Many train enthusiasts focus on carriages from times gone by such as steam trains. Steam trains and heritage stations can be magnificent to look at, with gorgeous rural stations and friendly conductors wearing authentic uniforms all adding to the ambience and authenticity. Visiting these stations and travelling on the steam trains can be like taking a step back in time, opening your eyes to a world gone by when steam trains ruled the railways and it was the best way to travel.
The stations are often well-preserved and very charming, and you can enjoy sitting and watching the steam and smoke pouring from the engines and take a seat in the cosy wood-panelled carriages. A visit to the station itself and a trip on a steam train can also provide the perfect start for a day out. This sets the tone for a memorable time ahead with varied destinations including villages, mountains, moors or the seaside. You should also be able to discover the history of the railway in the visitor centre, or visit a traditional station tea room.
Rates for groups and schools should also be available alongside standard fares including discounts for children and families, which should be easy to find by typing train tickets UK into a search engine. When booking it is worth remembering the following points.
Book in advance and look at rail times, as some services are more popular than others, and consider if you want booked seats. Give a maximum number of how many you are expecting to join if it is prone to change. Arrive at least 20 minutes prior to departure to allow time to complete all checking-in and boarding procedures.If any changes or cancellations need to be made look at any additional charges you may incur.
Depending on the stations, the following facilities are often available. Steam trains and their stations often provide a fantastic learning resource for adults, children and schools. Some railways even provide led sessions, talks, guided walks, object handling and practical activities. There is also often a tea room offering food and drink or afternoon tea on board, and a gift shop selling items such as souvenirs, guide books, gifts, postcards and sweets.Standard and disabled toilets and baby-changing facilities are also available.
For food, there is usually a buffet or trolley facilities on board.Luxury dining trains may also be available, offering three to five course meals in beautiful dining carriages and even champagne receptions.
However you decide to spend your time on the steam trains, researching the station you are going to can make all the difference in ensuring you get the most out of the day. Taking in the station itself, its décor, history and tea rooms can be a lovely treat before you even step on board a train. Whatever choices you make, whether it involves a simple trip or a five-course meal, even the lesser train enthusiast should get something out of the experience and learn a little along the way.
About the Author – Sarah Makinson is a regular contributor to a range of lifestyle and consumer blogs, including the one at South West Trains.