A HISTORIC locomotive is set to visit Basingstoke this summer as part of a tour across the region, giving enthusiasts a chance to spot the Jubilee class engine.

Steam locomotive number 45596, known as Bahamas, will travel through Basingstoke on July 21, August 18 and September 1, on its route to visit Bournemouth and Weymouth as part of the Dorset Coast Express.

The journeys, organised by heritage rail specialists The Railway Touring Company, will set out from London Victoria and stop to pick up passengers at Staines, Woking and Basingstoke on route for the south coast.

Appropriately for this Jubilee year, No. 45596 Bahamas is a Jubilee Class locomotive. This magnificent loco was built in 1935 at Queens Park, Glasgow. Bahamas was withdrawn from service in 1966, but preserved and restored, returning to mainline running in 2019.

The Railway Touring Company’s summer steam schedule from Basingstoke also includes The Atlantic Coast Express to Exeter on Saturday, July 2, The End of Southern Steam to Weymouth on Saturday, July 9, and The Swanage Belle on Thursday, September 8.

The Dorset Coast Express has operated each summer since 2010, with the exception of 2020 when the Covid pandemic meant it was not possible to travel.

This year around 400 people are expected to board each train to head south through Winchester and Southampton, into Bournemouth, where passengers can choose to spend the afternoon enjoying the resort’s gardens and sandy beach or steam on through the Dorset countryside to seaside town Weymouth.

Heritage rail operator The Railway Touring Company is celebrating 25 years of organising steam days out. Even though British Railways ran its final regular steam-hauled passenger service on the mainline in 1968, fascination with steam is as strong today as ever, say The Railway Touring Company.

“The Dorset Coast Express is a great family day out reliving the golden age of rail travel,” said The Railway Touring Company’s MD Kelly Osborne.

“It is always thrilling to see these magnificent British designed and built steam locos in action hauling seaside specials reminiscent of 1950s summer holidays.”

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