old lorries steam power traditions

Our Norfolk Holiday – The Railway Station at Holt

This post takes us back to 2017 and shares part of a holiday week. As we are being effected by the coronavirus problems I thought this post would give a little cheer.

While holidaying in Norfolk with daughter Jo and son-in-law Rob in the summer of 2017 we were so pleased to find a steam railway line close to where we were staying. We alighted at Holt Station where it has its name written in cut box.

The railway itself is known as the North Norfolk Railway, with a friendly nickname of the Poppy Line. The station at Holt is run by a group of volunteers, the Friends of Holt Station and there is an obvious sense of pride in everything they do. Thus everything is clean, tidy and beautifully maintained. We decided to ride the train to the end of the line, not far away in Sheringham.


The detailing is full of character and beautifully restored and maintained. Each feature brought back memories of childhood for Jude and I but a secondhand nostalgia for Jo and Rob.


In the yard beyond the station buildings we discovered some old freight trucks and an old brown lorry, again beautifully restored.

While waiting for our train to arrive were disappointed that the first engine we spotted was a diesel. Luckily ours followed not long after, a shining green steam engine.


After a most enjoyable journey with sights, sounds and smells from times past we arrived at the seaside town of Sherringham where we spent the day. In our childhood travelling by steam train was a normal way of getting around so days like this bring back fond memories.

steam power Wales

Family Fun on the Snowdon Mountain Railway

While enjoying a family holiday on Anglesey we decided it would be a great day out if we all went on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, something that none of us had ever done before. The idea was that we would all go up to the summit of Snowdon on the railway and our children with their spouses would walk back down. Jude and I with Arabella would make the descent by train.

We had a brilliant family day out! We began at the train station at the bottom of the mountain railway track, booked our tickets and waited for the off. It was a busy little station painted brightly in yellow and green, decorated with carved wooden detailing. It loked so cheerful on this sunny day. We had time for refreshment in the station buffet as we waited for the arrival of our train. Excitement rose as it pulled in to the station. Our engine was called Padarn. The huge smile on Arabella’s face reflected our excitement.

There is something so special about riding a steam train but the thought of this little engine pulling us up a mountain added extra frisson.


The slow ascent accompanied by the sounds and smells of the steam engine, took us through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. We all felt so lucky. Everyone smiled for the whole journey and excitedly commentated to their friends or family. Passengers who began the ascent as strangers were soon talking and chatting like old friends – the power of steam nostalgia.


At the summit we had a short time to appreciate the engine and the view, enjoy a coffee and watch Jamie, Sam, Jo and Rob set off walking down the mountain, the tallest mountain in England and Wales.


We have waited ages to get around to making the journey of the steam railway to the summit of Mount Snowdon and back, but it was most certainly worth the wait. I don’t think it will be long before we return to do it all over again.





buildings renovation Shropshire

Nostalgia Week – Flying Scotsman Ride

fs-077  fs-059

The Flying Scotsman is probably the most famous railway engine in the world and remains as much a favourite now as it did in its hay-day. Recently it has been given a complete renovation and looks brand new again in its deep green livery. It was taken on a tour around the UK giving as many people as possible a chance to see and experience it and provide a few with the opportunity to ride aboard the train.

fs-068 fs-069fs-071 fs-070

Many people have fond memories of this stately old engine and many would jump at the chance of a ride in a train pulled by it.

fs-049 fs-055

This rarest of opportunities came our way recently when the newly restored Flying Scotsman was visiting the heritage railway near us, Severn Valley Railway where for a few days people were given the chance to ride with the stately engine. Naturally Jude and I with Daughter Jo and Son-in-Law Rob jumped at the chance to do so.

fs-001-1fs-009-1 fs-015-1

So as part of my week of nostalgia posts here is the story of that day. So many things we saw and experienced that day reminded us of childhood railway journeys that took us to holiday destinations around the British coast.

fs-002-1 fs-003-1 fs-005-1 fs-007-1 fs-008-1

We waited patiently for the Scotsman to steam into Kidderminster Station and excitement rose as we smelt heard and then finally saw the beautiful old steam engine pull in. As it got closer the tension rose further! We would soon be off on a journey of a lifetime!

fs-010-1 fs-012-1 fs-013-1 fs-011-1

We walked slowly down the platform admiring the beautifully crafted wooden carriages where we would be spending our journey.

fs-050fs-051 fs-052fs-053 fs-073

Once aboard, we chose our seats, got ourselves comfortable, settled down and enjoyed a coffee as we awaited our departure from Kidderminster to make our way to Bridgnorth Station aboard the train pulled by our favourite railway engines of all time, the Flying Scotsman.

fs-017-1 fs-018-1 fs-045 fs-048fs-025-1 fs-026-1fs-046 fs-054

The engine pulled its carriages out of the station, in a storm of white steam and black smoke beneath a pall of smuts and the aromas of fire, smoke, hot oil and nostalgia.

fs-030-1 fs-038-1 fs-037-1fs-040 fs-036-1

The Flying Scotsman drew crowds wherever a road or footpath came near enough to the track to see and smell its passing. As we passed cameras were raised to eyes and a multitude of photos taken in a few moments of steamy passing. A hoot from the engine driver greeted each group of spectators who reacted with raised waving arms.

fs-024-1 fs-034-1fs-035-1 fs-033-1fs-041 fs-047

In sidings along the way old rolling stock, goods carriages and line-repair vehicles waited their turn to be used or renovated.

fs-031-1 fs-032-1

A special surprise awaited as we left the station at Kidderminster, a miniature steam railway line which ran alongside the main railway. The engine doubled as a seat for the driver and children sat straddled the carriages.

fs-064 fs-063

A great day of memories and full of nostalgia which Jude and I shared with our daughter Jo and son-in-law Rob. A day we will never forget!


Come on a quick tour through my gallery of shots taken during our day with the Flying Scotsman.

architecture countryside landscapes photography steam power Wales

A Birthday Excursion to The Welshpool and Llanfair Railway

We usually go out somewhere on both of our birthdays so today being my birthday, Jude, The Undergardener, decided to take me on a nostalgic trip on an old steam railway line. We often pass the stations and see the track. At times while journeying down the River Banwy valley the track runs quite close to the road out into mid-Wales and towards some of our favourite stretches of coastline.

2015 06 16_2841

We drove in to the car park of the Welshpool Raven Square Station, parked up and bought our tickets, which were just like the ones we could remember as children, little card ones which the Guardsman clipped while we sat on the train waiting to leave.

2015 06 16_2844

The station building looked so small as we wandered up the path once inside we discovered that a booking office and waiting room were squeezed into it. When we went through the station and onto the platform the building showed its true dimensions.

2015 06 16_2832 2015 06 16_28332015 06 16_2838

Interesting old signs caught our attention wherever we went. In the waiting room artifacts from the railway’s previous life added authentication.

2015 06 16_2836 2015 06 16_2835 2015 06 16_2837 2015 06 16_28402015 06 16_2834_edited-1 2015 06 16_2856_edited-12015 06 16_2861_edited-1

We didn’t have to wait long before we heard the hoot of the little steam engine approaching the platform.

2015 06 16_2842 2015 06 16_28462015 06 16_2843

The little engine proudly displayed its name, Countess, on the side of its boilers.

2015 06 16_2852

Once steam was up and the Guard waved his green flag the little train moved very slowly away from the station and we travelled along the beautiful valley of the River Banwy.

2015 06 16_2847 2015 06 16_2848 2015 06 16_2858 2015 06 16_2859

After enjoying so much beautiful countryside we arrived at the end of the little narrow guage line at the station at Llanfair Caereinion. Here we refreshed ourselves with coffee and cake while the engine topped up with water and coal in readiness for the return to Welshpool.

2015 06 16_2850 2015 06 16_2851 2015 06 16_2853 2015 06 16_2854

We found more authentic old items from the days of steam at this station too mixed up with little patches of colourful gardens.

2015 06 16_2855 2015 06 16_2857 2015 06 16_28722015 06 16_2862 2015 06 16_2864

2015 06 16_2863  2015 06 16_28652015 06 16_2874

Before climbing back on board and sitting on the hard wooden benches that were our seats, we took a few moments enjoying looking close up at our engine “Countess”. She positively sparkled as every surface had been rigorously polished, buffed, oiled or greased.


2015 06 16_2866 2015 06 16_2867 2015 06 16_2868 2015 06 16_2870 2015 06 16_2871

The journey back along the valley gave us the chance to enjoy different views of the surrounding landscape.

2015 06 16_2875 2015 06 16_2876 2015 06 16_2877 2015 06 16_2878 2015 06 16_2879 2015 06 16_2880

As soon as all the passengers had disembarked the little old locomotive squeaked its way a little further down the rail track to the water tower and drank thirstily.

2015 06 16_2882 2015 06 16_2883

After this delightful day of memories and nostalgia we promised ourselves a day on the old barges on the canal at Llangollen and of course there are all those other narrow guage railways scattered throughout Wales to indulge ourselves with!