There were whistle blasts from the past at Ilkeston station last weekend, as the town welcomed its first steam train arrival in more than 50 years.
The Christmas White Rose service from Birmingham to York collected 68 passengers from Ilkeston on Saturday, December 9, and drew a large crowd of rail enthusiasts too.
Those on board were enjoying a day trip experience run by tour operator Vintage Trains, complete with four-course dining and a chance to explore York’s historic sites and Christmas shopping.
Vintage Trains spokesman Ben Mason said: “We are excited to be the first steam train to serve the community of Ilkeston in over more than half a century.
“It was an absolutely brilliant moment with loads of people turning out to see us - even the mayor turned up which was lovely.”
The train was hauled by ex-Great Western Railway Castle Class loco No: 5043, otherwise known as the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, built in 1937.
Although it was slightly longer than the platform, the gathered crowds enjoyed a close-up view of the engine and carriages.
In previous years, the service has run through Derby but was diverted through the Erewash Valley due to construction works in the city.
The opening of the new £10million Ilkeston station earlier this year has opened up many new possibilities to passengers, and more heritage trains are expected in future.
Ben said: “This is long overdue, but we hope many more of our steam services will call at Ilkeston.
“We had such a great reception that we would definitely like to make it a regular stop. Thank you to all the residents of Ilkeston and the surrounding areas who showed up.”
The next arrival is already scheduled with a repeat service running this Saturday, December 16.
Tickets start from £79, available to book online at www.vintagetrains.co.uk.