Join us on this scenic rail tour by steam train through the beautiful Cotswold Hills.
Our destination is the cathedral city of Worcester, located on the banks of the River Severn and internationally famous as the home of Worcestershire Sauce. We travel outward via the Golden Valley line through Kemble and return via the Cotswold Line through Evesham and Moreton-in-Marsh. We should experience some fast running along the ex-GWR main line.
Our steam train leaves London Paddington at around 07.40 hauled by steam locomotive No. 46233 Duchess of Sutherland and heads down the ex-Great Western Railway (GWR) main line. We stop at Reading and Didcot to pick up more passengers. Our journey continues through the Vale of White Horse to Swindon, where we leave the GWR main line to Bristol and take the line to Kemble. We now climb the 1 in 94 gradient up to the summit at Sapperton Tunnel and descend through the Golden Valley via Stroud and reach the Bristol line at Standish Junction. Heading northwards past Gloucester, we travel via Cheltenham Spa to Abbotswood Junction, where we leave the Birmingham line and head for Worcester, our destination for the afternoon.
We arrive at Worcester Shrub Hill where there will be more than three hours to explore this fine city. The River Severn runs through the city and is overlooked by the 12th century Worcester Cathedral. The site of the final battle of the Civil War between Oliver Cromwell and King Charles II was here. It is also the home of Royal Worcester Porcelain, and the birthplace of the composer Sir Edward Elgar is nearby at Lower Broadheath.
Leaving Worcester, we will take the scenic Cotswold Line through to Oxford. The Cotswold Area of outstanding Natural Beauty is characterised by attractive small towns and villages built of Cotswold stone, a yellow oolitic limestone. Rare limestone grassland habitats as well as the old growth beech woodlands typify the area, which is a delight to behold. We pass through Evesham and start to pick up speed before Honeybourne, where there now follows a five mile climb at 1 in 100 to the summit at Campden.
After Moreton in Marsh, the gradients fall gently through Kingham and Ascott-under-Wychwood towards Charlbury, where we will pause to water our steam locomotive. The Cotswold line draws to an end at Wolvercote Junction where we meet up with the line from Banbury and head towards Oxford. The city, with its many colleges and historic buildings, has been referred to as the 'City of Dreaming Spires'.
We rejoin our earlier route at Didcot, setting down there before continuing along the Thames Valley towards Reading. We set down at Reading and Slough before we reach London Paddington, where our tour will terminate.
Premier Dining includes a full English breakfast and a four course dinner silver served at your seat.
First Class includes morning coffee with a muffin, afternoon tea and coffee with a cake and a biscuit.
Standard Class includes a reserved seat usually at a table for four.
Tables for two can be guaranteed in Premier Dining and First Class for a supplement of £25 per person (subject to availability).
A buffet car is available and serves tea, coffee, snacks and light refreshments.
Updated approximate timings shown