The East Lancashire Railway

The East Lancashire Railway

On a cold and wet January Sunday we jumped in the car and went to visit The East Lancashire Railway.   If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll have worked out that Dave and now the Robot have a thing about trains. The steamier the better.  It’s pretty impressive that a tourist attraction in the midst of Lancashire is actually open in the middle of the Winter.  It’s the perfect rainy day activity.  I say rainy but we very much drove over there into snow.

The day started with a bit of lay in for me because let’s face it with a newborn I’ll take all I can get when I can get it.  Sat eating porridge Dave said those words… If we can leave in 20 minutes we’ll catch a steam train.  He really didn’t expect me to say yes, let’s go!  Both kids changed and provisions packed with a couple of minutes to spare to get out the house. Super Mum I am!

It made us laugh in the car on the way, when the Robot was CABS’s age we had a similar scenario where we had 40 minutes to catch a train and I’d point-blank refused to go.  Seems second time parenting is easier!  We rocked up into the car park as they were moving the loco to the other end.  Just in time.

steam engine puffing lots of smoke out its engine

This was baby CABS’s first proper family day out and first steam engine.  As you can see she took full advantage of sticking her head out of the window to take a look at the snowy platform.   It was cold though so we retreated back into the semi-warm carriage.

Karen and robot looking out of the train window onto a snowy platform

Taking a ride on a steam engine with the boys is an interesting experience, they’re like kids in a candy shop.  Up and out of their seats, climbing on tables (Robot not Dave), looking out of windows, looking out of different windows, spotting the other trains running, the fun goes on and on for them.  I’m afraid I am merely along for the ride and the amusement at how excited they are.

Robot looking out of the old style train window with dave

We were on the train for a good hour, catching it all the way to the end of the line and then back.  It’s the perfect time to get a bit of lunch and true day trip style we had our packed lunch.  Unfortunately for me it was with semi stale bread.  It’s nice toasted but a very uninspiring lunch, except for a pork pie, it was all we had so I’ll stop moaning and try to be the person who packs the lunch next time!

eating lunch on the train

We stopped in Bury on the way back and went to visit the Bury Transport Museum.  Cold!  In an old warehouse it’s not the warmest of places to hang out but there was just enough to see and do considering we got free entry on our train tickets.  The Robot Dave enjoyed playing with all the exhibits.  Building bridges and knocking them down again.

robot and dave looking at a bridge buliding game

Some of the exhibits were really shiny and well-preserved.  The Robot really liked this fire engine.  Check out how red it is:

robot in front of an old fire engine

The best bit about the whole museum though has to be this bus.   It’s just the cab, but being able to sit in the driver’s seat and steer it is amazing.  The Robot was in his element.  What you can’t see here is Dave jumping in front of the bus “fly” style against the windscreen, moving the windscreen wipers and generally being a giant kid.  It was the warmest spot in the museum though as you could get the doors closed and stand inside for a bit!!!

robot on a bus driving

In seek of warmer ventures though we headed back to the steam trains to catch it back to our car.  We did have an hour to kill before this though so went to the station pub for a hot drink and some jam sponge and custard.  Watching some commotion on the platform we went to join them to find out when the train was coming.  Unfortunately it had broken down somewhere up the track so it was going to be delayed.

Very delayed.  We spent a further 2 hours on the platform that day watching Sydney the Diesel engine heading off to collect the loco so that the steam engine could get by.  Thankfully the Robot loves just hanging out on stations and as long as one of us was happy to chase him round the benches he was content.  It was cold, we were more than happy to keep moving.

Eventually we made it back to the car and very weary we headed home.  The East Lancashire Railway was a brilliant first day trip experience for the CABS and a very worn out Mummy!  Can’t wait for the Summer when we can do some warm day trips!

Hands up, who else has a steam train fanatic in their household?


  1. I have to congratulate you on this one, a snowy Sunday with a little one and a new born it takes some doing to get organised and out quickly and make the most of a cold day. I actually remember doing very similar things when my eldest two were this age, everyone thought we were mad but we were always glad of a little adventure and change of scene. Summer time will be a breeze after this! Love the look of the transport museum too. Have you tried the Tank Museum yet or Fleet air arm museum? they are both good ones on a trip to the south west and ones Robot would now adore.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…Country Kids 10th February 2018My Profile

  2. Gosh that was a long delay for the return journey but no doubt Custard and jam sponge helped! I love steam trains, so magical and old and slow and noisy and smelly but brilliant to see in action and ride on. And good work on the 20 minute deadline from your lie in!! #CountryKids

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