The 61306 Mayflower was built for the London & North Eastern Railway back in 1948 and is today one of only two surviving B1 Class locomotives. Designed as mixed traffic locomotives capable of hauling express passenger trains as well as freight traffic, the B1s are powerful, go-anywhere engines and worked across most of the UK rail network from East Anglia to Scotland.
New for 2021, The Steam Dreams Rail Co. are offering Londoners the chance to join steam train services out of London Victoria throughout the summer until 14th September. The journeys, the first ever regular Tuesday trips from Victoria, will take passengers to Windsor and The Surrey Hills in beautifully decorated vintage carriages.
The Sunset Steam Express carried my wife and I on an unforgettable journey recently through the Surrey Hills. We set off in the evening at 1815 with a glass of Champagne and returned to London Victoria at 2140 feeling jubilant and full. During the journey, the sights were simply stunning. The train chugs through the suburbs of London before beginning the steep climb up through the Surrey Hills, where you’ll soak in the verdant outdoor spaces and enjoy the sunset backdrop.
All of this whilst simultaneously enjoying a three-course meal. With two classes of dining, passengers can choose from Pullman Style Dining in elegant 1950s carriages with the most comfortable seats and highest level of service at £139pp or Premier Dining in authentic carriages with a warm ambience from £109pp. Passengers wishing to travel in a more relaxed setting can bring their own picnic in Standard Class. Prices from £59pp.
Dinner onboard was superb. A chargrilled roasted aubergine starter was served with red pepper and courgette on a bed of rocket with roasted pine nuts and a balsamic glaze. This was followed by the mains, which was a British free range chicken breast in a very tasty cream, white wine and tarragon sauce, served with leek mash potato, mange tout and chantenay carrots. The pudding was a Windsor and Eton Mess (it had to be given the Steam Dreams connection to Windsor) and there is coffee and macaroons too before pulling back into London Victoria. David Buck, Owner of Steam Dreams Rail Co and B1 Mayflower commented: “This is an exciting time for Steam Dreams Rail Co. as we begin our first regular Tuesday steam train service from London Victoria. After over a year’s absence on the tracks it is fabulous to be able to bring the excitement of steam train travel back to all those who had missed it so much and those who have yet had the chance to experience it.”
Buck added: “Ever since I was a child I have had a passion for steam locomotives and it gives me such pleasure to be able to bring this experience to as many people as possible and introduce them to such a magical way of travel.”
The one-way journeys to Windsor will run at 0800, 1120 and 1420. Passengers travelling in Pullman Style Dining can enjoy a Champagne brunch or Champagne cream tea (on the afternoon service) in vintage carriages with wood panelled walls, table lamps and curtains all reminiscent of a by-gone era. Tickets from £89pp for Pullman Style Dining. For those passengers wishing to travel without dining there are two further classes, First Class, which includes complimentary tea or coffee table service from £59pp and Standard Class with snacks and drinks available to purchase on board from £39pp.
Until 14th September 2021 – no service 7th September
0800 – London Victoria arrives Windsor 09:30
1120 – London Victoria arrives Windsor 13:05
1420 – London Victoria arrives Windsor 15:35
1815 – London Victoria circular train around The Surrey Hills
Returns London Victoria 2140
Tickets can be purchased online at www.steamdreams.co.uk, via the Booking Office on 01483 209888 or at the station on the day, subject to availability.