Steam is still king in the bleak mid­win­ter

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­

OLD-fash­ioned steam trains were run­ning while mod­ern elec­tric ones were brought to a stand­still dur­ing this week’s snow.

A plea­sure ser­vice ran to time be­tween Lon­don, Ash­ford and the Kent coast on Mon­day while Eurostar and high speed do­mes­tic trains ground to a halt.

The Cathe­dral Ex­press even picked up some of the stranded pas­sen­gers in Lon­don.

Mar­cus Roberts, chair­man of the or­gan­is­ers Steam Dreams, said: “Snow does not af­fect steam trains at all. But it af­fects the power sup­ply to elec­tric trains.

“We were even able to take some pas­sen­gers stuck in Lon­don Vic­to­ria where there was room.”

The Cathe­dral Ex­press con­sists of 55-year-old car­riages and a newly-built replica of a 1948 A1 Class Tor­nado en­gine.

On Mon­day it was tak­ing tourists and en­thu­si­asts through Lon­don, Ash­ford, Folke­stone, Dover and Thanet on the White Cliffs Christ­mas Lun­cheon Cir­cu­lar Tour.

The train went full steam ahead on Mon­day while Eurostar had to sus­pend its ser­vices for the third day run­ning and thou­sands of pas­sen­gers were trapped on five trains in the Chan­nel Tun­nel dur­ing the week­end.

South­east­ern con­firmed that some of its 140mph high speed trains, which had been in­tro­duced in full on De­cem­ber 13, were can­celled on Mon­day.

That morn­ing saw no Ash­ford to Dover ser­vice on the stan­dard main line ser­vice and there had been de­lays and can­cel­la­tions on both forms of ser­vice over the week­end.

Spokesman Sarah Boundy said: “The prob­lem oc­curs when ice forms on the third rail, which is the con­duc­tor rail al­though ef­forts have been made to de­ice th­ese.”

Mr Roberts said: “Dur­ing the very se­vere win­ter of 1962-63 steam trains that were about to be scrapped were brought back into ser­vice to pull the car­riages of elec­tric trains.

“It shows that steam wins over elec­tric in th­ese con­di­tions.”

Mon­day’s Steam Dreams jour­ney in Ash­ford was one of 12 Christ­mas pe­riod trips run by the Sur­rey-based com­pany through­out the coun­try.

White on sched­ule: Tor­nado at Cheri­ton as it ran to time de­spite the weather. To the left is the de­serted high speed line

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