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If you go down to the woods this weekend.

Here we are on a wet Monday evening doing a blog post!!

This bank holiday weekend saw the Teddy Bears picnic running over all three days.

I must say it was most enjoyable. We had a steady flow of visitors to travel with their children clutching bears. They were without exception a happy bunch. The children were excited and happy which in turn of course made the parents or grandparents happy as well.

Plenty of passengers on most services to and from Wansford.

It just goes to show what a well planned, thought out and executed special event can achieve. We will know the final money figures soon, but I will bet that it did not make a loss. It generated good will and many of the first time visitors I spoke to said they will return. We can ask for no more. Even down to the child this afternoon holding onto the fence for dear life because he did not want to go home.

One thing that was noticeably missing this weekend were the locals, they are my weekly visitors who keep the shop ticking over during the quiet periods. It was nice enough on Saturday and Sunday for them to have had days out away from the city. Hopefully they will return soon.

Now we  have a few days before the 40th anniversary of the railway commences on Thursday. I am looking forward to next weekend it will be most enjoyable. Providing of course the weather gods shine down upon us.

A weekend of four quarters.

I know I am late with the blog post, but better late than never.

Last weekend saw two very different days.

Saturday was a diesel day with two class 14’s running, it was never going to be a crowd pulling day (Excuse the pun.) But never the less the services all ran on time as near as makes no difference.

Here are a couple of pictures of the two locomotives. The eagle eyed amongst you will notice the first loco is pulling freight. This was being returned to Peterborough Nene Valley station after last weeks industrial weekend. we were not offering an open top service.

We had a few visitors who came to travel because these two were running.

Sunday saw 92 Squadron hauling the main service plus the Thomas big adventure. On his trip to Peterborough Thomas had problems and a class 14 was sent out for support, or as one little by put it “Thomas was naughty and the diesel was sent to sort him out.”

Here is Thomas on the front with the class 14 on the rear.

The main service ran late because of the problems and one service was missed out, but I must say nobody seemed to mind, as as normal when we have late running complementary tea & coffee was handed out at Orton Mere for those waiting.

I have said it many times, it’s important that when we have problems we not only sort them but that we are seen to sort them. Despite being late I did not see one unhappy face on the Thomas Big Adventure. That’s important.

This coming weekend sees the teddy bears picnic and yet another bank holiday weekend. Hopefully the weather will be good and things will run to time. We shall see…. It’s worth stating that I have my Teddy Bear at the ready.

Always look on the bright side of a weekend.

Well here we are on a wet Wednesday afternoon and I am looking back at last weekend for the inspiration for this blog post.

It was shall we say an interesting weekend, we had a mixture of everything, sun, rain, wind, cloud, the odd customer and trains.

Without doubt we have had more successful events than the small loco weekend, but you have to try things to see if they work or not.

The weekend consisted of small industrial locos both steam and in one case a diesel chugging up and down the line, pulling normal and local services, freight and brake vans. Now thats a decent choice, but it just did not jell for some reason.

Many people like to see big steam locomotives when they visit or even large diesels at a pinch, but I am not sure of little tank engines. Visitors seem to have very strange memories of how things used to be back in what people fondly call “The Good Old Days.”

Little tank engines were the bread and butter of many rural lines and not every line had a big locomotive tearing up and down with the crew waving friendly greetings to all those in sight as they went past golden meadows full of cows or sheep bathed in bright sunshine.

But people forget this. I don’t know are heritage railways perhaps to blame by promoting big shiny locomotives over the smaller stuff that in reality chugged up and down many many lines?

We are not a first and foremost a tourist attraction, we are primarily a working museum where visitors, who may or may not be tourists can if they wish, experience a train ride behind an old locomotive. It’s easy in the fight for cash to forget this.

So here are a few pictures from the weekend where we ran a part of history that is often forgotten as we see on TV yet another story of some over rated large locomotive zooming up or down the main lines on the network.


Trying to out fox the staff

Seen on the track today.

One of the many wild animals we see, those in the day normally have four legs and those in the hours of darkness  have two.

Well that was an interesting weekend…

Last Saturday evening saw me fulfil a long time ambition. I finally got rid of the horrible tables and green chair all in one units that I think were built for people 4ft 3in and under. Now we have the nice oval tables and wooden chairs. Five tables and 20 chairs in all. The station is looking really nice.

In the far corner we have the old codgers corner complete with two easy chairs, that area is already proving popular with, shall we say the older customer.

It’s amazing what a change of tables and chairs can do to the place.

Sunday…. Well what can I say except it was unusual. If you have come to the blog for details of exactly what problems befell 92 Squadron you will be disappointed, for two reasons. The first is I don’t know and I don’t wish to surmise and the second reason is if I did know then here is not the place to discuss it anyway.

This coming weekend sees the Industrial weekend, and it’s success or otherwise is down to the weather, as of course it is with many events, believe it or not rain stops people visiting, in an ideal world it would be nice first thing then throw it down when people had arrived, keeping them in the cafe or gift shop at Wansford spending money, or on the train in the buffet coach. But of course we don’t live in an ideal world, far from it. So on the day we will have to do the best we can with what we have.

So this weekend please pay a visit if only to see the new tables and chairs, there will be regular conducted tours of the seating area every hour on the hour.

It should be noted that we have black bags ready to put over both the tables and chairs if any of the crews or civils venture inside.

Anybody smelling of diesel will get a quick spray down as they enter. This is only a temporary measure until we get the sheep dip fitted by the doors onto the platform.

Well that’s another one out of the way.

Last weekend was yet another bank holiday. But for many the Monday was a normal working day.

We were not that busy at the station, it was fairly even across the three days with 92 Squadron hauling the main services and Thomas playing with the TPO.

Here is 92 Squadron approaching the station, as you can see it was typical bank holiday weather minus the rain and plus a bit of sun..

Sunday saw the Lord Mayor of Peterborough paying a quick visit on his way to an event at Railworld. This picture shows him looking into the distance, I hope he was not looking for the train, he was facing the wrong way.

Had a chat and he was a really nice chap, and no I am not biased because I sold him a Kit-Kat.

Monday saw a diesel convoy leave the railway first thing on it’s was to the Severn Valley Railway, here is a video of it passing through.

IMG_0080  Just click on the link for the video it’s even got sound!!! It was not publicised so we did not have the non-paying public out to take pictures.

Customer wise we had some really nice people in over the three days, it was quite worrying not having a regular flow of shall we say the socially challenged.

We have another bank holiday at the end of the month to look forward to as well, the excitement just keeps on coming. I must admit I am not a fan of three or four day weekends, it can get a bit much at times. Perhaps it’s a sign of old age.

The start of next month sees the 40th anniversary of the Nene Valley Railway, with events planned, you watch it rain!!

It was a strange weekend.

Last weekend was a strange weekend, the trains were quite busy at times but we at the station were about average.

The weather did not help, it was a bit on the cold side and often dull that will have keep the locals away.

Other than that it was a pleasant enough weekend and nice to have one that was not a bank holiday.

Highlights included a chap lamenting on Saturday that we were not running a main diesel service, quite disappointed he was. But you can’t please everybody!

A new face was with us on Sunday, I am not sure how old the rest of him is. Young Matt fancied a day at a station so he came and helped myself and Jason, he seemed to enjoy himself, though the glazed look may just have been shell shock, only time will tell. He has promised to do more days in the future at the station. I have at this stage no idea if they will be days we are open or days we are closed!

This coming weekend is yet another bank holiday and we have a Thomas event as well, so we cold have anything from a brilliant weekend to constant rain and howling winds and every combination in between.

Bank holidays are only predictable in the fact that they are unpredictable. Personally I think we have too many through the year, but perhaps I am just being a miserable old devil. No comments please Rosemary!!

Typical Easter we even had a Tornado.

Well here we are getting back to normal after another exciting four day Easter.

It was about average, people said the weather was cold, they were expecting rain and on Sunday some were lamenting the shops were shut.

One thing will stand out though from the weekend at Orton Mere Station and that was we had some really nice people in, even the chap lamenting we did not have a diesel running. But in all fairness we did have a couple of contenders for idiot of the weekend award, but they were poor entries compared to what we have had in the past.

Some days were better than others from the point of view of timings, we did not feel the need on any day to just wipe the timing board clean and just chalk up GUESS!!! Through one day did come close.

We even contributed a religious moment to the Easter weekend on Monday when we had the none paying public re-enact the parting of the red sea through the platform gate after Tornado had arrived and gone. Some people can be pretty nippy on their feet when they realise there is a chance they may need to spend some money.

The main service on all four days was hauled by 92 Squadron, and a fair number were out each day to photograph it, with one eye on the viewfinder and the other looking out for people who might want them to spend something and contribute to the railway.

Tornado’s arrival on Sunday was viewed by a good number of people, and I would guess that about 50% actually spent some money.

Here are a couple of pictures, one of 92 Squadron and one of Tornado.

You can see it was not the brightest of weekends.

Ah well a Tornado weekend next weekend, so hopefully we will be busy. I am running a book on how many people on the back of Tornado recently doing 100mph on the main line who will ask if it will be repeated on the NVR. Get your bets in now.

That was the weekend that was.

We are just recovering from a three day diesel gala.

I must say it was most enjoyable, we had some really nice visitors, with a few exceptions and also the best weather of the year so far.

As near as makes no difference we ran to time as well which was a bonus.

It wont go down as one of the busiest or most profitable, but certainly from the point of view of Orton Mere it will rank as one of the most enjoyable.

Paddy, Tom and Sue the wife provided cover over the three days and we were steady all three days, shop wise Saturday was the best and ticket wise it was Friday, due in no small part to the trips up the Fletton branch with brake vans hauled by the Deltic.

Signalman cover was Reg on Friday and Keith on Saturday and Sunday who had a crash course on the Saturday in using the new microwave.

Here are a few pictures which if nothing else show the excellent weather.

The nuts of the round tables

Well at long last we got the replacement tables and chairs at the station, and very nice they look too. Unlike the old ones these are round and wooden with nice wooden chairs.

The old ones look like poor mens picnic benches made for people around 4ft 6in in height.

We are awaiting the confused faces this weekend because the old tables were oblong and the new ones are round.

Now I must admit the old table and chair units had one big advantage, they were ok to sit at but not comfortable enough for people to loiter long. The new ones don’t have that feature.

The station is going up in the world, if we could just get the straw off the floor and unhook the old oil lamps from the ceiling we would see even more of an improvement,

I did think of posting a picture, but I think it’ going to be better if you came and had a look. Should you do so don’t forget your wallet, so you can christen the new seating with a purchase.