Monday, September 26, 2011
On Saturday 24th September we visited the Bo'ness and Kinneil railway for a special Thomas the Tank Engine themed event. Ethan has been showing an interest in Thomas and Trains so we especially took him along.
We thoroughly enjoyed the day, parking was well thought out by directing people to the nearby Lidl carpark (which was useful for augmenting our picnic). Our booked tickets were on the 13.30 train, but we arrived at 11.30 so we had plenty of time to explore the area before travelling to Birkhill.
We started off by collecting a bucket of water so Ethan could help fill Thomas under supervision of the Fat Controller (who incidentally wasn't that fat, but kept in character very well) and his engineer. We then bought some goodies for Ethan from a station vendor.
We joined the queue to show Ethan inside the driver cab of Thomas and have his photo taken; Louise asked the driver if she could toot Thomas' horn to be told only if coal is added to the boiler! The driver showed Louise where the shovel is kept and in to the boiler went some fuel and thus permission to make some noise! The driver kindly took a family photo of Louise, Ethan and myself inside the cab which was great!
We then sat down for some lunch where the Fat Controller came up to use and spoke to Ethan giving him a sticker!
During lunch the goods train 'Robert' travelled back and forth and we then made our way to our carriage.
The journey to Birkhill was enjoyable and I think it may have been the first time I've travelled on a full size steam train. There was no electric lights on, so when the carriages passed underneath a road bridge we were plunged into total darkness for a few seconds. We emerged to a series of whoops from passengers and Ethan's expression was priceless - as if the world had suddenly ended and then played the worlds largest game of peek-a-boo! Eyes and mouth were wide open!
Birkhill was a scenic station, although there wasn't really that much to do, we bought some home baked cakes, avoided the entertainer show and found a picnic bench on the railway platform - we bought some tea and waited...
After arriving back at Bo'ness we could tell Ethan was becoming tired so we made our way back to the car, we stopped at the imagination station to pick up some colouring leaflets and Ethan was given a Mega Bloks Thomas. I took some pictures of the passenger train leaving for Birkhill and drowning the bridge onlookers in black soot!
We'll definitely return! Although will probably stay on the train at Birkhill.