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“Steam experience for Grandson”

Ribble Steam Railway
Ranked #9 of 63 things to do in Preston
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Hidden away in the heart of Preston's old Industrial Docklands, Ribble Steam Railway has been greeting visitors since 2005. Whatever the weather, you can expect a warm and friendly welcome from Ribble Steam's team of committed volunteers. Whether you are a keen steam enthusiast, or just simply looking for a fun and relaxed day out, Ribble Steam offers a memorable experience of Lancashire's world famous Industrial heritage. Visit the museum discover the history of Preston docks and the story of the first electrical trains. Did you know Preston once had a key role in designing and building trains, close to docks, that were then exported all over the World? Visit the Ribble Steam Railway on any weekend between May and September for steam train rides along our line. The three mile return trip includes crossing the dock swing bridge (a unique feature on our line) and then along the bank of the River Ribble, giving views of The City of Preston that are unique. Train Rides leave from the museum platform at 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400, 1500 and 1600 and your Day Ticket enables you to travel on as many rides as you wish on the day of your visit. Note ALL OUR SEASONAL OPENING TIMES & VARIATIONS ARE CLEARLY SHOWN ON OUR WEBSITE
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children
Lytham St Anne's, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Steam experience for Grandson”
Reviewed 27 July 2014

Never having been to the railway before we set out with our 'almost' 3 year old grandson. He loves his wooden trains and we thought he might like to see the real thing. We expected to be at the attraction for a short time on Saturday morning as we didn't expect the little one to be fully engaged for very long. However we spent well over 4 hours there! We enjoyed several walks around all the exhibits, some of which we could actually mount the cabs etc. This was a really exciting thing for our grandson, who would have loved to climb onto every footplate there.
The small indoor electric train was a great bonus, we had 3 included rides on this, and although very small and short all the children there thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The volunteer running this was very friendly, happy and helpful.
We also had two rides on the full sized steam train which runs every hour. These rides, although quite short, are included in the entrance fee and are unlimited. Staff on board were all very welcoming and informative. The ride takes you into the dock area of Preston, showing off the delightful Riversway area. Once stationary there is a short wait whilst the engine is uncoupled and runs past the coaches to take its place at the other end for the return journey, this was a delight for our grandson as he anticipated the 'shunt' on recoupling.
In between our rides we visited the small cafe where you can buy some great refreshments at very reasonable prices and served by great, friendly, obliging staff.
A visit to the workshop is also a must, although there wasn't much work going on at our visit - the volunteers taking advantage of the good weather in order to eat their lunch outside!
The visit was rounded off with a visit to the giftshop, some reasonable prices here although it is possible to buy some much more expensive items.
To summarise we had a great day out for a reasonable cost, and our grandson went back home trying to get his parents to take him on a revisit tomorrow! Highly recommended for families.

Visited July 2014
5 Thank copsagon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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224 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Southport, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Oh Bored Was I”
Reviewed 26 July 2014

I love trains and I love taking railway journeys and I also would like to visit every preserved line there is to sample in the UK. I have done many large and small.
I would have rated this a 2 out of 5 had it not been for a couple of incidents that happened during the day.
First one was when we managed to find the railway. Some of the signs could be better but there are many places like that so I don't hold it against the railway. So the car was parked and we entered the shop. The selection was limited and I had to admit I was a little disappointed. I spoke to the young man behind the counter who was helpful enough.
Went into their interpretation of a museum. The building is light enough and tidy but I found the miniature railway to be loud and noisy. Also it was driven at high speed between two lines of exhibits.
My suggestion to the railway would be to remove the railway and put it outside. High speed running in reverse is asking for trouble. Once I had a look around I headed out onto the platform. The platform is again neat and tidy and the first thing that is noticeable is the line of tankers that are parked in the far siding. It is good that they are able to provide a freight service and handle bitumen traffic.
As the train arrived the engine run round the train and was then coupled up at the other end ready to depart. I had gone over to take a look and I heard a couple of volunteers and one sounded as if he was slagging off another railway. Now I happen to know of that railway and I volunteer at a line in Wales and I take offence when people slag other railways off. We are all in the industry to help preserve and maintain these wonderful old machines for others to enjoy. If they can only find fault in others then they shouldn't be volunteers.
The train ride was also a little bit of a let down. It wasn't as interesting as I was lead to believe. Also it wasn't the smoothest ride either.
On arriving back I went over to the workshop and had a look around. Quite interesting to see various locomotives in various stages of repair. Cannot quite imagine what they will do with them all once completed as the line is too short in my opinion though I imagine they may well be hired out. My companion had walked further down the shed to view some more locomotives. He spoke to the same young miserable looking lad that had been saying things about another line. The lad walked off up the shed that was off limits to visitors and my companion passed the comment of how unfriendly the lad seemed.
My suggestion would be that volunteers like that should be kept away from public otherwise you may find people will not be wanting to come back. Alas I fall into this category. I didn't find it a good place at all. Only the crew on the loco were interested in talking to the public, the young fireman especially as he was much obliging to let me have a quick look in the cab before departure.
If you have an hour to spare and really want to visit a railway and you are in Preston then fine. If it is a Sunday go to the West Lancs Light Railway instead.

I stand by what I say in the fact that had the young miserable looking volunteer made an effort in talking to my companion, or didn't just sit at the end of the station and slag other railways off then my rating would be a 2. I doubt I will ever visit again

Visited May 2014
5 Thank Jerry M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
quizmaster1957, Marketing Director at Ribble Steam Railway, responded to this review, 5 August 2014
Thank you. We value your visit and appreciate your feedback, particularly as you are a dedicated railway enthusiast with an obvious passion for our sector.

We constantly look at our volunteer recruitment and training and seek to embrace a wide variety of volunteers from different backgrounds, ages and experiences. As you know we rely on volunteers to keep operating and appreciate the free time and effort they put in to enable us to do this. We will address your observations that you talk about in future volunteer training sessions. Thank you for this feedback.

As an organisation. we fully respect other railways and attractions and where possible work in partnership to develop and improve our railway. We are pleased our Fireman gave you a quick look in the cab and the rest of the loco crew were engaging.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Billington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
47 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Visit with grandson in mind”
Reviewed 15 July 2014

It is a great place for children. My grandson,like all little boys, loves trains. We had a ride on the train and a brew when we got back. Not too big to lose children in. Will be taking Morgan there soon.

Visited September 2013
Thank Moongirl1954
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Surprising Gem of a Museum.”
Reviewed 11 July 2014

First impressions disappoint, it appears to be a warehouse on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Preston. I wasn't expecting much. The Entrance is the gift shop, selling the usual array of toys, badges, jigsaws and souvenirs. Pleasant helpful staff will take your entry fee here.

The way in is via an unassuming red door in the corner. Its a bit like the railwayana version of the wardrobe into Narnia. You find yourself in a warehouse crammed with restored locos ranging from the huge Deltic Diesel to rare small locos, even a steam loco with no boiler. Each has an information sheet.

Outside this shed there is a station platform where you can (included in the ticket price) take a trip on a steam train down a mile or so of track which takes you into the old Preston Dock area and back again. In fact you can do this as many times as you wish included in the ticket price.

Across the car park is the workshop where more engines and carriages are being restored by enthusiasts.

It may not have a lot of track, but the Ribble Steam Railway has many more engines than your usual "Heritage Railway"

One thing I really liked was, the locos are not all made up with "Thomas the Tank Engine" faces which disfigure many a Heritage Railway.

Visited June 2014
4 Thank Chris L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bolton le Sands, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“we had a good time”
Reviewed 9 July 2014

Although the train trip is only 30 minutes long the 5 children and three adults in our party had a lovely time - the café is pleasant and the service is friendly.
I'd like to be able to click three boxes (what sort of visit was this) we had 2 teens 3 young children and three foster parents in our group so it was also business (of a sort) contact!

Visited July 2014
Thank DavidKing151
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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