8 November 2015

A Day Out at Midland Railway

Last weekend we visited the Midland Railway in Derbyshire, the journey started at Butterley station and we travelled down the line through Swanwick junction and on to Riddings, there the train waits for the engine to turn around, then goes back up the line to Butterley Reservoir and back again.

It isn't a long line but to be honest, since you can travel up and down as many times as you like with your day ticket, it didn't matter too much.

We paid an extra pound each to sit in first class which was well worth it for the Harry Potter style compartment we got to sit in. You forget the smell and sounds of steam trains, but they are still as enigmatic when you are 33 as they were when you were 5.

From Butterley we went all the way down the line and then back to Swanwick junction, there we got off to go and look around the old trains and carriages in the museum, as well as a beautiful old church which was bought from the railway village of Westhouses. The inside was as beautiful as the outside and it reminded me more of ones you see in America.

Next to this is a little park, the perfect place for the children to run about for five minutes whilst you enjoy the views and sights of the railway housings and sheds. 

The old trains, carriages and railway memorabilia were great to look around and we spent ages walking up and down the old carriages, reading about how they were once used, from beautiful royal carriages, to ones which had carried the wounded home from the front line in WW1. It is such a wonderful way to get up close and personal with these magnificent pieces of engineering and also a great way to explain to the children some of the science behind how they work.

There was also a wonderful little miniature railway in the old Swanwick junction gatehouse, the kids loved seeing this and probably could have watched them all day.

After we'd had a look round and a cup of hot chocolate and cake we headed to the platform for the train back, once we got back to Butterley the train goes a little bit further than the station to the beautiful Butterley reservoir, then we headed back to Butterley. The great thing about this, is that the train turns round and comes back, so you get to see the engine drive straight past your window, the steam is truly something to behold.

Back at Butterley station, we stopped to look at the engine that had bought us up and down the line, the steam, fire and coal were just simply wonderful and I for one could have spent all day soaking up the history. It is places like Butterley that keep the memories alive for all to see, to make sure that we don't forget how we got where we are today and that these engines were once part of our land. 

At Butterley station there is also another cafe, model railway and shop so if you have to wait for the train there it is a wonderful station and the wait is certainly worth it for the ride in the steam train.

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