I’m no trainspotter but recently I spent the day riding the rails and actually really enjoyed myself. Okay, so it wasn’t the crowded Virgin train, where I’ve spent more journeys sat on the floor by the toilet than I choose to care for, but a gorgeous vintage steam train.
The trip was a birthday treat for Everleigh’s grandad who is a bit of a train nut. He was excited at getting to pass on his many years of loco knowledge – it’s never too early to learn – and we were looking forward to a family day out with a difference.
With all the horrible stuff in the news, this was actually a real treat. Going back to a slower way of life where the hardest decision was what hot drink to buy from the buffet car or which adorable station to stop at. It’s ran mostly by enthusiastic volunteers who couldn’t do more to help you (especially when our pushchair needed to be dropped onto the tracks). Their enthusiasm was a little infectious.
There was a dining carriage that was full of tourists sat at tables covered in white linen tablecloths and a single carnation which looked a lot of fun, but probably not so practical with a five month old baby!
We wanted to stop off for a bite to eat when we arrived at our destination anyway so we headed for a quieter carriage that was decked out in gorgeous retro aubergine and brown colours. It was as if the fifties had puked up, but in a good way!
We chugged past a local safari park and got to see elephants up close, which was really cool! You don’t get that on the Manchester – London line!
The train stopped at cute-as-a-button stations along the way that were perfect for photo opps and to experience what the golden age of train travel would have been like.
Stinky steam billowed past as we clunked along the rails. People waved as went by. It all felt very quaint and lovely. I kind of wished I’d packed ginger beer, sandwiches tied in brown paper and penny sweets to share as we played a game of I-spy à la The Railway Children. Instead, it was a cup of PG Tips, a KitKat and Insta stories!
All in all I think Everleigh’s grandad has persuaded us that trainspotting isn’t just for geeks.