Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ribble Steam Railway

Restored steam engine in the Ribble Steam Railway Museum
Ribble Steam Railway Museum

The Ribble Steam Railway lies within the redeveloped Riversway Dockland area of Preston, just off the A583 heading west out of the city.  Staffed by enthusiastic volunteers who restore, maintain and run the collection of steam engines and trains, it offers indoor museum and workshop areas, a small cafe, and a short train ride.  The line runs through the dockland area, passing through a marina then running alongside the River Ribble for around a mile and a half before returning the same way.  The engine changes ends at the half-way point, and the children enjoyed watching through the guard's compartment as it rejoined the train with a bump.

Model traction engine
Model traction engine

The museum contains a good selection of restored engines and carriages, old tools and signs, and models showing the working of the engines.  I don't know whether it is a regular feature, but on our visit today a volunteer had set up a model train which we had a ride on - the kids loved it, particularly little Megan, as you can see for yourself in this clip:

Holly playing cranes in the Ribble Steam Railway Museum
Holly playing cranes

The museum included educational exhibits, play areas for younger kids, and the chance to dress up in railway gear.

All aboard! Chris dressing up as a railway guard.
All aboard! Chris dressing up.

Working steam engine

On the platform - admission includes unlimited train rides
On the platform - admission includes unlimited train rides

The railway workshop is also open to visitors where you can see more engines in various stages of restoration.  Seeing this, you can really appreciate the time and effort the volunteers have put in to create the finished exhibits.

Ribble Steam Railway is a great example of a local, enthusiast-run museum, and is worth a visit with or without kids, particularly when the weather is poor.

You can find more information including up-to-date prices, opening times, special events and directions at the Ribble Steam Railway website.

1 comment:

  1. We have a bit of time on our hands a while ago and popped in here for a bit of a nosey. We expected to be at the mercy of a load of beardy wierdies, but it turned into a great day out. We chuffed up and down the line a few times, and once we got chatting with one of the old chuffers who regaled us with tales of steam driven bravery and mischievious goings on in the days when 'he was a lad'. I have to admit that this was a great day out for kids aged 90 days to 90 years, full of living history and a genuine enthusiasm from the volunteers who are normal and not at all wierd.