A STEAM train to Weymouth this weekend has been cancelled – because it’s too hot.
The train from Bristol, one of a series of special rail tours running to Weymouth this summer, was due to come tomorrow.
But as temperatures continue to soar and with the hot and dry weather expected to last throughout the weekend, Network Rail has slapped a ban on steam trains in this area due to the risks of them causing trackside fires.
A spokesman said: “We advised the train operator to substitute the steam locomotives for a diesel to reduce the fire risk.
“In this case they couldn’t run with a diesel and decided to cancel the service.”
She said the risk was that sparks from the locomotive could ignite foliage along the line and that the ban during this type of weather was standard practice.
The Railway Touring Company, which had planned to run the train, said passengers on the Weymouth Seaside Express would either be offered a full refund or have their tickets transferred to another rail trip date. The train had been ‘pretty well-subscribed’ the company said.
The Norfolk-based company is planning to run steam train day-trip excursions from Bristol on July 28 and August 4, 11 and 18.
It is also running the Dorset Coast Express from London Victoria to Weymouth on July 24 and 31, August 7, 14, 21, 28 and September 4 and 11. This is the third consecutive summer the firm is running regular steam trains to Weymouth.
As well as providing a boost for the local economy – the trains bring about 400 people at a time who get to spend a few hours in Weymouth – the locomotives make a great spectacle.
Magnificent steam engines from the glory days of British Railways are in charge of the trains. Past visitors have included Nunney Castle, Braunton, Sir Lamiel and Tangmere.