All aboard the first regular steam service from London Victoria in over 50 years; The Royal Windsor Steam Express. Departing on Platform 2 the 61306 Mayflower is one of two surviving B1 Class locomotives and took us on our journey to Windsor as part of thrilling afternoon with Steam Dreams.
After arriving at London Victoria for our trip on the Mayflower we found our carriage and boarded ready for our exciting journey. The seats were located in the Pullman Style class which provides a premium railway dining experience plus plush interiors with more legroom and armchair style seating that was pleasing to the eye and comfortable for the whole trip. Our table for two was laid with crisp white linen, cutlery and napkins plus a very stylish period table lamp from the 1950s. After everyone had embarked; the train whistle blew and we slowly pulled out of London Victoria Station in our oldy worldly steam train passing modern electric trains and the hustle and bustle of London as we went.
The journey takes you on a voyage to the historical town of Windsor, passing scenes of London City and famous landmarks like Battersea Power Station and other stations such as Clapham Junction, Wandsworth, Putney, Richmond and Twickenham. With the large windows you get to see the world going past in the luxury of an armchair on the Mayflower Steam Train all whilst soaking up the atmosphere of a bygone era.
During the ride we were served Afternoon Tea consisting of a glass of Champagne, scones, brioche bun and the obligatory cups of tea. The scones were available plain or filled with fruit, they were light and fluffy to the palette, accompanying the scones was a pot of strawberry jam and a good portion of clotted cream. Also present on the plate were two macaroons adding a touch of colour to the overall look and presentation. The brioche bun was rather large and overpowering with the gigantic amount of cream cheese and smoked salmon, we could have quite easily shared this and definitely did not go hungry for our wander around Windsor! There was a bar service and drinks menu available at extra cost, we however did not partake in this as we enjoyed our tea and champagne! The servers came to offer further tea or coffee, which was served in old style Pullman pots, we were surprised that they did not use trolleys as the ride was a bit bumpy at times and jerky, but luckily no drop was spilled.
After an hour and 15 minutes we arrived at Windsor and Eton Riverside station and thanked the driver and fireman as we took the short walk to the town centre to see the castle, which had the Royal Standard flying as the Queen was in residence. The town has an array of shops and tourist activities but we walked along the promenade by the river watching the swans swimming and ducks dabbling in the sunshine. To return you have to make your own way back to your final destination, we used the same station (please note: there are 2 Windsor stations so be careful which one you need) as we needed to get back to London.
Steam Dreams hosts many other journeys and the Royal Windsor we were on also has morning trips and sunset excursions. This is such a pleasant way to pass an afternoon, The Royal Windsor Steam Express gives you a new way to travel to Windsor that will take you back in time with the sound and smell of the mighty stream train all whilst eating and drinking in the refurbished carriages. All in all, a great staycation day trip.
For more information on The Royal Windsor Steam Express see online.