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Steam Train Trips, Tours & Rides

Orient Express View All >>

Steam Trains: Everything you need to know

Enjoy the splendour of the Orient Express with one of our fabulous steam train experiences, from taster trips to days out in the country. You’ll enjoy the very best in service as you dine on a luxurious Orient Express train: many of our packages include brunch, lunch or dinner.

Most trains depart from London: simply sit back and enjoy the rolling countryside. Splash out with an Orient Express day trip on the Northern Belle for two, and you’ll be served brunch when you board (together with a few naughty Bellini cocktails).

You’ll then have the option of joining a city tour at your destination before boarding the train again for Champagne and wine on the way home. Fans of the railway will also enjoy our rover ticket which allows you to explore the quaint villages and stunning scenery of Derbyshire via diesel locomotive, or take your love of trains even further with a full day’s training in Kent as you enjoy learning to drive a steam engine.

Your experienced instructor will show you the ropes before giving you a guided tour of the site. The experience ends with a challenge to test your steamy new skills. Wait... that came out wrong.

FAQs

Q: I’d really be quite interested in harkening back to the bygone age of steam, anything doing?
A: Why yes, we have a vast swathe of chuff-chuff fun-funs as we say in the trade.
Q: But where can I go and what can I do?
A: Many things. We have our Steam Rover Ticker, where you can travel all over the beautiful Somerset countryside by steam train. Or we have our more extended experience, where you leave a London Station and visit a number of wondrous destinations for the whole day. You can even sample the delights of the iconic British Pullman and even the Granddaddy of steamers: The Orient Express.
Q: But where will I go?
A: Most trains take a circular route through the countryside. The precise route will depend on the voucher you buy: you can check this with us before you purchase if you want to take a particular route. Most trains depart from London, but some go as far north as York on their journey, so you should be able to find something that suits you.
Q: Can I get off mid-shunt?
A: Some vouchers cover an excursion or complimentary entrance to a notable historic site, whereas others include several meals spaced over the course of a longer journey, so you spend most of the time travelling. We have a range of vouchers depending on your budget, so you can enjoy a quick steam train ride or really splash out on a day-long excursion.
Q: This may sound crazy, but I’ve always wanted to stand next to a train driver...
A: Perfect, we have one of those too. You’ll not only travel on the train but get to drive it as well.
Q: But what if I am weak and feeble?
A: You don’t need to be super-fit, but it helps if you’re in good health. There’s a certain amount of lifting involved, but the instructor will help you out if you’re not able to do everything. Steam train driving experiences often last a full day, and although you’ll take breaks, you will be standing and/or active for the majority of your experience.
Q: Can I wear the special hat I made?
A: Erm, we may have to see it first. Overalls will be provided and you should wear strong, sensible footwear. Despite the warmth of a steam locomotive, during inclement weather it is advisable to bring warm clothing.
Q: If I’m being fed on the train, should I mention that I am an incredibly fussy eater?
A: Please do. If you are taking one of our steam train trips that includes a meal, do let us know in advance if you have any allergies or dietary needs. We should be able to accommodate you, so let the supplier know when booking.

Fun Facts

  • 1. The first ever locomotive-hauled railway was the Stockton to Darlington line, which opened in 1825, with George Stephenson’s ‘Locomotion 1’ pulling the train. Which must have been nice and easy for the train spotters who were in attendance.
  • 2. One of the earliest films made by the Lumière Brothers, 1896’s ‘L'arrivée d'un Train en Gare de La Ciotat’, featured a close-up shot of a steam train pulling into the station. Which I assume was full of terrorists that Bruce Willis and Jason Statham then had to deal with.
  • 3. Britain’s longest railway tunnel (apart from the Chunnel) is the Severn Tunnel, which is 4.5 miles long and would take you two hours to walk through. Or considerably less than that, if I train is coming.
  • 4. The longest UK train station name is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Anglesey. If you meet someone in the pub who knows how to say it and enthusiastically wants to share that with you, move to another table.
  • 5. It takes about three hours for a driving crew to get up enough steam to start a locomotive moving. It’s nice to see that’s a tradition they’ve continued with most current cross-country trains that I tend to take and are roughly three hours late.
  • 6. The Flying Scotsman appeared in the first ever British feature film with sound in 1929 called 'The Flying Scotsman'. It was later updated and remade as ‘The Matrix’ starring Keanu Reeves. (This isn’t true).
  • 7. The longest stretch of perfectly straight railway track is 478kms long and located in Australia. To create this the track was actually ‘scared straight’ by a group of convicted criminals who showed the track what life would be like if it didn’t stop running around and causing trouble. Or possibly they hit it with a hammer. One of the two.
  • 8. The longest station platform in England is Gloucester at 1977 feet in length. In fact, is it so long that if you walk from one end to the other you will actually reach your destination and there is no need to take the train anymore. I have no idea what that means.
  • 9. The Trans-Siberian Express makes the longest regular train trip in the world travelling between Moscow and Vladivostok, covering 5,778 miles and stopping 91 times over nine days. 91 stops! By the time the conductor had reeled them all off, you’re probably pulling into Vladivostok station.