by Phil Marsh

Charity Charter trains support hospices

Published: 21st April 2014

Compass Railtours and Northern Belle to help vital fundraising

A couple of special fund-raising charter trains have been announced, one by Compass Railtours and the other by Northern Belle, the Pullman train promoter. They are both raising funds for hospices.

Compass Railtours are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year and has teamed up with The Severn Hospice to create a new railtour venture which will raise funds for the Hospice which gives specialist end of life care and symptom control for people living with progressive and terminal illnesses at its facilities in Shrewsbury, Telford and Newtown.

The organisation funds the majority of its expenditure through a charity which this year celebrates its silver anniversary. They, as with all such ventures, are always looking at ways to generate new income by diversifying and along with Compass Railtours, are to test the charter train idea with two special trains which if successful, will be repeated.

First off is ‘The Severn Riviera Express’ which runs from Whitchurch and calls at Wem, Shrewsbury, Wellington, Telford Central, Shifnal, Albrighton and Wolverhampton before heading south and west to Exeter, Torquay and Paignton on June 14. The train travels outwards via Coventry, Oxford, Swindon and Melksham and returns via Bristol, Cheltenham, the Lickey incline and Birmingham New Street.

They said;

Rob Wilde, associate director at Severn Hospice said: “We are thrilled to announce the launch of the first of our special trips aboard the Severn Riviera Express. This will be the first time we have organised anything like this and we hope it will appeal to everybody. Whether you want to treat yourself to a luxury day out, are a rail enthusiast relishing the thought of a ride on some unusual railway lines or just looking to enjoy a day by the seaside.

“We will be using a set of air-conditioned carriages from Riviera Trains which will be hauled by two class 37 locomotives from Direct Rail Services. It is also great to be working with Compass Tours by Rail who are helping us with promotion and ticket handling.

Prices vary between a basic standard class seat at £74 to full dining at £169 per person and Mr Wilde reminds everyone that “Every penny of profit we make from the train trips will help support our vital services across Shropshire and Mid Wales.”

For more information about the train trips please visit . or call the Severn Hospice Retail team on 01743 272 082.

One-off luxury Pullman Charity charter

The Belmont owned and promoted Northern Belle will be used for another fund-raising hospice charter on a special trip to Bath from Worcester on 20th September. This train is all about experiencing the nostalgic era of luxury train travel and will benefit The St Richard’s Hospice which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

They said; Rachel Jones of St Richard’s Hospice said, “We will be starting in Worcester where guests can enjoy a glass of Bellini and a delicious brunch and travel in the lap of luxury to the historic city of Bath. Then returning on the train in the early evening they will be served a delicious three course meal, champagne and wine whilst gliding through the countryside.”

She added, “There will be superb cuisine, impeccable service and a few special St Richard’s touches, making this a memorable day out. If you are looking for a unique gift this Christmas or are planning a special celebration for a birthday or anniversary this would be just the ticket!”

This trip is not for the feint-hearted as tickets are £380 per person but a few surprises are hinted at by the organisers. For more information please contact Rachel Jones or Tricia Cavell on 01905 763963 or visit

Fund-raisers for Enthusiasts

There are a couple of charters being unashamedly arranged for enthusiasts and the first one is on May 10 promoted by Pathfinders. This runs around most lines in the Carlisle area using a pair of Class 37s from Direct Rail Services and some of their carriages. It is being run in conjunction with DRS and the staff from Carlisle Signalbox which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

The proposed route for this train is from Carlisle station at 11am and to visit Kingmoor-Carlisle Warehousing-Stainton Jn (reverse)-Mossband Jcn-Longtown Siding N.R. limit- Caldew Jcn-Carlisle station-London Road- Upperby Through Siding-Penrith-Shap-Tebay-Bog Jn-Currock Jcn. and back to Carlisle station at 1600hrs.

Charity Charters

Charity Charters arrange several trains a year specifically to raise money for good causes. Look out for a trip on 26 July using the yellow liveried Network Rail (NR) Class 31 diesels which are likely to be withdrawn this year after half a century of work.

The train is thought to be running from London to Derby and into the former Railway Technical Centre at Derby and then visit the Midland Railway Centre at Butterly and on to the NR test track at High Marnham.

The second train is to be run in August or September and called ‘The Four Triangles’ and is expected to traverse the brand new Bacon Factory Curve in Ipswich plus to visit the Felixstowe North container terminal. It is also planned to visit the Johnston Logistics at Eccles Road and Chelmsford Yard with the train starting at Crewe calling at Milton Keynes Central, Watford Junction and Hackney Wick.

It will be hauled by a pair of DRS Class 37s and will traverse all three sides of all four triangular junctions on the Great Eastern Mainline at Stratford, Norwich, Ipswich and Manningtree, hence the train name.

All profit is to be donated to The Adventist Development & Relief Agency (ADRA) who, at the time of writing, are busy helping in The Philippines and many other locations throughout the world.

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