Monthly Archives: July 2012

Two days one theme

Even though I say it myself it’s been an interesting weekend.

To paraphrase Churchill “Never have so few done so much and spoken to so few”.

Saturday saw Cris with me and I am pleased to report he seems to be enjoying his turns at the station. He chats with the visitors and is an asset.

Young Derrick turned up with a van he had on hire for a friends move and whilst he had it he kindly removed the junk from the station. Most of which predates me.

Now Derrick is what’s called a doer in other words if something needs doing then he does it. On the railway that makes him a rarity. So Derrick if your reading this thanks for getting rid of the junk it is much appreciated.

Other than that the day was not exactly exciting, yes we had customers and passengers but we were not exactly rushed so the day could best be described as steady.

Today I had Sue my wife with me, and the day would best be described as “Rain stopped play” Heavy showers put paid to any major money taking though considering the conditions we did not do at all badly and we had some really nice people in as well which is always a bonus.

I plan to open a couple of days in the coming week but that will depend very much on the weather, nothing is more soul destroying than a wet day at the station.

Because of the mixed weather this weekend it would be hard to say whether the Olympics are affecting business, next week with the Thomas Big Weekend will be a good indicator as to whether that is the case or not. Watch this space as they say.

On the trot!!!

Just done two days single manning the station, not exactly rushed but in the summer sunshine the ice cream was popular.

Gem of the day was on Tuesday when a woman came in to buy a bottle of water. This gem was her contribution to the blog. It will go down in the hall of fame of amazing comments.

“You know the Santa trains, well why don’t you run them in August rather than December, with the better weather I am sure more people would travel on them”.

I must admit words failed me, Just when you think you have heard it all along comes another gem for the collection. I mean she was not even blonde!!!

Other than that an uneventful two days. Rosemary came to do some gardening today, her stamina for an elderly biddy (She will kill me if I put OAP) always amazes me.

Not opening Thursday I have too much to do, so back to the fun on Saturday. Yet again I am fishing round for staff cover, the lure of the train is too much for some volunteers who seem convinced that there is nothing interesting to do on the railway unless it’s in something that’s moving along the track!!

Weather has been super but I gather it’s due to break on Friday, just in time for the opening ceremony of something that I believe is happening sports wise over the next couple of weeks.

Tributes to a “remarkable” Reverend

The following is taken from the Peterborough Telegraph. Their copyright is acknowledged.


Tributes to a “remarkable” Reverend

The Rev Richard Paten, pictured in May, by the City of Peterborough steam enginge

The Rev Richard Paten, pictured in May, by the City of Peterborough steam engine

By Ken McErlain
Published on Sunday 22 July 2012 13:32

The Rev. Richard Paten, the man behind the Nene Valley Railway and Railworld in Peterborough has died, it has been confirmed today.

Rev Paten, who was 79, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and it is believed that the illness was the cause of his death.

His name will forever be synonymous with Railworld and the city’s famous steam locomotive as well as family connections to the Peterborough Civic Society, which he was president of.

Toby Wood, a member of the Peterborough Civic Society, said: “I have known Richard for many years and he was a remarkable man.

“He achieved so much in his lifetime and was extremely well-known in Peterborough where he had many, many friends.

“He was the calmest and kindest man that I have ever met and he will be very much missed.”

Rev. Paten was born in 1932 and lived in Eastfield Road, Peterborough, the only boy of four children.

A bright student, he won a scholarship to Cambridge University to study engineering, later to become a chartered civil engineer.

It was as a graduate on his travels that his inspiration was sparked to bring an icon to Peterborough.

Travelling through America in 1955, Rev. Paten saw a mounted Southern Pacific steam locomotive and made it his mission to bring the iconic engine to Peterborough. The 14-year-old scrap engine was eventually brought to the city in 1968.

Despite not being allowed to travel, the beautiful black engine, numbered 73050, didn’t rest on its buffers.

It spent spells at various locations including the old railway station near London Road and Baker Perkins, and since then the engine – the starting point for the Nene Valley Railway – has probably brought millions of people to the city.

Rev Paten worked tirelessly for the volunteer-run railway, and was a former chairman and trustee for more than 20 years.

After setting up the Nene Valley Railway in 1985 he then purchased the old power station site, creating Railworld Sustainable Transport Centre and bringing in a treasure trove of rail artefacts, monuments and vehicles from across the planet.

He was also president of the city’s civic society, which was set up by his father in 1952 to give something back to the city from the family.

Rev. Paten has been a Rotarian since 1969, a member of Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) since 1993, and worked with the United Nations on environmental issues, travelling around the world to conferences.

It’s that day of the year again.

Well today was the day of the Thomas Big Adventure.

The sun shone and people who came in actually had money.

People came to watch Thomas run through the station on his adventure both ways and the majority spent money.

Here are pictures of Thomas going tender first towards Peterborough and chimney first towards Wansford.

CIMG1155     CIMG1159

As you can see, especially from the second picture the sun really shone. In-between his trips to and from Peterborough we had the second service terminate with us so got some business off the passengers there as well.

Paddy and Sue were with me today though Sue came home after the excitement of Thomas.

All in all a really nice day with the main service hauled by steam and diesel alternating between them.

Here are pictures of the two locomotives in question.

CIMG1157     CIMG1153

All in all a good day and it was nice to have a go at extracting money from the TTI’s on the train whilst it was with us, they all need more training at spending money I feel.

To sum up an enjoyable day with nice customers to help it along.

Some sun and a cheap return expected.

Some days things happen where you have to look and say to yourself Blimey!!!!

We had decent weather today which was a bonus and helped trade. We also had civil engineers up the Fletton loop who are getting a bit quick. Straight through the station both going to and returning from the loop. Not even a chance to frisk them for possible wallets, I must work on this, they are becoming devious.

Jason with me today and he was as usual on form even down to the extensive discussion he had with a regular concerning the colour of a Deltic locomotive that will be visiting for the diesel gala at the end of September.

Steady flow of customers many of whom were asking what that shiny bright thing was up in the sky. I pointed them in the direction of Google and told them they were on their own.

Services ran to time today and even the civils departed on time which was an unexpected bonus.

Highlight of the day was a woman who gave me a look that only women can when I quoted a price and aid she was expecting more like £2. Jason just looked at me when she had gone and muttered the immortal words “That’s one for your blog”. He was spot on!!!!

Sunday sees the Thomas Big Adventure when he makes his one yearly round trip up the line, and we get crowded out with people who come for a nose and spend nothing. If I get desperate to put money in the till I may have to set Paddy on them, that will teach them!!!

Walked both to and from the station as I need the exercise. The walk down was a delight the walk back in the heat was a nightmare. It showed me just how unfit I am. Sue is with me tomorrow so may see what my chances are for a piggy back each way. Somewhere south of NO will be the answer I expect.

Now to recover from all that exercise.

Ready for the onslaught of ankle snappers tomorrow accompanied by shell shocked parents convinced their little ray of sunshine can do no wrong and is nothing short of a special little snowflake!!!

It’s a bit rough where you live.

The above is a comment I often hear when people find out where I live.

Now parts of the city do have shall we say a reputation for being less than nice, and part of “The Orton’s” where I live have that reputation.

Now “The Orton’s” comprise of several areas some old with thatched cottages, stone buildings and old churches to the newer areas built by the Development Corporation when Peterborough was designated a new town.

So here are some pictures of the area I live in and you can judge for yourself whether it’s rough or not.

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100_0507      100_0511

100_1995      100_3146

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100_5308      CIMG0704


Out of office window

The final one is the view from my Office window.

So there you have it, the area I live in and have done for the last 26 years.

Like any area it’s has it’s good and it’s bad. Plus a reputation over the years that’s been gained from what people have read and by word of mouth. It’s a shame that most people I hear comment about the area have never set foot in the place!!!

Like a gentle river….

This weekend was like a gentle river….

It just flowed. Both Saturday and Sunday just happened.

I had Paddy with me Saturday and Sue my wife with me on Sunday. We had just nice people, no idiots, no timewasters, no problems.

Sunday especially was an excellent day in the shop and we actually took money. There was even the odd appearance of sunshine from time to time as well.

Nobody seemed to mind that we ran just 4 services instead of 6 and that we were a tad late at times, they just sat on the platform eating ice cream and drinking tea or coffee.

If all weekends were like this then I would be a happy man.

Roll on next weekend.

Lovely time of year for the weather.

Well here I am sitting in the office looking out the window at yet more rain?

It’s fair to say that this is not the best of summers and doing nothing to tempt tourists and for that matter locals to get out and about and visit places.

This time of year things are geared to outdoor activities and you only have to look at the news to see the ever increasing list of things being cancelled because of the weather.

So let’s hope that we at least have some dry weather this weekend for visitors to the railway, as I will scream if I have to post any more pictures of the station with the rain lashing down.


The time machine

Today was one of those days at the station that just flew by. It seemed no time at all between trains.

Whether that was due to a steady flow of passengers/customers or due to the fact I read almost a whole book in between bursts of activity I don’t know.

The weather was as unpredictable as ever with some heavy showers, but it gave us something to talk about with visitors other than trains.

Sue was with me today and she squeezed in watching a complete film on her iPad as an alternative to my book reading.

Other than that it was I suppose an unremarkable day, but without exception the visitors were all nice to chat to, so I think it’s safe to say that today was one of the better days this year.

A bit of everything.

Well another day and another mixed bag of weather.

At the railway today and ten minutes after sitting in lovely sunshine it was like this.

100_0961    100_0963

It was just like somebody had pointed a fire hose over the top of the station building.

We are having a terrible summer to say the least, considering we had drought conditions a few weeks ago, the weather has swung totally the other way.

Now I am not a lover of really hot weather but neither do I want to live in a state of seeing perpetual rain.

Had Cris with me today and he spent time doing a crossword between the few customers we had and I read an eBook. Not the ideal way to spend a summer Saturday on the railway.

We will see what tomorrow brings.