Situated at Preston Docks, the Ribble Steam Railway whisks visitors on a nostalgic journey through Britain’s rich railway heritage. The museum is home to a plethora of vintage locomotives and engaging exhibits. But it’s more than just a museum. The attraction offers heritage train rides that provide unrivalled views of the historic docklands and River Ribble.
Boarding a train at Ribble Steam Railway offers a rewarding journey along a heritage railway. The line runs across the Preston Docks Swing Bridge and then alongside the River Ribble to Strand Road Crossing at the eastern end of the docks. The 3-mile return trip lasts around 30 minutes.
Trains depart every hour, and visitors can ride as often as they like.
The railway museum showcases an array of vintage diesel and steam locomotives, many of which have been restored at the onsite workshop by their diligent team of volunteers. Here, visitors can take a deep dive into the evolution of locomotives, the industries they served, and the people who built and operated them.
The railway runs every Saturday between April and September. Additional services run around bank holidays, as well as Wednesdays during August. Visitors are advised to check the calendar on the official website before travelling. Operating days are also announced on the official Facebook page.
Alongside their regular schedule, they host special steam weekends. Their much-anticipated Santa Specials in December are a seasonal highlight.
Tickets are affordable, with discounts available for children, seniors, disabled individuals, and carers. Tickets for the regular Saturday rides can be purchased on the day or in advance through their website. The ticket price includes unlimited rides, museum entry, and access to the playground.
Some special events are advanced booking only.
Ribble Steam Railway – Accessibility
The attraction is committed to being accessible to all visitors. Full disabled facilities are available, and the premises provide easy access to all areas. The specially adapted coach offers ramped access for wheelchair users.
Free car parking is available adjacent to the entrance, including accessible parking spaces.
Facilities include a cafe, toilets, and a children’s playground.
Location at Preston Docks and Getting There
The Ribble Steam Railway is located on Chain Caul Road at Preston Docks, west of Preston city centre. The postcode to use for satellite navigation systems is PR2 2PD. The car park is free for visitors.
There are no direct bus services to the attraction. The closest bus stop is near the McDonald’s restaurant at Preston Docks, about half a mile from the railway. Buses calling at this stop include the 74 bus service from Preston Bus Station to Fleetwood.
The nearest train station is Preston Station, over 2 miles away. Visitors arriving by rail should note the 74 bus calls at Preston Train Station.
Other Steam Train Rides and Heritage Railways in North West England
Beyond the Ribble Steam Railway, North West England offers several other steam train rides and heritage railways. These include the West Lancashire Light Railway, South Tynedale Railway, Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, East Lancashire Railway, and Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. Each offers a distinct and captivating experience for rail enthusiasts and casual visitors.
The West Lancashire Light Railway is a charming, two-foot narrow-gauge railway located in the village of Hesketh Bank between Preston and Southport. The volunteer-run railway is home to a variety of preserved industrial locomotives. On operating days, visitors can enjoy rides on their passenger trains, browse the collection of locomotives, and relax in the tea room.
The South Tynedale Railway is one of England’s highest narrow-gauge railways. The five-mile line runs through the picturesque South Tyne Valley, from Alston in Cumbria to Slaggyford in Northumberland.
The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is a 7-mile narrow-gauge heritage railway in Cumbria. The line runs from the coastal village of Ravenglass to Dalegarth Station near Boot. The journey offers breathtaking views of the Lake District scenery. Passengers can choose from open or covered carriages.
The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway offers a fantastic steam train ride through the heart of the beautiful Lake District. The 3-mile route begins at Haverthwaite, winds its way through the scenic Leven Valley, and terminates at Lakeside on the shore of Windermere. A notable highlight of this railway is the opportunity for passengers to connect with the sailings of Windermere Lake Cruises. This blend of rail and lake travel distinctly sets it apart from other heritage railways and adds a unique charm to its appeal.
The East Lancashire Railway provides a more extensive rail journey. Steam and diesel trains travel a 12-mile route from Heywood in Greater Manchester to Rawtenstall in Lancashire. Stops include Bury and Ramsbottom. This heritage railway is known for its events calendar, which includes 1940s weekends, dining experiences, and the popular Santa Specials.