LEIGHTON BUZZARD RAILWAY
Page’s Park Station, Billington Road
Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
t: 01525 373888
Only a few miles from the M1 motorway, the Leighton Buzzard Railway is one of England's leading narrow-gauge light railway attractions, with its roots in the First World War. The 70-minute round trip takes your customers out into the rolling Bedfordshire countryside, around sharp curves, up steep gradients, and over road crossings, so typical of narrow-gauge light railways of a bygone era. Most passenger trains are hauled by historic steam engines from all over the world, from one of the finest working collections in England. And your customers can get close up to locomotives and stock, with free guided tours as part of the package. Check our website for details of dates, times and fares. In 2016, we will be commemorating the centenary of the introduction of narrow-gauge light railways to supply the WW1 trenches --don't miss our special events.
Bring your party for a visit with a difference, at one of England’s finest narrow-gauge railway attractions, with its origins topically in the First World War.
Despite having rails only 2ft (60cm) apart, the Leighton Buzzard Railway was not built as a tourist attraction, but for the serious business of carrying sand from the quarries outside the town.
Dating from 1919, it used materials and equipment surplus from the network of military light railways that had supplied the trenches in France and Belgium. In 2016, we will be running special events to commemorate the centenary of War Department Light Railways, formed in 1916 for this purpose.
Taken over in the 1960s by volunteers, it ran its first-ever passenger trains in 1968, over the same tracks that had previously carried thousands of tonnes of sand, as one of the last surviving industrial narrow-gauge railways in England.
Now a nationally accredited working museum, it offers an authentic narrow-gauge experience of level crossings, steep gradients, sharp corners, roadside running, with Britain’s biggest onshore wind turbine to add interest. Being close to the M1 and A5—and to nationally known attractions such as Bletchley Park, Whipsnade and Woburn--it is ideal for an add-on destination with a difference.
Trains depart from Page’s Park station, which is on the south side of Leighton Buzzard, and adjacent to the large green space of the same name. Dating from the early 20th century, it has matured with the years, and your customers will also find outdoor fitness equipment, a community flower garden alongside our platform, and a well equipped children’s play area. Coaches can be parked on the premises, by prior agreement.
As the Railway boasts one of the largest and most diverse narrow-gauge locomotive collections in England, most trains are hauled by a vintage steam engine, which may have spent its working life in locations as varied as Calcutta and Devon. A free guided tour will introduce your customers to the steam locomotives not in service on the day of your visit, as well the fascinating history of the line itself.
Before or after their train ride, your customers can relax in the Buzzrail Café, with pre-ordered refreshments, or explore the goodies in the station shop.
The train trip itself takes 25 minutes each way, with a 20-minute stopover at the “country” terminus of Stonehenge Works—the name comes from a brickworks which used to stand here. To get to the end of the line, your train will have wound its way through the housing and industry on the fringes of Leighton Buzzard, to emerge into open countryside, with lovely views of the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
At Stonehenge Works, the story of narrow-gauge railways in industry and the military is told, with typical locomotives and wagons on display. On some days, these come to life to show the variety of equipment that could once be found in everyday service, and a restored quarry digger, rescued from a nearby sandpit, shows how things used to be done.
There is also a miniature railway, which gives free rides on most Sundays. Look out for the sandstone stables, built in 1918 to house the horses which worked in the quarries before the Railway arrived. Not to mention the biggest onshore wind turbine in the country, installed in one of the nearby sand quarries.
To round off the visit, a volunteer-run Craft Shop offers an excellent range of locally made products, as well as light refreshments.
In 2016, public services are running on Sundays from 27th March to 13th November, on Wednesdays from 1st June to 31st August, and on other days shown in our leaflet, and on our website at www.buzzrail.co.uk. We also run Santa’s Steam Specials in Dcember.
Group Travel on public services must be booked in advance, to ensure that seats are reserved, and that a discounted fare is paid. Charter trains can be arranged on dates and times when the public service is not operating. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org in advance with your requirements.
2016 Events Programme
March 27th & 28th: Easter Bunny
May 1st & 2nd: Teddy Bears’ Outing
May 29th & 30th; June 1st, 4th & 5th: WW1 Centenary Locomotive Cavalcade
June 18th: Ale Trail
June 26th: Vintage Vehicles Rally
July 30th: Canal Festival
August 7th: Model Railways Day
August 21st: Princesses & Pirates Dress-Up Day
August 28th, 29th & 31st; September 3rd & 4th: WW1 Centenary WDLR Supply Base
September 25th: Sand & Motorcycles
November 13th: Remembrance Sunday
December: Santa’s Steam Specials