trains and treasures
wales and england
August 27 - September 9, 2017
group size 16
Wales is a mecca for narrow gauge rail enthusiasts with magnificent scenery and an outstanding collection of heritage railways. This tour explores the best railways and other iconic attractions before travelling through the south western part of England to visit historic towns, railways, ships, museums and stone age sites before spending time in London.
Day 1 Sunday August 27: (D)
Meet at Manchester Airport at 10:00am for a coach journey to Conwy, a pleasant journey that will take you along the Dee estuary and Colwyn Bay. At Conwy Castle we will have a walking tour around the walled town and castle. Conwy castle is amongst the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain. The grandeur of its high towers and curtain walls to its excellent state of preservation never fail to impress. Two barbicans (fortified gateways), eight massive towers and a great bow-shaped hall all sit within its distinctive elongated shape, due in part to the narrow rocky outcrop on which the castle stands. We will show you the outer ward containing a great hall, chambers and kitchen, and a more secluded inner ward with private chambers and a royal chapel, explaining how Conwy functioned when the royal entourage were in town as well as how it was defended. There will be a break for lunch before heading inland up the Conwy River valley to Betws-y-Coed, where we will spend the night. Betws-y-Coed is North Wales' most popular inland resort. It is where the River Conwy meets its three tributaries flowing from the west. Much of it was built in Victorian times and it is the principal town of the Snowdonia National Park. The attractive small town that boasts four different railway gauges, a small railway museum and interesting model shop, a tea room in a dining car and much more.This evening, enjoy a male voice choir concert. There is no sound quite like the stirring sound of a Welsh male voice choir, with the passion and hwyl that blends the choral tradition of the past with musical talent of the 21st century. St Mary's Church has presented a series of male voice choir concerts on Sunday evenings during the summer every year since 1989. Check-in to the Royal Oak Hotel
Day 2 Monday August 28: (B-D)
After a relaxed breakfast, take a train to Blaenau Ffestiniog, where you will change trains and gauges to the narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway. Your trains will probably be powered by a double Fairley articulated steam locomotive on your journey to the Irish sea at Porthmadog. The Ffestiniog Railway is the world's oldest narrow gauge railway with almost 200 years of history, taking you on a 13½-mile journey from the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog to the harbour in Porthmadog. The railway still operates three of our original locomotives – over 150 years old - and original carriages, offering an unrivalled journey back into the golden age of rail travel. Your historic trains will drop over 700 feet from the mountains through tranquil pastures and magnificent forests, past lakes and waterfalls, round tight bends (even a complete spiral) clinging to the side of the mountain and tunnelling through it as you decent to the sea. After a break for lunch at Harbour Station in Porthmadog, take a train on the narrow gauge Welsh Highland Railway, this time operated by a Garratt articulated steam locomotive for a 25 mile journey through the Snowdonia national park to Caernarfon. The Welsh Highland Railway is Britain's longest heritage railway and runs for 25 miles from Porthmadog, through the stunning Aberglaslyn Pass and past the foot of Mount Snowdon before arriving at Caernarfon. Ride in some of the most comfortable carriages on any heritage railway in Britain with freshly-prepared refreshments delivered to your seat. Walk past Caernarfon Castle and through the walled town to your hotel. Overnight at the Seiont Manor Hotel
Day 3 Tuesday August 29: (B-D)
North Wales is slate country. At one time, it was said that this area roofed the world. Today, we will make a short coach journey inland to one of the main slate quarries at Llanberis, scenically located at the base of Mount Snowdon, the highest in Wales. This morning you will join the Snowdon Lily, a steam train to the top of the mountain on the 3ft 6in gauge Snowdon Mountain rack railway, the only rack railway in Britain. The Snowdon Lily is built using chassis and bogey from the original carriage of 1896. The unique original nature of this railway means that you will experience exactly what your ancestors did back in 1896 and see for themselves how beautiful the mountain is as you journey through the clouds to Yr Wyddfa, Snowdon. Pushed by one of three working steam locomotives from 1896, the Snowdon Lily is an accurate re-construction of the original Snowdon Mountain Tramroad & Hotels Co Ltd 1896 observation carriages. Journey time to the summit is one hour with a 30 minute stop over at the peak. Your lunch break will be at the National Slate Museum, a fascinating museum built into the original quarry workshops that were powered entirely by the largest waterwheel on mainland Britain. The waterwheel is still there, as are the original machine tools and forges. This afternoon, ride the 2ft gauge Lakeside steam railway along the shore of Lake Pardarn. This railway uses steam locomotives that previously worked on the terraces of the Dinorwic slate quarries, high above the present line. The little engines take you on a five-mile return journey alongside Lake Padarn, past the 13th century Dolbadarn Castle and across possibly Britain's shortest river. The return trip takes around 60 minutes. Return to Caernarfon for the night. Second night at the Seiont Manor Hotel
Day 4 Wednesday August 30: (B-D)
Before we leave Caernarfon this morning, visit the castle where Geoff will explain the reason for its very existence, why it was built in such a distinctive shape, how it was defended and why it is still important today. Later this morning, travel by coach to Porthmadog where you will visit the Boston Lodge workshops of the Ffestiniog Railway. This amazing workshop opened the 1830's, and has been the engineering headquarters of the Ffestiniog Railway since then. This afternoon, take a train on the Cambrian Coast line from Porthmadog to Fairbourne. Hugging the coastline, the line offers spectacular views and a crossing of the Mawddach Estuary over an unusual swing bridge and wooden trestle. Ride a fun steam train across the beach on the Fairbourne Railway that has been running from Fairbourne village to the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary, connecting with the ferry to Barmouth for over 100 years. It started as a two foot gauge horse-drawn tramway which was then converted to a 15 inch gauge railway in 1916. The line in 1984 was completely re built to a 12.25 inch gauge. Continue by coach to Aberystwyth where we will spend the night. Overnight at the Aber Park Lodge
Day 5 Thursday August 31: (B-D)
Travel by coach this morning to Tywyn, where our first stop will be the Talyllyn Railway's railway workshops at Pendre. Watch the first steam locomotive of the day being prepared before travelling to Tywyn station to join a train from there to the end of the line at Nant Gwernol before returning to Aberginolwyn. The Talyllyn runs for seven and a quarter miles (11.8 km) through the beautiful and unchanging Fathew valley. Built on a gauge of 2 feet 3 inches, the Talyllyn Railway is one of a number of narrow-gauge lines in north and mid Wales built in the 19th century to carry slate. In 1950 the future for the TR looked very bleak, as it had been losing money for some years. A group of enthusiasts formed the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society, the first such organisation in the world, to take over the running of the line. Leave the train for a short coach ride past Talyllyn lake and up the mountain pass to Corris, home of the Corris Railway. Enjoy tea and welsh cakes in the Corris Railway museum before boarding a steam train bound for Maespoeth, the line's depot and workshops and presently the end of the line. This short 2ft 3in gauge railway is being extended, but whilst it is probably the shortest we will ride, it is a firm favourite with many. Later this afternoon, return to Aberystwyth by coach. Second night at the Aber Park Lodge
Day 6 Friday September 1: (B-D)
This morning, take a tour of the Vale of Rheidol workshops before riding the 2ft gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway to Devil's Bridge, a scenic line that was originally built to serve lead mines up the valley, but has now become a popular tourist attraction. There will be time to visit Devil's Bridge, where three bridges have, over many centuries, been built one on top of the other. Arrive back in Aberystwyth in time for lunch and an afternoon exploring the attractive seaside promenade dominated at one end by a castle and at the other by a funicular cliff railway up Constitution Hill, which we will ride.Dinner tonight will be in a restaurant on the original Victorian Pier in Aberystwyth, perched high over the Irish Sea. Third night at the Aber Park Lodge
Day 7 Saturday September 2: (B-D)
This morning, travel by mainline train from Aberystwyth to Welshpool up the Cambrian line. Our coach will meet us at Welshpool station for a short ride through town to Raven Square station, terminus of the 2ft gauge Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway. Ride a steam train up the Golfa Bank and through delightful hill country dotted with sheep farms to Llanfair Caereinion. After a break for lunch and a visit to the workshops, return to Welshpool by train. This afternoon, travel by coach to Ironbridge to see the famous 18th century iron bridge that still spans the River Severn. Once described as "the most extraordinary district in the world", the Ironbridge Gorge is still a remarkable, and beautiful, place to visit today. A huge amount of early industry survives as furnaces, factories, workshops, canals and the settlements of Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge, Jackfield and Coalport. Visit the Victorian village at Blists Hill. Experience life as it was over 100 years ago through the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a recreated Victorian Town. Victorian characters will give you a fascinating insight into Victorian life as they go about their daily lives in their cottages, shops and places of work. Continue to the City of Birmingham where you will spend the night. Birmingham is Britain's second largest city, a blend of both historic and modern architecture. Your central hotel will be within easy walking distance of the town hall and Victoria Square as well as the modern redevelopments around the symphony hall and Brindley Place, a waterfront development on the city's canals. Check-in at the Holiday Inn Express
Day 8. Sunday, September 3: (B-D)
Breakfast today will be different, it will be served in a dining car on the Shakespeare Express main line steam train as you leave England's second city, headed for somewhere far more tranquil, Shakespeare's Stratford Upon Avon. Vintage Trains maintain the traditions of the Great Western Railway by running The Shakespeare Express over genuine ex GWR routes and wherever possible using the fleet of thoroughbred ex- GWR steam locomotives restored and maintained by their Tyseley Locomotive Works. We will ride in superb premier coaches, with breakfast served on the outward journey and h very British high tea on the return trip to Birmingham this afternoon.
Geoff will host a walking tour of Stratford Upon Avon, pointing out the more interesting locations such as Shakespeare's birthplace, his school, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the church where the Bard is buried. The town itself is attractive, and a stroll down the River Avon a delight. Return to the station in time for your steam train return to Birmingham. Second night at the Holiday Inn Express
Day 9. Monday, September 4: (B-D)
This morning, take a commuter train from Birmingham's Snow Hill station to Kidderminster, where you will walk to the adjacent station and spend the rest of the day on the standard gauge Severn Valley Railway that runs to Bridgenorth. This is one of the longest standard gauge preserved lines in Britain, you will ride in period coaches powered by a mainline steam locomotive. Visit the railway museum at Kidderminster and the Enginehouse at Highley.
Wander into the attractive town at Bridenorth for a pub lunch and to ride the unusual inland funicular cliff railway. For over a century Bridgnorth Cliff Railway has been transporting the people of Bridgnorth up and down the 111 ft sandstone cliffs that separate High Town from Low Town, and the River Severn. It is first and foremost a working railway; its importance to both the townspeople of Bridgnorth and to visitors to the town is undiminished by age. The railway operates two cars on parallel tracks. Connected by steel ropes, the carriages serve to counterbalance each other - as one rises to the top station, the other runs to the bottom station. The cars are now powered by an electric winding engine, but were originally driven by a system of water balance, each carriage carrying water ballast in a tank beneath the passenger compartment. Return by steam and mainline suburban train to Birmingham for the night. Third night at the Holiday Inn Express
Day 10 Tuesday September 5: (B-D)
Drive to Ludlow in the Welsh Marches. Wander through the medieval streets on a walking tour with free time to visit some of the interesting independent shops, the castle and the parish church, often called The Cathedral of the Marches. Later this morning, motor back into Wales as we continue through the scenic Brecon Beacons National Park to Methyr Tydfil for a ride on the 2 foot gauge Brecon Mountain Railway. This railway operates a Baldwin steam locomotive rescued from South Africa and a set of American outline coaches. The journey takes you into the Brecon Beacons National Park, through Pontsticill and along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservior before climbing to Torpantau high in the Brecon Beacons and the summit of the original line. Stop for a photo opportunity at a memorial in Merthyr Tydfil that commemorates the journey of Richard Trevithick's steam locomotive from Penydarren to Abercynon on February 21st. 1804, the first journey of the very first steam locomotive in the world. Continue your journey by road as we cross the Bristol Channel over the Severn Crossing, an impressive suspension bridge that links Wales with England. Spend tonight in the city of Bristol. Overnight at the Novotel Hotel
Day 11 Wednesday September 6: (B-D)
Spend the next two days exploring the works of Britain's greatest engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. As you motor into Bristol this morning, pass under Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge. Visit his famous ship, the SS Great Britain. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of life on board! Stroll on the decks and take in the views and the sounds of animals and general bustle of the ship preparing to set sail. Take a look down at the dockside where the cargo, cases and crates are waiting to be loaded - tThe ss Great Britain, the world's first great ocean liner is about to depart. And you are aboard! Below decks you can peep inside the luxury cabins of First Class passengers. Eavesdrop on a conversation, dodge the harassed cook in his cramped galley, and marvel at the massive turning engine. Listen to the stories the passengers have to tell. And occasionally be ready to hold your nose! Before you experience all the sights, sounds and smells on the ship, go beneath the waterline. Below the glass 'sea' is a fish's-eye view of the world's oldest iron hull. State-of-the-art technology keeps the air down there as arid as the Arizona desert to prevent rust attacking the ship's delicate iron hull. Continue to Avebury to explore a fascinating history dating back over 4,000 years on a visit to the World Heritage Site. Recognised as a World Heritage Site for its outstanding Neolithic and Bronze age landscape, Avebury is a place not to be missed. The stone circles and henge monument are particularly unusual, not just for its size but also for the fact that it is the only stone circle with a village built within it. The Henge consists of a huge bank and ditch approximately 1.3km in circumference. The Stone Circle which lies within it is the largest in the world and contains within it two smaller inner circles. There will be time to visit the museum and the National Trust Manor House (extra cost).As we drive to our hotel at Swindon, visit Silbury Hill. At around 4,400 year old, this is the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Nobody knows why 30 metre high Silbury Hill was built. Although equivalent to the pyramids of Egypt in scale and effort involved in construction, unlike the Egyptian structures, Silbury Hill has no burial nor any evidence that one was ever intended. It is estimated that it took over 4 million man hours to build - but one can only speculate as to why. Overnight at the Holiday Inn Express
Day 12 Thursday September 7: (B-D)
Your first visit today will be STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway is housed in a beautifully restored Grade II railway building in the heart of the former Swindon railway works. Situated right opposite the Swindon Designer Outlet, the museum tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway, often referred to by historians and railway fans as 'God's Wonderful Railway'. The pioneering vision and engineering genius of Isambard Kingdom Brunel led to the Great Western Railway network becoming regarded as the most advanced in the world.Later this morning, take a train down the original Great Western railway to London, arriving at Brunel's Paddington Station. The line was built by the Great Western Railway and engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as a dual track line using a wider 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad gauge and was opened in stages between 1838 and 1840. The alignment was so level and straight it was nicknamed 'Brunel's Billiard Table'. It was supplemented with a third rail for dual gauge operation allowing standard gauge 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) trains to also operate on the route in stages between 1854 and 1875. The broad gauge remained in use until 1892, evidence of the original gauge can still be seen where bridges are a wider than usual, or where tracks are ten feet apart instead of the usual six. Transfer to your hotel in London with free time before dinner. Overnight at the Mercure Paddington Station Hotel
Day 13. Friday September 8: (B-D)
Enjoy a city tour of London today with a professional guide. Visit many of the iconic sights including the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and the South Bank. Entry to St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London are included. If available, we will also ride on the unusual Post office underground railway that previously carried letters under the streets of London between various sorting offices. Second night at the Mercure Paddington Station Hotel
Day 14 Saturday September 9: (B)
Your tour ends this morning with breakfast.
all prices per person
|DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY...................................||$3,995|
|SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT....................................||$1,345|
|DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE CONFIRMED.................||$1,500|
|FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY MAY 28, 2017|
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$3,995
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$1,345
DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE CONFIRMED$1,500
FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY MAY 28, 2017
* Four railway museums
* Travel with a small group
* Exclusive London City tour
* Welsh male voice choir concert
* Steam depot and workshop visits
* Luggage transferred between hotels
*ALL LODGING IN 4 & 5 STAR
*All train tickets per the itinerary included
* One preserved underground and two funicular railways
* Castles, cathedrals, stately homes and ancient monuments
* Mainline trains-Porthmadog-Fairbourne-Aberystwyth-Welshool-Swindon-London
TOUR CONDITIONS FOR 2017 **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.
Prices do not include:Personal items, meals not listed in the itinerary, laundry, phone calls, excess baggage charges, rental cars, side tours, insurance, passport fees including visas, vaccinations, gratuities, medical costs, tips to train or motor coach staff, extra tour costs due to unanticipated changes in the itinerary for reasons beyond our control, including weather, travel conditions, or cancellations, government intervention, sickness, political disputes, and failure of transportation or other causes beyond our control.
TRAVEL AND HEALTH DOCUMENTS:A valid passport is required for our international tours. In some cases a visa is also needed. Consult your health professional for the recommended immunizations and documents. Trains and Travel , here on referred to as TT, assumes no other responsibility if a client is refused entry into a country. Cost and cancellation fees will be paid by the client in the event they do not have valid documents.
CHANGE OF ITINERARY:We reserve the right to substitute, alter or modify the tour if any unexpected and unforeseen conditions beyond our control preventing the completion of such. Conditions can include weather, train schedules, equipment, motive power, revision of train consist, train delays, labor strikes, political disputes, derailments, closure of a rail line, break down of railroad or motive power equipment, railroads not honoring contracts and bus equipment problems. We will always endeavor, in each case, to provide substitutes, if any changes take place. TT is not responsible for canceled trains, delays, hotel rooms, route changes or missed connections, for any reason whatsoever. We will not give refunds if such conditions or cancellations take place.
TRAVEL INSURANCE:Travel insurance is strongly suggested. Insurance will cover and give tour members many benefits and protection. Benefits include baggage loss, accident, life, trip cancellation, sickness, bankruptcy, strike, weather conditions, employer termination or layoff effecting you or a person sharing the room with you, terrorist incident in your departure city or city of destination, jury duty, you are subpoenaed, hijacked, or quarantined, your residence or traveling companion residence is rendered uninhabitable, emergency military duty, traffic accident, single supplement upgrade when your room- mate cancels their trip, trip interruption, trip delay, missed connections, itinerary change, emergency medical benefits, medical evacuation, pre-existing medical conditions if enrollment is within 21days of your invoice date, assault of you or your traveling companion before departure, burglary of you or your companion before departure 24 hour hotline emergency assistance, emergency cash transfer and more .
RESPONSIBILITY AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY:Accepting your payment represents an agreement that you understand all the conditions, to be a member of our tours. TT gives notice that they are acting agents for the owners, contractors and suppliers, providing the transportation and all related travel services and assume no responsibility for equipment problems, mechanical failures, injury, sickness, damage, loss, additional expenses accidental delay or irregularities which may be caused through willful and or negligent acts or omissions on the part of the companies providing or engage in transportation, accommodations or services related to the accomplishment of the tour. Nor do we assume responsibility for natural disasters, social or political upheaval, acts of terrorism or acts of nature. TT reserves the right to substitute hotels, tour leaders, equipment, motive power, trains, onboard accommodations, routes and to alter the itinerary when deemed necessary without notice. The right is also reserved to cancel any trip or train prior to departure for any reason . TT is not responsible for expenses incurred by tour members in preparing for the tour, including non-refundable airline tickets, visa fees, planning, phone calls, or any other expenses. TT reserves the right to decline to accept, or ask to leave a tour, any person whose actions impede the daily operations of a tour, welfare or or enjoyment of other tour members. TT cannot give any refunds for any unused services. The terms contained herein shall serve as a waiver of liability to TT . Assumption of risk on behalf of the client, their heirs, executor, administrators, successors, and assigns for any and all known persons injuries. In many cases it is not possible to advise the passengers on reasons for train delays if beyond our control.
RESERVATIONS: A deposit is due in our office within 14 days after you make your bookings. Full payment is due 90 days before departure except for the Grand Canyon Limited in which full payment is due on a different schedule. You will receive an invoice, reservation form and current tour bulletins with your confirmation and travel insurance forms. No notice for final payment will be sent to you. It is your responsible to make the final payment on-time.
CANCELLATIONS:TT does not accept cancellations on the phone. Cancellations must be received by postal mail, email or fax before any refunds will be considered. Allow enough time if sending your written notice by US mail postal system. When a written cancellation is received in the Trains and Travel office this will be the effective date of the cancellation. Please take note that it can take up to 60 days to to process some refunds. Cancellation refund rules: 120 days prior to the start of any tour you will receive a refund less a $200 per person administration fee. 119 to 61 days before the departure of any tour there will be a 80% cancellation penalty based on the full cost of the tour. Cancellations received 60 or less days before the start of any tour will not receive any refund. GW Travel Ltd has their own cancellation rules and these will apply. If booking on GW Travel Ltd ask for cancellation rules.
PRE-DEPARTURE TOUR BULLETINS:Tour bulletins will be sent to clients that have booked on tours operated by TT . Bulletins include travel info related to the tour. Final documents will be sent out about two to three weeks before a tour begins. We offer tours operated by other companies and they may or may not send out tour bulletins and updates and most send out final documents only one to two weeks prior to the start of their tours.
PAYMENTS: Payments can be made with personal check drawn on a U.S. Dollar account, money order for U.S. Dollars, bank wire transfer, or credit card. We accept Visa, Master Card, Discover or American Express. Final payment for all tours is due 90 days prior to departure and we will charge your credit card on file unless you have given us other instructions. If final payment has not been received 7 days after the due date, a late fee of $50 per week will apply.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:All prices are based on double room occupancy. We will try and match you with a roommate if one is available. If not, you may be charged the single room supplement listed for the tour you are booked on. Single rooms may not be available in some remote locations and on some trains.
TOUR REFUNDS:If for any reason tour members amend or delete any arrangements during travel, and leave the tour on their own, we cannot give any refunds on unused portions of the tour. If buses and trains are cancelled by the carrier or there is a labor strike or they go out of business, we cannot be held responsible and we cannot give refunds. Travel insurance will protect you for any of these reasons. If TT needs to cancel any tour everyone will receive a full refund. Please take note that in some cases refunds can take up to 60 days to process.
PARTIAL TOURS:We will allow passengers to join or leave a tour at certain points. Give us a call and we will try and work up a custom option for you.
MILEAGE COLLECTORS:Mileage collectors please take note that TT does not cater just to mileage collectors. We cater to all folks that enjoy trains and Rail journeys. We give strong warning that itinerary and route changes do happen and this is totally beyond our control when it does. If the only reason that you would want to book a tour is to collect the rare mileage, you need to understand that possible route changes do happen.
Questions? Send Email To: Chris@traintrips.biz
Trains & Travel
Portola CA 96122
1-800-359-4870 USA or (530) 836-1944