Heritage Railway

Steam and speed combine for special

- By Cedric Johns

THE 350hp Sunbeam was one of the most significan­t land-speed record cars, holding the record on three occasions. It was designed by Sunbeam’s chief engineer Louis Coatalen and built at the company’s Wolverhamp­ton works in 1919.

On May 17, 1922, the racing car was driven by Kenelm Lee Guinness over the Brooklands (Weybridge) highly-cambered track, achieving its first land-speed record, of 133.75mph.

On May 17 this year, Steam Dreams will be running a special to Brooklands to join the celebratio­ns marking the centenary of the record.

Hauled by B1 4-6-0 No. 61306 Mayflower from London, probably Waterloo, the ‘Sunbeam Special’ will head down the South Western main line where, approachin­g Weybridge,

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Connect with us heritage-railwaymag­azine the train will slow to allow passengers a glimpse of Brooklands, before terminatin­g at Woking.

From there, vintage buses will convey passengers to Brooklands for the centenary event, which includes a parade of vintage racing cars and talks by motoring experts.


Steam Dreams chairman David Buck said: “We feel very privileged to be part of the unique and historic occasion bringing together two of the most coveted mechanical inventions, the speed of racing cars and the power of steam.”

In addition to Brooklands, motor enthusiast­s might like to note that Steam Dreams has planned a trip to the Goodwood Revival on September 18.

The month of May is also notable for the fact that on Tuesday 10, the first of this year’s Windsor shuttles departs London Victoria and are due to head for the castle.

The trains are programmed to run Tuesdays weekly, departing at 9am and 12.20pm until the end of August. The timetable includes the ‘sunset’ evening dinner 6.30pm departures.

Completing the spring round-up, April 5 sees the B1 heading for Bath calling at Staines and Ascot.

On April 9, Steam Dreams will run its own version of a ‘Cumbrian Mountain Express’ from Euston with electric traction to Carnforth, and from there to Carlisle with steam.

Despite the rising costs of coal, diesel, and petrol, David has announced that ticket prices for this year’s programme of excursions and day trips will be held at the levels charged in 2021.

For more informatio­n and booking, visit www.steamdream­s.co.uk

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