Today was one of our occasional boys’ train days, with Grandpa being included in the boys this time. The three of us drove to Lancaster in the car, where we bought Cumbria Round Robin tickets, which basically allow you to do a lap of Cumbria within 1 day.
The main reason for our itinerary was that Northern Rail will soon be retiring their Class 37s from passenger duties on the Cumbrian Coast line, so this may be the last time we are able to do this.
Our train arrived in Lancaster bang on time, pulled by "Mary Queen of Scots", which appears to be a regular performer on these trains - we seem to see it often. We chugged off round the coast, stopping at towns where we sometimes visit for nice food (Carnforth, Arnside, Grange etc.), before arriving in beautiful Barrow.
Fortunately, the schedule meant that we only needed to spend 7 minutes in Barrow (plenty long enough) before we headed north up the coast on our next train, this time pulled by an identical-looking locomotive called Stephen Middlemore. This leg is the long part of the journey, although very pleasant in terms of scenery, so Tom got his favourite toy (his IQ puzzle) out of his bag and amused himself for a long time. The weather wasn't all that sunny, but we still had nice views of the sea on one side and the Lake District mountains on the other. Plus, the old carriages they use on these trains are very comfortable, so the journey passed in a very pleasant manner. No catering on these trains, though, so we all brought packed lunches, which we opened on the dot of 12.30 and demolished in no time.
|Tom, Grandpa and Mary Queen of Scots at Barrow|
Before we knew it, we rolled into Carlisle, where we spent about an hour watching trains on the main line, before catching a Virgin Pendolino back to Lancaster. Interesting that the outward journey took exactly 4 hours, but the return journey less than 50 minutes.
We then drove home for tea with Mummy.
All in all, a very pleasant day. The trains all ran to time, the weather was OK-ish, and everyone behaved themselves.