Tel: 01438 715050


The Festive Oozlum Bird


Saturday 8 December 2018

We know that our regular customers like to plan their pre-Christmas tours well in advance before other seasonal commitments start to fill up the December weekends.

This year we will be offering three such tours. This, the first one, is aimed at those for whom an interesting route is a more important consideration than a Christmas event, to just sit back in comfort and explore mile after mile of often forgotten line, much of which lost its regular passenger trains over half a century ago. Look out for remains of long-closed stations as we amble gently through the English shire counties!

This is a tour with a very convoluted route, hence its dedication to the famous though mythical bird that, when startled, flies round and round in diminishing circles before disappearing in a manner which is, if nothing else, conclusive. This soon contributed to its rarity and, before very long, to extinction.

Departing from London Victoria we run via Longhedge Junction, Clapham Junction, Barnes, Kew East Junction, Acton Wells, Dudding Hill and Brent where we join the Midland Main Line. After pick-up stops at St Albans (for M25), Bedford and Kettering we veer right, through Corby and along the little used ‘forgotten main line’ over Harringworth Viaduct, continuing via Manton Junction, Syston East and Loughborough where the new bridge that will once again carry the Great Central Railway can be seen crossing over our route.

Passing Trent Junction we reach Sheet Stores Junction, joining the non-passenger line via Castle Donington to Stenson Junction. Our return to the passenger network is brief and just beyond Burton-on-Trent we join Britain’s longest freight-only line, nearly thirty miles long, passing the site of several closed stations including Gresley, Moira and Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

The largest settlement on the route is Coalville and we run through the centre of town, past the distinctive Mantle Lane signalbox and the site of the former locomotive depot, fondly remembered for the very popular open days in the 1980s and early 1990s.

In due course we reach Knighton Junction, just to the south of Leicester. Our route is now via Hinckley to Nuneaton, where we traverse the recently opened link from Midland Yard Junction down to Canal Farm Junction. Here we join the West Coast Main line which we follow to Stafford. We take a leg-stretching break of an hour or so.

Our homeward run is via Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sutton Park, Water Orton, Nuneaton and the Wigston South Curve, rejoining our outward route at Kettering. Dining guests will enjoy a fine Christmas dinner in seasonally decorated dining cars on the journey home.

All timings are provisional and intended only as a guide.

StationDepartArrive
London Victoria07.4521.30
St Albans City08.4020.35
Bedford09.1520.00
Kettering09.5019.25