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Dining Trains on Heritage Lines

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by andykeithharris, May 20, 2021.

  1. andykeithharris

    andykeithharris New Member

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    I'm looking to have a decent meal on a steam/heritage railway as part of my 65th Birthday present to myself. Does anyone have any recommendation for the best ones out there. I'm South East(ish) based but distance is not really a critical factor. Any suggestions welcome (and the why please).

    Many thanks
     
  2. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Though I've yet to sample the food, the Bluebell's immaculate Pullman dining set certainly looks mind-blowingly fantastic, inside and out and on every occasion witnessed, I've seen no long faces disembarking:

    https://www.bluebell-railway.com/book-tickets/

    Probably not quite what you meant, but over on the Emerald Isle, the RPSI's famous bacon rolls, by themselves, more than justify a trip across, IMHO. As yet, no news of any mainline itinerary for 2021, but keep an eye on:

    https://www.steamtrainsireland.com/
     
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  3. 60044

    60044 Member

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    I'd suggest that the three best choices would be the Bluebell, SVR and NYMR if you want the atmosphere of period rolling stock rather than tarted-up Mk 1s (but on the NYMR be careful to specify Car 79 - the Mk 1 Pullmans are very comfortable but lack character)
     
  4. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Not a ''knife and fork'' experience but more a luxurious picnic, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway's ''First Class Experience'' recreates the luncheon baskets of old time trains. This is a new initiative which has met with a deal of approval. On certain days, the 1864 carriage whose restoration was featured on Channel4 is available but none of the vehicles are later than 1924.

    Best to look at this railway's website which gives details and has pictures.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2021
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  5. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    No doubt lots of railway's supporters are going to advocate their particular favourite line but this post, without intending to do so, raises a point that needs to be taken into consideration - what sort of length of journey are you looking for? Does it matter whether it's a three hour or so round trip or do you mind (or prefer) shuttling up and down a shorter line?
     
  6. Fireline

    Fireline Member

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    The Wealden Pullman on the KESR allows a leisurely roll through some lovely countryside, to stop at a station (Bodiam) with great views of a castle. Really great experience, and I speak as one who has only ever crewed it! https://kesr.org.uk/pullman-dining/
     
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  7. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Watercress belle, if its not already fully booked, I ,when I used to volunteer on MHR, also did a fair bit of working as one of the Chefs,( My former trade) and the food and service was always exceptional , its an experience , a really good meal, wine, and very attentive staff, the train ride is two round trips, so plenty of time to enjoy your meal, Another one i can recommend is the Welden Pullman, on the KESR, Meg is exceptional, in what she does and again, its a very good experience, ,
     
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  8. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    No faster than 25 m.p.h. regardless.
     
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  9. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    When i was on MHR, i was also a fireman, and the rule normally was to run more leasurly on the first round trip, so customers could enjoy their food, and the staff could do the service, the last trip from Alton, by that time, it was dark, the eating had finished , drinks had been served and mints etc, and we tended to give them a good run up the bank, to round their evening off, I can remember one trip, i was firing, and this couple came up said how much they enjoyed the evening, and the fast run back was the icing on the cake, A month later, i was duty chef, and as the service was finishing up, we took a walk down the train, chatting with the diners, asking them, if they enjoyed their meal etc, and there was this same couple, who at once remarked, that the last time they saw me, i was covered in coal dust, :D
     
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  10. D1002

    D1002 Part of the furniture

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    I agree.

    We had a celebratory birthday treat on The Wealden Pullman.
    Excellent food, and great service.

    Oh, and I won a bottle of wine in the raffle:).
     
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  11. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Member

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    Highley (get it) recommend the SVR Limited
     
  12. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    support the railway closest to you, I'm sure it will be a great experience
     
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  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think the Bluebell's Pullman sadly isn't running at the moment. The restrictions on travelling due to Covid means that the opportunity has been taken to withdraw the Pullmans for an intermediate overhaul; they should be back next year, or possibly later this year - I'm not sure which. I can vouch for the quality of the experience though once they come back!

    Tom
     
  14. 60044

    60044 Member

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    That should be true of any heritage railway!
     
  15. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Sort of the same situation with the SVR, I would recommend them but they are currently not running and I’m unsure when they will return.

    Looking at stuff that is running, depending on when the Birthday is, how about going mainline with a nice meal on Vintage Trains Shakespeare express? Highly recommended and comparable prices to a heritage railway dining train with options on various Saturdays and Sundays.
     
  16. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    The Great Central has restarted its dining trains and there is a stop whilst on the Swithland reservoir. In the evening light it is a delightful view and the wildlife (birds) are fascinating to watch.
     
  17. JEB-245584

    JEB-245584 Member

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    One of the first diners may just be full to capacity with ITV's Tipping Point contestants. The dining experience seems to be a regular prize on there.
     
  18. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    I may be biased, but it has to be the Bluebell's Golden Arrow. The ambience on board the Pullmans is very special. We've been quite a few times, and always try to take friends and family when they visit from overseas. Without exception, they have all been bowled over by the experience. The Golden Arrow staff have the knack of making one feel pampered. You pay, but it's sure worth it.
     
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  19. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    Ecclesbourne Valley in Derbyshire have announced they're doing a range of dining trains. A variety of different options with different culinary focus, and the website certainly suggests they give good attention to dietary issues if that is something you need to worry about. Never sampled it yet, but it's certainly on my radar (Admittedly I do live in Derbyshire so it's much more my neck of the woods!)
     
  20. acorb

    acorb Well-Known Member

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    Apologies, but certainly not local for you, but I have dined twice on the Strathspey railway. Was very good value, super food friendly service, with views across to the Cairngorms thrown in. Haulage most recently was by Caley 828, can't get more Scottish!
    I have heard the East Lancashire is highly recommended, we were going to sample last year before Covid scuppered it.
    We have done the Severn Valley, but not for a long time, think we had haulage behind 6024 at an Autumn gala (shows how long ago!). It was very good from memory and the Severn Valley Limited stock is indeed an attraction in itself.
     

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