Monday, October 08, 2007

Day 3B: The Bluebell Railway, UK

If you were to ask Erich what his favourite toy is right now, he would undoubtedly point to his box of wooden railway tracks and trains and say "die eisenbahn" (german for railway). Ever since he was young, Karen would often bring him to the Chapters store below where I work. At that store, there is a Thomas the tank engine demonstration table. He can spend hours on end playing with Thomas and his favourite character Bertie the bus.

As a behavioral reward on our trips this year, we started to give him parts of his own wooden railway set from Thomas. He was overjoyed to receive them. So imagine the awe on his face when we told him where we were going to bring him in England. We were going to go see a REAL steam train with real observation cars.

After hiring a car in Reading, we drove an hour an a half from Reading to Sussex where the Bluebell Railway operates. We boarded the train (a genuine restored observation car from 1913, being hauled by a restored steam engine from the same era) and began a 1.5 hour tour from Sheffield Park station to Horsted Keyes. Most of our fellow passengers were more elderly people from the era who were on the train reminiscing about a bygone era. However, there were also a few families on board with kids just like Erich who were Thomas fanatics.

So imagine the reaction of the kids when the tour guide introduced the steam engine that was towing us today. Her name was Stepney and is actually one of Thomas' friends. (In fact the Stepney in the Thomas story is actually inspired by this very engine.) Needless to say, the kids on board just about went crazy when they heard this!

All in all, Erich had a grand time on the Bluebell railway as is evident in his facial expressions on these pictures I took.


Ophelia said...

HAHAHA!!! Love the expressions on his little face =D

Alvina Lam said...

so cute!
are you guys still in europe?

Jonathan & Karen Ng said...

No, we've been back since the end of October... but just getting around to posting stories! :)