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.

Listening to, reading and responding to the feedback.

This morning I received an email, it was from a follower of this blog. In it they asked why don’t I write wit and humour in my blog.

So just for you….

WIT AND HUMOUR.

There we are written especially for you.

Never let it be said I ignore feedback.

Last Saturday was a bit of a challenge with us using a total of three locomotives on the services because of problems.

Mid-afternoon a young man and his girlfriend asked for a word, I was expecting a moan about three different locomotives and the lack of steam.

Instead he said how pleased he was to have travelled behind two class 14 locomotives, as they were his favourite. His girlfriend said to thank the people involved as it had made her boyfriends day, if not his weekend.

It just goes to show that even the problems and overcoming them can make a visitors day special. The couple quite made my weekend.

 

Half a weekend of excitement

Last weekend we only ran a public service on Sunday, shame that the weather was better on Saturday!

Tom decided to brave a Sunday with me rather than the Saturday, I must say he is always up for a bit of adventure.

It was the last day of Sir Keith Park hauling services, here it is with second service to Wansford.

Now Sunday can be summed up by paraphrasing Churchill… Never did so many volunteers pop in and spend so little. Names have been noted in the naughty book of those who did not cross our palms with silver.

We had wind, rain and drizzle to add to the excitement.  Rosemary also turned up to nag me do some work. Tom and Rosemary spent a happy hour and a bit sorting the gardening cupboard and fitting hooks to hang up the gardening bits. Also a hook to hang the broom Rosemary uses, and I don’t mean by that she flies it. Mind you she does sometimes get from one end of the platform to the other quite quickly when it’s in her hand!! Make of that what you will!!

These exploits were interrupted by a few customers and members of the non-paying public

This weekend coming we are running both days so double the excitement. We can’t wait….

Going with the flow.

Well last weekend was excellent, from the perspective of the station it just flowed.

Two nice locomotives bought in the visitors, busiest we have been in February for a long time.

But most importantly it bought in profit for the railway, profit is what keeps us going. We can take any amount of money over a weekend but the important bit is how much is profit.

Profit enables us to do the nice things, to renovate locomotives, to improve the visitor experience etc.

So if your reading this and regularly visit the railway, or for that matter any heritage railway just remember that every penny you spend means the railway makes more profit, and if you’re a freeloader who just takes pictures and maybe uses facilities such as toilets etc. and then spends nothing please remember you are doing nothing to secure the future of that railway. Just think that if every visitor spent nothing then there would be nowhere to visit!!

Can I travel for free?

Shortly we are holding an open day at the main Wansford station.

This is so people can come along, see what we do and perhaps see something of enough interest that they will become a working member. We did this last year and it was very successful.

But it amazes me that several people have asked me if train travel on that day is free? My reply is that if Stagecoach buses were having an open day at their Peterborough Depot bus travel would not be free for the day.

It is I suppose part of the something for nothing syndrome that people seem to want to adopt these days.

A few years ago a couple came into the station, saying they were off to Wansford to join, and therefore they should travel at members rates. I pointed out that they were not members when travelling there and actually until the paperwork went through they would not yet be members on the way back either. In the end they decided not to travel and I presume they never did join and become members.

Over the years I have had people ask if they can have a free “Taster,” as one person called it journey to see if it was worth spending money on, I had a man throw five out of date membership cards on the counter and want members rate. When I asked for his current cards he said “What you have to pay every year?” The cards he threw down were five years or so out of date.

One Wednesday a woman asked if we did discount for bulk ticket sales, I asked how many were travelling, her answer was her and her husband. To top it all they were only going one way into the city centre and that’s just one stop.

The general public never cease to amaze me!!

Two Monkeys and no nuts.

Today was shall we say a bit on the cold side.

Tom helped me today as he does the majority of Saturdays.

It was quiet, we had flurries of snow, sleet and a bit of rain, the temperature hovered just above zero.

You just know it’s an exciting day when the highlight of it is the civils coming in to eat their lunch. Mind you they were quite tame and one of them got apparent pleasure from slowly eating a banana.

Because it was cold Tom cranked open his wallet and kindly bought us both fish and chips, they were most welcome and helped keep us warm.

Had a couple of photographers on the platform who thought it was fine to move stuff round for what I presume they thought was an artistic photograph, I think my look conveyed my displeasure. Recently photographers have been neck and neck with dog walkers for the title of rudest none spending visitor. All we need is a dog walker with a camera and they would get first prize with very little effort.

Not opening tomorrow (Sunday) the weather forecast is worse than today and being at the station in the cold is no enjoyment, especially when the visitors stay away. The car park was almost empty when we left.

Oh well it will soon be spring and the rain will show signs of getting warmer.

3 deg colder and one day late.

Over the years I have noticed a trend.

If it’s a dismal miserable day, as it was yesterday and we are running a service then invariably the day after, which is today will be wall to wall sunshine.

Yesterday and today ware a good example. Yesterday saw me open with the assistance (I use the term loosely,) of Jason and Tom. It was a dismal cold miserable day and we called it a day after the third service went into the city. There was nobody about except for a few hardy souls taking their children for a walk, and taking a cheap option compared with going anywhere with shops and possibly having to spend money.

There were a number on the Swedish Railcar but it was by no means full. It was the type of day that the sensible stayed at home in the warm.

Still next week sees us back to steam services so hopefully that will drag a few people out to visit. It will be cold as my first ice cream delivery of the year should be arriving.

A new layout for the blog.

Well as you will have noticed the blog now has a new layout, I think the last one was looking a little dated.

The new layout also renders better on tablets and mobile phones.

As always comments are welcome on the layout. To comment please click on the title of a post, then you can enter your comments.

A funny day for a funeral.

Today was Greg’s funeral.

It would have appealed to Greg’s sense of humour to hold it on Friday the 13th. I can almost hear him chuckling about it.

The weather was cold and we woke up at 7am to light snow, which thankfully had disappeared by the time the funeral started at 2pm.

It was a biting wind across the crematorium grounds, I can never work out why a place that is supposed to be so calming and soothing to mourners can be so cold, desolate and unwelcoming in winter.

There was a good turnout of family, friends and others from the railway, and it was a good service. I was honoured that his sister in law had asked me if I wished to speak at the funeral, I hope my words did Greg justice, I received many positive comments on  my words from both the family and the other mourners afterwards.

The wake was held at Orton Mere station, which became almost a second home to Greg over the years. It was, considering the event a jolly occasion, with much chatting about Greg, it was nice to hear other peoples memories.

One thing I did realise was that Greg was a much liked and respected person, chatting to his extended family and people who he worked with I heard nothing but respect and love for the person we were remembering.

Greg will be missed by all the staff at the station, and he will be especially missed by me. My weekends will not be as enjoyable without him visiting the station.