Rail Riders

Group Leader: David Horne – david@u3a-llandrindod.org.uk

The group plans to travel around using the rail network.

There are three options: Local (Wales), Regional (The UK) and Exploration (Europe!!).

“Local” will include, Gardens, Castles, Houses … whatever grabs the members interests.

The group will operate all the year round taking advantage of Free Rail in the winter!!!!

It is so good to announce that Railriders is back in action. Our first trip sine December 2020.

We are repeating the last outing with a trip to Shrewsbury on The Heart of Wales Line and a Christmas meal at The Armoury. 8th December 2021. The outing is fully subscribed and we have some new members to the group. Hopefully they will enjoy it and pass word around. A report will follow.

By way of explanation we have not been able to book any financially feasible trips on the heritage railways evan after lockdown was lifted. The companies involved laid down restrictions on numbers and it would have cost members far too much money.

Hopefully next year will see all restrictions lifted, making it viable to travel on these railways.

Suggestions for next year include:

Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway – Canal trip from Welshpool followed by a cream tea on the train

Brecon Mountain Railway – Train ride followed by a canal barge journey and meal

Snowdonia Mountain Railway – Train ride to the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) and a meal on the way home

Network Rail from Caersws or Newtown to Birmingham – Historical canal tours and back to back houses tour

Network Rail to Birmingham to visit the Christmas markets

Gloucestershire and Worcestershire Stean Railway – Cheltenham to Broadway (See the Cotswolds). All day rover ticket (hop on, hop off) followed by a meal on the way home.

Dean Forest Railway – Lydney to Parkend. All day rover ticket followed by a meal on the way home.

Severn Valley Railway – Kidderminster to Bridgenorth. All day rover ticket follwed by a meal on the way home.

Travel to the railways is always by car share and we strive to find somewhere decent to eat on the way home

Ideas are always welcome but the railway must be within reasonable communting distance

Latest news from the group

Snowdonia Mountain Railway

Published 26th September 2019

Wednesday 18th September 2019 … Oh glorious sunshine!

If there is one railway journey that needs sunshine it has to be ascending the highest mountain in Wales. By golly didi the weather deliver. Not just sunny but basking in late summer warmth.

We started as usual in the Metropole car park at 6.30am. I have to give it to my companions, they are a dedicated lot and not afraid to put themselves out. If there was one slightly damp squib on the day it was the navigating skill of the lead driver and group leader. They nickname me Blue Leader One! If I had been a pilot in the Battle of Britain my navigation skills that morning would have lost us the battle. Foolishly ignoring my own rules for travel I followed the wonderfully accented voice of a female person, otherwise know as the Satnag (Sorry Satnav).

Having booked us an early(ish) train – 10am – it became clear that we would not make it in time. I was able to call ahead and alter the train time thus avoiding major embarrassment.

Once safely in llanberis the good folk of Llandrindod went off on their own for food and exploration agreeing to reconvene in plenty of time to get the alloted train at 1.30pm.The journey up Snowdon took one hour. the sky was crystal blue  which afforded magnificent views all the way up. There were feathery clouds at the top but the views were still clear and spectacular. An oft overused superlative but it says exactly what was on the tin!

At the summit we were allowed 30 minutes before the descent. 6 of us climbed the 80 steps from the train station to the top. It was very busy with lots of people there including a rugby team doing a charity walk and everyone was helpful with each other. 

We descended at 3pm arriving in Llanberis at 4pm then adjourned to the snack bar for a beverage. 

We also decided we would stop for a spot of supper on the way home. having sampled the delights of The Bluebell Inn at llangurig on a previous trip we decided to go there. A reservation was made by telephone and we set off at about 5pm.  No vavigation problems this time and we duly arrived on time.

This was one of those days you have when it could not have been more perfect. Even missing the early train meant we had a longer and more relaxed day with a lovely meal to finish things off. The weather was perfect, the company good with some great repartee and banter. The photographs aren’t bad either!

Welsh Highland Railway

Published 26th May 2019

Wednesday 8th May 2019. Why is that every trip the group has completed, the weather is either wet, cold or snowy – or a combination of all 3! Can someone answer me this one simple question? No. Neither can I.

Thus it was on this particular day. Chilly to say the least.

The intrepid travellers met up at 8am at the Metropole Hotel car park to journey far and wide – well to Porthmadog at any rate. I have to say that the route chosen proved every bit as scenic and worth the trip alone.

We arrived in plenty of time, collected our tickets and had time to have refreshments and browse the station shop before boarding our train – the C235 “David lloyd George” – a Double Fairley engine. An odd looking engine with a funnel on each end.

Travelling 3rd class the journey too us through some of the best rail side scenery and the weather was clear enough for us to see everything. We stopped at Minffordd, Penrhyn, Tanybwlch, dduallt where the track looped round through 360 degrees to navigate a hill, Tanygrisiau and arriving in Bleinau Ffestiniog approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes later.

Ffestiniog is a small community which is best enjoyed in good weather. While it would have been nice to explore the town the weather dictated otherwise with most of us seeking shelter from the cold in charity shops or the visitor centre or finding somewhere to eat. We originally agreed to meet up for the return train at 3.50pm but 6 of the group decided to return to porthmadog earlier and spend time looking round there and to meet the later train with the rest other from the group.

Unfortunately 3 of the 5 missed the train at 3.50 and caught a bus instead, arriving back in porthmadog before the train. The first 6 arrived in time to meet the trin only to find the gang of 3 already there. The other 2 arrived by train. So we ended up with not just a railway ride but for some a bus ride also. Good value for money I would say.

After some more refreshments we decided to hit the raod and return to llandrindod, stopping off on the way at The Blue Bell Inn, llangurig for a spot of supper. Very nice it was too.

I can honestly say it was a brilliant day and a pleasure to organise. The weather was not the best but unlike previous trips we could actually see where we were going and enjoyed the scenery whilst the train made it’s way.

Christmas Outing

Published 26th December 2018

Members of the group organised a Christmas lunch on the Severn Valley Railway on Wednesday 13th December. The visit included a 30 minute trip on the railway ending up in the engine shed in Highley where they enjoyed a splendid christmas lunch as well as good look at the engines and other items on display in the exhibition.

Group members on their trip to the Severn Valley Railway