Published: 27th January 2015
Fancy a steamy Valentine’s Day outing or maybe a luxury moving Pullman lunch or dinner or maybe a railway gift with a difference? Look no further because rail.co.uk rounds up what is on offer on our UK rail network.
Belmond, the train company formerly known as Orient Express promotes two luxury rail services, The British Pullman which generally operates in the south of the UK and the Northern Belle which as its name implies, operates notionally in the northern half.
On Valentine’s Day, if you are in the London area, then the luxury British Pullman runs from London Victoria on an evening dinning circular trip. In the Midlands and the north, the Northern Belle offers its ‘Spirit of Travel Dinner’ services on a circular run between Chester and Manchester and Leeds and York. For those in the Midlands, a similar service runs from Birmingham and Coventry on February 15. All these services are diesel hauled.
If it’s a steam service you are after, then The Railway Touring Company uses the Ex LNER ‘A4’ number 60009 Union of South Africa on a train on February 14 called ‘The Valentine’s White Rose’ between King’s Cross and York and return calling at stations to Peterborough and allows a few hours in York
The other main steam service operator, Steam Dreams, offers arguably the best thought out pair of Valentine’s Day offerings using another Ex LNER locomotive, ‘B1’ number 61306 Mayflower on two services for those in the London area. Their ‘Valentine’s Day Luncheon’ runs from Victoria calling at Putney and Chiswick, Addlestone and Woking running via Havant on a circular trip.
If it's an evening trip with a bonus you are after, then then the ‘Valentine’s Day Brief Evening Encounter in Brighton’ stands out from the rest of the day’s trains.
It runs from Victoria to Brighton and return with a special 70th anniversary of the release viewing of ‘Brief Encounter’ in Brighton. As Steam Dreams say; “With stars Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson gracing the screen, this iconic romantic film is perfect for Valentine's Day”.
The train takes a leisurely route to Brighton and after the showing of the film, the train returns for a fast non-stop run back to London Victoria.
Tyseley based Vintage Trains are promoting their ‘Valentine’s Express’. With a circular steam service running from Tyseley via Birmingham Snow Hill to Oxford using their Pullman stock.
If you are in the east of England, the West Coast diesel hauled ‘Snow on Settle Carlisle?’ train runs from Skegness and stations via Sleaford, Lincoln and Doncaster to Carlisle and return. It runs, as the train name suggests, via the famous Settle and Carlisle Line and returns alongside Hadrians’ Wall along the Tyne Valley and York.
Another diesel hauled train on February 14 over the Settle and Carlisle line is the UK Railtours service which starts at King's Cross and calls at stations to Peterborough and as with the West Coast service runs outwards via Leeds and Settle and returns via the Tyne Valley and York.
If the person in your life can’t travel on one of the special trains then how about looking at one of the largest regular railway auction offerings. This takes place at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire on February 7 (postcode CV8 2LZ) organised by Great Central Auctions. A vintage bus service is running from Coventry station to the auction.
There are 500 lots on offer from low process to maybe £20,000 ranging from art deco advertising posters to express steam locomotive nameplates. So for the Valentine in your life, let’s start with a nameplate from the iconic LMS ‘Princess Royal’ Class 8 ‘Pacific’ No 6211/46211, built at Crewe and named Queen Maude when built after the second daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
But beware, it is very heavy being made of brass and 34 inches long is estimated to be sold for over £10,000. A ‘Deltic’ nameplate is on offer at a higher estimate from number D9016/55016 Gordon Highlander but the cast aluminium plate 87 inches long and comes with the sale documentation.
A locomotive named after the Great Northern Railway Locomotive Engineer between 1896 until 1911 was the Peppercorn ‘A1’ Class 4-6-2 No 60123 H.A. Ivatt. This is 51 inches long and estimated to be sold for around £10,000.
Perhaps Lot number 100 will prove to be a bargain at around £100. It is a London & South Western Railway Doulton beer jug used to bring beer from the cellar to the bar. It is 8" high and decorated in relief showing hunting and drinking scenes but does have a small chip on the rim.
The old favourite Station Master enamel sign again appears at Lot number 480 and could be yours for around £150. Two Lots later, a station sign from Britain’s busiest station ids up for grabs in the form of a Southern Railway Waterloo ‘target’ sign and is estimated to go for around £300.
A similar price is expected for similar station sign from the recently closed Folkestone Harbour. An enamel station sign A station sign from Nottingham Victoria station is also expected to make around £300.
There are some ‘different’ types of railway signs up for grabs such as Lot 407 which is a wooden notice, ‘DRIVERS MUST NOT ALLOW WATER TO OVERFLOW ONTO PERMANENT WAY’. This has Cast letters on wood and measures 28"x23" and comes from Crianlarich Upper in the Highlands and could be yours for around £250.
As usual, there are several fetching posters to choose from. Lot 457 is a double royal size advert for ‘The Master Cutler’ Pullman service estimated at around £100. A similar sized poster urges you to ‘JOIN THE WRENS and Free A Man For The Fleet!
This is estimated to make around £200. This is joined by a 1924 poster extolling the virtues of the Southern Railway promoting holiday travel at home and abroad and looks a bargain at around £150