Taking tea on the train

‘Everything stops for tea’.  Not if you take it on the train it doesn’t.  Just imagine.  You and your fellow guests are seated at an elegantly appointed table covered with a damask cloth.  Here are china cups and saucers, heavy cloth napkins, weighty cutlery. Before you, a Proper Cake Stand, prettily stacked with sandwiches (cucumber, of course, but also egg mayonnaise, ham and chutney and so on), two kinds of scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam on the side, and properly English cakes: chocolate cake, sponge cake, cream-filled meringues, tiny eclairs.  Attentive and charming service.  Unlimited pots of tea, of course too .

This was the scene that greeted us as we climbed aboard. The cucumber sandwiches have yet to arrive.

We were on the Wensleydale Railway, at the invitation of Susie and Pete, old friends from France and currently visiting England.

This is a heritage railway, staffed by volunteer enthusiasts, with engines and rolling stock from earlier times.  Our carriage had been built in about 1913, at the behest of the infamous director of the Titanic who dressed himself as a woman in order to make his escape from the sinking vessel in a lifeboat.  Our tea time experience was masterminded by the Institution at Bedale.

Here we are, enjoying our feast

Our tables were ranged down the middle of the carriage, enabling us all to have views of Wensleydale as we sat enjoying our tea.  The train chugged steadily along the track, offering views quite different from those available to us as we travel by road, or walk along country footpaths.  We were in another less hurried age, and enjoyed passing through little stations, past signal boxes pressed into service once more when trains like ours are on the move.

A level crossing, a signal box: just as I remember from childhood.

At Redmire, we had to dismount as the engine chugged away to turn round and pull us back once more to Bedale.  We had time to admire the rolling stock.

This was afternoon tea at its finest: a leisurely experience enabling us to put present worries aside, just for a couple of hours.

31 thoughts on “Taking tea on the train”

  1. Beautiful article! Love everything about it…. AND the disc!!!! 🙂
    Now you just have to tell me which one of the two couples is you and your dear husband… and I’ll be happy! Big smile to you and an even bigger hug…. You know that I’m probably a ‘better’ English than just about everybody I ever knew in England?: We’re every morning drinking our Earl Grey tea (albeit in not v. English fashion, as it’s not Eng. Breakfast AND we drink a large mug of it not in dainty cups) with real tea leaves whereas e’body just throws a tea bag in the pot… !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are two lovely beautiful couples, you look the kind of people I’d be drawn to immediately. You look happy, content, fun to be with and your friends look something like from one of our cherished English film TV series – looking at these pics make me smile and happy…. And I forgive you for preferring coffee – I’m only not too sure that I wouldn’t have to bring my espresso machine with me (as I do when visiting UK, we always rent a flat for the week and do our own breakfast & either lunch or dinner)…. I would like to meet you 🙂
        And you are carrying your heavy load of illness and sadness with great grace!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. All looks splendid, hope it tasted as good. There’s something so romantic about these old train journeys, can’t see future generations looking back at scheduled air travel in quite the same way!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that even with the clearly enunciated Rrr’s, Jack Buchanan has a delightfully laid back style. I wonder if, in keeping with the occasion, you all enunciated clearly while taking tea on the train? What a nostalgia trip! I love the photo of the wheel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you noticed that. There were other details, like the mosaic-tiled floor in the washroom. No photo because it was badly let down by a modern D-I-Y shop issue lavatory pan with plastic seat. We tried to behave decorously, and to speak ‘proper’ too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Odd with the attention to detail the budget didn’t permit a loo in keeping with the mosaic floor. Jolly pleased you all spoke proper. Hope the coffee was good. Btw, on the subject of trains, we recently re-watched Buster Keaton’s “The General” (available on YouTube), and it is remarkable esp. considering it was made in 1926. Some of his stunts on the train (he did his own stunts) are still impressive and entertaining. (Just have to ignore which side his character was on in the civil war.)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Very posh! It all looks so elegant–damask and heavy linens add a lot, right? And the pattern on the tea cups is gorgeous. This seems a very appealing way to spend a few hours . . . Are you the woman on the left?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The poor man’s alternative is also worthwhile: simply a trip on the train. It’s a fascinating voyage, and was used that day by tourists and locals alike.


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