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Five of Britain’s best steam train journeys

31 December 2015
1. The Bluebell Railway

The attractive Bluebell Railway is famous for being the first preserved standard gauge steam-operated railway to offer public service carriages. The line runs from East Grinstead to Lewes and is manned mainly by volunteers. The railway's preserved locomotive collection which dates back to before the railway was closed in 1968 - (prior to being re-opened) is the second largest in Britain behind the National Railway Museum, and is testament to the line's commitment to preserving steam-hauled rail travel. The railway's second claim to fame is the plethora of TV shows and films that it has featured in, these include Foyle's War, The Theory of Everything and The Woman in Black amongst others. 

2. Jacobite Steam Train

The Jacobite steam train combines two things that make the perfect rail journey, magnificent scenery and a steam locomotive. It runs along the West Highland Line in the remote Scottish Highlands, a line which has frequently been voted the best rail journey in the world. This train crosses miles of remote landscapes sparsely populated with wildlif3e and little else, it also spans the majestic Glenfinnan Viaduct - to top off an exhilarating journey. The train runs from Fort William to Mallaig, a line which has been made even more famous by the Harry Potter Films.

3. North Yorkshire Moors

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is one of England's most popular heritage steam journeys. It harks back to the Golden Age of British rail travel, with its restored carriages and nostalgic railway stations. The train runs from Pickering to the scampi capital of England, delightful Whitby. Along the route the North Yorkshire Moors delight with their acres and acres of rolling green scenery. The railway first opened in 1836 to transport both goods and passengers to and from Yorkshire's east coast. Closed in 1965 after falling victim to 'Beeching's Axe', the railway was eventually reopened in 1973 after the efforts of an enthusiastic preservation society. 

4. The Poppy Line

The scenic North Norfolk Railway or 'Poppy Line'- so named because of the large contingent of poppies that furnish the side of the track, is a steam-hauled heritage railway that runs between Sheringham and Holt on around 5 miles of track. The line's scenic nature has long drawn tourists from all over the country, yet its charm isn't confined to the delectable nature of its route. This railway has a heavy focus on theme days, with a number of historic stations and a museum that make use of the proud heritage that abounds here. 

5. Ffestiniog Railway

The Ffestiniog Railway was founded by an act of Parliament in 1832, and today is the oldest surviving railway company in the world. The line was originally built to transport quarried slate from the mountains around Blaenau to the coast, and on to Porthmadog. The railway continued to be successful until the decline of the slate industry and eventually closed in 1946. It re-opened as a tourist attraction in 1954, completing its transformation from a fully-industrial railway to popular tourist attraction.