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The Robert Burns


Saturday 25 January 2020

The anniversary of the birth of the renowned Scottish poet Robert Burns on 25 January 1759 is celebrated worldwide as Burns Night. Despite his short life of just 37 years, his evocative verses and heart rending songs like Auld Lang Syne earned him recognition as the greatest Scot of all time in a television survey in 2009.

With Burns Night falling on a Saturday, it seems only right to dedicate an excursion train to the memory of the great man. So here is a ‘Winter Wonderland’ excursion designed to lift you out of the winter blues. Take a trip over the Pennine Hills where arguably the scenery is at its most dramatic in winter, complete with some snow on the hills (not guaranteed, but very probable!).

Starting at Euston and calling at Watford, Milton Keynes and Northampton, our journey takes us via Stockport. Here we veer right, taking a route that was once an important passenger-carrying link towards Guide Bridge. Changes in the pattern of train services mean that this today is a freight line, with local stations enjoying (?) just a nominal service of one or two trains a week, retained to avoid the time-consuming and expensive closure procedure.

At Stalybridge the gradients begin as we experience views across the wild terrain for which the Pennine Hills are famous. Climbing past Diggle we reach the summit at Standedge and enter the West Riding of Yorkshire. The views continue through Slaithwaite to Huddersfield. We gaze out across the wasteland that was once the extensive Healey Mills marshalling yards before passing Wakefield Kirkgate and Castleford, reaching the great city of York at lunchtime.

York is a destination that makes perfect sense at any time of year. Obviously the National Railway Museum (free of charge) is right next to the station, while on the opposite side the city walls, the Minster, the little shopping streets of the Shambles and plenty besides are just a few minutes’ walk away.  A portrait of our immortal bard hangs outside the Burns Hotel, a welcoming little pub at 23 Market Street. You have around three and a half hours in York before rejoining the train for the homeward journey.

Our chefs have a passion for food with a Scottish twist. Dining guests will be served a full Scottish breakfast on the outward journey, with a similar theme running through the four course dinner. There will be haggis on offer (freshly caught of course) but this will be purely an option as we know that this is very much a matter of taste.  We love it!

There will be Standard Class seats available too of course, and a buffet car. We’re delighted to be able to offer this at a price which compares very favourably indeed with similar distance tours by most other companies.

Class PriceAvailability
First Class Dining£189Good
First Class Dining Party of Four£736Good
Standard Adult£79.50Good
Standard Junior£69.50Good

All timings are provisional and intended only as a guide.

StationDepartArrive
London Euston08.2021.35
Watford Junction08.4021.10
Milton Keynes Central09.1020.35
Northampton09.3520.05

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