HDL Railtour archive

This page was assembled on 4 October 2007, and
last modified on 7 April 2024.

This is a listing of all public railtours which HDL has operated, since our train’s return to main-line running in 1996, up to the present time.

This archive does not include railtours run by other operators (e.g. Branch Line Society, UK Railtours), nor other excursions our train has worked (e.g. Portsmouth – Cardiff rugby specials).

All tours began at Hastings unless otherwise stated.

All railtours since 2001 were advertised on this website. The archived publicity material for each has been made available through the links shown (in latter cases this is via the event’s news-article).

This archive is listed in reverse chronological order.

Date Railtour Details Notes
Saturday 6 April 2024 Cogload Climber via Reading to Exeter, back via Eastleigh
Saturday 6 January 2024 Surrey Hills Surprise to Hayes (Kent) and Guildford
Sunday 3 September 2023 Cambridge Clipper to Cambridge and Ely 7-car train: motor coach 60119 in passenger service
Saturday 8 July 2023 Jurassic Coast Explorer to Reading and Weymouth 7-car train: motor coach 60119 added
Saturday 25 March 2023 Avon Ambassador to Bath and Bristol
Saturday 18 February 2023 Medway Valley Venturer to Maidstone West and Faversham Retention toilets fitted
Saturday 18 June 2022 Jolly Fisherman to Skegness via Sleaford Curtailed because of a faulty fire alarm
Saturday 7 May 2022 Worcester Sauce DEMU to Worcester Shrub Hill via Redhill, Oxford and the Cotswold Line HDL’s 85th main-line railtour
Saturday 2 April 2022 Medstead Mountaineer to Alton and the Mid-Hants Watercress Line
Saturday 8 January 2022 Southern Mariner Via Redhill and Chichester to Portsmouth Harbour
Saturday 11 September 2021 Faversham Flyer Via Rye and Ashford to Canterbury East and Faversham
Saturday 7 August 2021 Sussex & Kent Explorer Started at Eastbourne; to Hastings and Tonbridge and back to Hastings, twice
Saturday 11 January 2020 Faversham Hop Started at Eastbourne; to Hastings, Rye, Ashford, Canterbury East and Faversham
Saturday 14 September 2019 Ludgershall Legionnaire To Salisbury and MoD Ludgershall, out via Westbury, return via Fareham
Saturday 6 July 2019 Dean Forest Foray To Gloucester and the Dean Forest Railway
Saturday 11 May 2019 East Anglian Explorer To Norwich and Lowestoft
Saturday 6 April 2019 Dave Markwick Memorial Tour To London Charing Cross, Isle of Grain, and Angerstein Wharf
Saturday 4 August 2018 Weymouth Warrior Via Redhill and Guildford to Southampton and Weymouth
Saturday 16 June 2018 South Devon Coaster Via Redhill and Reading to Exeter, Dawlish, Teignmouth and Paignton
Saturday 21 April 2018 West Norfolk Wanderer To Cambridge, Ely and King’s Lynn, plus a visit to the old Middleton Towers branch
Saturday 30 September 2017 Alpine Sunset To the Mid-Hants Watercress Line via Redhill, return also via Ascot and Reading
Saturday 30 July 2017 Strike Back Express Via Redhill to Bath and Keynsham, outbound via Didcot, return via Newbury; joint charter/railtour with Strike Back Against Blood Cancer
Saturday 1 July 2017 Cleethorpes Clipper To Lincoln and Cleethorpes
Saturday 27 May 2017 Oxford Rover To Oxford: out via GWR route, back via Chiltern
Saturday 13 May 2017 Fawley Forester Via Redhill and Woking to Southampton and the Fawley branch; joint charter/railtour with Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership
Saturday 31 December 2016 Canterbury Bell Started at Eastbourne; to Hastings, Rye, Ashford, Canterbury East and Faversham
Sunday 18 September 2016 Ardingly Arrow To London Victoria, Haywards Heath, Ardingly and Brighton
Saturday 23 July 2016 Weybourne Wanderer To Norwich, Cromer and the North Norfolk Railway
Saturday 7 May 2016 Hastings Blue Belle To the Bluebell Railway and Uckfield
Saturday 5 December 2015 Salisbury Star 2 To Salisbury via Guildford
Saturday 19 September 2015 Leicestershire Bell To Leicester and the Great Central Railway (Nottingham)
Saturday 4 July 2015 Warwickshire Wanderer To Leamington Spa, Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon
Saturday 18 April 2015 Green Dragon Via Guildford, Woking and Salisbury to Cardiff
Saturday 13 September 2014 Essex Coast Express Via London Liverpool Street to Clacton
Saturday 12 July 2014 Hastings Diesels Crewe Via the WCML to Crewe GSM-R fitted
Saturday 20 July 2013 Weymouth Envoy To Waterloo and Weymouth
Saturday 24 November 2012 Canterbury Trail To Rochester, Canterbury and the Dungeness branch
Saturday 15 September 2012 Western Forester To Gloucester and the Dean Forest Railway
Saturday 7 July 2012 Channel Two To Bath, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare
Saturday 12 May 2012 Nene Machine To Peterborough and the Nene Valley Railway
Saturday 31 March 2012 Thames Tidal To Fenchurch Street, Southend and Shoeburyness
Saturday 3 December 2011 Old Curiosity Mystery To London Cannon Street, Rochester and Ashford
Saturday 10 September 2011 Midland Pioneer To Leicester, Loughborough and Butterley
Saturday 25 June 2011 Dorset Diadem To Bournemouth and Swanage
Saturday 14 May 2011 Metrolander To Beaconsfield, Aylesbury and Quainton Road
Saturday 26 March 2011 Norfolk Navigator To Ely and Dereham
Saturday 19 February 2011 Winter Enigma To Bedford and Bletchley
Saturday 18 September 2010 English Electric Echo To Boston and Skegness
Saturday 19 June 2010 West Somerset Limited To Minehead via Guildford
Saturday 24 April 2010 Severn Explorer To Kidderminster and the Severn Valley Railway
Saturday 20 March 2010 Solent Sentinel To Chichester and Portsmouth via London Victoria 6-car train: CEP coach reinstated
Saturday 5 December 2009 Christmas Scholar To Cambridge via Rye
Saturday 3 October 2009 Worcester Leveller To Worcester, return via Lickey Incline
Saturday 4 July 2009 Midland Forester To Nottingham via Loughborough
Saturday 21 March 2009 Wiltshire Warrior To Salisbury via Tonbridge, Guildford and Eastleigh
Sunday 21 December 2008 Christmas Onward tour To London Victoria and Folkestone Harbour 5-car train: CEP coach and motor coach Hastings removed; CDL fitted
Sunday 17 July 2005 Mid-Hants Venturer To Alton and the Mid-Hants Railway
Saturday 25 June 2005 West Country Cruiser, plus Tarka Special To Exeter, plus a Special down the “Tarka” line to Barnstaple
Saturday 7 May 2005 Lincoln Green To Lincoln, returning through Nottingham
Sunday 13 March 2005 Lydd Ranger Down the Lydd branch to Dungeness, also taking in Canterbury and Dover
Saturday 13 November 2004 London Tripper / Hastings Time Traveller Two return trips between coast and capital, in conjunction with the Lord Mayor’s Show
Saturday 25 September 2004 Suffolk Clipper To Norwich, Ipswich and Lowestoft
Saturday 10 April 2004 Salisbury Bunny Easter Saturday trip via Guildford to Salisbury
Saturday 6 December 2003 Medway Cracker To the Medway towns, plus a trip down the Sheerness branch and a visit to Charing Cross station 6-car train (just this tour)
Saturday 5 July 2003 Deal Wayfarer To Deal, with reversal at Dover and photo-stop at Newington
Saturday 7 December 2002 Cambridge Cracker Pre-Christmas trip to Cambridge 7-car train: motor coach Mountfield added
Saturday 31 August 2002 Cardiff Chieftain To Cardiff, running out via Salisbury and back via Didcot
Saturday 20 July 2002 Canterbury Champion An afternoon/evening trip to Canterbury and Ramsgate
Saturday 16 March 2002 Dover Belle To London Bridge and then to Dover, returning via a reversal at Chislehurst
Saturday 8 December 2001 Salisbury Star Pre-Christmas trip to Salisbury via Clapham Junction
Saturday 15 September 2001 Wessex Wanderer To Poole via Guildford, return via Woking and London Bridge; including visit to Hythe & Fawley branch
Saturday 21 July 2001 Western Ranger To Gloucester via Brighton and Eastleigh
Saturday 16 June 2001 Mid-Summer Evening Explorer To Tonbridge (non-stop) and back to Hastings, then to Folkestone Harbour via Rye, return via Paddock Wood and Tunbridge Wells 7-car train (just this tour): with motor coach 977940 (ex 1131)
Saturday 5 May 2001 Spalding Flower Special To Spalding via Kensington Olympia
Sunday 11 March 2001 All Points of the Kent Compass A meander around Kent, including the disused Lydd and Dungeness branch, Margate, Sheerness-on-Sea and Maidstone West
Saturday 9 December 2000 The Oxford Rover To Oxford via Tonbridge and Redhill
Saturday 15 July 2000 The Arun Valley DEMU A midsummer’s-evening trip (1600 start) to Bognor Regis via Hove, return via Arundel
Saturday 10 June 2000 The Torbay DEMU Via Kensington Olympia, Reading and Westbury to Exeter, Dawlish, Torquay, Paignton and Kingswear 6-car train: “BIG” buffet-car added
Saturday 26 February 2000 The Bristolian DEMU Via Bromley South, Reading, Didcot and Swindon to Bath, Bristol and Weston Super Mare
Saturday 11 December 1999 The Fenman DEMU Via Kensington Olympia, Hitchin, Cambridge and Ely to Kings Lynn, plus a visit to the old Middleton Towers branch
Tuesday 10 & Wednesday 11 August 1999 The Eclipse DEMU A railtour nearly 24 hours long, to see the total eclipse of the sun! Ran from Hastings (Tuesday 2230) via Clapham Jn (0020 Weds), Basingstoke (0134), Salisbury (0225-0535), Westbury and Totnes to Buckfastleigh (arr 0900), returning by same route (1330-2157); eclipse itself was 0958-1234, totality 1113-1114
Saturday 19 June 1999 The North Norfolk DEMU Via Bromley South, Stratford and Shenfield to Norwich, Wroxham, Cromer and Sheringham
Friday 5 June 1998 The Downs, Marsh & Weald DEMU A circular trip via Eastbourne, Lewes, Redhill, Godstone, Tonbridge, Maidstone West, Paddock Wood (reverse) and Ashford to Hastings, rounded off by a return trip to Eastbourne and Lewes
Saturday 9 May 1998 The South Devon DEMU Via Waterloo, Woking and Salisbury to Exeter, Dawlish and Totnes, continuing through to Buckfastleigh (1417-1515); return including Exeter St. Davids – Exeter Central and back, and via Basingstoke & Waterloo
Saturday 6 December 1997 The Sarum DEMU Via Waterloo, Salisbury and Sherborne to Yeovil Junction & Yeovil Pen Mill
Saturday 27 September 1997 The Rutland DEMU Via Clapham Junction to Leicester, a trip via Oakham to Corby and back, return via Oakham, East Coast Main Line, and Kensington Olympia Class 31 haulage for part of tour
Saturday 10 May 1997 The Broadsman DEMU Via Kensington Olympia, Stratford, Shenfield and Diss to Norwich, Lowestoft, Berney Arms and Great Yarmouth
Saturday 8 March 1997 The Shakespeare DEMU Via Kensington Olympia, Reading, Oxford, Leamington Spa and Warkwick to Stratford-upon-Avon and the reopened Birmingham Snow Hill
Saturday 14 December 1996 The Bath and Cranmore DEMU To Bath Spa and Cranmore (East Somerset Railway) via Kensington Olympia and Reading
Saturday 21 September 1996 The Quantock DEMU To Westbury, Frome, Bishops Lydeard & the West Somerset Railway to Minehead, out via Kensington Olympia and Reading and returning through Virginia Water
Saturday 17 August 1996 The Crewe & Chester DEMU To Crewe (Works open-day) and Chester, via Kensington Olympia, Watford Junction, Northampton (photo-stop) and Lichfield Trent Valley; returned departing Crewe 1616, photo-stop at Tamworth, pathing-stop at Lichfield TV, arr Hastings 2128 5-car train: CEP coach added
Saturday 11 May 1996 The Hastings DEMU Phoenix Tour Hastings 0905 to Ashford, Canterbury West, Minster, Dover Priory, Deal, Margate and Ashford; then to Folkestone Harbour (plus 2 shuttles to Folkestone East), then via Headcorn and Tonbridge to Charing Cross. The tour concluded with a non-stop journey from Charing Cross to Hastings at 1734. This was HDL’s return to the main line, and was 10 years to the day since the Hastings DEMUs’ final day of BR operation. 4-car train.