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Dean Forest Railway


RCD’s Overview

As the name would suggest, the railway runs through the Forest of Dean, an attractive part of South West Gloucestershire near the Welsh Borders, much of it lying between the Rivers Severn and Wye. Historically the railway has been inextricably linked to the industries of the Forest (forestry, charcoal production, iron working and coal mining) for which most of the railways were built. Today the Forest retains much of its character, one of the few places still retaining ancient woodlands in England. The heritage railway runs over 4 miles from Lydney (a gateway to the Forest) to Parkend. The line formerly proceeded deep into the Forest reaching Cinderford, and the railway aspires to reopen the entire line in stages, initially to Speech House Road and then beyond. A visit can be combined with a wider visit to the Forest and the attractive Wye Valley.

The support group is the 'Dean Forest Railway Society' (see 'Information on the Suport Group' below).


Happening This Month:

  • Go to 'Homepage' and click into 'Railway Club Calendar'

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Lydney to Parkend (Gloucestershire)

Principal Visitor Centre:

Norchard Station (GL15 4ET)

Period of Operation*

- Late March to early November (weekends)

- Mid-April to early October (Weekends and Wednesdays)

- August (Weekends, Most Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

- Late November and December (Special event trains)

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 


Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Steam. In July and August an enhanced timetable also includes DMUs on Wednesdays

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Mid and small-sized steam locomotives. Also heritage DMUs

Length of Line:

4 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

1 hour 30 minutes

Number of trains per day:

Up to 4 in each direction

Number of Stations:

5 stations


Adult Rover: £16. Child Rover: £8

Time to allow for Visit:

2 to 3 hours


Yes, at Norchard Station



Picnic/Play areas:


Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

Yes, at Norchard station


Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- Royal Forester Sunday Lunch Train

- Fish & Chips Steam Train                                                                               

Event Trains:

- Santa Specials: Late November and December 

Principal Galas:

- Steam Gala: June

- Diesel Gala: September 


- Open House Historical Tour

- Steam Footplate Driving Experience

- Brake Van Special




Telephone:                                                           (01594) 845840


Social Media:                                            

                                                                             Also on Twitter


Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

The Dean Forest Railway runs along the former Severn and Wye Railway which ran from Lydney towards Cinderford. It began as a tramroad created to facilitate the movement of minerals out the Forest. It was based on Lydney, where a small harbour existed, and the tramway opened to Parkend in 1810. It gradually expanded, towards Cinderford in the north, a loop line though the Forest back to Lydney, a branch to Coleford, and a further branch to Lydbrook, and was upgraded over time from a tramway to a conventional railway.  The railway was always dependent on the mineral industry in the Forest and its fortunes fluctuated with that industry. A bridge over the River Severn was built close to Lydney in 1879 and the Severn and Wye Railway and the Severn Bridge Railway Company amalgamated in that year. However other companies had competing lines in the Forest, and in 1886 the GWR’s Severn Tunnel was opened providing a direct route to South Wales diminishing the value of the bridge. Out of financial necessity the line was sold in 1894 to the Great Western Railway and Midland Railway jointly. Passenger volumes were always low, and these discontinued in 1929, although Lydney Town to Berkeley Road remained until 1960. Mineral extraction in the Forest declined further in the 1950s leading to the progressive closure of the network. By 1970 only the Lydney Junction to Parkend and Coleford branch had survived, however this final section closed in 1976. A preservation society had formed in 1970 in anticipation of closure, and in 1978 it purchased the Norchard site for its operational base. Extensions then followed opening south to Lydney Junction in 1995, and north to Whitecroft in 2003 and Parkend in 2006.


Principal Aspiration

To extend the line northwards to Speech House and ultimately to Cinderford.


Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) GWR Class 4575 Small Prairie (Churchward) - No. 5541

(2) Austerity 0-6-0ST - No. WD152 ‘Rennes’


Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) BR Class 08 - No. D3937 ‘Gladys’

(2) BR Class 08 - No. 08238 ‘Charlie’

(3) BR Class 14 - No. D9521

(4) Hunslet shunter - No. 5622 ‘Don Corbett’

(5) Heritage DMU Class 108 (5 units, numbers 50619 / M51566 / M51914 / M56492 / E59387)


Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) GWR Class 57xx (sub 8750) Pannier Tank (Collett) - No. 9681

(2) Peckett 0-4-0 - No. 2147 ‘Uskmouth No. 1’

(3) Hunslet 0-6-0ST - No. 2413 ‘Gunby’


Diesel Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) BR Class 31 - No. 31210

(2) BR Class 31 - No. 31466

(3) BR Class 37 - No. 37308

(4) Hunslet shunter - 6688 ‘Salty’

(5) Hibberd shunter - 3947 ‘Planet’


Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:

- GWR Class 57xx (sub 8750) Pannier Tank (Collett) - No. 9682

- Austerity tank - 3806 ‘Wilbert’

- Austerity tank - 3823 ‘Warrior’

- Andrew Barclay - Works no. 2221

- Austerity tank - 65

- Hunslet tank - Works no. 2411 ‘Gloria’

- BR Class 14 - D9555

- BR Class 31 - 31235

- Fowler shunter - 4210127


Name of Support Group:

Dean Forest Railway Society

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £20. Senior: £15. Junior: £10. Family: £25. Life: £1,000

Own Website:


Use contact box on website


Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Half price travel on all standard timetable days

-          Discounts in the shop and cafe at Norchard station

-          Quarterly Magazine ‘Dean Forest Railway’ issued quarterly


How to Join:                                                    Go to


What They Say About Volunteering:

We are always looking for new volunteers to join us in growing our unique heritage railway. Whatever your background or experience level, whatever age, male or female, we have many roles at the railway and certainly one to suit you, from customer facing roles like guard, signalman, ticket inspector, to behind the scenes roles like permanent way, rolling stock restoration and lineside clearance. We also have opportunities in our shop and catering teams, or the railway's publicity and fundraising teams. If you're looking to volunteer regularly, or can only give an hour a month, there are many ways you can contribute to our line. Go to or contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator, Wayne Crowley, by email on


How to Volunteer:                                   Go to


How to Donate:                                       Go to


WHY JOIN:  Help the railway extend to Speech House Road and beyond.


Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this



Traditional Railway Societies:

- Monmouthshire Railway Society

- Industrial Railway Society


Model Railway Clubs:

- Forest of Dean Model Railway Club

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