• KH

Sunset Steam Express

Locomotive lovers like myself have the opportunity to board the grand Sunset Steam Express. An Orient Express style of dining from London Waterloo to Surrey Quays roundtrip.

Departing from Waterloo, among many other eager passengers on a warmer than usual summer day, we boarded the train shortly after it had arrived to the station. We quickly found our carriage which was one in the Pullman Style Dining carriages. There are three classes of travel on board the train to suit a variety of tastes. The Pullman Dining offers the most comfortable seats, most legroom and the highest level of service.

Once finding our assigned seats, we settled in and were welcomed with the beautifully set table with a selection of breads and olives to snack on. The carriage waiter saw to us and took our orders down for drinks which was a cold bottle of pinot grigio to get the evening started.

The train pulled out of London Waterloo Station and made its way west towards passing Clapham Junction and Richmond. The South West trains next to us gawked as we passed by and waved to us whilst we sipped our wine in our elegant carriage. The thing the people waving at us did not know, that as it was one of the hottest summer days this year we were actually melting away inside the barely ventilated train. Alas, what can you expect if you are behind towed by a moving furnace? The best solution as my boyfriend suggested was to order more wine. So, we did.

Our starter was a delicious salmon, mackerel and horseradish tian. It was brilliantly prepared and tasted fresh and cold. I was sympathising with whomever was working in the kitchen. Being that it was a premier style dining, ourselves and fellow passengers were wearing suits and women like myself, tight neck blouses. Note to self for next time.

We continued through the English countryside and had a quick stop to get out and fill the train up with water. I had to take a picture with the heroic engine drivers who were sucking up the heat and soot to get us through our journey.

After re-boarding the train, we continued on our journey. By this time it was dark outside so there was not much to see. Our main course arrived, and we focused all our attention on the yummy chicken and mash potato that was before us.

Lastly, our dessert, which was a chocolate trio arrived and we ordered our third and final bottle of wine. As you can imagine after three bottles of wine, we were a bit giggly and delusional from the heat though still thoroughly enjoying our experience.

We arrived back to Waterloo Station and alighted from the Sunset Steam Express at 23:00, took our last photos of the locomotive and made our way home.

This is a very special experience for anyone who is interested in old steam engines. It is something I would love to take my father on. The average age was roughly 45-75 though could easily be enjoyed by anyone for special occasion. The food and seats for Pullman Style Dining are worth the price. There are also 2 other classes which offer a more casual style dining and with the third being either BYO or purchasing from the dining cart.

I do hope that they repeat this for on coming years, the hot weather was unfortunate but you cannot control the weather and it was extremely rare for London.

Operating every Tuesday between 3rd June – 3rd September 2019,