MEMORIES of the Golden Age of Steam will return to East Lancashire this summer when day-trippers get the chance to travel from Blackburn .... to Paradise!

The Galatea, an 80-year-old steam engine that once hauled expresses through Lancashire, will haul the special Scarborough Spa Express.

Passengers from Blackburn will initially travel in carriages pulled by a heritage diesel locomotive but the Galatea, a crimson-painted Jubilee Class locomotive which looks like a real-life version of James the Red Engine in the Thomas the Tank Engine books, will be waiting when it arrives at York to take it on the seaside.

As for Paradise, well that is a quaint little street up a steep hill in the popular Yorkshire resort which gives a wonderful view down over the promenade and the harbour!

The Scarborough Spa Express will run on 10 Thursdays over the summer, starting on June 20. A spokesman for operators West Coast Railway said: “We’re delighted to bring Galatea back to the North West

“It’s a much-loved historic steam engine and will be a magnificent sight steaming through the countryside to Scarborough.

“We are expecting hundreds of trainspotters and railway enthusiasts to turn out every time it runs, although we are urging them not to get too close to platform edges or the rail tracks.”

Numbered 5699, and then 45699 when the railways were nationalised after the war, Galatea was named after a figure in Greek mythology. Despite weighing about 80 tons, its 7ft wheels mean it is capable of reaching 75mph.

For many years it was based at Sheffield and then Leeds, pulling passenger trains throughout the North West

The locomotive was eventually withdrawn from service by British Rail in 1964 and sold to a scrapyard in Wales.

But it was saved by railway enthusiasts and carefully restored before being pressed back into service pulling special excursion trains around the country.

The Scarborough Spa train has its roots in the LNER’s Scarborough Flyer service which first ran from London to the resort in July 1927.

The express was cancelled in 1939 after the second world war broke out, but was brought back in 1950 and ran as a summer-only train for holidaymakers over the next 13 years.

Fares on the Scarborough Spa start at £39 return for adults, and £15 for children in standard class. First class fares start at £59 for adults, £30 for children.

Premier dining, which includes a full English breakfast on the outward journey and a slap-up dinner on the way home, costs from £219.

For more details see