Featured Railways - Standard Gauge
On this page you will find a number of standard gauge railways featured, and linked to location guides giving far more details. We will be adding more. Other featured railway pages will cover other types of railway and tramway. Railway gauges are explained at the beginning of the article on The Great Little Trains of Wales
The railways are not in any particular order except that those that offer lineside permits are featured first, as the page grows, at some time we will split it so that the main page contains those that have lineside permits available and follow on pages for the others.
West Somerset Railway is currently the longest heritage railway in the UK, running over 20 miles of standard gauge line. A further 3 miles of line is used to join to the rail network. Located in Somerset, running along the edge of the Quantock Hills between Bishops Lydeard and Watchet. The line then turns inland to Washford, and returns to the coast for the run to Minehead. It has a wide range of stations scenery and just about everything a line could want. Lineside permits are available.
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway allows journeys over 10.5 miles of standard gauge line between Cheltenham Racecourse and Toddington in Gloucestershire, but with an extension under construction to Broadway in Warwickshire, this will increase it to around 15 miles. Steam operations started in 1964 and the Cheltenham Racecourse extension was opened in 2003. The Cotswold location, tunnel, viaduct and impressive stations make this an enjoyable line to take photos on. Lineside permits are available.
Severn Valley Railway a heritage steam railway running on 16 miles of standard gauge line through the Severn valley from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster, following the course of the River Severn for much of its route. The SVR's rail connection to the National Rail network at Kidderminster permits occasional through charter trains to operate from many parts of the country to Bridgnorth. This line is picturesque, has a number of interesting features and passing trains. For much of the way the railway follows the river course, and as there are footpaths along the river, there are many places that the railway can be seen. There are many bridges over the railway and a number of footpaths that run parallel further up hillsides, that may give good views. It has a range of stations and puts on interesting events. Lineside permits are available.
North Yorkshire Moors Railway currently the second longest heritage railway in the UK with 18 miles of standard gauge line. It runs across the North York Moors from Pickering via Levisham, Newton Dale, Goathland, Grosmont to Whitby. It also runs trains over part of the Esk Valley line during gala weekends, with steam trains operating on the Esk Valley line as far as Batterby, two stations up away from Whitby. Lineside permits are available.
Bluebell Railway runs a 9 mile standard gauge preservation railway between East and West Sussex, steam trains being run from Sheffield Park and Kingscote, with an intermediate station at Horsted Keynes. Work in hand will extend this to 11 miles. It is said to have the largest collection of steam locomotives in the UK after the National Railway Museum, with around 30 locomotives resident on this line. Except for diesels used for shunting, this line is entirely steam, so all trains are steam hauled. The stations have been restored to show different periods of the railway's life. Annual lineside permits are available.
North Norfolk Railway known as the Poppy Line, is a heritage railway with 5 miles of standard gauge line running from the coastal town of Sheringham inland to Holt in Norfolk, with an extension onto Melton Constable planned, and a further plan to push on to Fakenham, where they hope to join two other railways. This line has 4 stations and a range of scenery. Lineside permits are available.
Dean Forest Railway a heritage railways runs on 4.25 miles of standard gauge track between Lydney and Parkend in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. Not a long line but it has 6 stations one split at two different levels.
Isle of Wight Steam Railway operates over 5.5 miles of standard gauge line, from Smallbrook Junction station to Wootton station, passing through the small village of Havenstreet. At Smallbrook Junction the steam railway connects with the Island Line which it turn connects to ferries and the mainland lines. There are 4 stations and over its journey there is quite a lot of up and down gradient sections, providing some work for the trains and making them interesting to photograph. 3 in 1 tickets allow you to get a catamaran ride to the Isle of Wight, and have unlimited use of both the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and Island Line, plus return to the mainland for little more than you would normally spend on a single line for some events.