Slightly to the north of Heathrow Airport can be found a memory to an older form of transport – a miniature steam railway.
Set in an orchard within a residential area, the Harlington Locomotive Society has been offering rides on its little steam trains for over 60 years.
Entry to the railway can be via a gate, if you call over the gatekeeper to lift up the railway track and open the gates for you – but it’s much more fun to wander round and go over the tracks by a heritage staircase. Do note the old railway sign on your way.
A large shed in the middle of the grounds offers tea and biscuits, but its the trains we have come to see.
A small station to match the small trains and a mere 50p for a trip around the line.
It’s a loop line, with a load of sidings in the centre, and once settled on top of a carriage, feet up and off we went. Chugging around the front of the site, under the bridge and back around the side of the garden, waving to friends and family as we go. Looping around the back and suddenly involuntary ducking as we pass into a tunnel. Coming out of the gloom, back around to the front and pull into the station once more.
Leave by the side exit as the train pulls up for more passengers. A minute on a train, but 60 long seconds of fun.
They have a couple of steam locomotives, and also a diesel model, but the steam trains are more exciting to watch chugging around the tracks with steam blowing into the smiling faces.
The shed serving teas and coffees also have some interesting displays on the wall, but frankly we are all here for the train rides.
Just don’t sit in the middle where the carriages hinge – it can pinch your bum on the curves!
A few more photos over here.