An Independent Guide to Britain’s Preserved Railways
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Getting There

By train - The nearest main line station is Braintree which is served by National Express East Anglia services from London Liverpool Street via Witham. The Colne Valley Railway is a 9 mile bus ride from Braintree.

By Car - The Colne Valley Railway is on the A1017 near the village of Castle Hedingham (don’t turn off this road into the village), it’s signposted and easy to find. see location on the map above.


The map below shows the location of Castle Hedingham station, Colne Valley Railway, click on the marker for more information. Use the zoom and pan tools to explore the map.



The Colne Valley Railway operates on most weekends and bank holidays from April to October along with some mid week running at certain times, Santa Specials and other events (refer to the CVR website for details, see link below).

In addition to the one mile standard gauge line there is a 600 metre 7¼" gauge miniature railway which was opened in 2008.


The railway is home to 11 steam locomotives, 11 diesel locomotives together with diesel railbuses and multiple units. Visiting locomotives provide additional interest, including the National Railway Museum’s replica of Stevenson’s Rocket which has visited twice.


Passengers are carried in a collection of restored historic carriages and several BR Mk 1 coaches dating from the 1950s. The railway provides stationary and mobile dining train facilities which can be hired for special occasions.


Before moving to the south west, I lived in north Essex and south Suffolk for many years. The nearest railway heritage site to most of the places I lived was the Stour Valley Railway which has now been more accurately renamed ‘East Anglian Railway Museum’. So for many years, the Colne Valley Railway was my nearest preserved railway, I saw it transformed from a motley collection of relics to the quality heritage railway that occupies the site today.

Having worked for British Railways, I have been inside two of the signal boxes and walked over the footbridge in their original locations. I vaguely remember the derelict Sible and Castle Hedingham station before it was moved brick by brick down the road to the Colne valley Railway. So, despite the distance I now live from this little railway, I feel an attachment to it.

A visit to the CVR is a special day out for all the family, as well as the relocated, restored and rebuilt structures which provide a period atmosphere, the mile long line follows the course of the River Colne though beautiful countryside. You can explore the varied collection of vintage steam and diesel locomotives and rolling stock, visit the SM32 and G gauge garden railway, and ride on the 600 metre 7¼" Miniature Railway.

There are also two 00 gauge model railway layouts open on certain days operated by the Halstead Model Railway Club. Other attractions include the exhibition centre, Farm Park, working Signalbox, buffet carriage and station shop.

The preservationists at the Colne Valley Railway have done a remarkable job in bringing together endangered railway heritage from Essex and Suffolk which would otherwise have been lost. It is the only place for miles around that you can still experience the historic atmosphere of a rural branch line. This together with the other attractions on the site make it well worth planning a day out there.

If you have a dog please take note that they are not allowed anywhere on the site.

A Microcosm of a Typical Essex Country Branch Line.

Occupying a 1 mile stretch of the former Colne Valley and Halstead Railway near Castle Hedingham, the Colne Valley Railway has been built from scratch on what was effectively a green field site.

Brief History

A company was founded to run the Colne valley Railway and the volunteer helpers which had soon gathered formed the Colne Valley Preservation Society to assist the company in building and running the railway.

The Colne Valley Railway is a unique preservation project and the site is still being developed. It’s also a popular tourist attraction and is the only true steam operated railway in Essex, the other examples being museums rather than railways.


Map | Getting There | Attractions & Facilities | Operation | Brief History | Review | Links

Contact Details

Headquarters Address:




Colne Valley Railway
Castle Hedingham

01787 461174

Colne Valley Railway at a Glance

Type: Railway heritage centre

Gauge: Standard, 4’ 8½”

Length: 1 mile

Stations: 1

First opened: 1863

Closed: 1961 (passenger) 1965 (freight)

Re-opened in preservation: 1975


Attractions and Facilities