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The catering was beyond what we had expected.
On 20 June my husband and I took a rail journey from Leeds to Carlisle on The Dalesman to celebrate my Husband's significant birthday. The catering was beyond what we had expected. We had a very enjoyable breakfast on the way out and a great evening meal on the return journey. The Gravy Train staff were excellent, nothing was too much trouble and we both felt looked after all day. I wanted to say a special thank you to Michelle who looked after us on the day. She is friendly and helpful and an asset to your service. Although we did thank her on the day, it would be great if you could pass on our compliments. Many thanks for making our day one to remember.
Melanie and Graham Brown
It was the most fantastic experience and it is hard to find words to express our appreciation
We are now home following our Dalesman trip on Tuesday and are still in a state of euphoria, it was the most fantastic experience and it is hard to find words to express our appreciation. The meals were delicious The staff efficient and very pleasant and it made my wife's day when she knew we had the Scots Guardsman up front especially as we were in the first carriage for the return journey.
Regards Leslie Bilboe
We have had an exceptional day on this train trip. Everything went extremely well from exceptional food to very helpful and courteous staff. Please pass on our appreciation for a job well done.
We traveled on The Esk Valley Explorer, from Southport to Whitby
We joined at Wigan, the train arrived on time much to the confusion of the commuters to Manchester.
There was as previously described three levels of service available, Premier dining; 1st Class with cream tea and pasties and a standard service with buffet cart. We opted for Premier dining with full English Breakfast, Pastries at Eleven and a Four Course Silver Service Meal on The Return.
The carriage was extremely comfortable with the classic table with a lamp, already laid in preparation for our journey. The classic layout of the carriage meant that each table has its own full window. The staff were very welcoming and helpful and we were plied with a full English Breakfast, and tea and coffee as we sped along.
We had about 3 hours in Whitby on beautiful day.
On the return the table was already laid in preparation for our return journey. The staff were again very welcoming and helpful and we were plied with a full Four Course Silver Service Meal.
A Great Railway Adventure
My wife and I booked this trip to join the train in Loughborough Leicestershire to go to Portsmouth in Pullman dining class. The train arrived exactly on time and we had two seats facing each other in classic rail carriage which was restored to a very high standard. The table was set for breakfast and we had the choice of a Starter such as cornflakes ,melon and other items followed by either a cooked full English, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or smoked haddock fishcake with poached egg and Hollandaise sauce which we opted for. With plenty of toast, butter tea or coffee it proved to be a great breakfast. As we journeyed towards Portsmouth we were served a Danish pastry and more coffee. The rest of the journey went by in an interesting manner as we left the main line around London and allowed us to see sights normally missed. We had around 4 hours to explore Portsmouth before re-joining the train for the journey back and as we boarded we could see the table set for an evening meal. The meal was a choice of starters which included Ham Hock terrine, Crab moose or soup and as I had the Ham and my wife had the crab I can assure that both of those were very good indeed. This was followed by a main of pork with cabbage, carrots and green beans which was perfect and filling but leaving just enough room for the Eton mess and then the cheese course all washed down with the complimentary 1/2 bottle wine for each passenger. Not satisfied they then served coffee and chocolates. We arrived back on time and our first thoughts and words were we must do a trip like this again soon.
The whole journey in premier class was as expected. Very good. The service level was excellent the served breakfast was just right enough to fill and start the day. The train itself was an experience to remember and the company at the shared table was good. The time in Scarborough was cut short by the rain. But that's British summer. The return was just as good as the outward but with a served 4 course meal to enjoy. Sitting in the seats for a 5hrs+ trip wasn't as bad as it could've been, not stiff and cramped at journeys end
We boarded the train at Preston and was surprised to find the train to be powered by diesel .We boarded the train found our seats easy, the passengers already on the train informed us the train was only powered by steam engine from York to Scarborough. We realised this information is in small print on a flyer, we had which we had missed. reading.As we only travelled to York we didn't get much of a steam experience.
How ever this didn't spoil the day. we travelled in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and their were fantastic scenery, the Stewart in our carriage did a wonderful job.
We had a lovely time in York and every one we meet were friendly and helpful. We got some lovely photos of both the steam and Diesel engines .We came home tired but happy after having a wonderful day out.
We travelled on the Scarborough Spa Express, originating from Carnforth, but which we joined at Skipton. There were three levels of service available when we booked: Full dining; 1st Class with cream tea and sandwiches and a standard service with buffet car. We opted for the 1st Class and were situated in a luxurious restaurant car. The seating was extremely comfortable, our group of 4 were sat at a table with a lamp, already laid in preparation for our journey. The layout of the carriage is such that each table has its own full window. The staff were very welcoming and helpful and we were plied with pastries and tea and coffee as we sped along.
The train was pulled by vintage diesel as far as York, where a steam engine was coupled on for the journey to Scarborough. The engine changeover took around 45 minutes, but we were quite happy drinking our tea, eating a hot bacon sandwich (extra) and enjoying conversation in our rather luxurious surroundings. The changeover was also was necessary on the return, but again it was a pleasure to sit and doze as we waited.
We had about 4 hours free time in Scarborough and fortunately we were blessed with a beautiful summer day. Some personal items can be left on the train at your own risk, so umbrellas and coats do not need to be carried around unnecessarily. Optionally, when booking, you can choose to alight at York and spend your free time there.
This was a highly enjoyable day, the train journey was superb; no smuts, just a pleasant whiff of steam through the open window. The standard of catering was excellent and the level of comfort extremely high.
This was an early Xmas present for my husband. The staff and service provided throughout was exceptional. The food which is cooked on board the train was very good. Despite staff warning all passengers to be back on the platform in plenty of time, 21 passengers somehow missed the train back from Edinburgh! These passengers were then taken by Virgin train to Carlisle where the West Coast train picked them up. The West Coast company had to pay Virgin trains to do this. The staff also made sure that these passengers did not miss out on their meal when they got back on board! If that is not going the extra mile, I don't know what is! I sincerely hope those tardy passengers expressed their gratitude to the staff. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves despite the very early start!
Went on a day trip 'The Conway Valley Explorer', although it was a very early start it was well worth it. The staff were friendly and helpful, the service could have been a little more efficient, but we had plenty of time so sat back and enjoyed the day. The autumn scenery was spectacular and the food was plentiful and beautifully served. We would certainly use this company and go again.
Took Harry Potter mad daughter on this as a surprise, we were on the last one run of the season. Weather on the way out was lovely, so amazing views (stormy on the way back, so a bit intermittent) trolley service was good, not too pricey and a good selection. Enough time to look around in Mallaig at the end of the outward leg.The staff on board were really cheery and friendly, think there was a bit of last trip jollity on this one, made it a really fun journey. And to top it off we got some smashing photographs.
I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, so I had to ride the steam train. The route was scenic and an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. Of course seeing the Glenfinnan viaduct was so cool. There is Harry Potter stuff to buy on the train, cool post cards. The only thing I would change, would be to see the viaduct from ground level as well as ride the train from Malliag back to Fort William. I'd do it again.
We joined this tour from Whitehaven to Scarborough at Carlisle and had booked Premier Dining @ £209 a head, as a special treat. Superb food: breakfast - morning coffee on journey out and on the return a 4 course dinner + coffee - huge portions available, all served at seat by very friendly attentive staff. Topped off by a very reasonably priced wine list (a very good NV champagne @ just £36, was a bargain) MK2 air-conditioned first class stock very cosy indeed. Only criticism for West Coast Railways is the filthy, badly stained table lamp shades, which so spoils the delightful ambience of the coaches for the sake of just a few quid per table - so do please replace them guys.
Also a wonderful train ride for anyone. Recommend first class and recommend taking the one hour boat ride upon arrival in Mallaig. It's just a super trip with lovely Scottish photo opportunities and an amazing picturesque steam engine. I think that it's the law that requires american tourists to visit this train (just joking), but we had a ball. Suggestions : book first class; book a share seat with another couple. You'll be on the best side of the train and will probably have a great conversation. Take the Mallaig boat if It's not raining. Stay overnight in fort William if you have time. It'd definitely a good spot. If you have a car drive around and get the best scenery and absolutely spend time in glencoe. Bottom line? Take the train. ! Harry fan or not. It's fabulous.
We boarded the train at Chesterfield for the Norwich to Great Yarmouth Trip. The train we travelled on was the diesel locomotive Roy Castle OBE . The train worked to time, the Carriage steward was so polite & very helpfull. We had an enjoyable day out, the weather was kind, the views over the countryside were interesting, we had a pleasant walk around Great Yarmouth . This was the first time we had travelled with West Coast Railways and we would travel with them again.
Travelled to Dundee from Darlington on a diesel hauled Pullman. Lovely roomy, comfortable seats, crisp white tablecloths, complimentary tea/coffee & pastries on the outward & return journey. We don't normally but well worth paying a little extra for 'first class' seats. Staff were very professional, friendly & helpful. They provided a portable ramp for anyone with a disability or had difficulty stepping onto the train & the stewards were there to assist passengers in any way. First time with West Coast Railways & will certainly travel with them again if the pick-up points are in our area. Will be recommending them to our family & friends.
We joined the train at York and the entire journey was a delight. The staff and the food were excellent and it was well worth paying for the Premier Dining as a birthday treat. Nothing was too much trouble.
Cool train, lovely scenery. Pick it up at Fort William and go from there. Bit of an anti climax at the destination but the trip itself is well worth it. Drinks and snacks available on the way there and back. Oh - take a set of ear plugs for when they use the tannoy - they have no concept of a sensible volume!
Excellent train trip. Steam hauled train runs from Fort William to Mallaig travelling through some magnificent secenery. The big attraction is crossing the Glenfinnan viaduct. Going north, you need to be on tbe left hand side of the train and. Onthe return, be o tbe right. Harry Potter fans just in their element. At Mallaig, not too much to do but you usually only have up to 2 hours to occupy yourself.
Travelled from Fort William to Malaig, and back. Great steam train experience. Scenery superb, even though day was overcast with drizzle. Travelling in 1st class was great. Service was excellent from the onboard team. Lunch in Malaig was great and plenty of time to enjoy it. Seating was very comfortable.
We had a fantastic day out on the Jacobite Steam Train. We booked our tickets way in advance to ensure we could travel, I would recommend doing the same as some who tried to book on the day were disappointed. We were sat in standard class which has better views than the Harry Potter carriages as you have larger windows and can see out of both sides of the train. On the tables was a map of the train journey and estimated time of arrival/departure and when we were going to go over the viaduct, map of Mallaig and a list of recommended restaurants. I would recommend buying the £1 map as it shows you journey so you can track where you are and its a great souvenir to show friends. The scenery was spectacular and well worth the money. Mallaig was gorgeous and there is plenty of time to have lunch and a wonder round the harbour.
Just don't wait till Glenfinnan to use the toilet at the station as you'll spend your whole time there queuing instead of looking around. The toilet on the train is fine.
Booked 1st class travel on this trip and found things perfect from the beginning to the end, scenery was absolutely stunning on the journey, also met 3 lovely people from New South Wales in Australia whilst on the trip. Maybe one of the most scenic journeys in the world i would say, will certainly do it again next year.
I did not expect such an experience. First of all, we paid for the VIP (well worth it) and on the ride out, we were - as well - disappointed with the lack of Harry Potter info. There is a (TOTAL) upswing:
1) This is not a "Harry Potter Attraction." It's a "train enthusiast" attraction. It's one of the very few steam trains that still run. Many of the employees are volunteers, just to have the opportunity to operate a steam train. Any references/locations are incumbent on the passenger to research as they aren't "tour guides".
2) The little town you visit is quaint and has it's own personality.
3) On the way out, they did NOT warn us about the upcoming viaduct. You have to be prepared for it, and get a good window, as only one side has the best view. Paying for VIP was totally worth it.
4) I understand they are booked all the way through to next June! So plan (months) ahead! Buy your tickets ASAP.
THE BEST FOR LAST
5) We're pretty friendly and chatty people and spoke to the souvenir person, the woman running the cart, everybody ... and they were SO GREAT! We had them sign our book at the end. We even were able to talk to the gentleman who shoveled the coal! (total highlight) The engineer was so amazing. He even spoke to me about how he started on the Jacobite ... I would totally ride it again.
What can I say you will See mixed reviews people saying Too expensive we booked online in advance and it was well worth it - what a way to see the beautiful countryside and meet new people very enjoyable ride amazing views and allows you all to enjoy an outing together - drinks fairly priced on the train too- guard fab informing you all that the viaduct where part of Harry Potter was filmed so you can prepare for some photos - so glad we did this trip and would do it again too !!!