Located in the heart of the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England, the Dean Forest Railway is a must-visit for anyone with a passion for history, steam trains, and the beauty of the English countryside. This heritage railway offers a unique journey back in time, allowing visitors to experience the thrill of travelling on a traditional steam train through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the country. Whether you’re a railway enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique day out, the Dean Forest Railway is sure to captivate and delight.
History of the Dean Forest Railway
The Dean Forest Railway has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the 19th century. Originally built in 1826 to transport coal, the railway was later extended to Lydney in 1875. The line was closed to passenger traffic in 1929, but it was reopened by the Dean Forest Railway Society in 1971. Today, the railway operates as a heritage railway, offering visitors the chance to experience the golden age of steam trains.
Attractions and What to See
The main attraction of the Dean Forest Railway is, of course, the steam trains themselves. The railway boasts a collection of beautifully restored steam and diesel locomotives, which are used to pull a variety of vintage carriages. The journey takes you through five miles of stunning Forest of Dean scenery, from Lydney to Parkend, with several stops along the way.
Other attractions include the Dean Forest Railway Museum, which houses a collection of railway memorabilia, and the Norchard Steam Centre, where you can see the locomotives being maintained and restored. There are also several walking trails in the surrounding forest, offering the chance to explore the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside.
What to Expect and Tours
Visitors to the Dean Forest Railway can expect a warm welcome and a truly memorable experience. The railway operates a regular timetable of steam and diesel train services, with special events and themed days throughout the year. Guided tours of the railway and the Norchard Steam Centre are also available, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the operation of a heritage railway.
Admission and Tickets
Tickets for the Dean Forest Railway can be purchased on the day at the Norchard Station ticket office, or in advance online. Prices vary depending on the type of train and the length of the journey, with discounts available for children, seniors, and families. Admission to the Dean Forest Railway Museum is included in the ticket price.
Tips for Tourists and Practical Information
- The Dean Forest Railway is easily accessible by car, with free parking available at Norchard Station.
- There are refreshment facilities at Norchard Station, serving hot and cold drinks, snacks, and light meals.
- Remember to check the timetable in advance, as train times can vary depending on the season and the day of the week.
- Don’t forget your camera – the journey offers plenty of opportunities for stunning photos!
In conclusion, the Dean Forest Railway offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a steam train enthusiast or simply looking for a fun day out in the beautiful Forest of Dean, this heritage railway is not to be missed.