Bells & whistles
Some former routes have been restored for use as heritage lines, offering passengers the chance to enjoy the full sensory experience of steam: the smoky scent in the air, the magical chuff-chuff of acceleration and the occasional tuneful whistle. They include:
The Bluebell Railway Climb aboard splendid steam trains with romantic names such as the Sussex Belle and Golden Arrow running between East Grinstead and Sheffield Park in East Sussex; bluebell-railway.com.
North York Moors Railway Admire the North York Moors National Park from the steam trains on this not-for-profit, volunteer-led railway, which is fast approaching its 200th birthday – don’t miss Goathland, famous for playing fictitious stations including Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade, as well as a turn in 1990s TV show
Heartbeat; nymr.co.uk. Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways Indulge in afternoon tea and first-class travel as you steam between Porthmadog and Caernarfon along the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway – the carriages’ windows framing magnificent mountainous views as it passes through Snowdonia; festrail.co.uk.