Visit: Wednesday 22nd August 2012.
Ribble Steam Railway offers a steam hauled train ride with a medium sized railway museum and workshop on Preston Docks. It has smart, modern and well maintained buildings. One of its specialities on certain weekends are Friendly Engine events for children. These trains have faces made by Blackpool illuminations department on the front of the engines.
Its displays include small tank engines with a larger Ivatt steam loco and a some diesels. Some loco cabs are open. There is also a smart old panoramic carriage with luxurious interior. As well as the running stock used for the train rides.
On entering the large car park the building on the left is the museum, cafe, gift shop and station platform, and the one on the right is a workshop and storage locoshed. The museum looks modern and is very clean whereas the workshop is, I suppose workshop 'clean' being full of loco parts, machines and locos being worked on.
There is an added attraction of watching shunting usually around mid-day as the railway supplies the locos to shunt tar tankers for the neighbouring tar factory. These arrive via Preston Station and down the branch to the docks.
Photo of the diesel railcar operating next to Strand Road:
The volunteers do a great job making it a smart and welcoming place to visit. The cafe sells light snacks, soup, hot dogs with a smile. The shop has a range of badges, booklets and railwayana including old books.
An enjoyable stay taking 2 hours including the train ride, coffee and browse of the shop. I will be back.
See the website above for full opening times, directions and information.
Post Code: PR2 2PD or Chain Caul Road, map at bottom of page.
During Preston Guild period in 2012, and now into 2013, the museum section contains the Deltic prototype which was built at the old English Electric factory that is now Alstom on Strand Road. This loco was the first of the type that ran the top expresses from Kings Cross to Edinburgh for over 20 years:
Diesel shunter from the Netherlands, this type was also made in Preston and was used extensively by British Rail:
Ivatt steam loco built at Crewe for mixed use, painted in LMS red. LMS being the London, Midland and Scottish region of the railways running from London through the Midlands, North Wales, north west England and Scotland. By far the biggest rail company.
English Electric loco in the workshop:
Building from the bottom up in the workshop
Saddle tank engine hauling the 11am train to Strand Road and back, plenty of smoke, whistling and chugging.
Inside the train, one coach has a corridor. Clean carriages with a lot of woodwork.
View over Preston docks from the train on the swing bridge, St Walburge's spire prominent and Deepdale football ground when further over the bridge.
View of Preston Dock basin and locks from the train on the swing bridge:
Everyone off the train at its return and straight into the cafe.
How to get there, PR2 2PD or Chain Caul Road: