Former Sheffield locomotive returns to region after nearly 90 years

A crimson-painted steam locomotive that’s a dead ringer for James the Red Engine in the Thomas the Tank Engine books, and was based in Sheffield nearly 90 years ago, is returning to the region this summer.

Thursday, 20th June 2019, 10:49 am
Updated Thursday, 20th June 2019, 14:29 pm
The Galatea has been lovingly restored to bring it back to its former glory

Galatea, an 80-ton Jubilee Class loco, used to operate from the old railway sheds at Millhouses, hauling crack London-Scotland trains like the Thames-Clyde and Waverley expresses.

With her giant 7ft wheels, she was capable of hitting 75mph on the route through Leeds to Skipton and then over the picturesque Settle to Carlisle line.

Galatea pictured in action in 1955

Now she is to penciled in to pull a special Scarborough Spa Express day excursion train from Carnforth, Lancashire, on the last leg of its journey from York to the East Coast seaside resort.

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The train will operate on 10 Thursdays throughout the summer, starting this week on June 20. It will be diesel hauled as far as York before Galatea takes over. 

After being based at Millhouses from 1937 throughout most of the second world war, Galatea was transferred to Derby in 1944 and then, after a short spell at Nottingham, to Holbeck at Leeds.  The engine was withdrawn from service by British Rail in 1964 and sent to a scrapyard in Wales before being rescued by rail enthusiasts who lovingly restored her to working order,

The roots of the Scarborough Spa Express date back to July 1927 when the London North Eastern Railway Company started a Scarborough Flyer service from the capital.

The Galatea will be making runs throughout the summer

The express was cancelled in 1939 after the outbreak of the second world war broke out, but was revived in 1950 and ran as a summer-only train for the next 13 years.

West Coast Railways also operate The Dalesman from York, which is steam-hauled over the  Settle-Carlisle line, and the “Harry Potter” Jacobite Express from Fort William to Mallaig in Scotland.

Visit www.westcoastrailways.co.uk for details and to book tickets.

The Galatea, as it looks today
A rusting Galatea in a Welsh scrapyard after being withdrawn from British Rail servic - photo by Terry Campbell