NEW STEAM DREAMS OWNER AIMS FOR MORE DOU­BLE-HEAD­ING

Steam Railway (UK) - - Kwvr 50 -

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.”

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