If you, or someone you love, enjoy the magic of a preserved steam railway line, a Railway Funeral may feel totally appropriate.
Railway Funerals take place at the Midland Railway Centre’s line near Ripley, in Derbyshire. The basic idea behind a railway funeral is that the coffin, accompanied by the mourners, has a last journey on a steam-hauled train before a woodland burial or cremation takes place.
What happens on the day?
Train departs from Butterley Station, Ripley
Railway Funerals start at Butterley Station, on the outskirts of Ripley town centre, where the coffin and funeral party board a specially commissioned steam train. This then runs up the line to Ironville before returning to Swanwick Junction, where a preserved railwaymen’s chapel has been re-located.
Ceremony at Swanwick Junction
At this point the coffin is taken off the train and into the chapel, where a religious, non-religious, or even semi-religious funeral ceremony can be held.
What happens next depends upon whether you wish for a cremation or a woodland burial to take place.
Railway Funerals and Cremation
If you have opted for cremation, at the end of the service the funeral party and coffin will return to the steam train for the final leg of their rail journey which will end at the starting point, Butterley Station. From here the coffin and mourners will travel by road to one of the nearest crematoria (Markeaton, Derby; Brimington, Chesterfield; Hutcliffe Wood, Sheffield, or Mansfield), depending upon your choice. Because there will already have been a funeral ceremony, many families will choose to restrict the cremation to close family and friends only, but this is your choice.
Railway Funerals and Woodland Burial
If you have chosen to have a woodland burial, at the end of the service in the chapel, the funeral party and coffin will emerge to board a narrow gauge train that leaves from just outside the chapel. This then makes a delightful run through the wooded belt of the Golden Valley County Park before arriving at its terminus, the Newlands Inn station.
From here the coffin is carried a short distance into the Golden Valley Woodland Burial Ground, a special cemetery where each burial plot is marked by a tree rather than by a headstone.
After the interment, the funeral party re-trace their steps via the narrow gauge and steam trains, and they can even have a buffet or full dinner when re-boarding the main train.
Costs and Flexibility
The cost of your Railway Funeral will depend upon the options that you choose but they are a lot less expensive than many people expect. In fact, they can often cost less than more expensive funeral directors charge for a ‘normal’ funeral.
The list below gives an idea of the extra costs that you would incur by choosing this type of funeral:
Exclusive hire of steam train
Hire of Railwaymen's Chapel
Narrow gauge train hire
As with all the services provided by Peace Funerals, we try to make them flexible so that we can meet your needs, whatever they might be. So, if you just want one or more elements of a Railway Funeral to be included in the arrangements, we can usually work out a way in which this can be done.
Railway Funeral Plans
If you think that you would like to have a Railway Funeral for yourself, we would strongly advise that you take out a funeral plan with us. At the time of a loss, people are not in the best frame of mind to make decisions and even though those closest to you might have known that you wanted a Railway Funeral, they might not feel confident about making that decision when they are in grief.
So to ensure that you have funeral arrangements that you feel are fitting and apt for you, we suggest that you take out a Railway Funeral plan. More details about our Funeral Planning process can be found below.
Can I plan a Railway Funeral for myself?