We have been advised that the return timings and route for this trip have been changed by Network Rail.
As a result of several well-publicised incidents involving steam trains, there is now extreme sensitivity regarding train length limits, particularly where sustained rising gradients are involved. This train is heavily booked and NR has stated that it will not allow No. 60163 to climb Sapperton Bank with twelve carriages and a support coach. We do not want diesel assistance so a route change is the only option available to us.
Our outward journey is unchanged, as advised with your tickets, i.e. going via Oxford and the Cotswolds and reaching Worcester Shrub Hill at 13:35. Departure times are still 10:30 from Paddington, 11:00 from Slough and 11:25 from Reading .
The train now departs from Worcester Shrub Hill at 16:25 (this is now a shorter break - but we did originally advertise 'about three hours') and the return route is now the originally advertised outward route, that is to say via Charfield, Bristol Parkway , the 'Rhubarb Loop', Bath and Swindon. The benefit is a considerably increased 'steam mileage', with the first part of the return run now in daylight. For those dining, there is now more time to enjoy dinner too.
There are no changes to the return arrival times. We get back to Reading at 20:25, Slough at 20:56 and Paddington at 21:30.
We hope you have a thoroughly enjoyable day out aboard 'The Red Rose'.