Tag Archives: Steam trains

Family Day – KLR baby trains for baby people.

August was a really difficult month for us and that’s putting it lightly. (see post “So much more than a quilt”) We were staying at my mum’s with my sister’s family. By the time the bank holiday had arrived mum ordered us all to have some time for ourselves “family time”. Mark did some research on the internet and found KLR Kirklees Light Railway. I’d never heard of it before but the website looked great and it wasn’t too far away from us.

It was pretty easy to get to, just off of junction 39 of the M1.  As we parked we heard a message on the tannoy saying,

“The next train will be departing shortly. If you wish to board, please do so now.”

As we approached the building, there were signs to the platform, ticket office etc. It was all very quaint. You could imagine experiencing this as a child and loving it. We decided to try to catch the train. The man at the ticket office was extremely friendly and helpful. He told us about a quiz in which each Hula could win a badge. We heard the whistle and boarded the train just in time!

Me and Hula in our baby sized carriage

The train ride took approximately 20 minutes through oak woodland. I think that if we had visited as Autumn progressed, the trees would look spectacular.

The train arrived at the top station, we were told that we could spend as long as we liked there and that trains departed every 30 minutes. There was a bouncy castle, adventure playground and they’d also advertised a tea room. I found this to be slightly disappointing. There was no selection of teas and the tea was served in a polystyrene cup. I think when the words “Tea room” are used I expected it to be served on a tray with hot water for me to pour myself (and a selection of cakes and treats if I’m being particular). Despite this, it was a really nice area with and we spent an hour there.

Holly in the adventure playground

Holly seemed to really enjoy herself, there were so many other families with young children. We struggle sometimes finding activities to do with Holly due to her age.

The bottom station also had an adventure playground but it was much larger. There was also a teeny tiny train around the duck pond which you could have a ride on if you wished. The cafe at the station served hot food. It was ok but, I would recommend taking a packed lunch as there is a picnic area.

Despite it being a bank holiday, it wasn’t packed, it was easy to park and the staff were exceptionally helpful. We later found out that most of the people working there are volunteers and steam train enthusiasts. They have special events through the year such as a visit from Thomas the Tank Engine, Halloween and Santa specials. All details are available on their website. It’s not a full day out so I didn’t find it overwhelming for Holly. Well worth a visit.

One of the mini engines

N.B There was a fantastic gift shop with a large selection of Thomas the Tank engine toys and memorabilia for children and grown ups!

All aboard the Hogwart’s Express!

About a month ago, I received an email from my brother-in-law asking me to keep the 21st of July free as my sister Becky had planned an early birthday surprise. The day got closer and I tried desperately to trick clues out of  Mark who did well to not let anything slip as he struggles to keep surprises.

I was told that I had to be ready to leave the house by 10.30. Mark got Hula ready and we drove towards Wakefield. Finally, after fighting with the road works we got to Westgate train station and met Becky, Matt and Josh their little boy. Becky and Matthew strategically placed me so that I couldn’t read the electronic timetable. I was really starting to get excited at this point with the anticipation building when Becky said, “Vicky, what’s this coming down the track?” I could see a huge black engine with steam billowing out of its chimney. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was the Hogwarts Express. It was the sheer thrill of being a child on Christmas morning.

Was Hogwarts Express, now Scarborough Spa

I found out that you can charter a journey to Scarborough by steam train with West Coast Railways. It may not always be the train used in the Harry Potter films but it will be one just as charming. The carriages were wonderfully nostalgic and romantic and smelled of an old library. There was plenty of room for the 6 of us and 2 pushchairs. We soon discovered that small bits of soot came through the window and Hula got some on her socks from standing on the table. It all added to the atmosphere.

Me, Holly, Becky and Josh (muggles)

It was so lovely that as the train went by, people waved from their gardens. As we picked up more passengers, enthusiasts were waiting with cameras.

As the train pulled into York station, we decided that we would find somewhere to have lunch. We chose to eat at Il Bertorelli’s which is part of a chain of Italian restaurants. However, the food was really good and they were  geared up for having families with small children. It was no effort for them to rearrange tables and chairs so that Holly and Josh could sit opposite each other in their high chairs.

The boys took the babies for a walk, and Becky and I went for a wander around the shops. I love visiting York. Having said that, I feel that over the years it has become far more geared up for tourists from overseas and it has taken the shine off of its charm a little. To say it was a weekday, the Shambles were packed. I always enjoy how the Minster just seems to appear without warning. Becky and I went inside to light a candle but it was strewn with visitors. Unfortunately It didn’t even feel like  a place of worship with people shouting and mobile phones going off. I guess that’s what happens when you charge people £8.00 admittence.

We bought some little treats, there was a fantastic sale on at Cath Kidston so I bought a few choice items (it is my birthday soon afterall!). We all walked to the museum gardens by the river to let Josh have a run around before we got back on the train and to get Holly out of her pram for a while. The weather was beautiful and at 17.30 it was starting to cool down a little.

Me and Holly in the Museum gardens

The journey home was amazing. Such a beautiful summer evening showcasing our beautiful Yorkshire countryside in all of its glory. I’m very proud to live in one of the five towns, to think that it was in the area that I live that provided coal for such a stunning piece of British engineering. The mines have gone but much of the pride and pit bands remain. It was such a fantastic day, shared with lovely people. I’m looking forward to when Holly and Josh can understand who Harry Potter is and that they went on a magical journey on the Hogwarts express.

How magical!

Snaking through from Woodlesford to Castleford