All aboard the Land train for lots of fun - and a history lesson or two!

Two men with land train

Land Train fans - owner Chris Griffin and the Torbay Weekly's very own Chris Coward - Credit: Submitted

When Chris Griffin calls into the Torbay Weekly office to purchase his copy of the newspaper we know that we are guaranteed 10 minutes of fun and entertainment. Chris is now 78 but incredibly active in mind and body and he regales us with stories of a life full of business adventures, some of which went well and some of which went horribly wrong, across Asia, Europe and the United Kingdom.

It was 20 years ago that he started the Land Train and in a real statement that maybe we are truly emerging from lockdown he was back in business at 9.30 on Monday fresh with a new audio describing the history and beauty of the Bay. He invited me out on a test run.

Chris can take up to 50 people on his 45-minute tour and runs around eight trips a day. Even on a quiet cloudy morning I was staggered by how many people shouted out to Chris warm greetings. I was equally staggered at how polite motorists where at junctions when he was on the move. What was most surprising was the rich content on the audio and how synchronised it was for the journey.

I heard tales of Napoleon, Agatha Christie, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and George V. I learnt things about the pubs and clubs, some from the audio but more form Chris’s rich memory – he is a great storyteller! I felt embarrassed being a lover of history and having lived in South Devon for almost 20 years how little I knew of the rich past.

The Land Train is that perfect tourist attraction that gives the kids the novelty and excitement they demand from a holiday but also gives interested parents a 45-minute history lesson. Chris is hoping for a bumper season with Belgrave Road’s hotels packed and excited visitors using his special form of transport. He will certainly entertain them come win, sun, rain or snow!

There are can be fewer more encouraging sights than seeing the Land Train in operation as the Bay’s businesses looks forward to a summer of more promise than 2020.

Most Read