|Oh, what a lovely day. A crisp frosty start, a delightful journey through bespeckled sunny tree-lined country lanes before arriving at Horsted Keynes Station. This was the beginning to a nostalgic day with steam trains at its heart. Forty intrepid souls warmed themselves with drinks from the Station Refreshment Rooms before boarding our specially reserved carriage on the 11.17 to enjoy a journey on the recently extended line to East Grinstead. If there is a finer way to see dappled sunlit fields, hedgerows heavily laden with winter berries and content grazing animals startled occasionally by pheasants in their wonderful plumage, I have yet to find it. It doesn't matter how old or young you are there is something about a steam train that evokes memories.
On arrival at East Grinstead where, if you so desire, you can now connect with Southern Rail services, we all alighted from the train. Some people went to look at the engine, others took in the ambience of the station and others just sat and enjoyed the sunshine.
After allowing time for the engine to be relocated to the front of the train, we again boarded our reserved carriage and retraced our journey past Horsted Keynes and onto Sheffield Park. On arrival here we had a delightful two course meal in the upstairs dining room of the Bessemer Arms, which is situated on the platform concourse. From the volume of noise generated by the participants, I think we can assume everyone enjoyed their lunch and the company.
After lunch people were free to return at their leisure to Horsted Keynes on any of the trains and some of us took the opportunity to travel back in style in a First Class compartment. Only fitting for such a prestigious club! With full stomachs and purely medicinal imbibing it was very difficult to avoid the dropping of the eyelids with the ‘clickity-click, clackerty-clack’ of the wheels on the track, but I don’t think any of us succumbed before we reached our destination.