Norchard, Forest Road, Lydney, GL15 4ET | (01594) 845840
Dean Forest Railway is a popular, family-friendly heritage railway situated in the heart of the Forest of Dean, giving visitors of all ages the chance to experience the atmosphere of a country railway.
All aboard! SoGlos.com enjoys a day out on the heritage Dean Forest Railway, snapping a few shots along the way.
With SoGlos.com’s deputy editor James Fryer hailing from Lydney, he didn’t take too much convincing to make the trip to childhood-favourite attraction Dean Forest Railway.
Armed with a packed lunch and camera, the SoGlos.com team was lucky enough to visit during the heritage railway’s anticipated 200th anniversary celebrations – with a fantastic array of locomotives in attendance for the event.
Check out SoGlos.com’s gallery for a taste of what’s in store during your visit to the popular Forest of Dean venue…
For more information about Dean Forest Railway, see Dean Forest Railway and Museum or call (01594) 843423 directly.
Monday 12 July 2010
A trip down memory lane, well train tracks, proves a poignant and timelessly pleasurable day out at Dean Forest Railway for one Lydney lad all grown up.
Growing up in Lydney meant a trip to Dean Forest Railway was a treat for me as a nipper, a day out that still evokes fond memories of holding my gran’s hand, sucking boiled sweets and waving so enthusiastically to passersby that my arm ached for days. Returning more than 25 years later, while I may have grown a few feet, it seemed not much else has changed.
A new generation of grandparents clutching knee-highed children were found congregating in the summer sunshine as we sprinted towards platform one – only to hear a high pitched whistle signal that we had missed the steam engine starting to hurtle down the tracks like something from a BBC period drama. We now had more than enough time to explore Norchard Station while trying to decipher the cryptic train timetable.
Having nosed around the well-curated museum and strolled the length of the low level (spotting rusting specimens from the railway’s huge heritage collection, supping on sweet tea and even purchasing a few plants) it wasn’t long before another terrific train pulled up and a volunteer in an impressive uniform enthusiastically cried ‘all aboard’.
Seated in the romantically restored art deco carriage of the diesel driven train destined for Parkend, smiles were stretched across the faces of a very diverse group of passengers. Whether train-spotting stereotypes scribbling in notepads, silver-haired pensioners nostalgically recounting tales of the railway’s heyday, or children waving till their arms hurt – the collective excitement was certainly contagious.
The ticket collector punching our stubs added an air of old world authenticity with titbits of train trivia thrown in much to the delight of the buffs. And like most passengers, our ticket allowed for unlimited travel between all of Dean Forest Railway’s three stations, with the opportunity to jump out at Lydney Town for a stroll around Bathurst Park one, with hindsight, we wished we had made time for.
After watching the driver execute a series of levers, as acres of tall trees whizzed by the windows, the rhythmic sounds and gentle side-to-side shakes almost sent one of the SoGlos.com team into a slumber – were it not for the bridges adding a dash of drama and piercing screams from the excitable kids snacking on sandwiches.
Disembarked at the final destination 15-minutes later, and it was back to the timetable to find out when the next impressive engine would be pulling up, which we discovered would be a train we’d heard whispered about all afternoon. Thanks to the furious clicking of cameras, it was easy to spot that the puffs of steam in the distance signalled the arrival of an anticipated highlight.
As the Great Western’s City of Truro locomotive pulled up, we too could tell that the gleaming green steam engine was a special specimen. And after snapping away ourselves, we enjoyed watching the volunteers shovel coal into its fiery belly before another whistle was blown and we climbed onboard one of its many carriages for the journey homeward bound – this time standing with the windows wide open and the fresh Forest of Dean air blowing through our hair.
From the friendly greeting at the ticket office to the Thomas the Tank Engine pencils for sale in the shop, if it wasn’t for the high-tech SLR cameras looped over many of the visitors’ heads, it could easily have been a day out circa 1985, with not as much as you might expect having changed in the 200 years since The Severn and Wye Railway was first built to haul iron ore. As a steam-filled afternoon proved, the good old fashioned appeal of a day out at Dean Forest Railway transcends age.
By James Fyrne
Monday 16 August 2010
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