This Saturday and Sunday was what they call a ‘friendly engines’ weekend down at the Ribble Steam Railway in Preston and it was also going to be my first visit to the popular attraction.Advertisement
When I arrived the car park was busy but once inside it didn’t feel at all crowded. There’s a lot more space than I’d imagined and also a lot more locomotive engines, some built locally in Preston. Row upon row of restored locomotives, some painted in bright colours making for an impressive sight.
As this was a special weekend each of engines sported a ‘friendly face’. It was like stepping into one of the popular children’s stories. The only thing missing was Ringo Starr’s commentary – well it was Ringo Starr when I used to read the books to my sons.
After a quick look around the exhibits it was time for the short train trip up and down the dockside line which winds it’s way down along the River Ribble. It’s a relaxing way to enjoy the view and the only disappointment is that the journey doesn’t really provide an opportunity to get up any speed. It was a slightly surreal experience to be looking out the window, chugging along only to see cyclists overtaking you on the Guild Wheel.
Back at the station and it was time to explore the workshops where a number of engines and carriages are in various states of repair. Here I met Richard Bradshaw, an ex Post Office worker who now volunteers at the railway, helping to restore the stock. Richard explained the history of the carriages and told us how they are loaned out to other railways and are even used in films.
A final call in to the cafe for a bite to eat and a drink before I called it a day. As a photographer I can’t believe I’ve never visited before – so much potential for pictures. I’ll certainly be returning.
Did you go to the Friendly Engines event? Have you visited the Ribble Steam Railway? Let us know in the comments below