Leiden’s Steam Train
Leiden is home to an adorable train museum and working steam train. It is amazing it took us a year to visit, despite driving past the place every few weeks.
Stoomtrein Katwijk Leiden uses the old Valkenburg train station as its home base. Buy your train ticket at the ticket booth (8 Euros/adult) and then proceed to the platform to board the 100 year old steam train and antique wooden rail cars.
We visited on Knuffle weekend. Kids who brought their stuffed friend rode the train for free. The museum holds lots of events, which you can check out on their Facebook page. They post quite frequently on their Facebook page so it’s easy to find a good time to go.
The train makes its way around the lake. There is plenty to see from farm fields to wild birds on the lake. The kids loved looking out the windows.
Halfway around the lake the train stops so the engine can change sides of the train. They do this because the tracks are only laid halfway around the lake – you cannot complete a full circuit. You’re allowed to disembark and watch the engine chug by, something the kids loved. Real steam never fails to impress!
All three of the boys loved the train. Even our newest addition loved the rocking of the train car and cooed for most of the ride. The boys wore their knuffles in their carriers just like mom!
Once our train ride was over we checked out the museum. The boys were captivated by the model railroad. O actually spent nearly ten minutes at lunch watching one of the interior displays that uses two trains to simulate an ore train loading and unloading.
The older boys thought the whole place looked like it was right out of Thomas and Friends. Touching is encouraged! Inside the various sheds kids are allowed to board the engines and touch all the controls.
The shunters outside the “steamworks” were some of the boys’ favorites. They pretended they were hooking up all the cars inside to shunt them around the yard.
You can even peak inside the shed where the volunteers are working on the trains. The doors are gated so little ones don’t wander into the work zone. We were lucky enough to be invited inside by one of the engineers who happily answered all of H’s questions about the boiler.
There is a small indoor museum space. Inside there are a few more model trains, train cars to board and some toy wooden trains to play with. All of this is included in your train ticket price. There is a small cafe serving toasties and coffee. We packed lunch, supplemented with a coffee from the store and they had no problem with us using one of the interior tables. (There are a variety of picnic tables around the property as well.) Just outside the museum complex, the lake boasts a sandy area that would be a nice picnic spot too.
There is also a small playground near the platform. Our kids were so enthralled by the trains they did not even ask to play. The steam train and train museum are a great half-day outing. It was the perfect place for our first outing as a family of five. If you have train loving kids come check out this local gem!