NEW STEAM DREAMS OWNER AIMS FOR MORE DOUBLE-HEADING
The Steam Dreams Rail Co. has a new owner – and an approach that should mean extra trains and double-heading become “more and more of a feature”. David Buck, who owns ‘B1’ No. 61306 ‘Mayflower’ and has been the tour promoter’s chairman since October, takes over from the man who has run Steam Dreams from the start: Marcus Robertson. The deal – the details of which have not been revealed – was announced on July 9. A retired businessman, David says he wants “to emphasise that the business is there for the long term.”
Also, while he says that a “large part” of Steam Dreams’ market is “not [Steam Railway] magazine readership… it’s important that we do trips that appeal to them because they’re not viable otherwise.” Double-heading, David says, will come because “we have ‘Mayflower’ sitting there at all times and therefore it is cheaper to double-head with another Class 5 than hire in a Class 8.”
This, he says, “gives me the flexibility.” “We can do routes with a couple of Class 5s that a Class 8 potentially couldn’t. “That is not to say that we won’t be hiring in Class 8s. It’s about ringing in those changes.
“I think double-heading is fun and different anyway – everyone likes it.” David talks of “evolution”. However, he also says, “One thing I can promise is that there will be more trains. There will be more of the same and much that is new.” “I ran my own business… that wasn’t my hobby. I’ve got the opportunity now to run a business that is my hobby. Therefore, it should be great fun. I can’t think of anything better than spending what was to be my retirement doing this.” Does any of this mean we might see ‘Mayflower’ back on the Great Eastern, where David was himself a spotter? “I think that’s highly likely!”
What then of Marcus – a man who dreamt up the idea of Steam Dreams while on a Steam Railway trip to the Harz for his 40th birthday, started work in earnest a couple of years later in 1998, and who has effectively led the promoter ever since?
Well, after a couple of months off Marcus will stay involved with his baby, not least in developing multi-day trips. Perhaps more importantly, he says: “I’m going to be very, very lucky and at least for a few years have fun – as long as God doesn’t decide I’m off to the scrapyard.”