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Dean Forest Railway

Forest Road, Lydney Gloucestershire

GL15 4ET

Tel: 01594 845840


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What we do

The Dean Forest Railway Society (DFRS) was formed in 1970 to become the volunteer support organisation for the Dean Forest Railway (DFR), which objective was to preserve the last remaining section of the Severn & Wye Railway. The Dean Forest Railway is built, maintained and operated almost entirely by unpaid voluntary members of the Dean Forest Railway Society. The first Steam Open Day took place in October 1971, with Peckett locomotive Uskmouth I hauling brake van rides over 200 feet of siding. With no immediate prospect of British Rail relinquishing ownership of the branch line and restricted by the space available at Parkend, the Society decided to seek alternative accommodation, eventually identifying land next to the branch line at the former Norchard Colliery. Together with land vacated by West Gloucestershire Power Station, this site had all the potential to become the Railway's centre of operations. Norchard was acquired in 1974 and a lot of hard work followed before it was possible to stage the first open day in 1978. This time the length of running line was some 150 yards and not long afterwards more track was laid allowing push-and-pull trains to operate to Middle Forge, a distance of some 450 yards. A period of consolidation followed during which time the running line was extended twice more, first to Goatfield Curve and then to Thomas' Yard. Train services finally crossed the main road in 1991 to terminate at St. Mary's Halt. British Rail finally announced closure of the line to traffic in the early 1980's and this decision enabled DFR to complete the purchase of most of the track and land in 1985. It later went on to buy part of the redundant Lydney Junction site and to successfully apply for a second Light Railway Order to complete the link from the Junction to Parkend. Lydney Town station opened in 2001 and in 2006 Parkend Station was re-opened to the first regular passenger trains since 1929 followed six years later, by Whitecroft station

Footplate Experience

Spend a whole day operating a typical Great Western branch line including, of course, driving and firing an full size Steam locomotive! The Western Branchline Experience is just that. After an appropriate briefing and instruction, you join five other people as a team to spend the whole day actually operating and running the Dean Forest Railway, under supervision of qualified DFR personnel. Course members do not need to have any particular skills to participate as guidance is provided, and each member is free to do as much (or as little) and he or she wishes. A wide range of facets of operation is contained in the day, including driving and firing the steam loco, taking charge of the train as guard, operating the signal boxes (including single line token instruments), stopping the traffic in Lydney as Crossing Keepers and, if you have the time, helping light up and clean the loco before duties in the morning and putting the loco away in the evening. There is also time to simply enjoy that extraordinarily intimate experience of standing on the veranda of the brakevan
Disclaimer note: This entry is being maintained by the affiliate who should be contacted direct in the event of any query.
National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR