Exbury Gardens Steam Railroad’s 21st Birthday Celebrations

The Exbury Gardens Steam Railway is located in the delightful Summer Lane Garden in the 200-acre New Forest tourist attractions and is celebrating its 21st birthday this year!

The well-loved steam railway is also celebrating record numbers of passengers traveling the stunning Forest Park track in its 21st year!

The narrow-gauge railway already enjoyed the glorious season of spring flowers along with an incredible record number of visitors who enjoyed the rides on the rails.

Exbury Gardens Steam Railway // Credit: Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway

Robin Saville, COO of Exbury Gardens said: “Visitors love getting the chance to experience the sights and sounds of a working steam railway, and it is great that after 21 years it is more popular than ever.”

Here are some excellent reasons to get out and visit the great Exbury Gardens Steam Railway this season:

  • The Rhododendron Line is a mile-and-a-half railway that sees three engines and ten carriages, all named after members of the Rothschilds family. Services depart from Exbury Central Station which is a replica of Aviemore Station in Scotland. The railway also features a charming engine shed and a turntable.
  • The railway winds its way through the famous rock garden in Exprey. Dragonfly Pond where visitors can admire awe-inspiring creatures on sunny days alongside Doomsday and American Garden before traveling through a curved tunnel modeled after the famous Gothic Folly, Clayton Tunnel in West Sussex.
  • Over the course of 21 years, the railway has taken members of the royal family on board, with the Queen visiting twice and riding on the footplate at the front of the train.
  • The railways are dog friendly as are the rest of the parks with well-behaved dogs on short front being able to ride in a wagon with their owners.
  • The railway will see a number of special events during 2022 including the Halloween Ghost train that runs October 24-30, and Christmas weekends in December.
Exbury Steam Gardens Railway
Exbury Steam Gardens Railway // Credit: Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway

David Giles, the newly appointed foreman of the Exbury Gardens Steam Railway, previously ran a carpet cleaning business for 33 years. David is passionate about model engineering and volunteered for the railroad for years before landing his dream job. David said: “It is great to see how happy visitors, of all ages, are when they get on the train. Steam trains make people smile.

“We also give them a brief history of the gardens during the journey, so visitors learn interesting facts and tales about Exbury, and when they get off the train they always tell us how friendly and knowledgeable the staff are.”

The railway was opened in 2001 and was made by the late Leo de Rothschild who was a huge fan of the railways. Liu supervised the construction of the railway, even tightening the last screw of the bus on the track on August 3, 2001, after which experiments were carried out on the steam engine in order to ensure that the railway worked smoothly. The railway was launched in May 2002 on the Lion’s 75th birthday and proved to be a huge success with the addition of the 1/4 mile stretch in 2017.

For more information, please visit: https://www.exbury.co.uk/steam-railway

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