Western Europe

From the UK to Southern Spain, back in steam days it was all part of Western Europe. Although borders have changed since then with the reunification of Germany, this section covers the UK, France, West Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal and features some spectacular scenery and many well loved classes of steam locomotive in regular service.

Regular steam ceased in the UK in 1968, way before I had finished school. I remember the influence of OS Nock and others as I read with fascination their 100 mph train timings in the Continental Railway Journal.

By the time I arrived in France in 1974, there were but a couple of 141R war locos sitting around. Gone were the days of the Chapleon Pacifics and Express Passenger 2-8-2's. Fortunately others a little older saw the magnificent French steam locos in action.

Old Spanish Steam Locos

Spain was a country that modern technology left behind for a time. Although now they produce one of the fastest Bullet Trains in the world, the scene above shows some truly ancient locomotives in action in the 1960's. This country featured mighty 4-8-4 express passenger locos and even Garratts, not so common in Europe.

This photo in Portugal could easily be a work of art. I takes you back to a time of compartment carriages and stone viaducts. Add the Douro Valley to this and you get somewhere very special. In Porto in 1974, we visited a restaurant. The waiter liked us, so he gave us each a Congac after diner. We went back twice more, so his great service was rewarded.

Relive childhood memories, or discover some of the spectacular action from when steam was king.

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