Our special steam hauled train starts from London Waterloo station and embarks on a grand circular tour via Salisbury, Yeovil and Exeter.
We shall return via Taunton, Castle Cary, Reading and then back to London Waterloo. With contrasting scenery and challenging routes to test our steam locomotive’s stamina, this is a classic tour that should not be missed and is expected to be hauled by a Merchant Navy or West Country class locomotive.
Our train leaves London Waterloo station behind our splendidly restored steam locomotive. We thread our way through the London suburbs, cross the Thames at Chelsea and head for Kensington Olympia. Running via Acton Wells Junction we join the Great Western main line and pass through Slough and Maidenhead as we head for Reading. We then take the former Great Western Railway line via Bramley to Basingstoke, where we join the South Western Main Line (SWML).
Heading westwards from Basingstoke, we pass through Worting Junction and take the West of England Main Line to Andover and Salisbury, famous for its majestic cathedral and spire. We cross the edge of Salisbury Plain and pass through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Tisbury and Gillingham in Dorset. We cross Gillingham Viaduct and pass through Buckhorn Weston Tunnel before Templecombe, where once the iconic Somerset & Dorset Railway passed beneath our line.
We continue through Sherborne, the historic market town, where King Alfred was educated, along with an abundance of medieval buildings and a superb Abbey. Next is Yeovil Junction where the steam locomotive will be watered at Yeovil Railway Centre. We continue westwards and our steam locomotive will take on the climb of Crewkerne Bank, graded at 1 in 80, followed a bit later with the long climb from Axminster at 1 in 80 to the summit just before Honiton. Falling gradients now take us to Exeter St David’s where we shall have a short break.
Heading away from Exeter, we now run on former Great Western Railway lines and climb towards Whiteball Summit, where we leave Devon and enter Somerset. After a brief stop at Taunton for water, we continue through Castle Cary to Westbury and then join the ‘Berks & Hants’ line through Newbury to Reading. We now make our way back to London Waterloo where we will have to reluctantly say good-bye to our steam locomotive at journey’s end.
Premier Dining includes a full English breakfast and a four course dinner silver served at your seat.
First Class includes morning coffee with a Danish pastry and afternoon tea with a savoury dish followed by a selection of fancies and cakes.
Standard Class includes a reserved seat at a table for four.
A buffet car is available and serves tea, coffee, snacks and light refreshments. Tables for two can be guaranteed in first class and premier dining for a supplement of £22 per person. (subject to availability)
Approximate timings shown