Steam Heritage Railways in the UK

These are the main steam heritage railways in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland. These railways have their own engines, stations and rail track (min 4 miles long).

This list is in early form. Other railways will be added in due course.

= Hidden Map  = No Map  (See below)

Standard Gauge
Battlefield Line Leicestershire Battlefield Line – so called because it runs by the Battle of Bosworth site – has 4½ miles of track running from Shackerstone, through Market Bosworth to Shenton. Originally opened in 1873, it is now the last remaining part of the former Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway. The railway has a selection of heritage diesel railcars which is supplemented with guest steam locomotives. It operates a programme of special gala events with guest locomotives, regular services on weekends, and weekday services during the summer months.
Bluebell Railway Sussex Bluebell Railway was one of the first preserved heritage lines in the country. It opened in August 1960 and now runs steam trains on 11 miles of track between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, stopping at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote.
Bodmin Railway Cornwall A mixed fleet of steam & diesel locomotives on two branch lines, totalling 13 miles, that connect at Bodmin General station.
Caledonian Railway Angus, Scotland Steam and diesel trains on a 4 mile branch line between the town of Brechin to the Bridge of Dun.
Churnet Valley Railway Staffordshire Diesel & steam trains on 10½ miles of track from Froghall via Consall to Cheddleton and then around to Ipstones.
Dartmouth Steam Railway Devon Technically it’s the ‘Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company’. It runs on a fabulous 7 mile line from the centre of Paignton (Torbay), along the seaside then inland to meet the River Dart and then travel along the river down to Kingswear, which is on the east bank facing Dartmouth 200m away. As when it was first built, it terminates at Kingswear where the ferry to Dartmouth departs. The company also operates riverboats and a steam paddle-wheeler, that tour the river Dart up to Totnes.
East Lancashire Railway Lancashire A good collection of steam and diesel locomotives running on a 12 mile track with 7 stations from Rawtenstall to Heywood.
Great Central Railway East Midlands GCR runs steam and diesel trains on 7¾ miles of track (some of it, double track) between Loughborough Central Station and Leicester North Station. However their great Reunification project will connect that track to the rest of the Great Central line to the north, which would add a further 9 miles up to what they are calling Rushcliffe Halt, next to the Rushcliffe country park, outside Ruddington. There, there is a spur that runs into the Nottingham Heritage Railway Centre. The Reunification involves constructing four bridges – two already complete – and an embankment.
Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Yorkshire Heritage steam & diesel-hauled trains on a 5 mile track from Keighley to Oxenhope. They have a large and impressive collection of locomotives. This the railway where the ‘Railway Children’ movies were shot.
Llangollen Railway Denbighshire Steam and diesel locomotives carry passengers 10 miles through five stations along the River Dee from Llangollen Station to the town of Corwen.
Mid-Norfolk Railway Norfolk A slightly unbalanced fleet of locomotives (1 steam, 11 diesel) running on 11½ miles of track between Dereham and Wymondham Abbey, with 4 stations en route. Currently they have an issue with a bridge that needs expensive repairs so they are just operating trains between Dereham – Thuxton. They also have another 5½ miles of track extending north up to County School station, which will hopefully become operational one day soon.
Nene Valley Railway Cambridgeshire A mix of diesel and steam locomotives pulling sightseeing and dining excursions on 7.3 miles of track from Yarwell, through three station stops to Peterborough. The Nene Valley Railway is struggling at the moment. They have created a £300,000 fundraiser to try and stave off bankruptcy. If you can help, please do.
North Norfolk Railway Norfolk Quite a large fleet of impressive steam & diesel locomotives operating on 5 miles of track from Sheringham via Weybourne to Holt.
North Yorkshire Moors Railway Yorkshire The North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) runs 17½ miles (29 kms) through the North York Moors National Park from Whitby to Pickering, through Grosmont, Goathland, Newtondale Halt, and Levisham. The line connects, via Network Rail with the Esk Valley Railway which runs trains from Middlesbrough to Whitby.
Severn Valley Railway Worcestershire Steam and diesel hauled trains running 16 miles from Bridgenorth to Kidderminster. They have a large fleet of vintage steam & diesel locomotives and a couple of interesting carriages – a Royal carriage and a Royal Mail sorting office carriage.
South Devon Railway Devon It used to be called the Dart Valley Railway in my day (my dad was one of the early investors). Seven miles of track through the Dart valley from Buckfastleigh on the edge of Dartmoor down to Totnes station on the mainline. A small fleet of steam & diesel locomotives.
Spa Valley Railway Kent Steam & diesels trains on 5 miles of track from Tunbridge Wells (Kent) to Eridge in Sussex, where they share the station with network rail.
Strathspey Railway Badenoch and Strathspey, Scotland Steam-hauled trains on a nine mile track from Aviemore to Broomhill station, via Boat of Garten. They have ambitions to extend the track to Grantown-on-Spey.
Swanage Railway Dorset Steam and diesel services on 5½ miles of track from Norden down to Swanage on the coast. There are stations at Corfe Castle and Harman’s Cross, and a halt at Herston, on the outskirts of Swanage. The ambition is to open the other half of this branch line from Wareham to Norden.
Watercress Line Hampshire Known as the Watercress Line because it once carried watercress to market in London, now it has a large collection of steam and diesel locomotives and it operates steam and diesel trains on 10 miles of track from Alresford to Alton where it meets the mainline.
West Somerset Railway Somerset Britain’s longest standard gauge heritage railway, running for 20 miles between Bishops Lydeard (4 miles from Taunton) to Minehead on the coast. A small fleet of steam and diesel locomotives.


Narrow Gauge
Brecon Mountain Railway Merthyr Tydfil, Wales Steam engines take passengers 5 miles up into the Brecon Beacons from Pant on the outskirts of Merthyr Tydfil to the village of Torpantau.
Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways Gwynedd,  Wales The Ffestiniog Railway is a 13½ mile (21.7 km) narrow-gauge heritage railway that climbs from the harbour at Porthmadog to the former slate quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog, 700ft up in the Snowdonia National Park. At Porthmadog, it connects with the Welsh Highland Railway (also run by Ffestiniog Railway) which operates 25 miles (40.2 kms) of narrow gauge track to Caernarfon.
Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway East Kent Operational since 1927, the RH&DR is a one-third-sized railway that runs for 13½ miles through Romney Marsh from Hythe to Dungeness, stopping at Dymchurch, St. Mary’s Bay, Romney Warren, New Romney, and Romney Sands, on the way.
Snowdon Mountain Railway Gwynedd, Wales The famous rack & pinion narrow gauge steam railway that travels 4 miles up the steep inclines to the top of Mount Snowdon.
Talyllyn Railway Tywyn, Wales World’s oldest preserved railway, built in 1865 and preserved since 1951. The heritage steam locomotives haul passengers for seven miles (55 mins) from Tywyn on the coast, up to Nant Gwernol in the mountains above Abergynolwyn. They have ambitious plans to upgrade their workshops and buildings over the next few years. (PS. On my ‘route maps’ gripe, Talyllyn has the best on this list – not only interactive, but with sound effects! )
Vale of Rheidol Railway Ceredigion, Wales Narrow gauge steam heritage railway running almost 12 miles between Aberystwyth and Devil’s Bridge. They have just (15/05/2024) opened their 1938 engine shed as a museum space for visitors.


  • Avon Valley Railway 3 miles of standard gauge track on a Beechinged route in the Avon valley.
  • Swindon & Cricklade Railway Steam & diesel-hauled trips on 1¾ miles of standard gauge track from Hayes Knoll, south through Blunsdon to Taw Valley Halt at Mouldon Hill Country Park on the edge of Swindon. They are working on a short extension (700ft) into the park, and at the north end of the line, a 1½ mile extension up to Cricklade.

NB. Some steam heritage railways websites are next to useless.
Lesson 1: ALWAYS have an illustrated map, so visitors understand where your line goes and how it’s structured, especially if it isn’t a simple A to B single track.
Lesson 2: Check you have fulfilled Lesson 1 and it is easy to find on the home page or a top level menu page! (Good examples are Mid-Norfolk and Bluebell Railways)
Lesson 3: Create a proper illustrated map that explains your route(s)/network, stations, and future extensions. A Google map is a cheap cop out.

Heritage railways with a map hidden away on some page in the nether regions of the website are marked with a hidden map icon – it’s there but you’ll have to hunt for it.
  Heritage railways websites with no map.