Rail travel

The thrill of running late

‘Dad, why is it that whenever we go anywhere, we’re always running to catch a train?’ asked Charlie, my 13-year-old. This was just over a week ago and Charlie and I, along with 16-year-old Ludo, were running from the Holiday Inn Express in Birmingham to Snow Hill station in the hope of catching the 7.25 p.m. to the Hawthorns. Miss that and we’d be in trouble because the next one wasn’t until 7.57 p.m. and we’d be late for kick-off. We were there to watch QPR play West Brom and the match started at 8 p.m. Charlie’s right. He and I have vowed to go to as many QPR games

Steam trains make a comeback under the guise of heritage

So far as most of us are concerned, steam trains vanished in a puff of smoke back in the 1960s, around the time much of the railway network itself disappeared. Other than a few survivors pulling day-trippers along short stretches of track, the received wisdom is that steam is over. Yet the reality is different. True, there is little or no chance of steam trains replacing electric and diesel trains on our modern rail network. But if steam remains history, it is an unusually active and extensive variety of history. Steam has made an impressive comeback under the guise of heritage, to become an enormous national asset. There are an