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Britain mainline Steam train replaces regular passenger service for firs...

Hundreds of enthusiasts lined the historic Settle to Carlisle route in northern England on Tuesday (February 14) to witness the maiden journey of the first regular passenger steam train in 50 years. "A lot of people stand there and watch in awe, other people, they look up from their iPads, and their phones and the newspapers and they're like: 'Wow, what's that?' and it's just like a time machine," said Graeme Bunker, operations director at A1 Steam Locomotives Trust charity that helped build the locomotive.

Powered by a Tornado locomotive, the trains puffed its way through a beautiful scenery of Eden Valley in Cumbria, across the Ribblehead Viaduct to Yorkshire Dales. Tornado 60163 is the first mainline steam engine built in Britain since the 1960s. The £3 million steam engine took 18 years to build and was completed in 2008. It can achieve speeds of 75 mph (120km/h)

The return of steam power to the Settle-Carlisle railway marks the reopening of the line, partially closed after landslides in February last year. For three days the steam train will carry passengers from Appleby, Cumbria to Skipton, North Yorkshire making four journeys each day. Regular train services are due to reopen on March 31.

Northern Rail, operator of the Settle-Carlisle line, said the demand was extraordinary and tickets have almost sold out. Steam trains hold a particular place in the British imagination due to the country's pioneering role in developing the railway industry in the 19th century, and to the enduring popularity of children's fiction character Thomas the Tank Engine.

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