The bluebell railway

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