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“Lovely day trip”

Colne Valley Railway
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Enjoy a trip on our mile length of line on the original Colne Valley and Halstead Railway. Re-located buildings, signal boxes etc., all lovingly restored by volunteers. Mixture of steam and diesel operating days, miniature 7 1/4" railway, garden layout and new for this year large 00 gauge layout. Visit the working signalbox, exhibition centre, Travelling Post Office and shop. Excellent buffet facilities, large free car park, admission covers all facilities. Dine in style on our Pullman train (selected dates only) and Thomas the Tank Engine events.
London
Level Contributor
36 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Lovely day trip”
Reviewed September 30, 2013

Having driven past this site earlier in the week we made sure we visited before we left the local area. Admission for two adults was £9.00 each and debit / credit cards are accepted in the gift shop. For food on the buffet car though make sure that you do carry some cash.

On site there is a huge model railway which was tended to all day. We watched the young man very diligently care for the trains and the carriages fixing the items that weren't running. It was hypnotic.Also on site is a great little miniature railway which adults and children can ride upon. It goes through little tunnels and the people running it were just lovely and thoroughly enjoyed their work. There is also a garden model railway which was just wonderful to watch and I found myself thinking about how cool it would be to have this in my garden too.

For food we went to the buffet car and I would recommend sending one of your party to a table whilst the other queues if you go at lunch time as it does get busy. We had toasties, chips and several desserts and one thing is for certain- You are not short changed. The sizes of the dishes were more than adequate and were of a good quality. Just one note, the afternoon teas come with two enormous home made scones. My advice would be to buy one, buy another hot drink and to share the scones as there was too much for one person alone.

The big steam and diesel trains operate frequently along the track and are operated by enthusiasts by hand and they have a real live working signal box in action which you can watch them working on.

We spent a good four hours there watching the trains, riding the trains and trying to sort the post in the old Royal Mail carriage and we had a superb day. The staff were all very friendly and knowledgeable and were very welcoming. Throughly enjoyed ourselves.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank RachyRach27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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123 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Colchester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Overall disappointed”
Reviewed September 30, 2013

My husband and me went with our 21month old son on Saturday. 1st train we went on was stationary for about 15minutes before moving, it went up the track for about 3minutes before stopping again!!
We then went to lunch....... Thought my husband had got lost in the que he was gone so long! While waiting for our food a waitress came over and said they had no pasties left(they had 4 under the counter when my husband ordered!) so they offered him a sausage roll instead. After waiting about an hr for our lunch it arrived!! Mine was a cheese ploughmen's with a few crisps thrown over it and a squashed dry bread roll to go with it. My husband had a bite size sausage roll and a handful of crispy chips all this for £16!! So glad I made a packed lunch for my son shame I didn't for us. After lunch we went on Thomas the tank engine again stationary for ages before going down the track for about 5minutes before stopping again. There wasn't alot for children to do considering its called a day out with Thomas. They could make it so much better! Really disappointed with the service and lunch. Didn't really get much out of the day considering we spent £35 on tickets.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Staciz82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chairman-CVR, Chairman at Colne Valley Railway, responded to this review, October 1, 2013
Thank you for your review. The length of our railway line is 1 mile, with the station in the middle meaning our operation is different to most other railways. However, we do have a large site with many other attractions that you did not mention, including rides on 4 different trains (one miniature), garden railway, large model railway, etc. making a much more varied, and in our view enjoyable, day out. It has the added effect that visitors get to see Thomas more often then on a longer line as he is always passing the train during the run rounds or through the station.

The buffet caused issues at the weekend as it was resourced to the level of expected visitors from the advance bookings (plus a 25% allowance). We actually had so many people turn up without tickets (some 225% over what was expected) that the buffet was extremely busy. Had we any indication that this was to be the case, then we would have laid on additional facilities. However, outside caterers would also expect to cover their costs and we could not demonstrate that to them from the advance booking figures.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Braintree, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Not what I expected could have been so much better.”
Reviewed September 29, 2013 via mobile

With previous reviews the length of train journey was a real disappointment, 300 yards is feeble. I went with 4 other adults and a two year old so we paid 60 odd quid to get in and for that money I would expect so much more. The museum was the highlight for me quite interesting but other parts were rubbish. A rubbish model train track with all sorts of figures scattered in between so boring and some sort of fair ground noise box which was with out a doubt the most annoying thing I have ever seen . The staff were pleasant though.The buffet was an utter joke we waited in a queue for over 20 mins then waited for our food for the best part of an hour . the food was tripe and even the peas were burnt! Also the Heinze sauce bottles were filled with cheap rubbish. Please note there was a 10min complaint queue in the buffet. I did read the buffet was run by an outside source , well get rid .if you serve good quick food then you have happy people! There were half a dozen people in the kitchen and my sister who is a chef could have got them orders out quicker on her own. All in all this place needs a business brain to up its game .

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank chippy200
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chairman-CVR, Chairman at Colne Valley Railway, responded to this review, October 1, 2013
Thank you for your review. The length of our railway line is 1 mile, with the station in the middle meaning our operation is different to most other railways. However, we do have a large site with many other attractions that you did not mention, including rides on 4 different trains (one miniature), garden railway, large model railway, etc. making a much more varied, and in our view enjoyable, day out. It has the added effect that visitors get to see Thomas more often then on a longer line as he is always passing the train during the run rounds or through the station.

The buffet caused issues at the weekend as it was resourced to the level of expected visitors from the advance bookings (plus a 25% allowance). We actually had so many people turn up without tickets (some 225% over what was expected) that the buffet was extremely busy. Had we any indication that this was to be the case, then we would have laid on additional facilities. However, outside caterers would also expect to cover their costs and we could not demonstrate that to them from the advance booking figures.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Worst day out - Ever!!!! Overpriced rubbish dump!!!!”
Reviewed September 28, 2013

My god, where do I start!!! We paid £42 for 2 adults, 3 yr old and 1 yr old. We started on the Thomas train and we thought it had broken down! It shuffled along for approx 30 seconds, stopped for 15 mins and then shuffled again for 30 seconds and that was the ride!!!! Our 3 yr kept saying I want Thomas to move and we were flabbergasted that THAT was the ride!!!! Decided to get some food from the buffet cart. Waited in a very long queue for approx 30 mins, placed the order with some school kids (looked like work experience) and went to find seating!!! No seating anywhere and ending up on a patch of muddy grass!!! Waited about 20 mins on the dirt patch and my husband managed to get a table inside the buffet cart. The table was covered with dirty food trays full of half eaten food that had not been cleared away and we had to ask 3 times for it to be cleared!!! We continued to wait another 40 mins before our food arrived having waited 1 hr for food!!! Absolute joke when you have kids!!! Upon eating the very bland and basic food my husband and I could not wait to be out of the hell hole!!! Complete joke!!! Would like a full refund due to misrepresentation of what was sold to us and what it actually entails!!! STAY AWAY, complete and utter joke!!! PS Also they don't accept card payment only cash... Whats that all about!!!!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank Donsalv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisbech
Level Contributor
28 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“A nice little railway centre”
Reviewed September 27, 2013

A nice little railway centre with lots of nice items. Sadly a lot of the stock is rotting away unrestored including the famous Bullied "Blue Star" Locomotive which seems to have made little or no progress in 30+ years of preservation. The journey is too short for the price paid and the line needs to expand a bit more to give a better journey. There are some lovely exhibits and most staff are friendly.

I say most staff are friendly but the first visit in June we had wasn't a success, we arrived to find the line shut and a grumpy chap cutting some grass down. He said sniffly "I do the website and, I, know when the line is open", we had checked the website before starting out and the site showed the line was open. We tried to phone but no one answers the telephones.

The buffet was ok, typical MK1 buffet packet fare, wasps were a real problem.

It's a nice place and could be so much more with a little work.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Paul J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chairman-CVR, Chairman at Colne Valley Railway, responded to this review, October 1, 2013
Many thanks for your review.

Blue Star is owned by a separate group of volunteers who also own one of our LMS Black 5 locomotives which is the main focus of their attention. However, they are in the process of completely overhauling Blue Star's cab with the intention that visitors will be allowed into the cab from next year - it has been positioned at a specially constructed platform to allow this.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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