THERE are two opportunities to have a ride behind perhaps the most iconic of British steam locomotives, the Flying Scotsman, with The Mail.

Coach and steam excursions have been arranged for May 10 and September 26 when the historic express loco is based at the East Lancashire Railway at Bury.

A spokesperson said: "Our trip offers you the opportunity to step aboard this record-holding locomotive and experience the golden age of steam, travelling through the tranquil West Pennines."

Our pictures today feature steam locomotives spotted in South Cumbria from The Mail's archive.

The Flying Scotsman trip includes coach travel from Furness, free time in Bury and return tickets for the Flying Scotsman.

On May 10 the return steam trip is from Bury to Rawtenstall and costs £64 per person while the September 26 journey is from Bury to Heywood and costs £54.

You can book by calling Readers Travel on 01229 840176.

The Flying Scotsman has strong links with Furness. It was repaired at Barrow shipyard in the 1970s and was a regular sight pulling excursion trains along the Cumbrian coast while based at the Steamtown museum in Carnforth.

The next chance to see a steam locomotive in Furness is likely to be on Saturday, March 14, when a Cumbria Coast Railway steam excursion returns south from Carlisle and should pass through Millom and stations in Furness on the way to Carnforth.

Another special charter, the Salopian Express,is due to start from Barrow on the morning of Wednesday, March 11, but is diesel-hauled to Carnforth before steam power takes over for the rest of the trip to Shrewsbury.

Among steam visitors to Furness was the Hogwarts Explorer, made famous by the Harry Potter movies, which stopped at Barrow to top up with water on Saturday, October 14 in 2000.

The Mail noted: "A pipe was run to the thirsty loco from a standpipe in Hibbert Road so it could take 3,000 gallons on board.

"While the filling went on the smoke box was opened and ash shovelled out and men stood on the tender moving coal forward with shovels."

The original name of the maroon locomotive was Taw Valley and it worked along the South Coast and the West Country until steam on services into London was phased out in 1967.