ONE of the more unusual repercussions of today's public sector strike was the effect on a historic train excursion, that was due to steam into Swanage station.

Surrey-based Steam Dreams, who operate the Cathedrals Express, were set to run a steam train from London Victoria to Swanage.

However, because Dorset firefighters from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) were supporting the walkout, Network Rail ordered the company to replace the steam locomotives with two diesel engines as a safety precaution.

Steam Dreams confirmed they were barred from operating a steam locomotive on the mainline.

A Network Rail spokesman told the Daily Echo: “Whenever there have been fire strikes in the past one of the repercussions is that we cannot allow steam trains to run on the network.

“In the days when the railway was largely operated by steam, the trains kept all the trackside vegetation cut back because, basically, they kept setting fire to the stuff.

“Today most of our trains, on our much greener railway, are diesel or electric, and we have many trees trackside. Unfortunately, this means steam trains do pose a bit of a fire risk.

“Normally, to accommodate steam enthusiasts, it is manageable – but it does mean that if there is a fire strike we have to impose a safety ban.”