Fringe Box



Steaming To Salisbury In Style

Published on: 2 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 5 Dec, 2016

By Bob McShee

Rail tour firm Steam Dreams, based in Albury, commenced its Christmas specials with a trip from London to Salisbury via Guildford and back on Tuesday (November 29).

The rain arrives at Guildford on Tuesday morning (November 29).

The train arrives at Guildford on Tuesday morning (November 29).

The Cathedrals Express train had been advertised as being hauled by ‘West Country’ Pacific 34046, named Braunton. However, the owner of the engine renamed it last year as 34052 Lord Dowding in commemoration of the Battle Britain.  You may ask who Lord Dowding was; he was the Commanding Officer of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain.

The original Lord Dowding engine was in service with British Railways until 1967, when with many other members of this class of light pacific’s were scrapped. Fortunately, a number of West Country and Battle of Britain class engines remain operational on preserved railways and some like Braunton are available to run on the mainline.

After leaving Guildford the train stopped at Wokingham to pick up more passengers, and then proceeded via Reading and Basingstoke to arrive on time in Salisbury. Here passengers could visit the city’s Christmas market.

The loco on arrival at Salisbury.

The train on arrival at Salisbury.

The journey to Salisbury went smoothly, during which time we enjoyed an excellent breakfast together with plentiful supplies of tea and coffee, which had been preceded by a glass of bucks fizz.

Loco is actually named Braunton, but is currently masquerading as Lord Dowding.

The engine is actually named Braunton, but is currently carrying the name board and number of Lord Dowding.

As well as visiting the Christmas market, we went to an optional carol service, arranged by the train company, in Salisbury’s Methodist Church, where as well as singing Christmas carols, we were thoroughly entertained by a group of handbell ringers named the Ringtones.

Before returning to the station we stopped at the Christmas market to do some shopping and partake of a glass of mulled wine to fortify us for our journey back to Guildford.

Back in Guildford on Tuesday evening.

Back in Guildford on Tuesday evening.

On our return journey we were served with a four-course dinner, the train then proceeded to West Brompton and Clapham Junction via Redhill.

Click here for more details of Steam Dreams’ rail tours.

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Responses to Steaming To Salisbury In Style

  1. Michael Aaronson Reply

    December 3, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Can you say how the train/locomotive turned around in Salisbury?!

  2. David Wragg Reply

    December 3, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Dowding’s official title was ‘Air Officer Commanding Fighter Command’.

  3. John St Claire Lomas Reply

    December 3, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Via Laverstock triangle.

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