When I was a little girl my Dad had his Hornby train set all laid out in our garage. He could stand in the middle of the layout and run a few different trains at the same time. If my brother and I had been very good we might be allowed to take the controls, for a moment or two. A special treat would be to see one of his locos with ‘steam’, something I remember to this day. My love of the A4 class of steam locos goes back to this point, watching his Hornby Sir Nigel Gresley puffing around our train track. I’ve seen Mallard a couple of times now at the National Railway Museum. But whilst we were staying in York over the bank holiday something really special happened.
Monkey has been obsessed with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway since watching Yorkshire Steam on TV with Daddy P, so I’d already decided that a trip on the railway would be in order during our stay. Imagine my delight when I discovered that we would be meeting Sir Nigel Gresley and seeing the wonderful A4 under steam. I discovered that the train would be running on the NYMR during our stay, before being taken out of service in September, for a couple of years. What timing!
We took Monkey to the National Railway Museum on the day we arrived in York and he was so excited to see Mallard, Mummy, I’ve got him at home (Bigjigs train)! But this excitement was nothing compared to the next morning when we arrived at Pickering station bright and early to meet Sir Nigel Gresley on his first journey of the day.
I’m actually not sure who was more excited if I’m totally honest, this was going to be a childhood dream come true for more than one of us. There is something wonderful about steam trains, reliving a bygone age, that at the time was taken for granted. Seeing this majestic train approaching the platform was really quite something and my photos don’t do it justice at all.
It was time to hop on board, sit back and enjoy the ride. We’d been told that SNG would take us as far as Grosmont and then another loco would pull us into Whitby. I have to say that the NYMR is probably the most picturesque line we’ve even ridden on. It was a great journey.
We said goodbye to SNG at Grosmont and thought that would be our last glance at this wonderful piece of history. The weather was lovely, and it was August Bank Holiday Sunday too! So we’d decided to spend the day in Whitby and catch the last train back to Pickering.
Catching the train back as planned we chatted about the various adventures we’d had along the way. At some point after the Grosmont stop, Monkey was looking out of the window, Mummy I can see Sir Nigel Gresley!
Wonderful, we’d changed engines and were being taken back to Pickering by our dream engine. It really did give us all the perfect end to our day.
I never dreamed that I would get to see one of these beautiful A4’s in steam, and it was a wonderful experience. Something that all three of us will remember for a very long time.
Monkey is even more obsessed now, and as soon as we got home, he was straight back to our book about this locomotive class. We explained to him that he’d seen Mallard and SNG, and there were only 2 others running in the UK, one being in Scotland. But it looks like Bittern is somewhere in England Monkey. Where Mummy, where? I found out that Bittern is running on the Watercress Line, a line I know well, from my childhood, and a line we’ve been on before with Monkey. So a bit of investigation and I’ve found out that Bittern will be running over Daddy P’s birthday weekend before being taken out of service for an overhaul. How about that for timing! So yes, you can guess where we will be later this month.
I love making memories with Monkey, and I hope that these are the sort that he may well share with his own children one day.