Monthly Archives: July 2011

Where did this lot come from then?

Best behaviour today as Sue my wife was with me.

All in all an excellent day in both tickets and shop. Not as good as in previous years but given the current economic climate I am pleased.

Nice to see some regulars all asking how I was now I am back, I do appreciate their concern and interest. Though perhaps some of them thought that if I was not going to be there they might not suffer so much from the thumb screws as I got them to buy something!!

Steam service for the first three runs was 44422. Here she is arriving at my station on second service.


As you can see we did not have wall to wall sunshine all day and it did towards the middle afternoon get quite humid.

Only cloud on the horizon was the return of the ignorant dog walker. Now I have mentioned before that most dog walkers seem to exhibit a lack of the basic social skill of saying please. Today was no exception, where a gentleman, and I use the term loosely leant across the counter and demanded a bowl of water for his little precious.

Despite pointing out the bowl by the door he wanted one to take to where they were sitting, I assume he thought that his dog should not have to walk to the bowl. Eventually he took the bowl by the door to his little precious and bought it back afterwards. At least this person and his two companions actually bought something, it was their only saving grace as most dog walkers demand water and buy nothing, leading me to believe that the saying that a dog looks like it’s owner is incorrect. In fact really an average owner is as tight as their dogs rear end.

I hate bad manners at the best of times especially from people I would in most cases loosely describe as customers, there is no excuse for it at all.

For the second day running the trains all ran to time as near as makes no difference which made things easier.

We are running Tuesday to Friday but I don’t know what days I will open, I plan to go and have a few hours at the city centre station on Tuesday which will no doubt be enjoyable, but other than that it depends on when I need to see my doctor.


Back to the past

Well back at the station today for the first time in a couple of weeks and it was just like I had not been away.

Thanks to those who had been babysitting, the place was nice and tidy.

Jason with me today which guaranteed a good day, the lad can talk but he is a pleasure to work with and his keenness never wavers.

Really nice to see Roger and Heather today as well, considering the circumstances Roger brightened the day by his visit, and I do miss working with him at the station.

Trains ran on time as near as makes no difference and as always the first three services were steam and the last diesel.

Here is the last service of the day arriving at Orton Mere.


I caught it to Ferry Meadows so I could get the bus home and had a natter with Jonathan there as well.

All in all a really enjoyable day and hopefully tomorrow will be just as enjoyable.

Sue my wife helping me tomorrow which is always nice though she would I think rather be at home, but I do appreciate her help.

Off to the hospital on Monday to be signed off there then back to the doctor and 6 months of tablets.

I must admit the tablets which I am on already have given me a new lease of life, I feel like an eighteen year old, but Sue says I can’t have one.

We will see what tomorrow brings.

Right in the middle

Well here we are right in them middle of the first week of summer weekday running.

I wont be at the station until Saturday.

Still on the stomach injections and tablets to thin my blood down (see you doubters I do have some)!! So hopefully last ones tomorrow then off to the hospital again on Friday for a check which will hopefully be the last one before back with my doctor again and six months course of tablets.

Now we have a different face running Orton tomorrow. Peter and Susan his daughter will be running it for the day as we have an ice cream delivery due. I am sure they will cope with all the excitement and at least it will be a change of scene for them.

Also have scaffolding up at the front of the house for roof leak repairs tomorrow, plus a delivery of supplies from Asda, I will be amazed if I get much done tomorrow work wise.

The Grumblemere project is coming along slowly due in no small part to the blood clot and associated treatment. Must kick start it next week, hopefully we will get the creative mind flowing next week during the quiet periods at the station.

It’s all go I am just not sure in what direction sometimes.

Watching the action away from the action

Paddy and Jason ran the station today, and I am reliably informed it’s still in one piece.

They had a good day as well especially in the shop, with ideal weather. Still need to get more bums on seats on the trains though, but that is no doubt being worked on!!!!

As for me I actually managed to watch my second F1 race of the summer as the German Grand Prix was on today. It was rather like a day at the railway, started as expected, a spurt in the middle and you could tell how it was going to finish 75% of the way through.

On reflection it’s a shame we could not get the money F1 attracts into the heritage railway movement. There is a  similarity between preserved railways and F1 and that is that the majority of the fans just watch and other than those who pay to get into races or on the trains do nothing to contribute to the running of them. Plus of course F1 has the armchair fans who money wise contribute nothing and the railways have the fence and gate huggers who enjoy the spectacle and contribute nothing. Perhaps we could combine forces and see what we can do to get the none payers paying and the none helpers helping.

Just imagine Martin Brundle doing a grid walk in the yard at Wansford before the start of a special event!! Having a quick chat with a crew whilst they stood there looking confused. Steven from the cafe could do the video and young Derrick the video and sound comms talk back.

Broadcast rights could be sold to CBBC and the money would roll in!!

Oh well back to reality…

You may have noticed…..

Some of the smart ones amongst you may have noticed that the station is closed today. But panic not it will be open tomorrow.

However, I wont be there. Stop cheering at the back.

I have been diagnosed with a blood clot in my leg. I am on 4 days of stomach injections and then 6 months of tablets. As the injections are at lunch time each day I am having a rest this weekend but I will be at the station some running days next week as we are starting the weekday summer running.

Exercise I am told is the key and far less time spent working on the computer. With this in mind I will be opening as many week days as I can during the next five weeks. But that depends on the support I get for station cover, I am happy to single man occasionally in the week as it’s quiet but weekends are a no no despite some on the railway thinking it’s a piece of cake to single man the second largest station on the railway!

So if your reading this and are a working member of the railway and can help me out please drop me an email.

If your about tomorrow (Sunday) please pop in and see Paddy & Jason and spend a few pennies it all helps the railway!!


Nice time of year for the weather

Another mixed day weather and business wise, certainly strange weather for July.

More people about today but nothing exciting.

Jason and I coped the bursts of activity and the peace in-between.

Nothing else really to say, this weekend will be remembered as being wet and unreliable.

Has summer totally disappeared?

Bring me sunshine.

Super weather today for October, shame it’s July.

Most of the day we had heavy rain and thick cloud. As can be seen from these pictures it was really dismal.

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Did not see a customer for the first couple of trains each way. But a few came out later when it managed to clear and we sold a few tickets.

Jason was with me today, and we had an enjoyable natter as the rain hammered down. We could tell it was a quiet day nobody asked about the lack of toilets!

Here is the first steam service of the day on it’s way back to Wansford with the rain coming down nicely.


The highlight of the day was when Jason nipped off on his bike at the end of the day and bought back fish and chips. Nice way to relax before we went home.

Hopefully better weather tomorrow, but showers are forecast and Jason is with me again so we had better find some more subjects to talk about.

An early morning visitor

Today we had an early morning visitor to the railway which left around 9.20 this morning.

The visitor was the Royal Scotsman. Due to the fact that the train did not stop at Orton Mere I just got a picture of the locomotives each end, and here they are.

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As you can see it was a super July day for photography.


A video of the train on Nene Valley and the main line today by Jason.

Should you feel like a trip on the 2012 running of this service then you can find details here .

Prices start in 2012 from a modest £8930 and the single room supplement to add on is £5360.

This is the itinerary:-

Day One – Edinburgh, Perth, afternoon tea on the Highland Line to Aviemore. Arrive at the beautiful village of Boat of Garten.
Day Two – Visit estate of Rothiemurchus for clay pigeon shooting or fly fishing and wildlife walks. North to Inverness and visit Culloden Battlefield with a private tour by a Highlander. Option to visit Strathisla Distillery. Rejoin train in Keith and continue through Speyside to Dundee.
Day Three – Head south into England, passing the Lake District National Park. Historical walking tour of Chester, drinks reception in the cathedral. Cross into Wales for a visit to Gwydir Castle.
Day Four – Visit to Portmeirion, ride the Ffestiniog Railway, travel past Snowdonia National Park and explore Conwy Castle. Arrive back in England.
Day Five – Guided tour of Roman baths in Bath and time to explore the World Heritage city. Travel to Oxford and transfer to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for dinner. Rejoin the train and travel to the Nene Valley Railway.
Day Six – Cambridge, York, drinks reception at Fairfax House. Overnight in Scarborough.
Day Seven – Travel through Yorkshire and on to Durham, where you disembark for an early afternoon visit. Re-joining the train, you travel up through Northumberland into Alnmouth early evening where you disembark for a celebratory private viewing of Alnwick Castle followed by an exclusive farewell dinner. Return to the train for your last night onboard.
Day Eight – Depart Northumberland early in the morning, where you cross the border back into Scotland and travel into Edinburgh Waverley to arrive early morning.
The Royal Scotsman departs Edinburgh at 1.42pm on day one and arrives back in Edinburgh at 9.46am on day eight (provisional timings).

As you can see they will cover a few miles.

I was not in a position to open for the public services today but we have an action packed weekend ahead with Jason with me both days.

Moving Profit!

It was nice to see people today travelling on the train as it all helps the profits, and as a bonus we had a good day at the station in tickets as well.

Not as many people visiting the Mere as I have seen, but from mid-afternoon onwards it looked like rain so that will have kept a few away I am sure.

Only highlight of the day was when I walked onto the platform to be greeted by the sight of a chap sitting off the end of the platform trackside on the wall between the garden and the track enjoying the sun and smoking a cigarette without a care in the world. He was spoken to then escorted off the station. Some people never cease to amaze me I must admit.

Even a few of the other customers were staring at him as though they could not believe what they were seeing!

Not too many confused by us running a pink service even though the timetable leaflet said orange, and we had it written in large print on the time board, not that many people read it but at least we made an effort.

Sue the wife was with me today, not because she wanted to but because we had zero response to emails sent out looking for cover. It is at busy times of the year that I do feel a little support from other working members would be nice!

A few days now to get some proper work done, and make a start on an exciting new project… Grumblemere Halt is coming!!!! Watch this space as they say!!!


Steady as you go

Not a bad day today though would like to have been busier.

There was an event at the canoe slalom course today and we were greeted with the PA being switched on and the immortal words “Good Morning” spoken, then we heard nothing more from it for a couple of hours.

Jason with me today zooming round the place like a terrier on speed. He has done some prints of locomotives he has taken at the station over the years and he put them on an empty display board today, it’s an improvement as you can see.


We have been debating what to put on that wall for some time.

Steam service today and it was mainly on time so that made things easy. Sold some tickets but not as much as I would have liked, but there is always tomorrow.

A good crop today of non-paying viewers who often have the knack of getting in the way, still you never know they might well return another day and travel, except for the few who have been none paying regulars for the last five years!!

Also had the TPO pass today on it’s way to pick up some boats from city centre (Don’t ask!!)

CIMG0736   CIMG0739

Here it is at my platform 2 await a return to Wansford.

I have finally decided there are definitely less dog walkers this year, having counted less than a dozen pass all day.

Same service tomorrow minus the TPO let’s hope it’s a bit busier!!