Huddersfield Town fans will travel back in time when they journey to Wembley – courtesy of a 1970s British Rail train.
Retro Railtours is running the service from Huddersfield to Wembley Central station on matchday.
The nine carriages, pulled by a locomotive from the 1990s, will leave Huddersfield railway station at 7am next Monday and call at Marsden at 7.15am before following the West Coast mainline to Wembley Central, where it is scheduled to arrive at 12.30pm. The station is a 10-minute walk from the stadium.
It will depart no earlier than 6.30pm – taking into account the possibility of a penalty shoot-out.
James Palmer, managing director of Retro Railtours, based in Ashton-under-Lyne, said the company had so far sold about 200 of the 350 tickets available and was hoping to have sold out by the end of this week.
He said: “We run about three or four excursions a year from Huddersfield using 1970s BR coaches, which have been fully refurbished. We will be running trips to Cardiff and Swansea in July and to the Edinburgh Festival in August.”
But he said the matchday service was a blast from the past. “The ‘football special’ used to be big in the 1970s,” he said. “This will be a bit of fun and should appeal to people who remember the BR trains when they were younger.”
There’s a buffet car, but the much-derided British Rail sandwiches will be absent. “The food is a lot better!” said Mr Palmer. “We will have bacon butties in the morning and meat pies for the way back. However, we can only sell soft drinks on board.”
A raffle to raise funds for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice will also be held on the journey down.
The coaches have been supplied by Riviera Trains in London while the loco comes from Doncaster-based DB Cargo UK. Mr Palmer said: “We are able to run the service thanks to the co-operation of the train operators and Network Rail, which is responsible for the track and signalling.”
Mr Palmer launched Retro Railtours nine years ago since when the company has run a wide variety of tours for enthusiasts and day trippers from Huddersfield to destinations including Edinburgh, Bath, Bristol, Carlisle, the Lake District, Oxford, Southend, Stirling, Norwich and Great Yarmouth.
Pre-booking for the Town trip is essential. Tickets are £66 standard class and £99 first class. Go to www.retrorailtours.co.uk/huddersfield.php