I commute everyday on a train to work, so the idea of going on a train for fun is pretty strange to me, and yet on holiday recently I was strangely drawn to the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway.
A colleague recommended it, and when I looked at the website it was described as a family friendly accessible way to see the panoramic views of the river along the Waterford Greenway.
We already planned to sees some of the Greenway by bike, but with a toddler in tow we wouldn’t be able to cover the entire distance, so it seemed a really convenient way to see the rest.
The Waterford & Suir Valley Railway runs from just outside Kilmeaden for about 8.5km towards Waterford. The 50 minute return trip runs every hour and costs €9 per adult and children under 2 are free. We arrived just before the train was due to depart so we bought tickets from the restored train carriage cafe and office and headed to the platform.
The train was just pulling into the station and discharging a bus load of pensioners, and I had a moments panic this was a really stupid idea for an activity to do with a wriggly toddler. The train carriages are not long carriages where she could roam, but little sections with open sides. What if she didn’t want to sit still? We wouldn’t be able to just get off.
Luckily once the train started she seemed quite content to sit on Daddy’s knee for the duration, which was a minor miracle.
At first she looked a little nervous because of the noise, but I could sit facing her with big smiles. Then she just seemed to relax into the ride.
The scenery really was lovely with green river banks interspersed with the flowers from Mount Congreve Gardens. There were lots of walkers and cyclists and everyone was waving at us which she liked.
At one point the train stops in a fairy garden, with little houses and walkways between the trees. It’s a nice way to make a dull section through banked sides more interesting. People were pointing at the fairies, and our toddler joined in, but it’s hard to tell if she knew what was going on or if she had just spotted a bird.
On the way back she fell asleep. It was a nice sunny day, but when moving on the train it was a bit chilly, but they’d provided lots of blankets so she was nice and snug.
It’s hard to tell if she really loved it, but she certainly didn’t dislike it or make a fuss. At the end she even said “choo choo” which considering she only has a few words was pretty special.
I really enjoyed seeing a bit more of the Greenway, and with ample parking and a cafe it is a family friendly way to do it. The toilets could be a bit better, but we didn’t need to do a nappy change so that was OK. All the staff volunteers we met were great. Overall it is a thumbs up and “choo choo” from me for this train trip.