We headed over to Wakefield for a family day out on the Scarborough Spa Express as we do every year.
This year we did the full trip from Wakefield Westgate right through to Scarborough for the first time, calling at Woodlesford and Castleford on the way to York then heading all the way to Scarborough through some lovely scenery.
We usually only go as far as York as the boys have been very young in previous years and get a little restless.
The Scarborough Spa Express Steaming in to Wakefield Westgate
Tommy and Ralphie were so excited as we sat at the platform waiting for the train to arrive, making choo choo noises and starring down the tracks in anticipation.
From Westgate Station, which is currently being redeveloped, you can hear the train as it comes around the bend from Kirkgate before you see it, we had heard rumors that the train was going to be a diesel engine as Network Rail had banned the steam due to fire risk.
You can imagine our relief as the big white plume of steam filled the sky as the Scarborough Spa Express approached, i spoke with the train manager, who was extremely helpful and told us that the diesel has been assisting the steam train and was currently attached to the back incase it was required.
With all the rain we’ve been having the ‘steam ban’ should be lifted fully very soon indeed.
As i’m sure you know, the weather wasn’t great last week but it didn’t spoil the enjoyment of our family day out, and the views from the train were made even more spectacular by the low dark rain clouds that filled the sky. We did get the odd sunny spell too!
The Staff on the train are brilliant, they were answering all the questions that the passengers were throwing at them. At the stations people were helped on the train and guided to their carriage and seat with military precision while at the same time not feeling rushed. There were lots of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles with children getting on all ready for a lovely family day out at the seaside.
As mentioned earlier, we have been on this trip before and as usual I went for a wander down the train to the buffet carriage, the prices are very reasonable with hot drinks available at £1.20, kids drinks and crisps from 70p, Sandwiches are £2 and there is also a selection of alcoholic beverages starting at £2.
There is also a man on the train that sells books and badges relating to trains, for both adults and children.
The traditional First Class carriages look great with big plush armchairs that are very comfy. The Standard Class ones are also very nice with padded seats that can fit 4-6 people around depending on ages, the bonus of Standard class is that Children Travel free with a paying adult so the a family day out for 2 adults and 2 children in Standard class is £78 from Wakefield to Scarborough which is reasonable for the Full Steam experience (click here for other prices).
The Journey by steam is s unique, you get the most relaxing rocking sensation as you travel and the smells from the engine drift in through the window every once in a while reminding you that this is more than just a train ride.
We got to Scarborough a little earlier than scheduled so we had a bit more time to wander around.
You get nearly 3 hours in Scarborough which is just enough time to wander down to the South Bay have a play on the amusements grab a bite to eat and stroll back up the hill to the train station.
The train leaves on time so i advise you aim to be at the station for about 10 mins before departure time.
We loved our family day out, and i’m sure you will to whether you travel all the way to Scarborough or just go as far as York and spend some time in the (free) National Railway Museum, if you’re children are in to trains in any way, they will have a fantastic time on this day out.
The Scarborough Spa Express trip runs Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday from 16th July to the 29th August 2013 (including Bank Holiday Monday).
The company that run The Scarborough Spa Express is West Coast Railways who also run a trip in the West Highlands of Scotland called “The Jacobite” and for all you Harry Potter fans, it runs along the Glenfinnan Viaduct that is used in the film! Perhaps we should plan a family day out (or perhaps a long weekend) to experience this too.
UPDATE: The 2013 Season has now finished, the dates and prices for 2014 will be available soon and its well worth having a look at this trip for the summer holidays.