Dave Felstead, Managing Director and founder of Railtrail Tours on his favourite train trips, Michael Palin and real ale.
What’s been your favourite rail journey and why?
It has to be the journey from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh. I followed in the footsteps of Sir Michael Palin‘s very first ‘Great Railway Journey of the World’ TV programme which he made in November 1979. I enjoyed it so much that I created Railtrail Tours. No prizes for guessing where my first tour went to! What’s more, it’s still as popular a journey now as it was back then.
Which country have you most enjoyed visiting by rail?
Germany. It’s the nearest to UK for steam train enthusiasts like me. Interestingly, in Saxony the local government have just committed themselves to supporting three of the famous narrow gauge steam lines. These will be run as a public service for another five years.
Have you travelled by train overnight?
Yes, my first rail journey to Europe was Austria via Paris. It offered overnight travel in couchette accommodation. That was back in 1967. You can imagine what it was like….
Can you remember your first ever train journey?
I travelled from Stoke on Trent to Burton with my mother, father, and younger brother. We changed at Tutbury to catch the Tutbury Jinny‘s push-pull branch line service. It had antiquated non corridor stock with drop-down windows. You had to use a thick leather strap to pull them up and down. This fascinated me and my brother.
Where would you like to travel to by rail?
Anywhere, just anywhere, as long as the station has a pub serving real ale! I am a member of CAMRA the campaign for real ale and I love to combine travelling by train with drinking a great pint.
Who is your ideal travelling companion on a rail journey?
Anyone who doesn’t distract me from looking out of the window. Trains like the Bernina Express and the Glacier Express demand your attention.
What’s the best thing about taking a train journey?
It keeps me off the roads for which the nation’s motorists are eternally grateful.