Thursday, 8 January 2015

the age of steam


New Year’s day found the man and I hopping in the car, hoping the grey, threatening clouds weren't heralding rain, and heading off for a day out.  The man had suggested a visit to the Bluebell railway, and it turned out to be a great idea! 

The Bluebell Railway is a preserved section of track which runs regularly scheduled steam trains from Sheffield park through Horsted Keynes, Kingscote and up to East Grinstead.  We got tickets for a return journey (Third class) and then had an hour to amuse ourselves at the Sheffield park station before our train. 



Amusing ourselves was incredibly easy: there is a shed full of steam engines that are either partially or fully restored, and huge amounts of information.  They are restored almost entirely by volunteer enthusiasts who could be seen tinkering around with bits and pieces of train, and I enjoyed peering into the workshop.  The engines themselves have a striking industrial beauty and I couldn't help but feel infused with visions of the romance of train travel under steam. The station was lovely with so many period details to admire and point out.



When our train arrived, we had time to get a quick cup of tea for the journey, and then selected our carriage.  Apparently 3rd class travel means comfortable, squishy sofa-style seats upholstered in gloriously patterned material.  And leg room to spare. It felt incredibly luxurious!



It was lovely to sit back and relax in the relative opulence of bygone days, and gaze at the world rolling past, marvelling at the steam snagging on the branches of the trees, caught like so many tufts of wool. We rode all the way up the line to East Grinstead where we had a brief pause to hop out and visit the stationary buffet car.  Having nobbled a nice cup of tea and a generous wedge of Victoria Sponge cake for the journey back, we re-boarded our train



We rounded off with a visit to the Sheffield Park museum to find out a bit about the history of the line both when it was used as part of the National Rail Network, and since its days of preservation.
And then we tried on some excellent hats.

A most triumphant way to see in the new year.

Kisses xxx

P.S. I think I'm going to start a little series of fun days out that we we have.  I'd like to be able to look back on the collection at some point in the future.  So I have tagged this post the first in the series Great Dates 2015. 

7 comments:

  1. Fab! They *smell* so nice as well, don't they?!

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  2. Looks lovely! Looking forward to seeing more great dates of 2015 :)

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  3. Looks like a great time was had! I admire your photography time and time again! Looking forward to more Great Dates! :)

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  4. I know a certain boy who would love that kind of day out!

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  5. We went there alot as children and a couple of my teachers worked as volunteers as engine drivers and behind the scenes engineers. It's a wonderful place to go and used in so many tv series and films too
    Jo xxxx

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