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THE WESTBURY WIZZO


Saturday 6th July 2024

Join us on this very special, high mileage railtour to Wiltshire with options to visit the delightful East Somerset Railway or Longleat House. The tour will be hauled throughout by D1015 ‘Western Champion’.

Our train picks up from stations along the Midland Main Line to Bedford, and then Bletchley and Watford Junction, before we navigate our way through the suburbs of West London to reach the Great Western main line at Acton. On home turf now, Western Champion should have ample opportunity to stretch her legs as we head towards Westbury via Reading and the Berks and Hants line.

Our destination of Westbury is a small market town offering good walking options and a variety of hostelries and eateries. Alternatively, you may wish to catch a service train to Frome, a delightfully thriving community where the annual Arts Festival is taking place. Our pause at Westbury also allows our passengers who are visiting Longleat House to alight the train before we resume towards East Somerset Junction. We are now on the ‘Merehead Single’, a line frequented almost exclusively by aggregate trains but also the route taken to access the recently devegitated ‘Merehead West’ line, which is the connection between Network Rail and East Somerset Railway metals.

SUPPLEMENTARY OPTION – EAST SOMERSET RAILWAY

For an additional supplementary fare, passengers can opt to remain on the train beyond Westbury for some extra mileage behind the Western, and be part of the first railtour to arrive at Cranmore since 2018. The mainline connection to the East Somerset has only been recently cleared and is rarely travelled! Take a look around the engine sheds at Cranmore where you can try your hand at driving a shunting locomotive (for which a small additional fee is payable on the day). The Station Café will also be open, serving a selection of cakes, sandwiches, snacks and drinks.

The railway is closed to the public on the day of our visit and is not operating its usual service of trains, but we have made arrangements for UK Railtours passengers to transfer to a specially chartered East Somerset Railway steam service that will provide you with the chance to journey to Mendip Vale, the extremity of the line. Customers wishing to travel on this train should select the appropriate option when they book as capacity is limited and expected to be in high demand.

Our stay at the East Somerset Railway will be a little over two hours after which we bid farewell ahead of our interesting journey home.

SUPPLEMENTARY OPTION – LONGLEAT HOUSE

As an alternative to visiting either Westbury or the East Somerset Railway, you could visit the spectacular Longleat House.  A leading and early example of the Elizabethan prodigy house, Longleat is a Grade I listed building and the seat of the Marquesses of Bath. It is set in 1,000 acres  of parkland landscaped by Capability Brown, and 4,000 acres of woodland. It was the first stately home to open to the public, and the Longleat estate has the first safari park outside Africa and other attractions including a hedge maze.

The house was built by Sir John Thynne and designed mainly by Robert Smythson, after Longleat Priory was destroyed by fire in 1567. It took 12 years to complete and is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in Britain. It continues to be the seat of the Thynn family, who have held the title of Marquess of Bath since 1789; the eighth and present Marquess is Ceawlin Thynn.

Customers who chose this option will leave the train at Westbury and join the waiting coach for a thirty minute transfer to this popular country estate. Guided tours of the house have been arranged, and there will also be time to take refreshment at the cafe before rejoining the coach to travel back to Westbury station.

After picking up at Westbury, our route takes an unusual deviation as we journey via Swindon and Oxford (where we set down) to join the Chiltern line at Bicester. From here we travel towards London passing Princes Risborough and High Wycombe before rejoining our outbound route at West Ealing, having traversed the Greenford Branch. Once again we pass through the suburbs of West London before turning north towards our originating stations.

First Class Dining includes The Great British Breakfast and a four course dinner. A buffet car is available for those in Standard Class and First Class Non Dining.  First Class Dining is not available from Reading. Supplementary options must be booked in advance.

ClassPriceAvailability
Standard Class Adult£129Good
Standard Junior£109Good
First Class Non Dining£189Good
First Class Dining£289Good
First Class Dining Party of Four£1136Good
Supplementary Option - Longleat House£38Good
Supplementary Option - East Somerset Railway including steam train ride£20Good
Supplementary Option - East Somerset Railway WITHOUT steam train ride£15Good

All timings are provisional and are intended only as a guide.

StationDepartArrive
East Midlands Parkway06.3022.55
Leicester06.5522.35
Kettering07.3022.00
Bedford08.0021.30
Bletchley08.3021.00
Watford Junction09.1020.30
Reading11.00N/A
OxfordN/A17.30

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