Train buffs share golden day with express service
A SURPRISE trip aboard a steam train marked the golden wedding anniversary of Pauline and Michael Barrett.
But it wasn't an ordinary trip – the couple's family booked a carriage aboard a special Avon Valley Railway journey marking the anniversary of the legendary Pines Express.
Four councils were also represented for the 50th anniversary of when the last Pines Express working between Bournemouth and Manchester ran for the last time on Saturday, September 8, 1962. Five decades later the journey was re-created. The Avon Valley Railway amended its timetable to match the Pines Express workings through Bitton.
Mr and Mrs Barrett, aged 70 and 73 respectively, who live in Brompton Close, Kingswood, first met at Temple Meads station. They are big steam train fans and their family wanted them to celebrate their golden wedding in style.
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Their children Sarah, 43, and Geoffrey, 45, organised a special carriage for a celebration with all the family.
The Pines Express first ran in October 1910 and was run jointly by London and North Western Railway and the Midland Railway, of which Bitton is an original station.
The Pines Express took two trips on Saturday – one taking the "up" route, in the direction of Manchester, which saw the train steam-hauled to Avon Riverside near Bitton and then on to Oldland Common.
The afternoon trip took the "down" route, which saw it hauled to Oldland Common back to Avon Riverside.
Mr and Mrs Barrett, who married at Holy Trinity Church in Old Market, enjoyed the morning "up" route service with balloons decorating their carriage. The grandparents-of-seven, who are both avid Bristol Rovers fans, are looking forward to another steam train trip up to Snowdon later in the year.