Main Line Steam Around London
The Preservation Years Since 1968
- Malcolm Batten
15th October 2021
On 11 August 1968 BR bade farewell to standard gauge steam with the famous Fifteen Guinea Special. A steam ban was placed barring all steam trains from running over BR metals.
The main line steam ban was soon to come to an end. In October 1971 King class 6000 King George V passed through Kensington Olympia with the Bulmers Cider Pullman coaches as part of an eight-day trial tour. A list of approved routes for steam-hauled excursion trains was drawn up. This was to comprise less busy provincial lines, where any such operations were less likely to disrupt normal traffic. Gradually, the routes available to working steam were extended. On 1 March 1979 King George V hauled a special train from London Paddington to Didcot, but the main breakthrough year was 1985. This was when regular steam excursions began running from Marylebone to Stratford on Avon.
There are now steam excursions from London almost every week of the year, and this wonderful collection of images documents the story since that fateful day in August 1968.