Back to normal for a weekend

Last weekend was back to normal as regards services.

As expected it was quiet, not helped by rain on the Saturday.

Here is Sue my wife ready to collect a stock delivery off first service.

We are always prepared at the station, shame it’s not always for what actually happens.

This coming weekend sees a three day diesel gala, I have a book open amongst the station staff as to when we get asked if steam is running. My bet is just before first service on the Friday.

Now where did I put the nerve tonic?

A three day weekend.

Last Saturday, Sunday and Monday saw Flying Scotsman hauling services on the railway.

Here is a picture of it passing through the station on its way back to Wansford.

All services were pre-booked and sold out weeks ago.

It was a most enjoyable weekend with some really nice visitors on all the days and some amusing moments as well.

The most amusing was a chap who had come to photograph the Peak diesel which was hauling a shuttle service for those who could not drive to Wansford.
Anyway, he had no interest in Flying Scotsman, and quite seriously asked me to confirm that the the steam engine would not get in the way of his view off the Peak. He was pleased when I said he would not have an obscured view.

Here is the diesel locomotive in question.

He departed a happy visitor.

It was nice to see visitors spending money, we had an excellent three days in the shop, and if we never see another cup of coffee it won’t be a problem.

Lots of planning went into the event by a hand picked team who could not run fast enough to avoid being selected, and they worked over several months. We had a fair number of comments about how well it was organised, especially from visitors to the station who had been to Wansford to travel on the Flying Scotsman. There were a few moans but they were minor and you will always get some.

A number of people who took information leaflets about becoming a member of the railway. Hopefully they will join either as just members or perhaps working members.

Before the event I had given great thought to station access over the three days, and eventually I decided to to leave full access to both platforms, and that proved to to be a good decision. Most of the non-payers gravitated to platform 2 and as the steam loco went through platform 2 they did not get the best pictures. Those on platform 1 who spent money were advised as to the best locations for pictures, and they all seemed to appreciate it.

I must make mention of all those who helped over the three days, two of them for the first time at the station. Their help was invaluable and much appreciated. I hope they enjoyed the experience. But special mention must be given to Rosemary who normally looks after the garden, she won’t mind me mentioning that not only is the 88 years old but she come up from St Neots each day to help. She was up and down the platform talking to visitors like a terrier on speed. Her commitment over the three days put the rest of us to shame.

So there you have it, the best event I can remember in almost fifteen years on the railway. We will have to get something exceptional to top it.

A bit of a dummy run.

Last weekend we marked the 10th anniversary of the locomotive “Tornado.”

Not as busy as I would have hoped but never the less we had some nice visitors.

Next weekend we see Flying Scotsman hauling services for three days. All tickets sold out long ago.

I am looking forward to the three days.

Anyway, here to get you in the mood is Tornado arriving at Orton Mere during one of the rare spots of sunshine we had.

As always click on the image for a larger version.

The calm before the storm.

Here we are on a Sunday lunchtime at the station.

It’s a quiet weekend before the next two weekends which will no doubt be busy.

Next weekend sees Tornado running hauling it’s first passengers for around six months. Hopefully we will be busy but time will tell, the locomotive has visited us many times in the past and has spent the last six months of so at Wansford under repairs.

The following weekend sees the visit of Flying Scotsman, it’s all sold out and will no doubt be exceptionally busy. We will need  plenty of cake and coffee for the three days it is running.

Now back to the excitement of running the station.

Look out for a mid week blog post.

 

Going with the flow.

Sometimes you have weekends when things just flow, and last weekend was one of those.

We had all the ingredients:-

Decent weather.
Two good steam locos.
and more services than normal.

Our guest locomotive was Union of South Africa.

Here it is at the platform.

All in all an excellent weekend with a good flow of customers.

Hopefully a few more of these before the end of the season and I will be a happy chappie.

 

 

A Bank Holiday of Three Halves.

Last weekend was the last bank holiday of the summer.

It was at the station most enjoyable, the weather varied over the three days, but then again bank holidays would not be the same without some rain.

We had the Swedish railcar running on the Fletton Branch for the three days with steam pulling the main services on Saturday and Sunday. Monday main services were hauled by a diesel.

Really nice visitors were the norm on all three days, lots of visitors to the area and not that many locals.

Comment of the weekend was from an old man who sat observing the Swedish railcar and remarked…. With all that smoke out of it are you sure it isn’t steam? I must admit I chuckled at that.

It was nice to see visitors returning to the station after the quiet hot couple of months we have had.

Here are a couple of pictures, one of the steam loco on it’s last weekend with us and the other of the Swedish railcar.

 

If you go down to the Mere today, (Yesterday actually) You’re sure of a big surprise.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was the first day of a two day teddy bears picnic event.

I can’t remember when we last run a major event midweek, and certainly not during the school summer holidays. So I will admit I was interested more than normal as to how it would go.

Actually I really enjoyed the day, the train was well over 50% full on the first run of the day, and it was nice to see so many families travelling.

The weather was in our favour, with nice sunshine, as can be seen from this picture of the train heading back towards Wansford.

Station wise we had some nice visitors, except perhaps for one family who seemed unable to control their children who were, to put it mildly loud and badly behaved with no control shown by either parent.

Thankfully the train was about on time so peace soon descended on the station.

I look forward to more midweek events during other holiday periods.

It was a bit quiet.

Last weekend was similar to previous weeks in that it was hot and quiet.

Very few people about, certainly seeing very few of the regulars.

Perhaps they have gone to ground, who knows? Certainly they are not spending money with me.

Nice to see the Peak running at the weekend.

Here to brighten up the post are a couple of pictures.

This wekend we have rain forecast, we shall see… Can’t get too excited just yet..

But what happens at other times?

Now I am sure that like me regular readers will have grown a little tired reading about the activities of the previous weekend.

There are only so many weeks you can comment on the weather, lack of steam and the heat before it gets a bit boring, and if it’s boring writing about it then heaven knows what it’s doing to you lot reading it.

So this week we will cover something different. We will cover the extra curricular activities of the locals.

Locals will vouch for the fact that we have some strange people visit Orton Mere Station after we have shut, not that we don’t have strange people visit when we are open, but the two groups should not be mixed together.

For as long as I can remember the station has been the haunt of bored locals looking for a bit of recreation after dark, and by recreation I don’t mean a quick game of cards or Monopoly. I would guess over the years that it’s not only ideas that have been conceived at the station.

The rest of Peterborough have bus shelters, the Orton locals have the station benches. But at least it explains why the preservative coating on the benches wears out quite quickly.

It was once said that if the place of conception had to be put on birth certificates then the local registrars office would have a rubber stamp for Orton Mere Station.

Now I know that you’re all thinking that this has nothing to do with working on the station, well you would be wrong, actually some of the evening visitors find they have a need for a PTS, but in their case it’s the Pregnancy Testing Service.

Some of you no doubt are thinking, how can we let this happen? Well if you fancy trying to stop it then feel free to pop down on a Saturday or Sunday evening, you may even be surprised but I will put in a guess that you will also perhaps be educated.

These activities do occasionally provide entertainment and even work for the staff. Normally they don’t leave rubbish about but occasionally we will come across half empty lager cans and bits of foil paper, but surprisingly in fourteen years we have never come across the contents of the foil paper left on the platform. I have memories of poor Jason having to nip onto the track to recover a set of women clothes strewn across the track, and the puzzled look on his face when he held up a thong. For a minute I did wonder if he would ask why they had bought a sling shot with them.

Perhaps if we ever do another 1940’s weekend we could set up seating on platform 2 looking towards platform 1 and say we are recreating a revue bar or perhaps the Windmill.

Now that’s a thought, we could charge an fee, that would be I hasten to add for those on platform 2 not those on platform 1

Anybody know where I can get decent seating from for free?

Make the best of it

Now unless you have been camping in the depths of the engine shed you will have noticed we are in the middle of a heatwave.

Most people are enjoying it, but some are thinking of the end. To those on the railway who are looking forward to colder times, just remember that thought for next winter when you are either on a station, or working at Wansford in the freezing cold with the wind whistling round your signalling equipment.

We have a saying in the winter at Orton Mere and that is… Would you like a cold drink off the side or a warm one out of the chiller!

Think of that next winter….