It wasn’t just football fans that looked forward to weekends – summer Saturdays used to bring rail enthusiasts out in force for the mouth-watering prospect of freight locos hauling passenger trains to holiday destinations across the country. In the first of a new series, Rail Express looks back to those golden years.
THE growth of Britain’s coastal resorts was fuelled by the growth of the railway network in Victorian times, as trains were the only way for the working population to travel from their homes in the industrial heartlands to the coast for an annual break.
This situation continued through to the post-Second World War period, only really declining when car ownership became more widespread and holidays abroad more affordable. Until then, and well into the 1990s, seaside towns across Britain were served by additional trains for holidaymakers – most notably on Saturdays, when otherwise spare freight locos were pressed into service to haul the extra trains.
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