Steam Dreams are made of this...

Paul Harris takes a nostalgic rail trip and writes that this is one train journey on which he would have gladly welcomed a delay.

IT was the smell that brought it all back to me... allied with the sulphurous smoke and the little black bits of soot floating through the window, flecking the pristine white tablecloth in my train carriage.

I was transported back to the golden age of steam in the early 1960s aboard the Pines Express from Manchester to Bournemouth.

Proper armchair seats in those days, lunch and afternoon tea... and windows that opened.

It was those very windows that saw me end up in Royal Bournemouth Hospital A&E all those decades ago with a flake of soot wedged firmly under my eyelid — the result of a curious little boy’s determination to poke his head out of said push-down window, despite the warning notices.

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