Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Wensleydale Railway.






















A dozen of us from our Writers' Group went on the Wensleydale Railway at lunch time today. We caught the steam train at Leyburn Station at 12.35 and trundled down the line to Redmire (about six miles) which is as far as the line goes in that direction. Then it was back to Leyburn and then about four miles in the other direction until we got to a place where there is a passing line - there the steam train chugged past to join the other end of the train and we returned to Leyburn. It was a jolly expedition.
I was looking out for signs of wildflowers on the track side. There has always been a history of flowers by the railtrack, as conditions are usually ideal for their growing - sheltered spot, good drainage etc. Most of them are well over and have seeded by now, but here and there were patches of soapwort, banks of rosebay willow herb, self-sown buddleias, ox eye daisies and plenty of ragwort.
Ragwort is poisonous to horses and apart from the roadside verges we see little in the fields as farmers are very good at removing it because of the danger but here on the sides of the railway line it flourishes.
There were lovely views over Wensleydale and Bishopdale, fields of sheep and cattle, the odd group of scratching hens with a magnificent rooster in one case, and here and there glimpses of the road so that we kept being reminded of exactly whereabouts we were. It was strange getting a rail side view rather than a road side one.
We took sandwiches and ate them on the platform at Redmire station, where we stayed for half an hour before beginning the return journey. The smell of steam was nostalgic and the rattle of the wheels brought back memories from train rides long ago. Now we must hope that the journey stimulated us all enough to produce some "railway" writing for our little booklet.
I hope you enjoy these photographs. You will see that an old style bus is waiting at Redmire station. This takes passengers on a further tour of the Dales before returning them to Leyburn.
Doesn't the Station Master look to be enjoying himself (the railway is manned by volunteers).

23 comments:

Jane Moxey said...

Your pictures and descriptions brought back so many memories of English train rides. I loved being reminded about the leather window straps in an earlier post! I used to take the boat train from Euston to Newcastle-on-Tyne to catch a boat to Oslo when my father was stationed there. Very big solo adventure for a little girl! The volunteer station master IS having a lovely time! And that bus was a blast from the past to see, too. How great that you had a sunny day for your adventure.

Totalfeckineejit said...

That's a great day out,weaver.Steam trains are wonderful and that's a really great looking old bus waiting for you all.It's cheesy I know but I can't help but think of wallace and Grommet(sp?)every time I hear 'Wensleydale'.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Great pictures and the day looks like such fun. My dad would have enjoyed it. He is a railroad buff, as they say.

Sara said...

Oh how wonderful! I do love steam trains - the sounds, the smells & the elegance of the journey. Mum & Dad treated the family to lunch on the Severn Valley Railway a couple of years back. It was of the best days out I've ever had :-D It's just not the same hurtling by in a high speed train. You couldn't identify trackside flowers on a Virgin train could you? Unless it was delayed of course ha, ha!

Jenn Jilks said...

I love these worlds! Great photos, Weaver.

steven said...

oh weaver what a day! i'm genuinely envious and i know that's a bad way to be but there you are!! the pictures are so cool - the bus, the train, the little station. i love that there are people who haven't forgotten how magical that all was and are bringing that magic back not only for people who were there when it was a way of life, but also for those who've heard their parents, grandparents rattle on about it and not really understood it until they've been there and done it themselves. thanks for this lovely posting. steven

Sal said...

I would so much have loved to come on that trip!
;-)

Titus said...

What a wonderful day and what wonderful pictures. No wonder all little boys wanted to be train drivers. I wouldn't mind a crack at Station Master myself - great uniform, great hat! Lovely post, thanks.

Heather said...

What a lovely day out you all had - a proper train and a proper bus! I went to school on buses like that and travelled to London on steam trains. Even the station staff uniforms were better in those days. I am hopelessly nostalgic!

Pondside said...

What fun! A story book day, with a story book train and a station master right out of a Noddy story.

maggi said...

What a wonderful trip back in time

gleaner said...

Great photos Weaver.

Cloudia said...

Railfans the world over are the same. I loved your post! I could smell the steam and enjoy the clattering of the rails (something I miss here in Hawaii). We have an old "Sugar Cane" line that volunteers maintain and run. I really must go sometime.

Rail right of ways helped to spread hemp, as discarded song bird seed contained canabis seeds back in the day; rural areas have scrub-marijuana growing to this day. Some call bad marajuana: "Ditch Weed" recalling this wild weed. . . .
Aloha my writerly friend!

Comfort Spiral

Linda said...

Your station master looks ready to pop a few buttons! How delightful! People who work these steam train lines in Canada, just like your station master in England, really do enjoy the experience! We have the little town of Tottenham north of Toronto where you can take a steam train all the way to "Nowhere" and back. It's such a wonderful outing especially in the fall.
I am glad your train ride was so memorable!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What a lovely old bus! I wish we had one like that here!

willow said...

I am now suffering a severe case of railway envy. What a charming excursion.

Leenie said...

We are so fortunate to be able to travel, even short trips, to get a new view of our surroundings. It has been a VERY long time since I was able to ride a train. Thanks for taking us along!

Pam said...

Delightful post! I thought of the word "dapper" when I saw your station master photo. Such an old-fashioned word, but there isn't one that matches it quite as well.I love train journeys -especially steam ones.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comments. I am short of time today - but I do appreciate them all. Glad you were able to share my little railway trip. Sadly, in spite of some serious listening I was totally unable to hear the diddle-de-dot noise I used to associate with train travel - but the smell of trains certainly brought back some old memories.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

Glad you all had a good time and hope it was fruitful in literary terms.

Are the carriages special to this train? A steam train runs from Fort William to Mallaig in the Highlands, over the Glenfinnan viaduct (Harry Potter fame), on which many of our guests took a ride. But a regular complaint was how dirty the carriages and windows were (usually outside) being the standard ScotRail stock!

Mistlethrush said...

That reminds me of when our writing circle had a trip in a narrow boat along our local Leeds-Liverpool canal with writing prompts en route. A very enjoyable with most people getting a chance to steer the boat.

BT said...

What a delightful trip you all enjoyed. I just love that bus too. Your description of what you saw through the windows was wonderful, I was there with you watching the flowers. Super.

Teresa said...

I love old trains! Sure did enjoy this post. What a pleasant outing and old-fashioned train ride is... lucky you!