Could iconic trains steam back into town?

The Scarborough Spa Express arrives at Scarborough Railway Station.
The Scarborough Spa Express arrives at Scarborough Railway Station.

There are fresh hopes the iconic steam trains to Scarborough which were suspended last year following a fire could be reinstated this summer.

The town’s MP Robert Goodwill called for action after tourism took a hit when the Scarborough Spa Express trains, which run from York, were replaced with diesel engines.

Network Rail, which imposed the ban, wrote to Mr Goodwill this week with assurances that it was not permanent.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “We are totally committed to the safe running of the railway and insist on the highest standards from operating companies. As such as are currently reviewing the safety management systems in place at West Coast Railways and hope that they can resume steam operations once any issues raised in the review are resolved.”

West Coast Railways, which operates the steam trains, are yet to comment, but Mr Goodwill is hopeful there will be a resolution.

He said: “It seems like the Scarborough Flyer might be reinstated which is very good news for our tourist industry.

“I made representations to Network Rail and at the time they were quite narked off that the correct safety procedures hadn’t been followed, but it looks like it could be resolved. I hope we can have steam 
trains coming back to Scarborough.”

The fire, beside the line, was caused by Hogwarts Castle, which starred in all the Harry Potter films.

As a result West Coast Railways was only permitted to run diesel locomotives on the route instead of steam trains, in a move that disappointed hundreds of rail buffs and many photographers and rail enthusiasts who perch on rail bridges to get spectacular shots of the famous steam trains.

Speaking after the ban, David Smith, chairman and managing director of West Coast Railways, said: “The ban is harsh and unreasonable. Steam is an attraction and has had a huge knock on effect on passengers both to the seaside and Harry Potter fans.”