Time+Place: A Steam Train Trip in Wales for a Thomas the Train Fan

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Several years ago, we took a trip to Great Britain. Our kids were pretty young at the time (almost 3 and 4 years old), so when planning our itinerary, we tried to keep in mind activities that would not only entertain them, but also be fulfilling for us. When we saw the numerous Steam Train trip options throughout Britain, we became very excited. A day on a train was the perfect way to see the country side as well as keep any Thomas the Train fan engaged!

Illustration by C. Reginald Dalby

Illustration from The Three Railway Engines, by The Rev. W. Awdry, illustration by C. Reginald Dalby

There’s nothing more historic than taking a steam train in Great Britain, the birth place of the railway! It’s hard to believe this mode of transportation is only 200 years old. It’s believed the first railway service was in 1807, and called the Swansea and Mumbles Railway. It ran in southern Wales between “the dunes” of Swansea to the fishing village of Mumbles. The engine, mind you, was not steam at all, but horses pulling the carriage along the track. Within the next 5 years, the steam locomotive was in operation.

Riding a steam train is quite a different experience than a modern day train. The first thing is the noise level, it is much louder than the amazing bullet trains that speed across Europe and Asia. The next obvious difference is the ride– it’s a bit more bumpy than what we are used to. The biggest difference, though is the steam from the stack that comes billowing down the side of the train as you rumble along. The cloudy white puffs, and smokey smell can mask your view at times, but add a little intrigue and a touch of romance to the journey.

Photos from a Steam Train Trip in Wales by Wanderlust Designer

Photos from a Steam Train Trip in Wales by Wanderlust Designer

My daughter doesn’t recall much from this trip, and unfortunately, my son remembers even less, but when we talk about trains, this steam train ride always comes up. Given the fond memories, I would highly recommend a steam train ride on your next visit to England or Wales.

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