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The Doctor Syn

Saturday 1 May 2021

In response to many requests from our friends in the Midlands, here is an unmissable railtour from Derby and other Midland Main Line stations, travelling around West London for a meander around the railways of Kent. It is named after the mythical Doctor Syn, a notorious Romney Marsh vicar who turned to smuggling to help fund his parish in Dymchurch.

After our final joining station of St Albans we take an interesting route through the London suburbs via Brent, Dudding Hill, Acton Canal Wharf, Kew, Clapham, Factory Junction, Nunhead and Lewisham. Heading out of the capital now, and with the Thames Estuary never far away, we pass Dartford and Gravesend to reach Hoo Junction.

Here we begin a journey along our first freight-only line, the eleven mile branch through the ‘Hundred of Hoo’. The surroundings are remarkably rural for most of the way, passing through peaceful farmland, but with the tall chimneys of the riverside oil refineries clearly visible in the distance. Our train runs to the former passenger station at Grain, closed in 1961.

We head back through Dartford to Lee, where we take the sharply curved Lee Spur leading on to the South Eastern Main Line. We then travel via Chislehurst, Swanley, Maidstone East and Ashford, where we can step off the train for twenty minutes or so to stretch our legs.

Heading south to Appledore we reach our second freight-only branch, the nine mile Dungeness line. We will be crossing the largest expanse of shingle in the world, of international conservation importance. It is the only English habitat of bombus subterraneus, the short-haired bumblebee. Look out for the derelict remains of Lydd Town station as we head for the end of the line at Dungeness, with its iconic lighthouses dominating the distinctive terrain.

We return via Ashford and Tonbridge before retracing our outward route around London then northwards on the Midland Main Line.

The train will be formed of the attractive blue and grey liveried InterCity carriages and will be topped and tailed with DB Class 66 locomotives. There will be three classes of accommodation, First Class Dining, First Class Non-Dining and Standard Class.

As a special offer on what we hope will be the first of several more Midland starts, we have knocked £20 off the usual First Class Dining fare!

First Class Dining includes The Great British Breakfast, light lunch and a four course dinner.

Standard Adult£89.50Good
Standard Junior£79.50Good
First Non Dining£139.00Good
First Dining£175.00Good
First Dining Party of Four£680.00Good

Timings are provisional and should only be used as a guide.

East Midlands Parkway06.1522.10
St Albans City08.0520.05

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