 5. Flying Scotsman is scheduled to haul the train on July 11 and August 22.

From May 17 the Government will ease restrictions to allow leisure rail travel to resume, and The Railway Touring Company’s ‘Cumbrian Mountain Express’, on Saturday, 22 May will traverse the Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle & Carlisle Railway. This train will bring passengers up from London, Milton Keynes, Rugby and Nuneaton, many of whom had booked for 2020 and have had to wait a year for the steam treat.

In a normal summer around 2,250 passengers take ‘The Waverley’. This year numbers will be lower as social distancing on board limits how many people each steam train can carry. Demand is high as people appear keen to venture out after so many months of restrictions.

Kelly Osborne, managing director of The Railway Touring Company, said: “Already a number of our steam excursions for this summer are full. After a very tough 15 months for the heritage rail industry, it’s tremendous to see such enthusiasm and support from people.”

Historic steam locomotives lined up to haul ‘The Waverley’ this year include not only Flying Scotsman, but also 1936-built 45690 Leander and 46115 Scots Guardsman built in 1927.

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