On Friday, Sam turned two years old. He is very interested in transportation as he regularly exclaims “bus! BUS! Bus!” and points to vehicles passing by on the street. My guess is that this is an indirect critique of the fact that we do not have a car. Therefore, unlike other children at his nursery, he is still getting around with a pushchair. Sam has also been interested in the Thomas the Tank Engine books, so I thought he and I would go on adventure to Ruddington to ride on a steam train.
It helps that the Ruddington station is on a bus line, the Trent Barton company’s Ruddington Connection, which operates Monday through Saturdays. Saturday has reduced hours, but I can work with that. I planned on taking the 3:00 pm train route. Therefore, we left on the 2:00 pm bus. It was just about the right amount of time, as we arrived by 2:30 pm at the end of the bus line.
It turns out that Ruddington Fields Business Park is not just a Business Park. There is actually a very lovely park there. It’s a park that I plan to return to and explore. It looks like there is a lake and endless hiking trails and a café that is marked as being open on the first and third Sunday of every month. And, yes, I was lost in that park trying to find the heritage train station for about 20 minutes. While lost, I could hear the old trains chugging nearby. So I relied on my sound localization skills (and by asking someone for help) and found the station just in time.
The train was pretty cool. The people running the heritage train are all volunteers. They explained that on that particular Saturday there were not enough volunteers to run the steam engine, so we were on a 1950s diesel. The buffet car was panelled in wood with red upholstered seats. The diesel was still really interesting and we had lovely views of the countryside. The ride was 1 hour and fifteen minutes. Sam eventually became very fidgety and I took him walking around the train and then, finally, gave in and let him eat a significant portion of a small can of Pringles that I bought from the train’s junk food window. He enjoyed that immensely.
Thereafter, we had a great time walking around the GCRN heritage station. There were a number of people who seemed to be tinkering about with a huge mass of train parts trying to get them to work. So, it appeared to be a real life Junkyard Wars experience. Around the back is a ride-on miniature train that had already closed for the day (Note to self: come earlier in the day in order to get to ride on the miniature train too!). And the playground for GCRN is extraordinarily clean and just perfect for younger children. (The enormous playground in the park next door specializes in older children, so this makes sense!)
In the end, Sam most enjoyed the bus ride back to the city centre. He sang “Wheels on the Bus” for a small, smiling audience. I look forward to the next time when we bring Dan and other people along. I am sure to bring family and friends visiting Notts to the GCRN, and I hope Sam and I will get to ride on the steam engine the next time!