Saturday 25th May
To celebrate 150 years of the London Underground, various Steam Engines and Carriages were brought back to the Metropolitan Line over the May Bank Holiday weekend, running between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham. Along with ‘Metropolitan 1’ London Underground also ran a GWR Hawksworth Large Pannier Locomotive, (No. 9466, in British Railways Livery) & a GWR Prairie Locomotive along with the ‘Sarah Siddons’ Electric Locomotive. Ex British Rail 1950s coaches, an ex Metropolitan Jubilee coach and a Class 20 Diesel were also used over the weekend.
So, after an early start we caught a train to Moor Park, where we alighted and waited to see the 10:28 ‘Metropolitan 1’ steam engine travel through on its way to Amersham. Due to a few technical issues the train was delayed, so we hopped on an Amersham bound train, where Emma met her mum and took the girls for a wander, while I went off to get some photos and videos of the various locomotives. After a good half-hour, I went off to find Emma and the girls, so that we could get some lunch. After eating at ‘Greggs’ we headed to the park, so that Erin could have a good run-around. Once Erin began to get sleepy we said goodbye to Alyson and headed back to the station and our train back to Watford. The rest of the day we spent relaxing in the garden.
Sunday 26th May
Another bright sunny day dawned and another day out was planned. After breakfast we headed into Watford to pick up a couple of bits, before heading into Cassiobury Park, where we were to meet Dave and his kids. Steven’s funfair was in full swing and after the little taste of the funfair at Rickmansworth, the previous week, Erin could barely be contained. After a quick scout around, I took Erin on the ‘Red Dragon’ rollercoaster. This ride was a lot faster and had more loops than the rollercoaster at Rickmansworth, but Erin still enjoyed it. We then moved on and while Dave took Malakye on the ‘Ghost Train’, Erin went on her first ride… solo. Granted, Neveah was sat in the car behind her, but Erin was in her own ‘Fire Engine’ with its own bell to ring, all by herself. As the ride went round her smile got bigger and bigger until the ride stopped and I had to lift her off. If given the chance I am sure that Erin would have ridden it all day long. When Dave and Malakye rejoined us, Erin and Neveah went on the ‘Carousel Swings’, which again made Erin’s face light-up, until the ride finished. We then took a break and fed Keilyn, while Malakye took Dave for a ride on a ‘Quad’ bike. With the afternoon drawing on Dave had to head off to get Malakye to a Birthday party, so we made our way back home and relaxed in the garden.
Monday 27th May
Since we were having a BBQ later in the day, there were still a few things that I needed to buy. Also, it was the last chance for me to see the Steam trains. So, I left the house and walked down the Ebury Way to Croxley Moor, which I crossed so that I could head up on to the old Railway sidings, near Long Valley Wood. As I crossed the clearing a deer ran across my path. Now, I knew that there were deer in the area, but I wasn’t expecting to see one so close. Cursing myself for not having my camera at hand, I continued along the path and on into Croxley Hall Wood. I headed towards the bridge, by Croxley Great Barn, where I was joined by a few other people with cameras. We each picked our spot and at 10:49 the steam train came thundering along the track, passing right below where I stood. Having got the footage I required, I decided to cut through the woods and make my way to the main road, so that I could get to the shop. As I picked my way along the path, bushes around me kept rustling and twigs snapped. Then, to my amazement, two deer appeared in a small clearing in front of me. I stopped dead and slowly brought my camera out of its housing and, keeping as still as possible, raised it up. I managed to get a couple of shots before the deer headed back into the woods proper. Keeping the camera in my hand, I carried on but at a slower pace. Sure enough, more deer came out and I was able to get some close-up shots. After leaving the woods I got to the shop, bought what was needed and headed home, feeling great about what the day had already shown me.