News and Events Page
This page keeps you up to date with news at the railway - for the enthusiast, and for those wanting to visit the railway. For details of scheduled forthcoming events please see our open days page.
You may also wish to check our Facebook page for the latest information.
Santa returns to Bentley Miniature Railway for Christmas 2023. He will be taking up residence in his woodland grotto on selected weekends in the approach to Christmas and will be for ticket holders only due to the popularity of this event.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for our Santa Specials, we had a great time and hope you did as well.
In late June and early July we attended 2 local events with our portable track, Nutley Village Fete and Bluebell Railway's model railway's weekend where the below photo shows us running adjacent to the full size trains. We're also looking forward to attending TractorFest in August.
Over the weekend of the 13th & 14th May in addition to having steam on the rails we welcomed a collection of road steam engines large and small to Bentley some even offering trailer rides around the field.
We also had a classic fairground present and our friends at Past N Curious brought along along almost 100 pre-1980's classic cars each day, some were very eye catching!
After the inclement weather in the run-up we were blessed with sun both days. Thanks also to the traders who helped to bring this event together.
Easter Fun Weekend
We are pleased to announce that following on from the success in 2022 we will again be holding an Easter Eggstravaganza with daily unlimited train tickets and a number of visiting attractions. Watch our Facebook page for more details
2023 Running Dates
We are pleased to release the list of running dates for the coming year including our events weekends. Note that these are all dependent upon weather, staff and track availability.
Santa returns for 2022!
We are pleased to confirm that Santa will be returning to his woodland grotto with a new reception that we can't wait to unveil
Sunday 4th Sept will see a new event for the railway with a selection of outside stalls and displays in addition to both steam and electric/diesel locos running throughout the day.
Standard Gauge Weekend
19-21st August saw the railway play host to a selection of invited visiting standard gauge locomotives complete with scale carriages and frieght loads. Thanks to all those loco owners who joined us for the weekend
At the end of June and start of July in addition to our routine services at Bentley we will be undertaking 2 portable track outside events.
If you're visiting either of these please do come along and have a ride.
25th June - Nutley Village Fete
2-3 July - Bluebell Railway Model Railways Weekend
20-21 Aug - Biddenden TractorFest
Following on from the phenomenal success of our Easter Gala on the 14th May we will be holding our first post-pandemic Steam Gala. This will be an opportunity to see many of our steam locomotives in action with £5 unlimited ride tickets on offer again.
We will also have a number of visiting miniature & full size traction engines and a selection of stands and childrens activities to keep everyone amuzed.
Fri 15-Mon 18 April 2022 will see our Easter Gala event with an Easter Egg hunt for the children, a range of trains running and a range of stands to interest everyone.
Note that due to health issues the farm animals will now not be attending.
2022 Events Released
We are pleased to announce that we have a full schedule of events for 2022 following 2 years without.
Each event will be different and details will be posted at relevant points.
Easter - this will see an Easter Egg hunt with childrens entertainment each day, unlimited ride tickets from £5 per person per day
Steam Gala - we will be running steam loco's of all shapes and sizes and hope to have some visiting traction engines large and small also
Diesel Gala - our petrol, diesel & battery loco's get a weekend to shine
Santa Specials - December will see Santa return to his ever popular woodland grotto.
Santa returns for 2021!
This weekend we also launched our Santa Specials, as we plan to welcome Santa back to a new grotto, and new visitor reception building to make your visit more magical.
Uckfield Model Railway Exhibition
This weekend of 16th/17th October, we were pleased to exhibit one of our members steam locomotives "Merlin" at the Uckfield Model Railway Exhibition, along with an information stand about the railway. Our members enjoyed chatting to a number of the visitors about the railway, and of course we launched our Santa Specials this weekend.
Santa returns for 2021!
This weekend we also launched our Santa Specials, as we plan to welcome Santa back to a new grotto, and new visitor reception building to make your visit more magical. Click here for more details!
Railway Gala weekend
Over the weekend of 18th 19th September, we threw our doors open to our members to come and run as many of their trains as possible. Offering unlimited rides for £5 a person, this popular event is hoped to be repeated again next year.... watch out on Facebook for more details.
Standard Gauge Weekend
This weekend (21st 22nd August) saw our annual standard gauge weekend, albeit on a scaled back size this year due to COVID. However at least 10 trains including members and visiting locomotives were out on the circuit during the weekend, putting the recently upgraded signalling system through it paces. Do you have a 7 1/4 gauge locomotive and like to attend on one of our gala weekends? Please get in touch through our contact page.
Steam Operation Resumed
We are pleased to confirm that we have resumed steam services most weekends. The railway has been busy with visitors and we look forward to working with our new neighbours B_Road Hunting Club who are bringing colour to the estate
Bentley Miniature Railway is pleased to announce it will be reopening earlier than planned. Battery electric services will be running at weekends only from Sunday 2nd May. We will also be open on the Bank Holiday Monday's in May.
Steam trains will be running as soon as we can.
With the recent Government 'roadmap' out of lockdown being announced, we have been reviewing our timetable to reopen the railway to visitors. As with everyone else, most of our members have been staying at home, which has severely hampered our normal winter maintenance. It is, therefore, unfortunate that we will not be able to reopen to visitors before the summer. As you may appreciate, with so many factors at play (weather, members availability, not to mention no changes in the COVID 'plan', to name a few), it is difficult to put a definite date on anything, but rest assured we want to see you back on the rails as much as you do.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page, where we will update regularly with how our works progress and when we are reopening, together with news on any events on the site.
Have you ever considered volunteering to help at the railway? While we may not be running trains at the moment, there are many other jobs that need to be completed so we can open safely. These range from track maintenance, carriage maintenance, and building maintenance, not to mention some of our bigger projects later in the year ready for Santa. If you have some free time at weekends, or some weekdays, and want something new to occupy your time, getting out in to the fresh air, and joining like-minded individuals, with a real sense of achievement, then get in touch with us either by email, or through our contact page. More information is available here
Bentley miniature railway is entirely funded by passenger fares and donations. As you may appreciate, being closed through much of 2020 has made this a difficult time financially. If you would like to show your support for the railway by donating a small amount towards our fundraising goal it would be gratefully received via our Go Fund Me page. We sincerely hope with your support to be able to fully reopen later this year and look forward to seeing you again. Thank you for your support.
It is with great reluctance that the management of Bentley Miniature Railway have decided that Santa will not be attending his Woodland Grotto this year due to the COVID-19 situation. This decision has not been taken lightly, and reflects our assessment of the risks to our volunteers at a time when the spread and infection rates are so volatile, we would not be able to guarantee the safety of members or visitors. It was also considered that, in making the event sufficiently “COVID safe”, the material feel and ambiance of a “Bentley Santa Special” would be lost.
We are devastated to have had to make this decision as we know that we have very loyal supporters who love these events. However, the safety of our volunteers and the public is paramount, and of course, Santa must be available to visit you on Christmas night, without having to self-isolate for 14 days! Santa does look forward to seeing you again next year, in his new Grotto on the Railway.
Our Santa Specials, along with other summer gala events, bring in the majority of our annual income which enables us to operate, develop and improve our railway and services and, obviously, we will not now receive this income despite still having to meet our significant overheads. If you would like to show your support for the railway by donating a small amount towards our fundraising goal it would be gratefully received via our Go Fund Me page. We sincerely hope with your support to be able to reopen in 2021 and look forward to seeing you again. Thank you for your support; we wish you well over the festive season.
From all of us at Bentley Miniature Railway.
Socially Distanced Re-Opening!
We are excited to be re-opening on Saturday 8th August, albeit weekends only, throughout August. Trains will be restricted to one household group per train, and we will only be accepting card payments.
Why not come and join us while visiting our friends at Branching Out Adventures!
New for this year, we have completed significant track changes at our woodland station which should give a much improved service for those joining us from Branching Out.
Unfortunately, given the unpredictable nature of the current pandemic, Bentley Miniature Railway has taken the decision to cancel all of its events for 2020. Depending on many factors, it is hoped that we may be able to bring you several “open days” nearer the end of the season – details will be added here and on our Facebook page as soon as they are confirmed. We also hope to host Father Christmas back again this year.
Meanwhile, during this period of extended closure, we are still trying to slowly improve and update the site ready to welcome you back once we are able. Watch this space for more news!
Happy Easter from Bentley Miniature Railway
During this unprecedented time, while the railway remains closed, from all of us at BMR, we would like to wish you all a Happy Easter. We would also like to take the opportunity to thank all the many keyworkers at this difficult time.
Easter opening CANCELLED
In light of the recent guidence, we regretfully announce the we will not re-open for our Easter Egg Hunt Event over the Bank Holiday weekend starting Friday 10th April and will not re-open until further notice.
We are supporting the Government social distancing request, and reducing contact with vulnerable people. This is to protect visitors and our volunteers that run the railway, but most importantly to reduce the demand on the NHS.
We will re-open to the public as soon as it is safe to do so.
We would like to thank all of our visitors for your continued support and we can't wait to see you all as soon as it is safe.
See you soon!
Railway re-opens for February Half Term Tomorrow!
Despite the threat of Storm Denis this weekend, the Railway should reopen for the February half term this weekend. We will be offering a reduced service this weekend (15th/16th), Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week, and next weekend (22nd/23rd Feb) (weather conditions dependant).
Why not combine a train ride with a visit to our friends at Branching Out Adventures where your little ones (and bigger ones) can expel some energy climbing through the trees beside our Woodland station (Closed 15th/16th due to high winds).
Merry Christmas from all at Bentley Miniature Railway
As Santa leaves us for another year, heading off on his round the world trip distributing presents to your homes, there was just time for a quick photo call with our elves outside his Woodland retreat Grotto.
We would like to thank you all for your support over the year, and look forward to seeing you all again in the Spring.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all at Bentley Miniature Railway.
Christmas 2019 - Don't miss out!
Don't miss out on our Santa Special 2019. Our Elves are busy preparing for Santa's arrival. Four days have already sold out with a further four days with limited availability, don't be dissappointed. We are excited, are you?
Uckfield Model Railway Exhibition 19th/20th October 2019
This weekend we attended the Uckfield Model Railway show at the Civic Centre, Uckfield. We were very pleased to display our 7¼" gauge model of the Class 66 diesel taking pride of place in the entrance foyer, and delighted to speak to many f you who came along to support the event.
Christmas 2019 - Bookings now open!
We are pleased to announce that tickets for the Santa Special's are now on-sale via this website
Christmas 2019 - Santa is coming back to Bentley!
From the many emails and messages we've received, you are all excited to see Santa again in his Winter grotto in the Bentley wood. We are pleased to confirm he will be stopping off again this year to see you all before he makes his round the world trip on the 24th. Dates will be announced late October, when we will be able to start taking bookings. Watch this space, or our Facebook page for details as they are announced!
Bentley Woodfair - This weekend
This weekend (Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd September) sees the return of the Bentley favourite "Woodfair". Now in its 23rd year, this event will see Bentley Miniature Railway running an intensive service from both main stations for Woodfair visitors.
Our last gala event of 2019 was our Diesel gala, with 10 locomotives running at one point over the day. It was nice to see two visiting locomotives from the "Swanley new barn railway" running alongside a number of our more local members locomotives that have not seen much passenger action this year. Lets hope they will all be back again in 2020! Below are a few images from the event.
Diesel gala - 8th September
This is our final gala of the year, wehere we will see a number of our diesel locomotives haulling passengers around our mile circuit. We hope to see a number of visiting locos to run alongside our regular fleet of both standard and narrow gauge locmotives. Trains will run from 11am to 5pm, and we shall be offering our unlimited ride tickets at just £5 per person. Come and join us at this fun event, with free arts and crafts area for the children (weather permitting), and our tuck shop will be open for hot and cold drinks, and snacks.
Narrow Gauge weekend
This weekend saw our first Narrow gauge weekend at Bentley Railway, and we would like to thank all our drivers, many who travelled long distances to transport our passengers over the weekend. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and hope our passengers did too. Below if a few images of the locomotives we had running over the two days.
Narrow Gauge weekend - 10th/11th August
The 10th/11th August will see us host our first Narrow gauge railway gala. We currently have 3 visiting locomotives each day, including one from the Netherlands. Due to popular demand, we will again be offering unlimited rides for £5 per person, with a chance to ride behind a number of steam and diesel locomotives. Further information will be available on our facebook page. Trains run from 11am till 5pm each day. We will also have our new tuck shop open serveing well earned snacks. Free arts and crafts area for children to entertain themselves between train rides. Unlimited rides are offered one per person, and not transferable. Fair use policy applies.
"Chilled in a field" festival - 27th/28th July
The annual music festival "chilled in a field" returned over the 27th/28th July, only at this event do we get a band playing on board the train! Thanks to "The Conquering Heros" for enteraining the train crew.
"Brainchild" festival - 13th/14th July
This weekend saw the railway welcome many visitors attending the "Brainchild" music festival held within the grounds of the Bentley Estate. We hope you all enjoyed the event, we certainly our members had fun, including running a double headed train with Desmond and Black Swan providing the motive power.
Standard Gauge weekend - 29th/30th June
The 29th/30th June will see Bentley host its third standard gauge weekend. Following the success of our unlimited ride offer during the recent Steam gala, we will be repeating the offer for this event. We will have multiple locomotives running, including steam, diesel, passenger and freight locomotives - further information will be available on our facebook page as visiting locomotives confirm attendance! Can you ride them all with our unlimited offer? Running 29th and 30th June from 11am till 5pm. We will also have our new tuck shop open serveing well earned snacks. Free arts and crafts area for children to entertain themselves between train rides. Unlimited rides are offered one per person, and not transferable. Fair use policy applies.
Steam Gala - Great weekend enjoyed by all!
Bentley Miniature Railway held its first Steam Gala on Sunday 26th May. At one point there were 7 trains running on the railway, all with passengers aboard. Over 150 visitors took up our offer for unlimited rides during the day, and many took full advantage travelling on every train. The afternoon was completed with a locomotive calvalcade which can be seen on our Facebook page. Below is a small selection of some of the locomotives in action.
Steam Gala announced - 26th May 2019
New to 2019, we are hosting our first Steam Gala later this month. Currently we have 5 steam locomotives intending to run all day, with a number of others still to confirm. Once we have a line up known it will be published here, and on our Facebook page. Trains are running from 11am till 5pm with day rover tickets available.
May Day Weekend
34 years ago this weekend, the last rail joint of the then multigauge short circuit of track was finally completed, as seen in this photograph recently unearthed by one of our members. It's interesting to note that at least two of these members are still regularly involved in the railway maintenance, along with the wheelbarrow!
Following our successful first Easter Egg hunt based from Bentley Miniature Railway, we thought you might like to see some of the pictures from the weekend!
Dont forget to like our Facebook page to keep up to date with our new railway events this year as they are announced.
Easter Egg hunt
Bentley Miniature Railway are pleased to announce new to 2019, an Easter Egg hunt around the railway and surrounding area. Open to passengers aged 16 and under, hunt down the clues around the railway to discover where you can collect a chocolate prize!,
Following a successful 11 evenings transporting excited children to woodland to see Santa in his grotto, our elves managed to grab a quick photo with Santa himself before he collected his reindeer, and embarked on his round the world delivery mission.
Bentley Miniature Railway volunteers are now turning their attention to the regular Winter maintenance, in order to keep trains running throughout the Summer, and therefore the railway will be closed until March. Keep watching our Facebook page for details of any additional running dates.
Bentley Miniature Railway is proud to announce that on 11 dates between the 8-23rd December 2018 we will be operating a Santa Special including the popular Woodland Grotto that has been such a hit in recent years but with some extra special touches to add to the magic this year.
This event is now fully booked. We look forward to welcoming all the families who have booked this experience.
New running dates announced
Following changes within the Bentley Estate, we are now pleased to confirm we will be running trains every weekend from 27th October to Christmas 2018.
A new temporary station entrance will be available at Bentley Central for use while the Park is closed, and train rides may be enjoyed around the full mile circuit. Why not stop off at Glyndebourne Wood Junction, and visit Branching Out Adventures.
Please note, during this time, our Bentley East station will be closed, and you will not be able to join, or alight from the train here.
Bentley East Station
Construction and groundworks at Bentley East have recently been completed to provide this new 2 track station with ticket office. The station will be open at weekends subject to staff availability.
August Bank-Holiday Miniature Steam Weekend
For details of previous events, please see our archive.