Friday, 24 October 2008

Aviemore

We had our inaugural meeting on a visit to the Strathspey Steam Railway at Aviemore. 

We left Glasgow Queen Street on the 0841 to Aberdeen, changing at Perth for the 0955 to Inverness (ex Edinburgh at 0837), which got us to Aviemore at 1118. An Open Return is £47.90 but by purchasing Advance Single tickets we got there and back for £20 return. Whilst we obviously had tickets, a friendly employee at Queen Street opened the barrier and escorted us to the train rather than having to try and work the automatic ticket gates. This helpful attitude was a great start to our expedition. 

Our journey up and down was by Class 170, but the object of our journey was, of course the steam train at Aviemore. When we arrived at Aviemore we had an hour to pass before our train was due to leave but waiting in the steam platform was not the branch train for us but a Class 47 hauling the Royal Scotsman. Whilst dreaming of travelling in such luxury, we wandered off and found a cafe for a bacon roll for breakfast. 

At 1230 our train, hauled by a "BR black" Saddle Tank and made up of Mk1 stock, left Aviemore for Broomhill, with us aboard. Although it was a Wednesday in October the train was quite busy with families; not all of whom enjoyed it as much as us - "Why are we going so slow?" "A real train would be quicker!" was the refrain of a child sitting behind us. We though enjoyed the trip, especially watching the engine take on water at Boat of Garten. We also sanctified the trip by celebrating the Little Hour of Sext, having celebrated Lauds on the way up from Glasgow and celebrating Vespers on the way back down. 

After returning to Aviemore we saw some of the sights, visited the Catholic Church, which was closed but which had a nice statue of Our Lady of Perpetual Succuor in the grounds, and had dinner in a nice chippy - the "Happy Haggis". This eatery had a great view of the mainline railway and whilst dining we saw a short train (perhaps dealing with the autumn leaf-fall) with doubled headed 66's on the front and a third 66 on the rear.    

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