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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.

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….


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!!