Dean Forest Railway
Gloucestershire GL15 4ET
Running through the delightful Forest of Dean in west Gloucestershire is a heritage railway. The Dean Forest Railway (DFR) currently runs for 4¼ miles (6.8 km) between Lydney and Parkend. Plans are well underway to extend the line a further 2½ miles (4.0 km) into the middle of the Forest at Speech House Road (close to the nearby Beechenhurst Visitor Attraction).
In the golden days of railway the countryside was a spider’s web of tramways and railway lines built to transport the iron and coal mined in the Forest. Limestone for smelting the iron was also carried to the Blast Furnaces built beside the mines. The finished product (pig iron) was then railed to Lydney Harbour down the Severn and Wye Branch line now restored as the Dean Forest Railway.
The DFR trains chug past disused colliery sites and beside streams that once worked the iron foundries and steel mills.
Parkend Station is the current terminus in the Forest and Lydney Junction the terminus beside the River Severn where there is a connection to the Gloucester-Newport mainline.
Stations and Junctions of the DFR
- Lydney Junction Station (Terminus)
- St Mary’s Halt
- Lydney Town Station
- Middle Forge Junction. (Line splits into High and Low Levels. No Station)
- Norchard High Level
- Norchard Low Level (Terminus)
- Tufts Junction (a junction with disused mineral loop and freight branch)
- Whitecroft Station
- Parkend Station (current Terminus)
The DFR has a large and varied collection of rolling stock, all appropriate for the steep gradients and tight curves of this line. There are vintage 0-4-0 steam, tank engines, push-pull railcars, short wheel-base diesels, diesel motorised units, as well as freight wagons.
Plan Your Day
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If you are travelling to the DFR by car it is suggested that you start your day out at Norchard Steam Centre on the B4234 road where there is a large free car park. There is no parking at any of the other stations or halts.
Norchard is the starting point for many of the rail journeys and many of the DFR facilities are sited here. Here can be found the railway museum, souvenir shop, Plate-layers Buffet, toilets, second hand book sales etc.
Norchard High Level and Norchard Low Level are connected by both steps and a ramp. Visitors travelling by train should alight at the Lydney mainline railway station. The DFR Lydney Junction station is a comfortable 10 minutes walk.
- Lydney Junction
From this station there is a walk down to the remains of Lydney Harbour & Docks
where there are splendid views of the upper Severn River estuary and the suspension road bridges downstream.
- St Mary’s Halt
This Halt still retains its original cast-iron lattice bridge from 1892. Passengers can walk from here around the lake or visit St Mary’s Church. A slightly longer walk along the recently restored Lydney Canal path brings the walker into the centre of Lydney where the passenger can rejoin the DFR at Lydney Town Station.
- Tufts Junction
This is the Junction where the Park Hill Iron Mine and Colliery were linked to the main Lydney to Drybrook and Cinderford branch line. These mines were promoted to prospective shareholders as having 1million tons each of easily exploitable coal and iron. The railway put in 3 parallel sidings and a tramway quay. Sadly the mines produced nothing like the expected lodes. All three lines were closed between the 1950s and 1970s.
- Parkend Station
This is the current terminus and the DFR has brought you right into the heart of the Forest. There are real ale pubs nearby and a guide to local walks has been published by the DMU Group (the diesel railcar restoration group)and is on sale at the station.
The RSPB Nagshead Reserve Forest of Dean
is within walking distance. After you have snapped everything in sight at this railway photographers’ paradise, why not take a pleasant walk back towards Whitecroft Station.
- Whitecroft Station
The walk from Parkend is approximately 1½ miles (2.4 km) through the forest. The station is adjacent to the Miners' Arms, where meals and real ale are available.
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Timetables, Fares & Further Information
+44 (0)1594-845840 11am to 4pm
Google Maps - Norchard Stations