Friday 30 March 2012

Outing - Colne Valley Railway

(Goblin is 29 months)
The wonderful Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts and the fab Carrie at Crafty Moms Share have started a brilliant new link up called Happy Family Times.
I can't think of anything better than sharing beautiful fun family moments so I decided to write a post specifically for this perfect link up. It wasn't difficult to think of something because Goblin, Hublet and I have lots of "Happy Family Times" to choose from. I chose a recent trip to Colne Valley Railway that we did a couple of weeks ago. 
As you know Goblin is obsessed with vehicles, and among them trains rate pretty high. He has only recently discovered "Thomas the tank engine" and this has helped him understand the difference between steam trains, and the normal trains that Goblin and I often jump on to play 'town tag'. So he was rather excited by our trip to see a real live steam train. 
An aside: in case you are wondering what 'town tag' is, its what I do when Goblin says he wants to go on a train. I have a season ticket for my commute to London for work. So when Goblin wants to go on a train I use my season ticket (so its effectively free) and we jump on the train and travel a couple of stops up the line towards London, then we get off, tag the station - literally touch the wall and say "tag"- after which we cross to the other platform and jump back on a train going the other way. The whole journey takes between half and hour to an hour depending on how long we need to wait for a train, and Goblin loves it - it gives him his train 'fix'.
I never expect to stay that long at Colne Valley, and we always end up staying for ages. Its a really small site. There is a mile of reclaimed railway track which runs a steam train in the spring/summer months. The train goes down and then back up the length of their track, which takes less than half an hour. It has two station houses, one on either side of the track. One is a shop and ticket office and the other is a mini museum of rail memorabilia. It also has a model railway, and a mini half gauge railway. The whole site is run by volunteers who will happily tell you every thing you need to know about steam trains, the site and pretty much anything rail related.
The first thing we did when we got to Colne Valley was to ride on the train. There were lots of other families waiting on the platform and Goblin couldn't see the steam engine until it was right upon us. At which point he got a little scared (its very noisy) and ran behind my legs. But once it had stopped he was super eager to be getting on board.
The trip up the track is great, not only because of the sound of the steam engine, and the steam going past the windows, but because there are old engines and carriages parked up along the sidings (being refurbished I think). And when you reach the end of the track the steam engine uncouples and comes down the side of the carriages on the parallel track so you get a really close look at it.  Goblin got Hublet to lean him out the door so he could get a good look.
The best thing at Colne Valley in Goblin's eyes is the model railway. He will spend literally hours watching the model trains going round and pressing the various buttons. There is a button to make water come out of a hose on a fire engine (obviously a favourite with Goblin), and one that makes the light house light flash. While we were there a volunteer was driving a model boat around a miniature lake in the middle of the model railway - Goblin was fixated.
My favourite part of the day was eating lunch! The cafe is in an old buffet car and they have flowers in vases on the tables and the seats are really bouncy because they are old sprung train seats. Goblin loves jumping on them, and I always cringe a bit because all the other families seem to get their toddlers to sit politely while Goblin is boinging around (they may have the better behaved kids but our one is usually the happiest!).
The food is always yummy - simple stuff like sandwiches but made with door stop wedges of bread and presented with yummy salad and crisps. Goblin picked all the cucumber out of my salad and his own and gobbled it up, but didn't touch the lettuce - cucumber is his new favourite thing.
They sell really delicious home made cakes, but Goblin was getting pretty restless by the time we'd eaten, so we decided to skip the cake. It was probably just as well because Goblin fell asleep about two seconds after we got in the car - a sign in our house of a Happy Family Time.

Why not pop over to Happy Whimsical Hearts or Crafty Moms Share and check out the Happy Family Time's others have had recently. 


  1. Aw, I love the idea of sharing happy family times. It is always better to have a happy child over a "well behaved" child. I would have wanted to bounce on the seats too ;)

  2. I really enjoyed reading your post. Train rides are so fun :-) We took Master D for a steam train ride for his 2nd birthday instead of a party and we all had such a good day!

    And I love how you play town tag - you are such a fun mum!! I could happily spend an afternoon doing that.

    I adore the photo of Goblin looking out the window. What a wonderful outing - thank you so much for sharing x

    1. Goblin picked out a postcard for Master D while we were there so as soon as I get my act together to post it with will be winging its way South.

  3. What a wonderful day!! Thank you so much for sharing it at Happy Family Times!! I am hoping to have a similar outing for my daughter this summer when we are at the Cape. She and her father love to play trains.

    I love the idea of town tag. What a great experience to have.


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