Wednesday, June 27, 2018
This morning we depart on our flight to Amsterdam.
Thursday, 28 June, 2018
This morning we arrive at Amsterdam airport. After clearing customs, we will be met by our private coach and we travel to Hoorn to ride on the Hoorn–Medemblik heritage railway, operated by the Museumstoomtram Hoorn Medemblik, a distance of about 12 miles. The engine whistles and the fireman shovels coal into the firebox. Wooden partitions creak, wheels sing and steam hisses. You will experience a story from a different era. Between the historic Zuiderzee towns of Hoorn, Medemblik and Enkhuizen, steam trams meander from village to village across the Westfrisian. Later we are transferred to our hotel.
Friday, June 29, 2018
TA free day in Amsterdam. You might want to visit Anne Frank’s house or one of Amsterdam’s fantastic museums.
Saturday, June 30, 2018
The morning will be free for last-minute sightseeing or shopping. This afternoon we are transferred to the docks to board the Prinsendam. Be up on deck as Prinsendam slips her moorings for the start of our fabulous cruise around the British Isles.
Sunday, July 1, 2018
A day at sea to explore and try the fabulous facilities of the ship. This afternoon Tim will give a talk about his life in politics and his passion for trains. This evening join Tim Fischer for a welcome drinks party to celebrate the start of our Rail Journeys of Britain cruise.
Monday, July 2, 2018
Today we visit Edinburgh, the royal and ancient capital of Scotland. This morning we travel on the Bo’ness 10-mile heritage railway and visit the Scottish Railway Museum. Later we will take a steam train ride on the Borders Railway, the longest new domestic railway to be built in the UK for over 100 years. The 30 miles of track sees passenger trains running from Edinburgh, through Midlothian and into the Scottish Borders to Tweed Bank for the first time in almost half a century.
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Today we arrive at Inverness, near the famous Loch Ness. We will enjoy two rail journeys today, the first being the Strathspey Railway, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Our steam service takes us through the stunning Cairngorms National Park, the home of Britain’s highest mountain range and an area of outstanding natural beauty, boasting an impressive culture and heritage. We will be taken back in time to a ten-mile-long 1950s branchline between Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill, where remarkably little has changed since 1863, when the Victorians brought a railway to this splendid area of the Highlands. Later we travel to Dufftown to ride the Keith & Dufftown Railway (The Whisky Line), a heritage railway running for 11 miles from Dufftown railway station to Keith Town via Drummuir. Originally part of the former Great North of Scotland Railway line linking Aberdeen with Elgin, the line, reopened by volunteers during 2000 and 2001, passes through some of Scotland’s most picturesque scenery, with forest and farmland, lochs and glens, castles and distilleries.
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
Today we call in to the Orkneys. Kirkwall, located on Mainland, the largest of the Orkneys. On our sightseeing tour today we will see the striking 12th-century sandstone Norse-inspired St Magnus Cathedral. We also see some of Europe’s finest archaeological sites, including the 5,000-yearold chambered tomb of Maeshowe, the mysterious Standing Stones of Stenness and the Stone Age Ring of Brodgar. Touring around the island, we see the dramatic natural scenery, including the rugged cliffs and the prolific birdlife.
Thursday, July 5, 2018
Portree, Isle of Skye
This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Isle of Skye. We will see the magical landscape of Fairy Glen, and drive over the Quiraing Pass, which defines northern Skye, before arriving at Neist Point, the most westerly point on Skye, then walk to the isolated lighthouse. We see the Old Man of Storr, a rocky pinnacle on Trotternish Ridge and the Cuillin Mountains. We then travel across the bridge to Kyle of Lochalsh on the Scottish mainland, for a spectacular train ride past lochs and mountains to Garve, one of the most scenic towns in Scotland, where we have some free time before returning by train to Kyle of Lochalsh and the ship.
Friday, July 6, 2018
Today we arrive in the lovely port town of Oban in the western Scottish Highlands and take the Jacobite Steam journey from Fort William to Mallaig. On one of the greatest railway journeys in the world, we travel along the Glenfinnan viaduct, famous from the Harry Potter films. We continue north, near the coast, from where, on a clear summer’s day, we can see the ‘Small Isles’ of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna and the southern tip of Skye.
Saturday, July 7, 2018
A day at sea to explore and enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship. This afternoon Tim will lead a discussion on the evolution of trains through the ages and recount stories of his train adventures.
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Arriving in Liverpool early today, we travel to Bury to board our heritage train on the East Lancashire Railway, travelling from Bury Bolton to Rawtenstall. Passengers can enjoy a blast of nostalgia as steam trains whistle through the stunning Irwell Valley, stopping at Heywood, Bury, Summerseat, Ramsbottom, Rawtenstall and Irwell Vale. We then visit the Bury Transport Museum. Housed in a beautifully restored 1848 goods warehouse, this fascinating museum brings the history of early 20thcentury transport to life. Later we drive to Skipton in Yorkshire, to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, which runs 4 miles between the award-winning station at Bolton Abbey and Embsay station, built in 1888. Most trains are hauled by magnificently restored steam tank engines, the oldest one dating back to 1908.
Monday, July 9, 2018
Today we arrive in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, wellknown as being a place of friendliness and ‘craic’, and a city that is over 1000 years-old. We are transferred to Heuston station to board our train for Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Towns serviced on the route include Kildare, Tullamore, Athlone, Ballinasloe and Athenry. After lunch, we travel to Limerick and board our train for the return trip to Dublin. It will be a fabulous journey through the emerald-green countryside of Ireland.
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Today we arrive at Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey, off the north-west coast of Wales. Today we will enjoy two exceptional rail experiences. We first travel by coach to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the Welsh town with the longest name in the world. We will stop for photos before travelling to Llanberis, to ride on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Soon after the train leaves Llanberis station, the track crosses the first of two viaducts across the Afon Hwch river and a wonderful view of the waterfall plunging into the gorge below can be seen. As the train emerges onto open ground, we will have a first glimpse of the peak of Snowdon. The train starts climbing before one of the world’s great panoramas is finally revealed at the summit of Snowdon. Returning to Llanberis, we drive into Caernarfon for lunch, before boarding our train on the Welsh Highland Railway, which runs through some of the most stunning scenery in Britain. Starting near the quayside at the ancient port of Caernarfon, the route climbs on the old standard gauge track-bed to the old junction with the original WHR at Dinas. Rejoining the track-bed of the original WHR, the line climbs into the heart of the Snowdonia Mountains, travelling past lakes, then down through a forest and a spectacular rocky gorge to the sea at Porthmadog, having crossed Snowdonia from sea to sea in the course of its 25 miles. We are then transferred by coach back to Holyhead.
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Milford Haven, Wales
Today we travel to Aberystwyth, a university town on the west coast of Wales, to travel on the Vale of Rheidol Railway. Opened in 1902, the railway has been delighting passengers young and old for over a century. Feel the wind in your hair in one of the Open Summer Carriages or watch the scenery passing by from the comfort of the First Class Observation Saloons. See the countryside change as you travel through wide open fields and meadows, woodland and rugged mountain scenery, the line twisting and turning as it clings to the hillside. Listen to the sound of a powerful narrow gauge steam locomotive working hard to climb 700ft (200m) in the 11¾ miles from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge. The line is a masterpiece of engineering, opened in 1902 to carry lead ore, timber and passenger traffic. The narrow track gauge allows the railway to follow the contours of the terrain with many sharp curves and steep gradients, which add to the railway’s charm. After lunch in Aberystwyth, we travel to Carmarthen to ride the Gwili Steam Railway from the Bronwydd Arms Station, to the end of the line at Danycoed Halt. We then travel back to Milford Haven to board the ship.
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Plymouth is best known for its association with Sir Francis Drake. Today we travel on the South Devon Railway, the longest established steam railway in the south west of England. The South Devon Railway, or SDR, is a sevenmile former Great Western Railway branch line, built in 1872, which runs along the stunning valley of the River Dart between Buckfastleigh and Totnes (Riverside). After lunch we travel to Launceston, to travel on the Launceston Steam Railway, which links the historic Cornish town with the hamlet of Newmills, running for two and a half miles through the glorious Kensey Valley, along the track-bed of the old North Cornwall Railway, where express trains from London Waterloo once thundered along.
Friday, July 13, 2018
Arriving in Weymouth on the south coast, we travel to Taunton to travel on the West Somerset Railway, the longest heritage line in the United Kingdom. The line is situated four miles outside the county town of Taunton, starting at Bishops Lydeard and finishing at Minehead. The line meanders through the Quantock Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and along the Bristol Channel coast. There are 10 stations along the line, each having something different to offer. There are various historic sites, including Crowcombe Heathfield station, the location for the filming of the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night and scenes from The Land Girls.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
St Peter Port, Guernsey
This morning we arrive at St Peter Port, Guernsey’s main town, built into a steep valley leading down to the harbour, with spectacular views across to Alderney and the other islands. We have a comprehensive sightseeing tour of the island, and see the delightful rural and coastal scenery. The granite buildings now occupied by shops were once the homes of the town’s wealthy and the High Street still has its original cobbles. The town was put on the map in 1855 when Victor Hugo, exiled from France, made his home at Hauteville House, where he wrote Les Miserables.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
A day at sea to explore and enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship. This afternoon Tim will lead a Q&A session on a variety of subjects including the rail journeys we have experienced on this cruise.
Monday, July 16, 2018
This morning we arrive in Amsterdam. After disembarking, we travel to the city, where there will be time for some last-minute shopping or sightseeing before we are transferred to the airport to board our flight back to Australia.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Wednesday, July 18, 2018