Exbury Gardens Steam Railway is situated in the delightful Summer Lane Garden in the 200-acre New Forest visitor attractions and this year is celebrating its 21st birthday!
The well-loved narrow gauge steam railway is also celebrating record numbers of passengers travelling on its stunning woodland garden track in its 21st year!
The narrow-gauge railway has already enjoyed a glorious spring flowering season alongside an incredible record number of visitors enjoying trips on the rails.
Robin Savill, head of operations at Exbury Gardens said: “Visitors love getting the chance to experience the sights and sounds of a working steam railway, and it’s wonderful that after 21 years it’s proving more popular than ever.”
Here are some excellent reasons to get out and visit the delightful Exbury Gardens Steam railway this season:
- The Rhododendron Line is a 1 ½-mile railway which sees three engines and ten carriages, all of which are named after members of the Rothschild family. Services depart from Exbury Central station which is a replica of Aviemore station in Scotland. The railway also features a charming engine shed and turntable.
- The railway makes its way past Exbury’s celebrated rock garden; Dragonfly Pond where visitors can enjoy spotting the stunning creatures on sunny days alongside the Domesday Yew and American Garden ahead of travelling through a curved tunnel modelled on the famous Gothic folly, the Clayton Tunnel in West Sussex.
- Over its 21 years, the railway has welcomed members of the royal family aboard, with The Queen visiting twice and rode on the footplate at the front of the train.
- The railway is dog-friendly as are the rest of the gardens with well-behaved dogs on a short lead able to ride in a carriage with their owners.
- The railway is featuring a number of special events during 2022 including the Halloween Ghost Train which will run from the 24th to the 30th of October, and Christmas Weekends in December.
David Giles the recently appointed railway foreman of Exbury Gardens Steam Railway, had previously run a carpet cleaning business for 33 years. David is a model engineering enthusiast and had volunteered on the railway for years before landing his dream job. David said: “It’s great to see how happy visitors, of all ages, are when they ride on the train. Steam trains just make people smile.
“We also give them a short history of the gardens during the journey, so visitors learn interesting facts and anecdotes about Exbury, and when they get off the train they always tell us how friendly and knowledgeable the staff are.”
The railway opened back in 2001 and was the creation of the late Leo de Rothschild who was a passionate fan of railways. Leo oversaw the building of the railway, even tightening the last coach screw on the track on the 3rd of August 2001 after which steam engine trials were undertaken in order to ensure that the railway ran smoothly. The railway was launched in May 2002 on Leo’s 75th birthday and proved to be a huge success with a 1/4 mile extension added in 2017.
For further information please visit: https://www.exbury.co.uk/steam-railway