Breath-taking vistas of mountain valleys, moorlands and forest. Stunning seascapes, and panoramas of rolling countryside, without a road in sight. Discovering little known routes and places, and sights that can’t be seen from a car or coach. For some, that means hiking boots, rucksacks and maps and, often, a hearty disregard for unfriendly weather. For some eleven million people each year, it means something much easier, and quite different: taking a ride on heritage railways.
The Llanberis Lake Railway is one of several great attractions in Llanberis, the lakeside village at the foot of Snowdon. There’s so much to see and do, and something for everyone. The new Ropes and Ladders high wire course for the more adventurous; an ancient Castle, a Power Station hidden deep inside a mountain, and reminders of the once thriving slate industry in the Old Quarry Hospital and National Slate Museum. Then there’s the picturesque Padarn Country Park with its waymarked woodland and lakeside walks, and various activities including boat trips and rowing boats on Lake Padarn. And of course the best way to get from one to another is aboard our little train.
On the west coast of the Lake District, 25 miles north of Barrow-in-Furness and 50 miles south of Carlisle, lies the tiny village of Ravenglass. Once a Roman port, part of a chain of defence and supply for north-west Britain, Ravenglass is now chiefly known for the almost unique distinction of laying within two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Hadrian’s Wall and the Lake District National Park – and, of course, its railway.
Jump aboard Yorkshire’s Great Little Steam trains at the Kirklees Light Railway in Clayton West, near Huddersfield. The light railway opened to the public in 1991 and is situated in the picturesque foothills of the South Pennines, running for three and-a-half miles along the track-bed of an old Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway branch line. The branch line originally opened in 1879 to serve the local mining and textile communities but closed to the public in 1983 amid dwindling traffic.
Llechwedd’s original cable train will make its last trip underground on 5 November
Visitors to one of North Wales’s most popular family attractions have just a few more weeks to take a ride on the UK’s steepest cable railway before it is dismantled for refurbishment.
The cable railway at Llechwedd – which made its first journey underground in 1979 – has transported over a million visitors to a depth of 500 feet, right into the heart of the slate mountain.
Its train, which is named ‘Wil Cribau’ after one of the mine’s former rock men (Wil Jones) and a local mountain, descends at a gradient of 1 in 1.8, or 30 degrees, and marks a dramatic start to the attraction’s Deep Mine Tour.
With their new Europe, UK and Cruising by Rail Brochure, award-winning Great Rail Journeys (www.greatrail.com / 01904 527 180 / 0800 240 4470) has over 15 tours with No Single Supplement. From Cornwall to Italy, there is a huge variety of tours for customers to choose from, so solo travellers don’t have to miss out on incredible adventures.
There’s so much to learn and enjoy for all the family – including your dog!
Come and experience a trip back in time, to the home of the National Tramway Museum. Vintage trams transport you along the period street into open countryside with breathtaking views of the Derwent Valley, and you can take as many rides as you wish during the day.
New for this season is the Arms to Armistice exhibition, which reflects the challenges women faced to be treated as equals on the tramways during the First World War, as well as their quick dismissal when the men returned from War.
Scattered across the country, narrow gauge trains are alive and well across the United Kingdom.
From stalwart little locomotives of topographic necessity, to the maverick engines of one man’s whimsy, Britain’s narrow-gauge steam trains run on tracks a world apart from its regimented mainlines. In Small Island by Little Train, eccentricity enthusiast Chris Arnot sets out to discover their stories.
April 14th to April 23rd 2017
Rush Hour – Friday April 14th to Monday April 17th
For the last number of years Isle of Man Railways has welcomed the start of the new operating season by hosting its “Rush Hour” event over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. As the name readily implies, enhanced timetables are operated on each of the Island’s unique transport systems: the Isle of Man Steam Railway, Manx Electric Railway, Snaefell Mountain Railway, Douglas Horse Tramway and vintage buses as well as the Island’s volunteer operated railways. Focusing on intensity of service, Rush Hour is a visual celebration of “movement” and of the diverse and unique railway heritage of the Island.
Toot those whistles one and all as Steam on the Dock chugs into Albert Dock Liverpool from May 6-8. Step aboard an authentic steam train and steamboat from a bygone age, and be amazed by a symphonic spectacular of live music, steam and sparks - it’s full steam ahead to the UK’s only inner-city steam rally, which takes over the North West’s most-visited free tourist attraction for a free weekend of wonder for families and steam enthusiasts alike.