This page and contents last changed on Wednesday 21 February 2024

Saturday 6 April 2024: HDL Cogload Climber railtour to Exeter

Our second railtour of 2024 is to Exeter, the county town of Devon. The leaflet contains further details.

Standard Class fares seat in trailer coach (C/D) £80
bay of 4 seats in trailer coach (C/D) £300
seat in motor coach (E) £87
First Class fares seat in trailer coach (B) £103
seat in motor coach (A) £110

Route and Timings

This trip picks up at our usual stops from Hastings to Tonbridge, including also Crowhurst. After leaving Bromley South our train will take a somewhat circular route, calling at Kensington (Olympia) and joining the Great Western Main Line via the Poplar spur to our final call at Reading. We then run via the Berks & Hants line, passing Westbury, Cogload Junction and Taunton to reach Exeter where we climb the half-mile 1:37 ascent to reach Exeter Central.

Our return is via Salisbury and the West of England line to set down at Basingstoke and London Waterloo. If you need to return to Reading or Kensington (Olympia), please arrange this travel as our DEMU won’t be returning that way!

The timings shown in our leaflet have been estimated by us, and we will provide the accurate timings here as soon as we have them.


Fares, estimated timings, further details and booking-instructions may be found in the leaflet; please check our Seat Availability Guide before making your booking. We support paperless booking, so please use it if you can.

Update: Wednesday 21 February 2024

Bookings have just gone on general release.

We have very recently been made aware of a late-notice line blockage at Andover which is going to require a diversion via Romsey on our return journey. Details will become available when we receive timings from Network Rail, but it may slightly restrict the amount of time we can spend in Exeter.

Please check our Seat Availability Guide for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding seats that are available for booking on this railtour.

Terms & Conditions

Tickets are sold subject to our Code of Conduct and Booking Conditions. Children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Smoking or vaping are not permitted anywhere on our train, and e-scooters may not be brought onto the train under any circumstances. Bicycles cannot be carried, except folding bicycles with prior approval. Please consult our Accessibility Policy.

Plans for future railtours

Thank you for supporting our railtours in 2023 and beyond.

Details of, and booking-instructions for, our future railtours will appear here when they are available; when that happens, those on our emailing list & our followers on Twitter will receive notifcation.

Possible dates for your diary (updated 18 February 2024)

These outline plans are unavoidably subject to cancellation, modification or change of date (except where stated to the contrary), until a trip is properly advertised.

No bookings or reservations will be accepted for any outing shown in this panel, unless you have received a letter or email from HDL pre-advertising a particular trip. This is to ensure everyone has a fair opportunity to make bookings.

Further information and resources

Code of Conduct

It is a condition of holding a ticket for any outing on our train that passengers abide by the letter and spirit of our Code of Conduct (updated May 2023).

Leaning out of windows

We continue to endeavour to keep our passengers safe by not allowing them to lean out of our train’s windows. This notice (updated January 2021) contains further information.

Booking Conditions

By travelling on an HDL railtour or buying a ticket to do so, you are deemed to be accepting our Booking Conditions as well as our Code of Conduct.

Accessibility Policy

HDL’s 1950s-built train may pose difficulties to certain classes of user: our Accessibility Policy describes what these are and how they may affect users.

Folding bicycles

It may be possible for you to bring your folding bicycle on the Hastings DEMU, with prior written approval; our guidelines on carriage of folding bikes will help you to determine your bike’s suitability for carriage.

Railtour Archive

We can recommend a dip into the HDL Railtour archive, which contains details of all the previous “days out” which HDL has operated to date; you may also find interesting our YouTube Channel which contains 32 cab-ride videos featuring outings during 2016–18.