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British Heritage Steam
railfan / tourist tour
June 25 - July 8, 2016
Exploring the heritage steam railways in England and Scotland
Britain has an amazing selection of heritage railways, but planning a visit to a varied selection of them in a short holiday can be daunting. Our British Heritage Steam tour visits many of the most important railways, mainly but not all standard gauge. Start in London, travel across much of England before heading to the highlands of Scotland and back down to London again. The tour uses a dedicated, air conditioned motor coach because travelling by road makes it possible to visit railways that are hard to connect by rail. You will visit many of Britain's iconic sights as you travel between magnificently maintained preserved railways. There may be small changes to the program as railways release their 2016 timetables, but they should not impact on the overall experience. Geoff Cooke will host the tour and the group size will be between 16 and 24.
Pre Tour Friday June 24:
This is a pre-tour day in London. Geoff Cooke, your tour manager, will arrive in the City today and will spend the night at a Premier Inn near to the St Pancras, Euston or King's Cross Stations that are all very close to each other. Please ask if you need assistance with booking your hotel, or if you wish to make sure that you are booking into the same one that Geoff will use.
Day 1 Saturday June 25:
Depart London. Travel by road to Tenterden to visit Colonel Stephen's standard gauge light railway, now preserved as the Kent and East Sussex Railway. Travel by steam train from Tenterden to Bodiam, where there will be time to visit the nearby Bodiam Castle before driving to Hythe for a ride on the quirky Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, a 15 inch gauge, steam operated, double track common carrier. Travel over the entire line before continuing to your hotel for the night.
Day 2.Sunday June 26:
This morning, drive to Battle, with a short stop to explore the site of the Battle of Hastings, fought between King Harold of the Anglo Saxons and the Norman invaders in 1066. Continue to the standard gauge, steam operated Bluebell Railway for a round trip from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead and back. This is the biggest preserved railway in the Home Counties south of London, offering fine stations, good scenery and big engines. This afternoon, motor to the city of Bristol.
Day 3 Monday, June 27:
Drive to Bishops Lydeard, a small town near Taunton and one end of the West Somerset Railway, the longest preserved steam railway in Britain. Board a train to the seaside town of Minehead with time to look around before working our way slowly back, maybe stopping off to see the GWR Museum, promenade and beach at Blue Anchor and the boat museum and harbour at Watchet. Return to Bristol for the night.
Day 4 Tuesday June 28:
After breakfast, we will make our way down to the Bristol waterfront to visit Isambard Kingdom Brunel's famous ship, the SS Great Britain. Rescued as a rusted hulk in the Falklands and brought back in a floating dock, the ship has now been impressively restored in the same dry dock where she was built in 1843, when she was called the 'Greatest experiment since creation. Continue our adventure today with a drive to Cheltenham, one of Britain's best known horse race circuits. Board the standard gauge, steam operated Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway for a journey to Toddington. This afternoon, drive to Kidderminster where you will spend the night.
Day 5 Wednesday June 29:
This morning, join a steam train on the standard gauge Severn Valley Railway to Bridgenorth and back, stopping at Highley for the Engine house museum and including a ride on the funicular railway at Bridgenorth. The Severn Valley Railway runs for most of its length up the Severn River valley. It is one of the longest preserved lines in England, running one of the most intensive steam timetables. Complete your railway experience today with a ride on a Parry People Mover on the Stourbridge Junction to Stourbridge Town branch, a unique form of traction on the shortest mainline railway in the country, with one with the busiest timetables. Continue by road to Loughborough.
Day 6 Thursday June 30:
This morning, ride a steam train on the Great Central Railway. This is Britain's only double track mainline preserved railway and the only place where you are likely to experience steam trains passing each other at speed. There will be up to six steam trains scheduled today, making it possible to ride one and photograph others before we continue our road journey to the famous city of York, about 2 hours distant. This afternoon, visit the National Railway Museum at York with time also to see the impressive mainline station before driving a short way out of town to The Sidings for a dinner with a difference alongside the East Coast Mainline. After dinner, continue to our hotel in York.
Day 7 Friday July 1:
This morning, motor to the small market town of Pickering, terminus of the standard gauge North York Moors Railway. Ride a steam train over the Yorkshire Moors to Grossman, from where our steam train will continue over mainline rail to the seaside town of Whitby, made famous by Captain Cook, Dracula, Black Jet and Easter. Also important for steam fans is Elizabeth, possibly the only scheduled steam bus service in the world. Continue to our hotel near Whitby for the night.
Day 8 Saturday July 2:
This morning, visit the second location of the National Railway Museum at Sheldon, heartland of the Robert and George Stephenson railway empire. Later today, motor north to the city of Edinburgh, capital of Scotland. After a quick visit to the City, continue to our hotel at South Queens ferry on the banks of the Firth of Forth. Dinner tonight will be in a restaurant in the shadow of the famous Victorian Forth railway Bridge.
Day 9 Sunday July 3:
Our journey will continue today to the Highlands of Scotland. Drive to Pitlochry, where we will visit a whisky distillery before continuing to Aviemore for the standard gauge, steam operated Strathspey Steam Railway. Our steam train ride today includes something special – a Sunday roast lunch served in a dining car as we steam to Broomhill and back. Continue our road journey to the city of Inverness, where we will spend the night.
Day 10 Monday July 4:
After breakfast, motor down the length of the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness as we make our way across Scotland to Fort William. Ride on the 'Jacobite' standard gauge steam train from Fort William to the small fishing town of Mallaig, one of the most scenic railways in the world with the most famous landmark being the Glenfinnan Viaduct – if you are a Harry Potter fan, you will know all about it! There will be time for lunch and a visit to the fishing harbour before returning to Fort William for the night.
Day 11 Tuesday July 5:
This morning, motor up the dramatic Glencoe Pass and over the remote and rugged Rannoch Moor before driving alongside Loch Lomond on the way to Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth, home to the standard gauge Bo'Ness and Kinneil Railway and Scottish Railway Museum. This afternoon, continue over the border to the historic city of Carlisle. Check into our hotel and enjoy a short walk around the city to find out its connection with the Jacobite Rebellion and a generally turbulent history.
Day 12 Wednesday July 6:
This morning, motor to Whitehaven to visit the place where John Paul Jones invaded England. Americans in the group may like a photograph alongside the statue of the famous patriot before we continue to Ravenglass to ride The Ratty. The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is a small train doing a big job in dramatic scenery. This will be the second 15 inch gauge steam railway we will visit, but it is very different from the first as it climbs from the coast into the foothills of the Lake District. Continue your journey along the scenic coastal road to Haverthwaite, terminus of the standard gauge Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. A steam train will take you to the shores of Lake Windermere, where you will transfer to an historic lake steamer to continue your journey to Bowness near Windermere. This afternoon, motor through the scenic northern lakes back to Carlisle.
Day 13 Thursday July 7:
Ride on the Settle - Carlisle Railway today. Running through some of the most attractive scenery in the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbrian Fells, the railway is world famous for its Victorian architecture, huge stone viaducts, long tunnels and remote wayside station buildings. It is not a preserved heritage railway –it is part of the UK rail network. The diesel sprinter trains carry well over a million passengers every year and provide a vital link to the remote communities they connect. Leave the train at Keighley for the steam operated standard gauge Keighley and Worth Valley Railway to Haworth. The attractive Yorkshire town of Haworth is famous as the home of the Bronte family who wrote some of the greatest English literature there. There will be time for a short visit before we continue our journey by road to Leeds for the night.
Day 14 Friday July 8:
After breakfast, transfer to Leeds Railway Station. Leeds is on the East Coast main line to London, and a standard class ticket to the big city is included. Your tour ends on arrival at London Kings Cross Station.
All Prices are per person
|DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY.................................................................................||$4,395|
|SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT.................................................................................||$1,095|
|CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS DISCOUNT BOOK BY JANUARY 15.......................................||$200|
|DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE CONFIRMED..................................................................||$1,000|
|FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY march 24, 2016|
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$4,395
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$1,095
christmas holiday discount book by january 15$200
deposit to hold space confirmed$1,000
FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY march 24, 2016
• 13 night's accommodation in 3 or 4 star hotels.
• Breakfast and one other meal, lunch or dinner, every day.
• Travel in a quality 34 seat minibus.
• All activities and heritage train tickets described in the programme.
• Geoff Cooke as your tour manager.