Fringe Box



Steaming To Sherborne For Christmas Carols

Published on: 22 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 22 Dec, 2016

Our local railway enthusiast Bob McShee writes about his latest excursion on a steam train that had a distinct Christmas theme

I went to a carol service at Sherborne in Dorset last week organised by the Railway Touring Company who are based at Kings Lynn.

The train at Woking station before departing for Sherborne in Dorset.

I boarded the train, named the Sherborne Christmas Carol at Woking for the journey to Sherborne.

The train was pulled by two LMS ‘Black Fives’, Nos. 44871, and 45407 which had been named The Lancashire Fusilier in 2004.

Both engines had been withdrawn from British Railways service in the 1960s and are now based on the East Lancashire Railway. However, they usually spend the summer running on the West Highland line.

After leaving Woking a full English breakfast was served, including bucks fizz, on the way to the second watering stop at Salisbury.

Sherborne Abbey.

We then proceeded to Sherborne for the carol service in the abbey. Founded in the year 705 by St Aldhelm, the first Bishop of Sherborne, the abbey was the cathedral for the South West of England

There was enough time to explore the ancient town of Sherborne, which is famous for its school, abbey and two castles before attending the carol service.

We were warmly welcomed by the Vicar of Sherborne, who said: “The Wise Men had followed the star by camel train until they found the new-born King.”  So it was not inappropriate that we had travelled to Sherborne for this carol service by train, albeit of the steam variety.

We sang a number of traditional Christmas carols and during the service John Collier, who is one of the bell ringers at St Mary’s Church in Worplesdon, gave one of the readings.

The organ inside Sherborne Abbey.

The abbey features a magnificent organ built in 1858, and which is the younger brother of an organ built for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Shops in the centre of Sherborne.

After the service I popped into one of the many local hostelries for a drink before returning to the station for the return trip.

On rejoining the train we were greeted with mulled wine to warm us up. This was followed by a full Christmas dinner of roast turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, cheese and biscuits and coffee.

The train arrived back at Woking at 8.20pm.


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