The Exbury Gardens Railway runs to a colour-coded timetable. The correct timetable for any particular day will be posted at the gate for visitors to see on arrival or you can check on reception, 023 8089 1203. During March and September, a red timetable will run, with departures at 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. On other dates an amber timetable will run, with departures at 11am, 11.45am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.15pm, 3pm & 4pm. On occasion the green timetable (with more departures) will operate. Round-trip journey time is approx. 20 mins. Gardens and Train Combination Tickets may be purchased at the Gardens entrance.
The Railway follows a one and a quarter mile circular route on a 12 ¼” gauge and is a wonderful and evocative way to see the gardens. The sights and sounds of the liveried blue engines are a draw for visitors of all ages. After leaving Exbury Central Station, the train enters the Summer Lane Garden with a bridge, tunnel, causeway and series of individual themed gardens based on character and texture. The collection of plants reflect the seasons and can only be seen from the train.
Children will enjoy spotting a number of woodland moss animals, including deer, rabbits, a squirrel, fox and frog, together with contemporary metal sculptures. Passing out of the Summer Lane Garden, the train travels on through a wooded area, revealing glimpses of the Rock Garden. A steep gradient leads to a curving timber viaduct, with fine views over the Wildlife Ponds.
The train then passes a Plant Nursery and an Exotic Fruit Patch and on to a second lake, home to "Hump-phrey, The Lake Moss Monster." Close by is a Sunflower Field, at its peak in summer, before the train loops around the oldest tree in the Gardens, the Domesday Yew.
Exbury North Halt in the American Garden, so called because it contains rhododendron hybrids from the USA, enables visitors to hop off the train and explore this area before returning to Exbury Central on foot or by train.
The railway track has a journey time of approximately twenty minutes. The trains run according to colour timetables, indicated on our Garden Map and Railway Timetable (see link) which is given to visitors on arrival. Except for March and September weekdays (12 noon) the first train departs Exbury Central at 11am, with the last train generally at 4pm (3pm March and September weekdays).
From May 2010 onwards, visitors have also been able to enjoy the walk-through exhibition "A Dream Come True", opened by Mr Michael Portillo. The exhibition tells the story behind the construction of the Rhododendron Line, and is displayed within Exbury's roomy Engine Shed. The exhibition also features a number of railway posters and items of railway memorabilia.
PLEASE NOTE THAT GARDENS ENTRANCE IS REQUIRED BEFORE ACCESSING THE TRAIN. THIS WAS A PLANNING PRE-REQUISITE WHEN THE RAILWAY WAS CONSTRUCTED IN 2001.
Railway Map 2012
|Name ||No ||Builder ||Type ||Built |
|Rosemary ||- ||Exmoor (315)||0-6-2T ||2001 |
|Naomi ||- ||Exmoor (316) ||0-6-2T ||2002 |
|Eddy ||- ||Exmoor ||0-4-0DH ||2001 |
|Mariloo ||- ||Exmoor ||2-6-0 ||2008 |
Stock: 10 coaches, named Annie, Barbara, Charlotte, Emma, Jocelyne, Kate, Susan, Renee, Bettina and Gwendoline
Record passengers in one day: 1440 May 2004