Spring Steam Gala

Tuesday 24th March to Monday 30th March 2020
7 - Days


Prices from: £1999


Combine ‘rare track’ with ‘rare traction’ on this unique European holiday tour with epic trips behind ancient 19th century steam locomotives on scenic secondary lines.


Departure Date: 24-Mar-2020
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  • You’ll be hauled by some of the most unusual steam locomotives in Continental Europe, including a beautiful 4-4-0 ‘American’ locomotive built for the Jura-Simplon Railway in 1891, plus a 137-year old tank engine.
  • Ride on steam trains through serene landscapes ‘off the beaten path’, including the re-opened Wasen branch line in Emmental, the lake-side Seetalbahn between Lenzburg and Lucerne as well as the Bauma – Hinwil heritage railway in Zurich Oberland.
  • See the extensive main line steam locomotive collection at the Brugg roundhouse and other depots, with private guided visits and locally-based engines in steam.
  • Journey by private steam charter train on the busy SBB main line and also visit Switzerland’s premier 600 mm narrow gauge steam railway at Schinznach, with a private charter and run-pasts over the impressive viaduct there.
  • An included 4-day Swiss Travel Pass national network rover ticket in the class of your booking allows for flexible travel and individual discovery during ample free time on your tour.
  • This all new, ‘one-off’ tour is ideal for steam aficionados and non-enthusiasts alike, keen to experience the wonderful Swiss landscapes, and enjoy a relaxed itinerary and the flexible train travel afforded by the efficient Swiss railways.

Tuesday 24th March
London to Basel; Leisure and Trams in Basel
After a direct morning flight from London to Basel you check into a centrally located quality hotel near the main railway station and enjoy lunch. You are then free to sightsee in this historic city located on the River Rhine, using your complimentary 1-day tri-national public transport rover ticket, allowing travel over Basel’s entire tramway network, including the recently opened tram lines into Germany and France. (L)

Wednesday 25th March
Steam in the Emmental over freight-only lines
Your first day of steam action takes you to a quintessentially Swiss region, the pastoral farmland of Emmental, famed for its grazing cows and cheese with holes in it. The Emmental is also renowned for scenic railway routes and attractive bylines. After arriving in Huttwil by service train, you have the opportunity to visit the local steam shed, which includes tank engines of Swiss and German provenance. A special attraction is a unique box cab locomotive. You then travel with a Swiss-built tank engine from 1907 over the attractive byline from Huttwil to Sumiswald, before continuing on the recently re-opened branch line to Wasen. All of these lines are freight-only. You have lunch at a typical Swiss inn at Wasen, before returning by steam train to Huttwil. Several run-pasts and photo stops will be staged on these beautiful lines before your return to Basel. (B L)

Thursday 26th March
Steam with legendary 4-4-0 engine on an unusual branch line
Built in 1891 by the famous Emil Kessler works in Esslingen, Germany, the ‘American’ type steam locomotive Nr. 35 is actually a tank engine rather than a tender locomotive. This marvellous machine is a signature attraction of the tour and a core member of the Swiss national collection. Originally built for the Transalpine Jura-Simplon Railway, today it will haul your private charter train, with equally impressive and opulent coaching stock, on the scenic branch line from Oensingen to Balsthal and back. Inclusive of photo stops along the way, a shed visit in Balsthal and lunch served on the train. This branch line is framed by rugged cliffs and hilltop castles, making it an ideal backdrop for steam-hauled travel. After the private charter finishes, you have the rest of the day to explore the Swiss railway system using your Swiss Travel Pass. This will allow you to travel back to Basel over unusual and exciting secondary lines of your choice. (B L)

Friday 27th March
Steam in the Zürich Oberland with the 133-year old tank engine “Schwyz”
More archaic 19th century motive power awaits you today, as you venture deep into the green hills of Zürich Oberland and travel on Switzerland premier standard gauge heritage railway from Bauma to Hinwil. Just recently, the Bauma station complex has been comprehensively re-developed and now features an original, 4-bay station canopy dating from 1859, which was first built for Basel and then moved to Bauma. This amazing structure lends great atmosphere to your steam train departure aboard a green train of ancient four-wheeled coaches hauled by the railway’s oldest operating locomotive, the 0-6-0 tank engine “Schwyz”, from 1887. This will haul your private charter train over the full length of the scenic secondary line to Hinwil, pausing for photos and run-pasts in some fantastic locations. You cross over the stone-arched viaduct at Neuthal before reaching the quaint village of Bäretswil for lunch. Once at the junction station of Hinwil, you can watch the locomotive take water, before you return by steam train to Bauma. For the return to Basel, you are once again free to choose your preferred route, perhaps opting for the scenic lines via Rapperswil, Samstagern and Lucerne. (B L)

Saturday 28th March
Brugg roundhouse visit with live steam and steam at the Schinznach narrow gauge railway
After a quick ride over the steep Bözberg line from Basel to Brugg, a private steam shuttle hauled by a rarely steamed, 0-4-0 industrial tank engine takes you from Brugg to the local roundhouse for a guided tour of both the roundhouse and steam workshop, which includes most of the Swiss national collection. After turntable photography and lunch, you continue to the nearby Schinznach narrow gauge railway, Switzerland’s premier steam railway with 600 mm (nearly two foot) gauge. The railway has a large collection of different tank and tender locomotives of Swiss or German origin. You will have a private steam charter with photo stops and run pasts as you travel over the entire length of the line, framed by an attractive garden centre and landscaped area, featuring an impressive viaduct. After a visit to the locomotive depot, you return to Brugg by bus and then to Basel by SBB service train. (B L)

Sunday 29th March
Double-headed steam on the Seetalbahn with ancient tank engines
The Seetalbahn is a scenic secondary line between Luzern and Lenzburg, which passes two rural lakes in a long valley with vineyards and fruit orchards. Originally built with British capital by the ‘Lake Valley of Switzerland Railway Company’, the route opened in 1883. The original locomotive, green tank engine No. 6 ‘Beinwyl, is still preserved and in running order. This attractive loco will haul your train from Hochdorf to the junction station of Emmenbrücke. Along the way some steep gradients will need to be overcome, with the support of No. 456, dating from 1894. With the nearby Alpine peaks in sight, this is main line steam at its best. Lunch is served in the trains buffet car, after your final steam outing you are free to visit nearby Lucerne or use your Swiss Travel Pass for individual travel. (B L)

Monday 30th March
Return to London
After a great week of steam, outstanding scenery and hopefully sunny spring weather, you have free time in the morning and early afternoon to enjoy Basel at leisure, before taking a direct afternoon flight from Basel back to London. (B)


Details

Price

  • First Class 4-day Swiss Travel Pass in First Class. £2425
  • Standard Class 4-day Swiss Travel Pass in Standard Class. £2125
  • First Class Ground only (Basel – Basel) 4-day Swiss Travel Pass in First Class. £2299
  • Standard Class Ground only (Basel – Basel) 4-day Swiss Travel Pass in Standard Class. £1999
  • Single supplement £275

All prices shown are per person based on two persons sharing.

Price Includes

  • 6 nights accommodation with breakfast at a centrally located, quality hotel in Basel
  • 6 lunches
  • Direct flights from London to Basel and return
  • All privately chartered steam trains as detailed in the itinerary
  • 4-Day Swiss Travel Pass national rover ticket in the class of your booking
  • Local Basel tram ticket with extra 1 day of validity for entire tri-national tram network, including the extra tariff line extensions into France and Germany
  • Seat reservations (where possible)
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner

 

Map feature coming soon!