On Sunday, the pride and I headed for some lower-case steam train fun. We’d planned on doing something as a family and the weather was looking fine, so we headed off to the Kirklees Light Railway, in Clayton, near Huddersfield.
Not too far away from us, about a 40 minute drive, and when we turned up in the sunshine, the big cub, NJ, was instantly interested when he saw the little train running around it’s circular track near the car park. Right next to that was the birthday party carriage and old Post Office carriage, all heightening his anticipation. As he hit the platform, the engine, Hawk, was waiting and boarding passengers, so I nipped in to the office to grab our tickets (£7.50 adults and £5.50 for NJ at 3. J-Bub travelled free as a baby). We boarded quickly, ready to be steamed the 3 1/2 miles up the track to Shelley Station. NJ loved it, the noises of the tracks, the hissing of the steam, the smell of the burning fuel, the steam that came floating past the windows, all served to make a small boy, who, if he loves anything as much as tractors and monster trucks, loves trains, a very happy boy. He could barely stop smiling the whole way up. Looking out the window was great for him too, seeing the fields going by, and the mast at Emley Moor dominating the landscape.
As we pulled in at Shelley Station NJ jumped out and loved watching the engine turn around on the turntable at the end, “just like Chuggington” and set off back down to the front of the carriages for it’s return journey.
The fun didn’t stop there though. We’d brought a picnic and made full use of the lovely weather by sitting on one of the several picnic tables outside the cafe. Whilst we got some coffee from inside the cafe, NJ found the Thomas the Tank Engine play set in there and amused himself, and others, for probably longer than I might normally let him, given the lovely weather outside! The views from up at Shelley were wonderful in the sunshine, and partnered with the relative tranquility made for a very relaxed afternoon. After our picnic lunch, NJ went to play in the playground – a tower to climb up and slide down, a train to drive and climb on and a sand pot to dig in and lay down and get covered in it in! He had a great time and didn’t really want to leave the playground.Tthe train enticed him though.
Heading back down to Clayton, we were a little delayed as the train was firstly late coming up due to an obstruction at Skelmanthorpe, but once that was cleared we were on our way back down. Not before NJ had a panicky moment as the platform announcer told us we were going to be setting off soon. NJ thought the train was leaving with me and J-Bub and I on it and not him or his mum. He was quite upset, bless him. Secretly inside, I felt quite nice that he was afraid of not seeing me again!
Back at the home station, we obviously had to visit the shop, where NJ bought a steam train and carriage to take home and remember the day by, followed by a trip around the small engine track outside (50p per person, tickets via the ticket office. You need this before riding, which isn’t obvious).
Another park finished the day off for us with NJ running around like a mad boy, tiring himself out nicely for a small kip on the way home!
All in all a really great day out. Even our 8 month baby, J-Bub, had a lovely day enjoying the son, the new sounds and smells of the trains and the opportunity to sleep in his buggy in the sun at the top! We’ll definitely be coming back over the course of the year. It’s also worth noting the special events they run at Easter, through the summer and at Christmas.