Stand by your engines

This coming weekend sees the first big event of the year at the railway and that’s our mixed traction weekend.

Not only are we running steam and diesel passenger services we are also running the travelling Post Office and freight trains as well.

It will be a heaven for the Kettle Cuddlers and the Diesel Sniffers. Hopefully we will take some money.

Unfortunately it will also bring out the permanent lookers, those people who never pay a penny but who turn up get in the way and just take pictures, choosing not to remember that if we don’t take money then in the future there may be no trains to take pictures of. Well I am after them this weekend for platform tickets, Arkwright is on the prowl. We will also be doing ticket barriers as well on both platforms.

So now all of you face east and pray towards Mecca (And I don’t mean the local bingo hall!!) for fine weather at the weekend.

If you plan to visit Orton Mere Station at the weekend then bring your money, we are open from 8am on both days.

I wish it could have been Thursday

It was a funny day today, overcast but not too cold. But not weather to go out for a walk so I expected to sell some tickets but not do much in the shop.

As it was it turned out exactly opposite, we did not sell a single ticket but we had an excellent day in the shop.

Now I had Sue the wife with me today and both of us were coughing and spluttering, I have been suffering all week and Sue I would guess is a couple of days behind me with recovery. Now after all her years working in retail catering before doing what she does at the moment Sue can make a mean cup of coffee or tea and today she had plenty of practice. They came in waves but only a couple of them were regulars. We had runners and joggers, people on bikes and kids on scooters and most bought something which gave us an excellent day in the shop.

I wonder what we would have done if the weather was like Thursday with wall to wall sunshine.

No outstanding idiots today just nice friendly people. Next week is our mixed traction weekend so we are hoping for good weather and plenty of business, I will be opening at 8am on both days to make maximum gain from the potential.

Right back to recovering from the lurgi of the last week and to prepare for hopefully an excellent weekend next week.

arkie has lost his sparkie

I am down with a dose of the lurgi, I don’t know who gave it to me but I am darn glad money did not change hands, as it would have been a poor purchase.

So if you want a cough loud enough to wake the dead, and sneezes that make the birds leave the trees mixed in with a stiff neck, headache and a nose that runs faster than my legs can then please get in touch.

Although it pains me to say it you can have all the above for no charge at all. If your interested then please drop me an email. I can arrange delivery on your behalf to mothers in law and other such people.

Poor old Arkwright

Mornin

At the moment this is me in the morning!

Bright round thing made an appearance Eventually

Well first thing today I was moaning to myself, after the lovely sunshine of yesterday it started off cloudy & dismal.

But it got better as the day progressed and we had overall a decent day. Had Paddy and Jason with me today, they are an interesting duo. Jason never stops talking and Paddy is always smiling, it can make for a tiring day! But having said that they are both great to work with.

Took money both in the shop and also in tickets which was nice. Managed to pop down to Wansford to see a man about a dog and took a picture of the running loco which is reproduced here.

CIMG0442

Generally nice people in today though it’s showing in what they buy that there is not as much money about as last year. Ice cream wise the slowest seller has always been the choc ice despite it being the cheapest. But today we sold more of those than any other, a sign I think that money is not as free at the moment.

Busy week ahead and then the trains again next Sunday.

It’s always nice by the river

Last year a visitor to the station made the comment “I bet it’s always nice next to the river”.

Well here are a few pictures taken this morning whilst I was at the station awaiting a delivery.

CIMG0423   CIMG0424

CIMG0425   CIMG0436

It was a real dismal day, and cold as well, I must admit I was not sorry when the delivery arrived and I could come home into the warm. The river looked nice from a photographic perspective but it was darn cold down there.

The funny thing is looking at the weather I was awaiting the first delivery of ice cream this year!!!

 

I almost forgot!

In all the excitement of taking money today I forgot to mention the excitement yesterday.

Although not a running day I went and opened the building for the S&T crew, they are changing the signalling for trains entering the Fletton Loop.

Here are two of the crack team of three having a break from the strain of work.

CIMG0416

  Please note that Keith on the left is drinking from a flask cup.

  I am sure this is to avoid having to part with money into Arkwright’s till. But fear not we have now worked out a scale of charges for the corkage charge on food and drink items bought from home for consumption at the station. Though he did redeem himself later on when he purchased something

This signal work has meant that a new diagram has been drawn for the signalling at Orton Mere. Here is a picture of the second of the intrepid duo pictured above clutching it before it was mounted into the signal box again.

CIMG0418

  It is as you can see a work of art and will no doubt at some stage in the future become a collectors item amongst that rare breed of collector that wants to add to their collection of large frames filled with glass!

  If you click on either of the images you will see a larger version, I am sure that knowledge will make your day and your cursor will fly to the left at great speed!!

Note also in the background of the second image you can see the third member of the gang of three in a strange position facing the signal box, rumour has it he was looking for a penny he dropped but this at the time of writing can’t be proved.

Now joking apart the S&T crew are like the Civils I featured a few blog entries ago some of the often un-noticed volunteers on the railway who turn out often in all weathers to do work and maintenance that is essential to the safe running of the railway.

This being the case it was no problem to open up so they could sit down for lunch in the cold and also use the staff toilet, especially as it now has a lock on it that needs to have 50p inserted to open it, not only I should add to open it to go in but also on the other side to get out again! I forecast this will be a nice little money earner for the railway. I love the concept that we give working members free tea but charge them to get rid of it!

 

We’re getting warmer!!

Today stared off as looking to be another dreary dismal and slightly damp day, but turned out to be not too bad at all in the end.

Drizzle disappeared and we were left with a bit of sunshine and quite mild conditions.

We saw humans as well with a fair number of visitors to the station and they came bearing gifts, well actually bearing money!

We had one of those rare days where the shop took more than we took in tickets. We had the community payback lads nearby and they took a fancy to the giant wrapped cookies which we ran out of by the close of play.

Nice people as well with not one daft question all day, and miracle of miracles ALL the trains were on time, I can’t remember when we last had a 100% record in a single day for train timings. Normally we even manage to run a single train late!

Nigel and Sally popped in so nice to have a natter with them which we will no doubt continue when they help on the Saturday of the mixed gala. Jerry paid a visit with his daughters as well and they spent money, he is training them well! Again a nice but short natter with him.

What really pleased me though was the fact that Brian doing another day with me actually saw customers. He looked a happy chappie when he departed.

Stock was distributed to the other two stations as as well with our normal efficiency which was nice.

All in all a darn nice productive day.

What is closed when open and open when closed?

Now I know what your thinking, your thinking what’s the silly old duffer on about this time?

Well the answer has four letters in it, and they are G A T E!

For those of you who have visited the station you may have noticed that we have a gated entrance to platform 1.

Well that gate is not locked when the station is closed, but we do leave it closed.

Now when we are open then of course the gate is open, it’s hard enough to get the punters in to mug them for money as it is and would be harder if the gate was closed.

Ok keep up at the back and no dozing…

You will have gathered from the above that the gate should be open when the station is open and closed when the station is closed.

Ah but that would be too simple.

We have the strange phenomenon (Big word that glad I have a spel chucker) in that when people go through the gate when we are open they often shut it either when arriving or departing. But when the station is closed and they just fancy a sit down and a quick fag or perhaps a quick explore round their girlfriend as it’s dark they normally always leave the gate open!!

This puzzles me, and the ones that puzzle me even more are the ones who sit on the seating when the station is closed and shut the gate behind them when they arrive but leave it open when they eventually leave.

So if you have an answer to the above puzzle then please send your answers written in pencil on the back of a crisp fiver to me at the station.

Pretty boy takes an early bath!

Some days there are things that happen on the railway and I say to myself when I hear about them “Drat I wish I had been there to see that”.

Well today was one of those days. This happened at the city centre station and as far as I can gather this is what happened…… Young Matt full time wine expert, part time Guard and male model for Mothercare is training on the footplate. At Peterborough they needed to take on water and Matt sat on the top of the locomotive with the bag in filling the locomotive with water. There was a decent overflow and poor Matt got soaked from the waste down with, in this weather freezing cold water. This affected the correct operation of his assets and soaked his pride I gather. I gather the easier way is to kneel and then you can pull yourself up if you see there will be an overflow. Still young Matt is learning and I gather there is no truth in the rumour that the train crew had a whip round and bought him a couple of pairs of Pampers!!

This story of this event flew round the railway like wildfire and no doubt Matt will be getting a bit of stick for a few weeks, but the lad is as I say learning and if you don’t make mistakes then you have not learnt.

Meanwhile at Orton Mere I can safely say it was the warmest it’s been cold all winter. A few of the regulars ventured out to the station and it was nice to see them and in a couple of cases remind them to bring their money out for some fresh air next time.

Trains were on time as well despite the incident above which is always nice, it meant I could get the last train down to Ferry Meadows and the bus home.

Brian was with me again today and is settling in well, this was his busiest day so far and it was still quiet. But a good time to learn on the job before the summer rush and the experience of dealing with the local nut cases that come out in the hot weather.

Now a nice busy week ahead before we play trains again next Sunday.

change to the date of the 1940’s weekend at Nene valley railway

Taken from the NVR web site.

Please be advised that we have changed the date for our 1940’s Weekend. This event will now take place on the 8th & 9th October 2011.

Untitled-Scanned-04    100_3416

Pictures are from my collection.

Before anybody asks I have no idea why, it is now if I remember correctly the week after the Diesel Gala.