From an email received this morning : - Settle & Carlisle Golden Express I Saturday 11 August 2018 Joining stations: Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol Parkway, Cam & Dursley, Cheltenham Spa, Bromsgrove, Birmingham New St., Stafford, Crewe It will be 50 years since the end of steam on British Rail and what a way to celebrate! From Preston our excursion will be hauled by steam locomotive Tornado 60163 which is celebrating its 10th birthday. The tour will head northwards to Lancaster, past Morecambe Bay and climbing through Oxenholme to Grayrigg Summit. And easing through the Lune Gorge is followed by an assault on the famed climb to Shap, then descent through Penrith to Carlisle, where we avoid the station and make for the Settle & Carlisle line, following the verdant Eden Valley to market town Appleby for around a two hour break. On the restart our magnificent locomotive will hasten into speed for the climb ahead, through Kirkby Stephen and into the mountains that close in as the line runs on the flanks of Wild Boar Fell, with Mallerstang Common towering across the infant River Eden. A final fling sees our loco breast the summit at lonely Ais Gill to run then across the 'roof of England', high above Dentdale to Blea Moor Tunnel and to the magnificent Ribblehead Viaduct, looked down on by the Three Peaks of Whernside, Ingleborough and Penyghent. Down Ribblesdale we race to Settle then Hellifield, where we take the cross country line to Clitheroe and the hardest climb of the day, to Wilpshire Tunnel. The steam hauled part of the journey will end at Crewe Settle & Carlisle Golden Express II Wednesday 15 August 2018 Joining Stations: Didcot Parkway, Oxford, Banbury, Leamington Spa, Coventry, Birmingham International, Tame Bridge Parkway, Stafford, Crewe A second chance to celebrate the end of steam on British Rail 50 years ago. From Crewe, our excursion will be hauled by steam locomotive Tornado 60163. Tornado will run across the Cheshire Plain and over the Mersey into Lancashire. Just south of Preston we turn right, climbing towards Blackburn then on the cross-country line through Clitheroe to Hellifield. Soon we reach Settle Junction, where our loco will be opened out to full power for the 'Long Drag', the unbroken eighteen mile climb through Settle, past Penyghent and through Upper Ribblesdale to the great viaduct at Ribblehead, with mountains on all sides. From Blea Moor Tunnel we emerge in Dentdale, with superb views to the valley floor as the line sweeps round the hillside to Dent, over viaducts and through tunnels to Garsdale and on to Ais Gill summit. Downhill then, following the infant River Eden as it flows beneath Mallerstang Edge to Kirkby Stephen, and to Appleby for around two hours afternoon break. Restarting we can enjoy the green delights of the Eden Valley, but with the Pennine Chain close by until the approach to Carlisle, where we avoid the station and head directly onto the West Coast Main Line. Once again Tornado will be put to it, working hard to gain speed before sweeping through Penrith and onto the seven miles of tough grades that lead to Shap Summit. Descent into the delightful Lune Gorge leads to Grayrigg, and on down to Oxenholme and finally to sea level as we run along the edge of Morecambe Bay. The hard work may be over, but speed will now be important, to keep us out of the way of the frequent service trains on this busy main line, through Lancaster, Preston, Wigan and Warrington, to eventual arrival at Crewe where a diesel locomotive will take over.