The age of steam returns to Liskeard to Looe valley line
STEAM trains will be making a comeback on the historic Liskeard to Looe line next month, writes Keith Rossiter.
Passengers will be able to enjoy a ride in elegant Edwardian luxury, surrounded by oak and brass with newly-woven upholstery and window blinds to an original pattern.
The Great Western Society's 104-year-old Steam Railmotor 93 has cleared a number of hurdles to be allowed to run on Network Rail lines.
The train operator in Cornwall, First Great Western, is sponsoring the Looe branch events, with West Coast Railways as the train operator for the steam specials.
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The train will run on Sunday November 4 and November 11 this year.
Tickets for the return journey from Liskeard to Looe cost £25 each and can be booked from Ticketweb at www.ticketweb.co.uk or phone 08444 771000 (booking fees will apply).
There will be five return trips both Sundays, with the train carrying 54 passengers each time.
Tickets must be booked for a specific service at the times below.
It will not be possible to leave or join the train at Looe, so all journeys start and finish at Liskeard.
Steam Railmotor 93 was built in March 1908 and ran as a self-propelled unit for nearly 30 years, before being converted to a locomotive-hauled auto trailer in 1935 and renumbered 212.
In 1956 it was withdrawn from passenger service and converted to a work study coach, becoming an office in Birmingham.
It was preserved by the Great Western Society in 1970 and stored in the carriage shed at Didcot.
In the 1990s the project to build a new steam power unit and rebuild the coach as a steam railmotor began.
In July 2007 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the project £768,000 for the rebuild of the coach, and the work was carried out on the Llangollen Railway, being completed in March 2011.
Richard Burningham, manager of the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, said: "I am delighted that steam will be returning to the Looe Valley Line this November.
"The Great Western Society's Railmotor is a particular treat and I'm sure the trains will be very popular indeed."