If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

List the top five

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Reading General, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. B17 61606

    B17 61606 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    24
    Hard to put in an order, but somewhere amongst my top 5 for things to see and do for Mr and Mrs Average and family would be NRM, Beamish (if allowed for this exercise), Swanage, KWVR, and Bressingham which is quite fun, if not the most scenic. Buckinghamshire Railway Centre was also well done I thought and very well presented, although possibly not as interesting to children as some as the others.
     
  2. simon

    simon Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Messages:
    11,025
    Likes Received:
    4,676
    Well it's my view based on visits there, compared to a number of other sites people have listed, with my family. I would be very hard pushed to get my wife and daughter to return, whereas they can normally be persuaded to visit a heritage line.
     
  3. Chris86

    Chris86 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Messages:
    871
    Likes Received:
    553
    Occupation:
    Safety, Technical and Offroad Driver Trainer
    Location:
    South Yorkshore
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Im Surprised nobody has mentioned the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway as an all-rounder for families?

    Chris
     
  4. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,433
    Likes Received:
    2,477
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Didcot is afabulous, in depth, themed collection, something even the NRM can't hope to match.
     
  5. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,081
    Likes Received:
    2,215
    quite obviously others disagree with you. That's rather the point of the thread, personal preferences.
     
  6. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    6,081
    Likes Received:
    2,215
    you just did, now all you need is 4 more
     
  7. simon

    simon Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Messages:
    11,025
    Likes Received:
    4,676
    Yep, hence me asking what others thought I was missing. At the moment I think a lot of posts don't answer your original question. My opinion again.
     
  8. simon

    simon Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Messages:
    11,025
    Likes Received:
    4,676
    A bit out of the way for a lot of people, but certainly has an appeal esp if you have young children with you.
     
  9. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,874
    Likes Received:
    2,784
    Applying the "small people enjoyed it" test and excluding my own line per PH's rule (which I think is fair).....
    As a family we have visited...
    RHDR; RER; WLLR; Talyllyn; Fairbourne; Didcot; SDR; Bodmin & Wenford; P&DR; Eastleigh Lakeside; Lakeside and Haverthwaite; Bluebell; Pecorama

    The smalls liked: Fairbourne; WLLR; Bodmin and Wenford; RER; Eastleigh Lakeside in roughly that order. The RHDR and L&H they were very small when we went to those so may not be fair to include them.

    In truth they liked all of them to some extent (with the possible exception of the Bluebell oddly - don't know why though), but the first four they demanded extra rides on, and in the case of the first two we had to go back twice in the same holiday and ride all day both times (I realise I am probably very lucky).
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    22,847
    Likes Received:
    44,541
    Location:
    LBSC 215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Exactly. With small children, on a steam day, the excitement of catching a train, hearing it whistle etc can be repeated many times, without having to concentrate too much on a timetable etc. Plus it is a mark 1 free zone! Incidentally, the relaxed atmosphere with lots of action and some green space to run about and burn off energy was a reason I liked the Gartell, which I visited when our children were three and eighteen months:

    IMG_0718.jpg

    Hollycombe Steam Collection (which includes a narrow gauge railway about a mile long) is another attraction that is great for kiddies, but also has plenty to keep the grown-ups interested.

    Tom
     
  11. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Messages:
    5,167
    Likes Received:
    2,074
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    East Grinstead
    Bluebell
    Severn Valley
    FR/WHR
    North Norfolk
    West Somerset

    I have only included railways I have visited in the last 5 years otherwise NYMR might have been included.
     
  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,941
    Likes Received:
    16,267
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    fair enough, just interested to know, I can't challenge the mk 1s or the scenery really. regarding getting to Honeybourne, I and a fair few other volunteers reckon that section will only be used during galas and to accept mainline charters, as it will be about 20 miles long I think when we get there. NOT an official statement in anyway I might add, no idea what the view is at board level, I doubt there is one at the moment.

    I can still see double track possible in places, Toddington to broadway will be the longest section of the line when finished bearing in mind Laverton loop is being moved straight to broadway (according to head of pway) so I imagine could be a candidate eventually. I can't see much else being double track though due to all the slip problems, the half of the track bed used is often a particular side for a reason!

    sorry for the diversion, as you were :)
     
  13. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,433
    Likes Received:
    2,477
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    What I find interesting is the lines that haven't been put forward so far - no-one has mentioned the GCR for example, and on that basis you have to wonder whether adding the NRM outstation be the success that it is supposed to.

    Obviously I'm biased as a former co-owner, but I was delighted to see Fairbourne get a mention amid the exalted company of Didcot, Bluebell, NRM, NYMR etc!
     
  14. Andy2857

    Andy2857 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    148
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    Wolverhampton?Sheffield
    In terms of quality of overall experience, destinations, scenery and other available attractions/activities i'd go for the following (no particular order):-

    Ffestiniog
    SVR
    Shakespeare Express
    WSR
    Talyllyn

    Honourable mentions for Swanage, Bodmin & Wenford, IOWSR and the Ratty.

    I have noticed a trend in my picks in that the vast majority (excluding the SVR) have generally been visited as an element of childhood holidays in the first instance. The best have subsequently been revisited many times since, perhaps showing the value of making a strong positive impression at an early age.
     
    ellisteph12 likes this.
  15. Southernman99

    Southernman99 Member Friend

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    743
    Likes Received:
    355
    SVR
    Fest/ WHR
    Swanage
    Bluebell
    IOWSR

    Could pick a good few more as well.
     
  16. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,844
    Likes Received:
    1,226
    Location:
    Shropshire
    As an enthusiast almost anything appeals, although I have my favourites. As I have a love for the older pre-group locos and stock (and personal involvement when I was much younger) the Bluebell and IoWSR are special to me, whilst the North Welsh Narrow Gauge railways all have an attraction - the F&WHR for the incredible route, mixture of old and new, and with so much else to see in the area - the Tal-y-llyn for it's scenery, and simplicity (and the grandchildren seem to love it). The WLLR has a lovely rural backwater feel to it, and some brilliant trains as well.

    However, looking at this from the point of view if visiting with a non-enthusiast wife, or with children who might enjoy a train ride (but who feel they have done that after 10 minutes), can I add a couple of venues not (as far as I've noticed) mentioned so far: The Epping Ongar Railway - I visited for the first time during the spring half term on my own, and was rather impressed. They've come a long way already in a short time, still have much more to do, but what fun! The place was well patronised by families who seemed to be enjoying themselves, and the bus rides were perfect.

    The other (which I know doesn't tick so many of the enthusiast boxes) but which was also enjoyable as part of a whole day out is the Lakeside and Haverthwaite - combined with a trip on the steamer from Ambleside. For my wife and I it was the best day on an otherwise difficult holiday beset with illness and poor accommodation, we both enjoyed it enormously.

    Steve B
     
    ellisteph12 likes this.
  17. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,874
    Likes Received:
    2,784
    I forgot the Swanage. We took went their o our daughters birthday. As you can tell she like trains and it was her request. It did little though for any of us. The ride was short and expensive. Most of the time we seemed to be looking at a camp site or a cutting, and Swanage station didn't engage us at all. Corfe was very nice and we liked the little museum, and it was nice watching the trains from the castle, but other than avoiding the traffic into Swanage I am not sure why I would ride on the line again. A lot of people seem to like it, so I am figuring I must be missing something. What was it I didn't do / see / appreciate?

    I realise that this is going to look like I have a downer on my neighbour railways given my mention of the Bluebell, but it isn't meant to be. Personally I quite like the Bluebell and there is much of interest to see there. My children have other thoughts as reported above. But as I say I don't see what others see in the Swanage. Persuade me someone?
     
  18. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Messages:
    2,439
    Likes Received:
    855
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Wessex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    No mention of the Mid Hants Railway anywhere what are they doing wrong!
    I find the Mid Hants a great place to visit, a good variety of locos and stunning surrounding countryside
     
  19. John Petley

    John Petley Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    1,880
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Researcher/writer and composer of classical music
    Location:
    Between LBSCR 221 and LBSCR 227
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Bluebell
    Severn Valley
    NYMR
    Swanage
    Isle of Wight

    If it was a top ten, I would add:-

    West Somerset
    South Devon
    K&ESR
    K&WVR
    then either Glos-Warwicks or Mid Hants. (Can't decide!)

    I think it must be very hard to choose an objective top five (or ten) on the basis of knowing a the whole UK preservation scene and visiting a large number of lines regularly. My selection is very much based on lines I am familiar with, but there are plenty of lines I have never visited, which may be excellent. The North Norfolk looks a lovely line for instance, but that's one I have never been to. Likewise, I haven't been on any of the Welsh narrow gauge lines since we have a family holiday in Llandudno back in the 1970s. I therefore couldn't put the WHR/Ffestiniong on my list although judging from pictures I have seen, the combined operation looks pretty impressive. I may not have put the South Devon on my list if asked a year ago, but a recent visit last February, my first in over a decade, reminded me what a superb little line it is.

    Then again, what criteria are we using? An enthusiast visiting the line alone (or with a wife) has different priorities from a parent with young children.

    Another point is that if you don't visit a line regularly, you may not be aware of some changes (for the better or worse) which may have affected it since your last visit. The NYMR features in many lists on this thread (including mine) and there are many good reasons for its popularity, but think back 30 years ago when people were wearing t-shirts with "I remember steam on the NYMR" emblazoned on them! In those days, when so few trains on that line were steam-hauled, it would not have features in many people's top five. The Swanage Railway would not have been among the favourite lines before it opened to Corfe Castle. Likewise, looking to the future, if the West Somerset could put a couple of rakes of GWR carriages into service, it would probably hit the top five for a few more people and, as has been mentioned, the Glos-Warwick may well go up in the popularity league when it reaches Broadway. Peak Rail hasn't appeared on any lists, but if this line ever gets to Monsal Dale, it may well shoot up in the regard of many enthusiasts, while if the Spa Valley ever found about £100 million to extend along the old Cuckoo Line to Mayfield or Heathfield.............!!!
     
  20. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Messages:
    5,167
    Likes Received:
    2,074
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    East Grinstead
    I only got round to visiting last year for the Gala, and again on a Railtour 5 weeks later and put it in my top 5. I wished I had visited before.

    Criteria - Variety of locos and rolling stock, buildings, scenic ( including how much of the surrounding area you can actually see when travelling), enjoyment of the journey ( gradients help), Catering(IOWR - would not make my top ten based on my only visit) , Shop, Museums,Cleaniness, friendliness of staff/volutneers and I have visted in last 5 years ( Therefore I have exluded NYMR and K&VWR). While some maybe lacking in areas e.g. West Somerset - coaches only Mk 1's , they more than make up in others.
     

Share This Page