Monthly Archives: April 2010

Pines Express Day

Well today was the pines express day on the railway, and we did not get off to a good start.

Firstly on arriving at Ferry Meadows we could not open the door, shame nobody had told us the lock had been replaced!  A good example of poor communications.It did not help either that it was raining!

But we got in eventually and opened for business, but things did not look good with the weather. But the gods were with us and it got better and drier as the day went on.

One of the locomotives in operation was the J94 which is a super little engine here is a picture of it double heading with the 4F which was one of the others in steam.

100_0626As you can see at that time it was not an ideal day for photography.

Highlight of the day was the non-stop pines express run from City centre to Yarwell. You can see a video of it passing through Ferry meadows by clicking this link Pines Express Video It was a choice between a picture or a video of the event and I opted for a video.

Takings were not bad but would have been better with a brighter start., Young Nathan who helped the wife and myself arrived a little on the damp side as you can see here.


But he was still cheerful despite the look on his face when the picture was taken! He enjoyed himself as well which is a bonus as special events can be a thankless task sometimes.

Being at a different station is always enjoyable as each station has a different type of passenger, Ferry meadows relies for most of it’s business on the local caravan club site, and generally they are on holiday and looking to enjoy themselves and it’s always a bonus when they get off the train smiling and say they enjoyed the journey, it is one of the reasons why I enjoy working at a station.

Back to my own station next Saturday when we have 3 days of services so looking forward to that.

All in all a really enjoyable but tiring day.

Wake us up when the train arrives

Quiet day today even though the weather was not too bad.

Day started with a chap and a young child coming out of the bushes about 100 yards of the end of the platform with the chap helping the child to balance as they walked along the rail. When they spied me on my way towards then they quickly disappeared. Shame really I would have enjoyed dealing with that.

Change of scenery tomorrow for the Pines Day special event, we are running Ferry Meadows again so that will make a change, not really planned as did intend to take the wife on the Pines Express, but as the FM staff declared themselves not available we have to open the station instead as it can’t be closed on an important special event day. I owe the wife a big favour for this.

So now to get ready for hopefully a busy day tomorrow…

Watch this space as they say.

It kept the till warm

Well another excellent day especially with shop sales, amazing what a bit of sunshine will do towards people spending money.

Nathan with me again, and I am pleased to say he is developing into a really useful member of staff, quick to learn, and he likes chatting to the Anoraks which gives him a few brownie points as they don’t badger me.

Ice cream sold as if there was going to be a national shortage of the stuff, which is very pleasing, stock sent out to the other stations as well during the day so kept very busy.

No real highlights to the day which one of the most enjoyable of the year, decent customers and decent weather who could ask for more!!

1+1 = 3 or thereabouts!!

Well we had it all today, sun, two train service and two people helping me.

Both steam and diesel running today which was a welcome bonus, Had Stephen and Nathan with me, it was Nathans second day and Stephens first.

Both did well considering we had a till that jammed early on, thankfully we could get the money out, so one call to Wansford and another working till arrived. Bit more flash than the old one with oodles of buttons and bleeps. But it works and both of my helpers went solo on it, so it can’t be that hard. Shame their maths skills leave a bit to be desired, but that seems to be a mark of the current educational system.

As always trains were late but they improved as the day went on, never easy to pick up time on a pink service.

Ice cream went out of the door at a steady rate and so did bottled drinks. Not much in the way of chocolate though.

Highlights of the day.
Dougie the guard who is always happy.
Credit card slips finally arrived which put us in a state of shock
Nice customers all round with not a miserable one in sight which makes a change.

Nathan is with me tomorrow again and will I am sure make a valuable member of the team.

Danger men at work

Work week this week and spent the day at my station so the civils could have hot drinks, it was nice to watch others work.

Here is a picture of them in action.

civils They even worked up a sweat at one stage.

Got lot’s of paperwork done and dusted so all in all a good day. Had time to take a few pictures around the station as well, here is one of the flowers in front of the signal box.


Next there with them on Wednesday as business commitments stop me going down on Tuesday

So more reports from the cutting edge of railway maintenance then.

Who turned the heating off?

What a difference 24 hours makes, yesterday was quite warm and today was to put it mildly darn cold with sunshine!

Quiet start to the day as we eased Nathan into the Arkwright way of doing things. No great rush just a steady flow of people through the door, which was good as a very busy day would have made it harder for him to pick things up and I would have had less time to run through things. As it was the lad did well, he is good with customers, pleasant, neat & tidy and most important keen and quick to learn. As he picks it all up and gets into the swing of things he will be a valuable member of the team.

Customer wise nice to see more of last years regulars returning now we have a shiny ball up in the sky again. Tickets were disappointing but shop sales this weekend have been excellent. Ice cream will have to be ordered again as we are running low of some of the items.

Highlights of the day…..

One incident of track trespass, which was dealt with as always by words of advice, and they were then sent on their way.

But the most important thing was that every service was on time, we were amazed as it rarely happens that ALL were on time, still can’t complain as it may be an experience that will not happen again this year!!!!

So there you have it, all in all a decent day. This coming week is works week and the civils will be down working each day, I will be there to sort out refreshments etc, but will not be open to the public.

Watch this space for daily updates on the work week.

Spring has sprung

Well after that super original title things can only get better.

Spring appeared with vengeance today with wall to wall sunshine for a large part of it.

Ice cream was the choice of the day, with Magnums going at a good rate of knots.

Highlight of the day was the key saga. The civils were down today and after their stuff had been dumped where they were working the train was then going to be stabled on my platform 2 and the locomotive go back to Wansford. Well it sat the other side of the crossing and I thought nothing of it until staff arrived from Wansford, they had no key apparently to get into the box as there are two locks and just had a key for the one. The missing key was dispatched by road from Wansford. Then I sauntered down to the box to see what was the problem, I had great pleasure in informing the great and the good assembled that if they had just asked me then I could have opened the door no problem as I have both keys!!

You had to be there to appreciate the event but it made me chuckle when I thought of it for most of the day.

The words lack of communication came to mind.

Tomorrow we have a new victim, whoops make that volunteer, young Nathan I am sure he will be fine, he is neat, smart and tidy which is 90% of the battle, watch this space tomorrow for an update….

Sun wind and ice cream

Well a super sunny day today but a cold wind blowing down the river…

I just knew it was going to be one of those days when as I was opening the door to get in at 8.30am this morning some chap asked me where he could get a passport picture done!! When I pointed him in the direction of the city centre he asked if there was anywhere nearer.

The on one of the nicest days of the year when we have been running Paddy arrived on 4 wheels instead of two, his excuse was that he was going to check the dog at lunch time and also fetch us fish and chips. So he was excused.

Before anybody asks the fish & chips were excellent!!!

Trains ran fairly well to time and we took a few pounds in tickets and had a decent day in the shop, the latter all happening after I had cashed up, as is often the case.

Delivery arrived just before I went into panic mode, and when Paddy picked up a box of 1000 poly cups the bottom fell out and they had to be repacked, it could only happen to him!!

Nice bunch of customers as well with a few visitors to the area walking about and enjoying the sunshine.

Next day open will be Saturday, although there are services tomorrow.

Saving the best until last.

Well today bank holiday Monday was dull, cold and dismal but people came out and spent money.

Best day for ticket sales and also for the shop as well. So all in all a good end to the Easter holiday.

Trains almost ran to time, or to put it another way it was the earliest they had been late all weekend.

Paddy was with me today and despite the start of a bit of a clod he was his normal cheery self. Nice passengers as well which made the day really enjoyable, but gawd it was a bit on the cool side.

Not open now again until Thursday although the trains are running Tuesday and Wednesday. Lot’s of things to catch up on so that must take priority.

Gem of the day… Regular was chatting about the closing of the toilets. “You know” he said “They say you can’t take it with you, well with the toilets closed if you drink anything here you will have to take it with you!!!”

1+ 1 = two days

I am pleased to say that Easter Saturday and Sunday have both been most enjoyable. Sue the wife has been with me and keeping me in order, so that makes it even more pleasurable that a normal running day.

Not that warm I must admit but some nice sunshine. Both days we have run a two locomotive service with a 4F steam and a class 14 diesel. For the desperate here are a couple of pictures.

100_0590  100_0588

As always riding behind the steam locomotive was the most popular amongst the passengers.

Customer wise we have had in some really nice people, and lots of sympathy over the closure of the public toilets, though if one more person describes the closure as a “Bog Standard” problem I will throttle them!!

As you will see in the above pictures there has been some sunshine, and that has lead to a good run on ice cream, which is always a good profit earner. As are teas and coffees which have been going out of the door at a steady rate of knots. Bottled Coke and Pepsi has also gone well, but unlike last year bottled water is not exactly a big seller.

Highlights of the two days…..

The chap on Saturday when the class 14 was approaching who asked me if it was a steam diesel!!!

The woman who is a regular who came in for a couple of Magnums, and commented that her partner had come in the previous week and had made the wrong choice, “Come to think of it” she said “the last time he made a good choice was when he chose me!!”

Steam service just pulling out of the station when a chap arrived looked at it and asked if he had missed the steam train!!

A couple of families on the Saturday came in looking for the small narrow gauge train that runs in Ferry Meadows park and they seems genuinely confused that we were running a full sized train. They were pointed in the right direction.

Nigel popped in yesterday with his brother in law and today with Sally his better half, they had been photographing the trains today and called in to say hello and have a drink. Always nice to chat to staff when they pop in.

Right after two days excitement I am off for a lie down to prepare myself for the excitement of Easter Monday with Paddy helping, it will be an interesting day….