On the Right Track for a Fun Day Out
Adrian and Sandra Cooke of Evesham Vale Light Railway. Photo Rob Tysall.
Evesham Vale Light Railway, Worcestershire.
Review by Ann Evans
Its full steam ahead for visitors to Evesham Vale Light Railway, situated within Evesham Country Park. The 15-inch (381 mm) gauge railway is just over a mile long (1.6 km) taking around 10 to 15 minutes for trains to go round the Balloon Loop.
The route takes passengers via the old apple orchards then onwards through a tunnel – much to the excitement of the young passengers. People can break their journey if they wish by stopping off at Evesham Vale Station and return on a later train. This is an ideal spot for the children to let off steam at the medieval play fort standing on a grassy hill. You’ll also find picnic tables and the opportunity to relax and enjoy the tranquil Evesham scenery with its views of the Cotswold Hills. Or you could take a stroll along the banks of the River Avon.
All aboard! Photo Rob Tysall
While Evesham Vale Light Railway first opened in August 2002, its current owners, steam train enthusiasts Adrian and Sandra Corke took over the railway in 2012. They are both qualified steam drivers with Adrian also being a steam engineer and Sandra is also actively hands-on making sure everything runs safely and smoothly at the busy railway.
There’s a delightful old-world charm about this nostalgic little railway system, with its ticket office and shop where you might treat yourself to a train driver’s cap or station master’s flag before you step out onto the platform where you’ll find the beautifully maintained steam locos and carriages all set to take you on your journey.
Building up steam. Photo Rob Tysall
Since the opening in 2002 it’s estimated that around 450,000 visitors have taken a trip on one of the trains, which include locomotives St Egwin, Dougal, Cromwell, Markeaton Lady – now re-named Monty. There’s also Sludge a diesel loco and finally Biscuit, a 4-wheel track inspection trolley. This was built by volunteer Mike Eddy as a track maintenance vehicle to access the railway quickly. It is equipped with a detachable wheel allowing it to be moved like a wheelbarrow! But it’s also fitted with a side valve Villiers Engine with a separate 3-speed gearbox which means it has an impressive turn of speed.
Sandra Corke with Monty. Photo Rob Tysall.
All the carriages and coaches are enclosed or semi enclosed, and there are compartments adapted for wheelchair users. Dogs are also welcome on the trains at no extra charge.
The Evesham Vale Light Railway runs daily during school holidays and every weekend throughout the year. For further details visit: http://www.evlr.co.uk/