Customer Comments

Experience train travel as it used to be aboard The Torbay Express

We love to hear from you, so please email any feedback, thoughts, experiences or ideas you may have regarding our train excursions to contact@torbayexpress.co.uk and we will publish them here. Please also have a look at the lovely reviews on TripAdvisor.

John & Debbie S - August 2016
My Dad and myself would like to say a "BIG THANK YOU" to everyone involved in making our trip on Sunday 7th August A WONDERFUL, LOVELY DAY. From the start when booking, to all staff aboard the train, just everyone. We will be back!!! A Great Team and Company. Many Many Thanks.


Vicki C - October 2015
I was lucky enough to go on the Torbay Express on September 13th, my 66th birthday. It has long been a very ardent wish to travel that stretch of line through Dawlish so as soon as I saw the date published I booked for me, my partner, my lifelong friend and her husband to do the trip. It did not disappoint!! We have done the Orient Express, the Cathedrals Express and now the Torbay Express. They each have their special points and we can't say that one is much better than any of the others but the scenery from the Torbay Express cannot be surpassed. From the green fields of Somerset with deer, horses and cattle running away from the great iron dragon to the spectacular Devon coast the whole trip is a visual delight. It was quite simply the loveliest birthday I can remember with good food and wine aplenty served by lovely cheerful people. From start to finish I felt really special and just everything about the day was wonderful. I even won a bottle of wine in the raffle---and I never win anything.
So a big belated thank you to all concerned, including the very friendly engine driver for a truly lovely day.

 


Mr & Mrs W - July 2015
Hi Torbay Express, I just want to say thank you for the lovely service that we had on our trip on 12 July. The train was beautiful - kept up together cleanly. The staff/volunteers on board catered after our every need and nothing was too much trouble for them.

 


The Bence Family - September 2014
Myself and my party (5 of us in all) had the pleasure of riding on the above service from Bristol – Kingswear on Sunday 21 September 2014.
I am writing to convey my sincere thanks for what can only be described as a memorable day out.
We travelled “Premier Dining” and would like to tell you that…
• The coach and seating were superb
• The tables we occupied were exquisitely set out
• The food was excellent
• The service – from both the waiting and train staff – was faultless.
I can say without any chance of contradiction that the whole experience was worth every penny of the cost of the tickets, so much so that we are looking at repeating the trip again next year.

 


J&R D - 16 September 2014
This to congratulate all who work for Torbay Express (and with Pathfinder Tours) for providing us with such a superb day on 14 September. We were both entranced by the whole day.  All of the staff ensured that it was a superb day out, with plenty of information concerning the journey.
The Chief Steward and his staff are to be commended for the tactful way in which the 'dairy free' diet was served, which was to same standard as the main menu.
 I expect we will bore many friends and relations telling them about our great journey on the TORBAY EXPRESS. Again many thanks for providing us with such a superb Anniversary day.

 


J&R M - 21 July 2014
Thank you so much for a wonderful day.

 


Alan & Susan D - 16 September 2013
It was a Father’s Day Treat for me, so I’ve had quite a few weeks of eager anticipation.
At last Sun 8 September arrived and my wife and I were one of the early arrivals at Temple Meads station. Our fabulous steward introduced herself and proved to be so helpful throughout the day.
Once aboard the train it was luxury all the way and the Frying Scotsman staff were the acme of efficiency.
The smell of the steam, the sound of the engine took me back to my boyhood days (except I wasn’t allowed on the footplate then when the train stopped to take on water).
Thank you all so very much for a fabulous, memorable day and spoiling us rotten!

 


R&C - 9 September 2013
My wife and I together with family from Neath in South Wales and Bristol, we all had the best experience on this wonderful trip (The Torbay Express - Sunday, 8 September 2013).
The forecast was for rain, but that kept off and the train was above all expectations.
We treated ourselves to 'Premier Dining' and the service was EXCELLENT and could not be bettered, the breakfast and return dinner was of a very high quality, and it was travel of a distant age of steam train travelling which we have only read about or seen on old film and one we shall repeat as soon as we can.
Many thanks to all your staff.

 


Jon R - 2 September 2013
Just a quick note of feedback to say how much I and my party enjoyed yesterday’s Torbay Express. What a fabulous performance by Braunton and the support crews must have worked very hard to get her ready at short notice.
The Torbay Express remains, for me, the best value main line steam run in the country. For a summer excursion I think it is hard to beat Dartmouth as a destination. There is lovely scenery en-route. Plenty of high speed running and hill climbing to impress the knowledgeable. And water stops where you can still get out and stretch your legs instead of being stuck in a loop for an hour. And reasonable start, end and journey times.
The rolling stock appears cleaner and better presented than in previous years. The stewards are pleasant and not too obtrusive.
Perhaps my only negative feedback is one that is not attributed directly to your company. But, early season talk of locomotive shortages and then the issues associated with the hot weather did cause me to hold back on booking this year.

 


Suzanne N - 20 August 2013
Thank you so much for an absolutely fantastic trip on the Torbay Express to Kingswear. I went with my parents to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary on 18th August and we couldn't stop smiling the whole trip long!
The Braunton served us proud and it was an honour to be a part of a completely steam-run trip. It was my first steam experience and it won't be my last!! The whole journey was a delight, complimented beautifully by the Premier dining comforts, the gorgeous food, drink and happy staff. We all had such a good time we can't stop talking about it.
At the end of the trip I heard an elderly passenger say to her son "that was perfect, “I turned around and said "I completely agree with that" and in fact the whole carriage was really happy. 
Thank you so much to the whole team of dedicated workers and enthusiasts that made our trip a dream come true and left us all fully satisfied that we had experienced something truly special. Keep up the good work and I hope we can all rejoin you on another Steam train adventure soon!

 


Iain & Karen McLaren - 5 August 2013
This was our 5th trip with Premier Dining (on Sunday, 4 August).
What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday. We arrived early enough to watch Nunney Castle being prepared for the trip.
The whole day was very special, being greeted on the platform by Lesley, the instant recognition by her of us was so impressive; this ability to remember faces and names leads to making the day just like a family reunion.
Well done to the catering staff and stewards who all worked so very hard and produced and served such wonderful food, every single one of them deserves so much praise.
We will see you for our 6th time in September.
Thank you all for making our Sunday another day to remember.

 


Ian D - 24 July 2013
I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in organising & running The Torbay Express on Sunday 14th July. I had booked the trip as a present to my parents for their Golden Wedding anniversary & it could not have been a better gift. They loved every minute of it, and so did my sister & I who travelled with them!
Could you please pass on all my thanks to the crew on the train as they were simply superb every step of the way, especially the chef & his gang who served up one of the best breakfasts & dinners I've ever eaten.
I've done a quick review on TripAdvisor today which I hope helps to show others what a wonderful service you operate. I only hope that you are able to get a steam train for the rest of this summer - fingers crossed eh!
All the best to everyone & thanks once again for a fantastic day out.

 


David JP - 23 July 2013
My sister and I had the pleasure of taking the Torbay Express on Sunday 21st July and wish to compliment you on providing a very enjoyable experience.
From the moment we stepped on the train at Weston-super-Mare to stepping off some ten hours later we had the most magical time. The food was delicious, the service was excellent and the staff were a credit to you. The Silver Service was up to that provided by Cunard, Queen Mary II and nothing was too much to the staff.
If you are able to afford Premier Dining, go for it or get someone else to pay for you, you will not be disappointed.
Thank you once again.

 


Martyn J - 22 July 2013
Just a line to say thanks for the day we experienced yesterday (Sunday, 21 July) aboard the Torbay Express. Great to once again experience the thrills of riding along one of the most magical stretches of line anywhere in the UK behind a Castle. It’s a shame that circumstances meant that we couldn’t hear it working to its full capacity, but we did get one or two glimpses of the great 4 cylinder beat, and with the Brush behind it, we experienced some great running from Nunney Castle.
The on-board crew from the footplate to the waiting staff were fantastic....always eager to please and help, despite the temperatures associated with the fabulous weather and it all contributed to the fulfilment of a dream to once again step back into my boyhood memories. A fantastic day out, which I would unhesitatingly recommend to all, regardless of whether like me, you were reliving some great memories. We’ll be back!

 


Mike D - 15 July 2013
I travelled on the recent Torbay Express (14th July) with a group of friends and thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. Despite slight disappointment that the train was not exclusively hauled by Nunney Castle; a very sensible compromise was made with the use of a heritage diesel giving a helping hand and hopefully avert any line side fires. The combination rewarded travellers with some very fast acceleration and running, enabling time to be kept, virtually throughout the journey. All the train staff that were involved or passed through our carriage were very cheerful and happy to have a chat, and of particular merit, was the train announcer, who kept us informed of the reasons for any journey delays and useful information about what to look out for in the miles ahead: a real asset to keep everyone informed, and adding a ‘personal touch’ to the proceedings.
A great day out and well done Torbay Express Ltd for making it happen in challenging hot weather! I certainly look forward to my next journey with you, and would not hesitate to recommend the trip to others.

 


Colin & Jackie H - 15 July 2013
Just wanted to say a big thank you to all the staff involved in making yesterday’s Torbay Express steam train ride to Dartmouth a wonderful experience for us - special thanks to the staff who looked after us and served us the lovely breakfast and four course evening meal and drinks in coach H.
It was a wonderful day, many thanks, and we hope to do the trip again next year.

 


Ian & Kathryn H - July 2013
We were aboard the first Torbay Express of the season yesterday 7 July. A little sad that there was no steam haulage but our enjoyment of the day was not affected in any way at all.
We had treated ourselves to Premier Dining and what a way to go! Comfort – superb, Service – brilliant, Food – wonderful. It was a hot day but every one of our hosts for the day were happy, smiling and made the day perfect. A great effort guys and we will be doing it again. I was never a diesel fan as such but have to say the performance of the loco yesterday was just superb – it seemed effortless.
Best wishes for a great season.

 


Karen & Andy Searle - 24 September 2012
My husband and I treated ourselves to the Premier dining on the Torbay Express on Sunday 16h September to celebrate our Silver Wedding anniversary.   What a treat it was, the staff were great, very enthusiastic and attentive and really made the journey especially enjoyable.  The lovely breakfast on the way down with a nice glass of Champagne, and then on the home journey, the four course dinner was very tasty. And as the Steward said 'Once you have travelled in style with us, you will not want to travel any other way again'.  How right she was!
We look forward to booking again for next year.  Thank you for a brilliant day out.

 


Sue J - 24 September 2012
My friend and I travelled on the Torbay Express to Kingswear on Sunday 16th September. It was our first time, and we splashed out and travelled first class. I can only say that it was worth every penny! It was so exciting to travel on a steam train, and a real treat to be looked after so well by all the staff. I loved everything about the day: the beautifully presented table that had been prepared for our arrival, waving back to all the people who were waiting with cameras all along the route, the beautiful scenery we passed through, the time we spent in Dartmouth, the cream tea on our return trip and - the icing on the cake - leaving the train at the end of a very happy day with the flowers from our table, courtesy of a lovely lady called Becki.
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who was involved in making the day so special. I can't wait to do it all again!

 


Martina H - 17 September 2012
My friend (Gillian) invited me to be her guest on a trip on the Torbay Express yesterday (Sunday 16 September 2012 - Bristol Temple Meads to Dartmouth and back).....we were in Premier Class and had a really wonderful time! All the staff were extremely kind and helpful, and the food was excellent! The actual experience of riding on the train was very exciting....we were able to get up close to the engine during the break at Taunton, and it was such fun to see so many people along the route waving as the train went past! Our time in Dartmouth was a real pleasure, and we would just like to take this opportunity to say a BIG thank you to everyone who was involved in making this trip such a happy occasion. A beautiful memory!

 


Karen & Iain McLaren - 7 August 2012
Once again Iain and I enjoyed a fabulous day out on the Torbay Express (5 August). We would like to thank the team for their kindness, excellent service and never ending enthusiasm the whole day. The food again was superb, cooked beautifully by 'The Frying Scotsman' catering staff: the chef and his team prepared food equally, and in our eyes, better than top restaurant standards and served to us by wonderfully friendly and attentive stewards.
The 'Duke' performed magnificently storming up Exeter to Whiteball with no effort at all, wonderful engine, and a credit to those who maintain it so lovingly.
Thank you all once again you made our anniversary celebrations complete and look forward to our next trip.

 


P&M Gadd - 31 July 2012
I'm writing on behalf of both my husband and I, to express our thanks for a wonderful trip on the Torbay Express (Britannia 70000) on Sunday 1st July 2012.
We couldn't have asked for a better day, the sun was shining and the arrival of the Britannia 70000 was warmly received by one and all. She looked wonderful and was a testament to the team that had undoubtedly spent hours getting her prepared for the trip.
Everyone on board was very pleasant and helpful and please pass on our compliments and congratulations to the "Frying Scotsman" team who performed magnificently throughout the day; the meals and service were exceptional.
The tickets were purchased by our son and daughter and their families for our 50th Wedding Anniversary, a truly wonderful gift.
The whole day was a fantastic experience and one that we will remember for a very long time.

 


Mr H Christchurch - 11 July 2012
I enjoyed my trip on the Diamond Jubilee Express to Windsor in June so much I have booked again to go on the Dreaming Spires Express to Oxford for my birthday in August. It was an excellent day out and the staff were friendly and helpful.
I am looking forward to travelling again next month.

 


Mandy S - 2 December 2011
My Mum and I travelled First Class on the Bath Spa Express on Wednesday 30 November from Poole to Bath Spa and I would like to say thank you and how much we enjoyed the day.   The food was excellent, as was the waiter/waitress service on board - we were really looked after!   The steam engine was very impressive and it was lovely to see it running again on our railways.
Thank you again and see you next year!

 


JM & SG - 30 September 2011
My friend and I travelled on the ' Bath Spa Express' to Bath on Wednesday Sept. 28th and we had to write to say what a wonderful day we had.
The staff were all efficient, courteous and helpful. The food was excellent and served with great care. The tables were beautifully set and the fresh flowers were the icing on the cake, I'm still enjoying ours now.
All in all it had the hallmarks of beloved Palmair, who we miss very much, and with whom we travelled many times.
The weather was a bonus, of course, but I'm sure we would still be writing this same letter.
We were amazed at how many photographers there were all along the route until it was too dark for the cameras.
Thank you, again, for a superb day to remember.


Pat & Trevor L - 3rd October 2011

I am writing on behalf of my husband and I to express our great thanks for the wonderful day excursion we enjoyed on Sunday, 18th September, on (the Torbay Express) No. 6024 King Edward 1 along the old GWR line from Bristol to Kingswear. It was one of the most delightful days out we have had in years, and we are so grateful for all the massive amount of effort put into its planning and organisation. Everyone involved was courteous, helpful and good natured, which added hugely to our happiness as passengers.
The meals were first rate and delicious (I don't know how the Frying Scotsman team managed to produce such a brilliant result from a very small galley - their efforts were very much appreciated by everyone on board).
We are in our seventies, and most of our childhood journeys were on steam trains, so it was truly magical to experience travelling on a 'proper' train again - diesels just aren't quite the same are they?!
A thousand thanks for giving two old age pensioners an unforgettably wonderful day out.

 


Steve & Betsy H - 12th July 2011
We just wanted to say a big thank you for a lovely day on the Torbay Express (Sunday, 10th July). Tornado was superb. The crew were very friendly & helpful – it was great to be waited on! We were asked if we could suggest any improvements, but all we can say is don’t change a thing. Even the weather was prefect and we enjoyed every moment.

 


Helen H - 17 June 2011
My husband and I were passengers on the ill-fated trip to Kingswear on Sunday (12th June). Although we were delayed on the return journey please could you pass our thanks to ALL members of staff who were involved with this trip. We were impressed by the regular updates of the situation, the courtesy of the members of the catering service and the general politeness and consideration shown by everyone who was looking after the passengers in a difficult situation. Despite the delay we both very much enjoyed our day with you... and it was quite a talking point on Monday.
Thank you for the complimentary credit vouchers ... most unexpected but very welcome.

 


R Barry - 12 June 2011
My girl friend and I joined your tour on Sunday 12th of June. She had treated me for my birthday, Premier Class as I love steam, and have always wanted to have a day being wined and dined aboard a steam pulled train.
I must say that the service was fantastic, the food was a delight and the staff were commendable on every level. The day had been very much looked forward to by us and we feel that it was well worth the money and that everything was organized exceptionally well.
We know locomotive 71000 Duke of Gloucester was failed on the return journey at Tiverton, and as we were very grateful for the kind gesture of the credit vouchers, but we do feel that it was unnecessary, since no one was to blame. I personally commend the fact that someone took the difficult decision to fail her when they did. We both understand that she is a vintage machine and must be preserved for future generations; I would rather wait for recovery than have the possibility of extensive damage being caused that would have resulted in a lengthy and costly repair.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend the staff aboard that day, they were professional from start to finish - not only did they greet us with a smile at the start of the day, they served us exceptionally well, and were happy to answer questions, taking the time to talk to us on a one-to-one basis. Nothing was too much for them to the point that even under difficult circumstances they still managed to hide the fact that they were probably tired and continued giving great service, making sure we were comfortable and well. On the return to Temple Meads station bade us farewell with a smile and a hand shake.
We shall most definitely be joining you again, although I'm unsure if we can this year. I have also been taking great pleasure in recommending the Torbay Express to friends and family who are looking for a memorable day out.
Thank you for a truly fantastic day. We hope to join you again soon.

 


Karen & Iain McLaren - 5 June 2011
We had our first trip on the Torbay Express last year (22 August) and were absolutely enthralled with the whole experience; our comments are on the site still.
We went again on the first trip this year and were overjoyed to find that the experience was every bit as good as last time plus the Premier Dining Coaches had been fully refurbished and are even plusher than before. The excellent Frying Scotsman Catering Team were also sporting very smart dress white tunics for the evening meal; the level of service and the quality of the food was again simply superb.
On this latest trip we were hauled by the Duke of Gloucester, beautifully prepared and shining. What an experience, having our sumptuous meals listening to the wonderful engine exhaust crackle symphony when accelerating away. And like our experience previously, when hauled by ‘King Edward 1’, the ‘Duke’s’ support crew could not have been more friendly or helpful.
We are already planning for a second outing this year and intend to have many more trips in the future.

 


The Mills - 5 June 2011
Just to let you know how much we enjoyed our trip to Dartmouth (on the Torbay Express) with you on 5th June. The tickets were bought for my dad's 80th birthday and it couldn't have been better.
The organisation was superb, the staff friendly and efficient (they must have walked miles back and forth through the carriages!) The setting was wonderful, like a film set with the smooth, white table cloths, the flowers and the table lights. It was really like travelling back in time, you could almost imagine Poirot or Marple riding along with us.
The engine, The Duke of Gloucester cut a magnificent sight through the countryside, everyone came out to look and wave. All in all it was a wonderful day, thank you. I would recommend the trip to anyone.

 


Karen & Iain McLaren - August 27th 2010
Having heard a colleague from work describing her experience of fine dining on the Torbay Express as brilliant we decided to make the trip ourselves and what a joy, she was wrong it wasn’t just brilliant it was absolutely wonderful.
On arriving at Temple Meads we were met by the most helpful and friendly staff and train crew that anyone could ever wish to meet.
The table settings were a picture and the food sublime as was the service and attention; terrific.
I would not alter a thing on the experience, great breakfast and the quality of the dinner was simply superb, really good starter, melt in the mouth roast beef and a proper pudding, washed down with a bottle of wine after the champagne on re-boarding; life does not get any better.
Seeing the enthusiasm of all those lined up along the route waving and smiling at King Edward 1 and the rake of coaches was a picture, diners are really made to feel that they are something special.  Long may the service continue.
Our trip was money well spent and we are already looking towards a repeat of the trip next year.
Thanks to all at Torbay Express

 


Jonathan and Melissa - August 27th 2010
To everyone at Torbay Express,
We travelled with you on the Torbay Express on Sunday 22nd August and were just contacting you to let you know we had a fantastic day out. The service was exceptional and all the staff were very friendly, always making sure we had everything we needed and happy to answer any questions.
The carriages were really well laid out and it was the touches such as the white linen, flowers and napkins made into crowns and fan shapes just made it even more special. The food was very tasty, full compliments to the chefs. The breakfast was delicious and really filled us up for the day at Kingswear and Dartmouth. The ride behind King Edward I was really smooth and much faster than we thought it would be. Even though the weather was a mixed bag, the experience of travelling by steam could not be spoilt and the dinner on the way back was also delicious, hearty food, with a beautiful apple crumble to finish!
The whole experience really made our holiday to the South West and was a very special day out. We certainly took back plenty of souvenirs from the train and Kingswear and we look forward to travelling with you on the Torbay Express again next year. Should it be hauled by King Edward I so much the better! To anyone thinking of booking on the Torbay Express, you won't be disappointed, it's a fabulous day out and well worth the money.
We are happy to be quoted on the website/ literature. Once again many thanks.

 


Chriss Hall - June 10th 2010
I just wanted to thank you and all of your colleagues for the wonderful day that we had on Sunday (6 June).  You may recall that I took my parents on the Torbay Express, choosing the Premier Dining option and the harbour cruise - it was very good to meet you on the day.  It was superb!  My parents were, I think, quite overwhelmed by the day - stepping into the beautifully presented carriage with white linen etc is quite an experience, and the standard was kept up throughout.  For me, whatever expectations I might have had were thoroughly exceeded, in particular on three counts:
The amazing organisation, for which I think it's clear we have you to thank in large part;
The speed on the main lines: I had assumed that we'd be pootling along at 40-50: to hurtle along at a proper main line speed was really something (especially as yesterday it took five hours to get from Stonehouse to Paddington on an HST - signal failure at Didcot so we diverted via Westbury!).  Terrific to overtake cars and lorries on the M5.  My Dad noted how exceedingly well-maintained the locomotive is - no steam coming from where it shouldn't come from.
The quality and presentation of the Premier Dining set-up.
Also, to be honest, although £175 seems quite expensive if you're paying for three people (!), I think it's terrific value for money both in absolute terms and especially compared with (for example) the £124 I paid yesterday to get very slowly to Paddington and back, second class with no catering (and frequently having to stand, on the Kemble line).  Fares from Bristol are even more alarming.
I discovered Pathfinder Tours / the Torbay Express as a result of a recommendation from a friend.  Another friend is now almost certainly going to send grandparents on a similar tour, as a result of my recommendation.
You asked for feedback on any niggles: so there was just one, very minor, and it's not at all an unusual problem.  You'd kindly informed the Frying Scotsman folks of my Dad's food allergies (which are really very severe so it's important to make sure he steers clear of certain things), and they knew about it, but not too surprisingly when it came to serving they'd forgotten again.  They dealt with it excellently, of course, and there was no problem in the end.
So - many thanks again.  I'm very impressed.

 


Stephen J Gould - June 1st 2010
I travelled with you on the Torbay Express on Sunday from Bristol, just wanted to say what a great day it was, great running by the loco, very pleased it was steam all the way there & back as there have been a few problems recently with main line steam services.  Timings were very good too.
I wish you a successful season for the Torbay express and hope to do it again with you next year.

 


Andrew Tucker - June 4th 2010
I would like to thank all involved with the running of the Torbay Express on Sunday 30th May.
My wife bought tickets for my 60th birthday present.  We had a fabulous time, excellent service and brilliant weather.  Being hauled by a King class (6024 King Edward I) was the real icing on the cake.  The whole day was one to remember for all the right reasons.

 

 

The Torbay Express has, for the second year running, been awarded the 

 TripAdvisor

Certificate of Excellence !


“Great treat for a special occasion”

5 of 5 stars
Reviewed 11 July  2016

“Excellent indulgent day out"

5 of 5 stars
Reviewed 8 July 2016

“Pullman Dining at speed along the English Riviera"

5 of 5 stars 
Reviewed 29 June 2016

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