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Avon Valley Railway

The Avon Valley Railway is based at Bitton Station, midway between Bristol and Bath. An original former Midland Railway station it has been painstakingly restored by volunteers. Bitton Station, built from local stone, once dispatched paper to London from the Golden Valley Paper Mills, soda from the Keynsham works, yellow ochre from Golden Valley; distributed coal and local growers sent flowers and vegetables to Bristol market. The Bristol Suburban Railway Society was set up in 1972 and in October 1979 the Bristol Suburban Railway Society was incorporated into the Bitton Railway Co Ltd. Their aim was to "preserve, operate and exhibit for the public benefit, for educational and instructional purposes, and to stimulate and encourage interest in all kinds of railway transportation systems, vehicles and equipment and to foster and support railway preservation".

The Avon Valley Railway is an exciting and fun experience for the whole family. A six mile return train ride along the former Mangotsfield to Bath Green Park branch of the old Midland Railway gives riders a fantastic view of the River Avon valley. The Avon Riverside platform allows passengers to avail themselves of the many attractions on offer including a 40 minute boat trip on the River Princess along the beautiful River Avon. There are riverside pubs, picnic area, and walks in the beautiful surrounding countryside. All around the station site are locomotives, carriages and wagons in various stages of restoration and repair.

There are special 'Thomas' Days when Thomas and his friends take over the railway for the weekend. There is a special Fathers Day outing with the Steam 'n' Cuisine service operating. Polish Steam Engine Day in June celebrates the day of the return to steam of the locomotive from Poland. It was built in 1954 for industrial use in Polish mines and steelworks and was restored and put back into working order in 1998. In June there is a Murder Mystery - Cowboy Western themed evening organised in conjunction with Berkshire based Mystery in Mind. Fare includes the train ride, two course meal and the murder mystery entertainment. The Vintage Bus Rally 2005 is held on a Sunday in August. Buses from all round the country visit and entry is free. Santa Specials are held from the end of November through December when passengers can take a Christmas steam train ride and meet Santa. Advance booking is necessary and there is a present for the children plus seasonal refreshment for the adults.

Refreshments are available in the buffet in a converted part of the original station building. There is also a shop with souvenirs, videos, books and toys. One of the special static carriages is set aside for 'Bitton Bargains' and the other is home to the Bitton Bears. There are picnic areas and pleasant gardens. Ramps to all platforms are available for wheelchair users. Dogs on a lead are welcome.



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