“ A rail company offering days out on steam trains. Steamy Affairs Limited, 18 Popes Lane, Terrington St Clement, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE34 4NT. Tel: 01553 828107 „
Unfortunately, after reading the other reviews before writing mine, someone mentioned about the loco braking down.
Unfortunately , even the most modern of steam loco being used at that time is over 40 years old and the fact that it was delayed in the morning would suggest to me that it was due to a FTR (Fitness to run) test being failed and that work was carried out to try to save the service being cancelled
However, my experience with the company has been nothing but a pleasure, I may be lucky but im not sure.
We had a wonder full day and the catering was perfect , we were first class due to winning a prize at a local event of ours that we attended but none the less , the only issues that we in counted were a 20 min delay which was due to a SWT train running late and blocking our line .
We enjoyed a fabulous day down at Weymouth and the return trip with the engine was nothing but heavenly, I had my head stuck out the window for the whole journey back, I was frozen but the sound of a standard 5 at full cry is amazing and should be done by anyone who has the chance.
The price was a tad steep but the service we received was worth every penny, an average steam hauled trip can cost a minimum of £9,000 therefore, I do believe that that sort of money isn't wasted and that the company do a very fine job at using every penny spent and earned to improve themselves, I have a trip booked with them for later this year and I will review them again when I return.
I had been so looking forward to this trip, it pains me even now to think about it. I am still recovering from it.
I must say that the idea was a wonderful dream, and the Catering Firm they used were super.
The management of this operation is questionable and I still can not believe how we were all treated.
Steamy Affairs took a gamble with the engine when they should have cancelled the trip, in my opinion, a way of saving money. What is completely out shocking, apart from the members of staff being self absorbed was being stranded in Doncaster to find our own way home. The journey back took me over eight hours. Even if they do decide to refund back the ticket price (Which I believe they wont) it can not compensate how we were treated and how I have suffered.
When I saw the advertisement in the local paper I rushed at the thought of a great day out, something to remember. My Mother, bless her in all her life wanted to go there. We were so excited. The train ended up delayed due to difficulties with the engine. When it arrived 2hrs late we were not welcomed as per the programme. We were however taken care of by the Catering firm (Third Party). Breakfast and Lunch was wonderful. Unfortunately, the engine broke down and no member of staff was around to answer our queries. The guard informed us that the owner of the engine (Merlin) was not prepared to assist us, nor any other network. Javis apparently wanted £6,000 to help. We were told that due to pushing the engine to its limits to make up on time and the unplanned stops had caused the issue. 3hrs45mins before we had assistance, with one story after another. We were all told that we would be taken to York and could stretch our legs while they worked on getting us home. But, when we reached Doncaster Station we were told that we had to get off the train and make our way home (Basically dumped us). It was assured that three major networks would assist us. There were alot of elderly people (Some with walking sticks), and noone even came to see them. Coaches should have been arranged, especailly when they state QUOTE: "STEAMY AFFAIRS LIMITED CANNOT ACCEPT ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACTIONS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THIRD PARTIES AND ARE SOLEY RESPONSIBLE TO ENSURE PASSENGERS GET TO THE RETURN DESTINATION QUOTED ON THE TOUR PROSPECT." Members of staff (Who grouped together away from us)were more interested in how they were getting home and admitted that once we left Doncaster they couldnt assure anyone we wouldnt have to buy a ticket (Poor those of you who went via London). We were told there would be an investigation and we would be contacted on Monday. Their phone lines have been engaged all day. A large group of us decided to go to Birmingham New City and catch a connecting train there on the London Euston Line. Noone knew anything about us, and I had to explain the situation to a number of people. Virgin were great and so helpful. While on the long way home many regular customers (Elderly) explained that there have been many issues before, but that they were happy to be out and about. The remark about this day was atleast we will be home earlier. I paid £189.00 a ticket, to be treated like this. It took from Doncaster 7hrs to get home, and most of us stood 6hrs of that time. Worst thing is I also bought tickets for the Edinburgh and they charge 25% to cancel each ticket.
Last year, as a surprise birthday present for my partner, Dave, I booked a trip with Steamy Affairs. Now, before you all go getting mucky ideas – it’s a company that operates trips by steam train! I saw an advert in our local free paper for a trip on the Carlisle to Settle Railway and it was something that we had both always wanted to do, so I sent off for the information. The trip was to be on a train pulled by the steam locomotive, the Blue Peter. Incidentally I remember seeing the footage of this locomotive being named on the Blue Peter TV programme when I was a little girl. The Blue Peter was going to try and beat the record for the quickest time to the Carlisle and Settle summit, held by the Duchess of Hamilton since 14th August 1993, and win the Blue Riband. The Blue Riband is awarded for a trial of ‘sustained haulage capability on the 1-in-100 climb from Milepost 275, south of the Ormskirk Viaduct, to the Ais Gill summit’. Our train was to be diesel hauled from Birmingham to Crewe where the Blue Peter would be coupled up. We would then go up the West Coast Main Line to Carlisle, have a break of about two hours and then come back over the Carlisle to Settle run to try and break the record. There were three classes of ticket for me to choose from for this trip. We could travel club class for £69 each, which would give us reserved seats in the club class coach with a real ale bar and snack bar available. We could travel saloon class for £95 each, which would give us reserved seats in First Class and a Ploughman’s Lunch on the way to Carlisle and a light tea of sandwiches and a pastry on the way back. I actually chose that we should travel Silver Service Class for £159 each. This included three meals, served at our reserved table in a similar way to our journey on the Orient Express. Unfortunately a month before we were due to travel I received a letter
explaining that, because of engineering works due to be carried out by Railtrack we would not be able to try for the Blue Riband after all which was a bit of a disappointment. We were advised that the train would run with a northbound climb over the Settle to Carlisle line and back down along the West Coast Main Line up and over Shap Summit. We were a bit disappointed about this but it wasn’t going to spoil the day for us. A fortnight before we were due to travel we received the details of our coach and seat numbers and departure times, together with our boarding passes in the form of lapel badges to be worn on the day. On the day itself we joined the train at Birmingham International Station at 07.30 for our journey to Crewe to meet the Blue Peter. At Crewe we were allowed to leave the train and watch Blue Peter being coupled up. We didn’t know from which direction she would be arriving and it was really exciting when we saw the steam billowing over the station wall as she approached. The cameras took a bit of a bashing I can tell you! Once aboard for the proper journey we were given a timing sheet which detailed all the different timing points together with the time that we should be arriving, so we keep track of where we were during the journey. (track – no pun intended!) The ladies were all given a flower for our buttonhole and there was a commentary throughout the entire journey telling us of various landmarks to look out for. The scenery was stunning but I was a little disappointed not to be able to see the bridges very well as we were on top of them, if you see what I mean. We did stop at one point to take on more water and we had a good view of the one bridge form where we were standing on the station platform. There was a prize draw during the journey and a racing competition. We were given a complimentary newspaper from which to pick horses at one of the race meetings and the one who picked th
e most winners scooped the pool. I don’t remember what the prize was in the draw but suffice it to say that we didn’t win either! We also had a menu for the day’s food so we knew what to expect. There was a price list for drinks on the back of the menu and you could order from wines, sprits, liqueurs, beers, fruit juices or pop, all at reasonable but not cheap prices. For breakfast we had tea or coffee, fruit compote or cereals followed by bacon, sausage, egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, hash brown, fried bread and black pudding served with fresh bread or toast, with further toast and preserves to follow! It was a good job we didn’t have much before we left home that morning! Luckily it was a light lunch which consisted of a Cheese Ploughman’s served with French bread and tea or coffee. We had a brief stop in Carlisle after lunch. I won’t go into detail as I have actually done a separate opinion on Carlisle. We had a drink while we were here but we certainly didn’t need anything to eat! The evening meal was bacon and Stilton salad or soup of the day, followed by roast beef with all the trimmings, with steamed syrup sponge and custard for sweet. This was followed by the cheese board and tea or coffee and after dinner chocolates. The food and indeed the whole atmosphere and presentation of the day was not as good as the Orient Express but then the cost wasn’t as high either and it did come a very close second!