DAY-TRIPPERS from Warrington can travel over the picturesque Settle-to-Carlisle railway this summer pulled by an 80-year-old steam engine that once hauled crack expresses through the north west.

Crimson-painted Galatea, a Jubilee Class locomotive that looks like a giant version of James the Red Engine in the Thomas the Tank Engine Books, will haul the special Dalesman Express.

And although the train will be pulled by a heritage diesel locomotive when it picks up passengers at Warrington, Galatea will be waiting to take over when it arrives at Hellifield in Yorkshire.

The Dalesman will leave Warrington Bank Quay at 8.54am on several Tuesdays over the summer, with the next departure on June 25.

The train will also pick up passengers at Wigan North Western and Leyland and spend several hours in Carlisle before being scheduled to arrive back in Warrington at 10.16pm.

A spokesman for operators West Coast Railway said: “We’re delighted to bring Galatea back to the north west this summer.

“It’s a much-loved historic steam engine and will be a magnificent sight as it races over the 20 viaducts and through the 14 tunnels between Settle and Carlisle, one of the most picturesque railway lines in the world.

“We are expecting hundreds of trainspotters, railway enthusiasts and photographers to turn out every time it runs, although we are urging them not to get too close to platform edges or the rail tracks.”

Numbered 5699, and then 45699 when the railways were nationalised after the war, Galatea was named after a figure in Greek mythology.

Despite weighing about 80 tons, its 7ft wheels mean it is capable of reaching 75mph.

For many years it was based at Sheffield and then Leeds, pulling passenger trains throughout the north west.

The locomotive was eventually withdrawn from service by British Rail in 1964 and sold to a scrapyard in Wales.

But fortunately it was saved by railway enthusiasts and carefully restored before being pressed back into service pulling special excursion trains around the country.

A standard class adult return ticket to Carlisle on the Dalesman costs £69 return for adults, and £34 for children. First class fare is £125 for adults, £59 for children.

Premier dining, which includes a full English breakfast on the outward journey and dinner on the way home, costs £225.

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