THREE of the district's tourist railways will steam into action this week as the schools break up for half-term and families look around for things to do and places to go.

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite, Ravenglass and Eskdale and the Millerbeck Light Railway will all provide a brief opportunity to sample the era of transport by steam power before more regular services start at Easter.

To get you in the mood for travel in a bygone age we have a selection of steam railway images from The Mail's archive.

There will be trains running on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway from this Saturday to Sunday, February 23.

From Monday to Friday next week there will also be Little Trackers, a combined event for the railway and the Lakes Aquarium.

There will be worksheets for youngsters to mark off places where characters Oscar and Plumpton have visited.

Look out for a crafts and activities carriage on the train and a chance to meet the creatures at the aquarium.

The former 7.5-mile line between Plumpton Junction, near Ulverston and Lakeside was opened in June 1869 and was shut to passengers in 1965 and to freight in 1967.

Since 1973 it has been a preserved railway operating services between Haverthwaite and Lakeside, for the Windermere cruisers and the Lakes Aquarium.

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway has been operating services into the West Cumbrian hills since the 1870s.

Originally the line served iron ore mines and quarries but since the First World War has been a popular link from the coast to Dalegarth and Boot for rail enthusiasts and fell walkers.

It has half-term services operating from this Saturday until Sunday,February 23.

The Millerbeck Light Railway is based in the grounds of Millerbeck House at Staveley, near Newby Bridge and the illuminations come out for the first event of the year which is described as a ride in the dark.

It is being held this Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15 and advance booking is needed.

You can find out more on the website, calling 015395 30113 or by sending an email to

There is also a Spring Sunday day of trains at Millerbeck on March 15 and the Easter Bunny will be visiting with plenty of mini-eggs during the Easter Bank Holiday when trains are running on Sunday, April 12 and Monday, April 13.

Regular locomotive on the railway include Judith, built by Canon Roger Davis in the West Country and Poppy, a replica by Paul Frank of a First World War Andrew Barclay austerity engine of the kind use by the Ministry of Munitions.

Others which can be seen in action at Millerbeck include Joanie, a copy of a diesel-powered Hunslet built by Roddy Lovett in 1991 and the Swiss, built by Don Fifer as Klosters and which has been substantially rebuilt by Millerbeck volunteers.