On the May bank holiday weekend we took a trip to the Bluebell Railway in the Sussex English countryside. Built in 1882, it remains a functioning train station and also features in film and TV productions including being “Downton” in the BBC series Downton Abbey.
Stepping on to the platform was like stepping back in time. The train guards dress in traditional attire with pocket watch and flat cap; leather trunks and milk churns line the platform edges. At 11:15, a steam train came puffing into view. It chugged slowly into the station and the whistle blew as the wooden carriage doors flung open and oxymoronic modern-aged people climbed out.
As the train departed and snaked away the crowds dispersed. I wandered down the platform, admiring the rusty bicycles and tin advertisements for cigarettes and coca, the ‘Ladies only’ waiting room with a log fire in it and the antique grandfather clock ticking away. For a moment, I was back in 1882, just a lady waiting for her train.
Trains run from London Victoria to East Grinstead where you can take the steam train to Horstead Keynes and on to Sheffield Park National Trust Garden every 30 minutes at weekends.