Monthly Archives: September 2012

Oh goody it’s diesel gala time.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday saw the autumn diesel gala at the railway.

Now although only a week after the steam gala the atmosphere is totally different, and to be honest I must prefer the steam gala, at least the steam fans are generally well mannered and are generally not running round like people possessed trying to get pictures. They also know the words please and thank you.

Average would best describe the three days but it wont as far as I am concerned go down as the best gala ever.

Here are a few pictures of the three days and a little story at the end.

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Today saw 66737 visit, below are four pictures of it. Now the keen amongst you will note that on the side the last two numbers are larger and there is a nameplate above.

Paddy found the reason for this, apparently the locomotive is named after the bosses wife and she unveiled it on her 37th birthday not knowing it was named after her, hence the name and the number.

A really nice story I think.

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Next weekend we have the last major event of the season and that’s the 1940’s weekend, so a week to recover ready for that.

It’s Steam Gala Time!

Well this weekend it was our annual steam gala at the railway and I think it’s fair to say it was the best weekend I have had on the railway.

Nice passengers, nice trains, it just flowed.

Weather was great on Saturday and ended up dull and wet on Sunday, but that did not put off the visitors.

Here are a few pictures, not as many as I would have liked and not as good as I would have liked, but we were far too busy to take more.

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My thanks to all those who helped at the station this weekend, real teamwork and we would not have had such a successful weekend without any of you.

One classic statement of the weekend comes to mind and that was from a lady to day who uttered the immortal words “Those Belgian coaches aren’t British are they?” I mean how can you reply to that.

Next weekend sees the Diesel Gala, and I am sure we will be very busy, but I bet it is nowhere near as much fun.

All change

Well it’s all change for the steam gala this coming weekend.

With the failure of The Duke of Gloucester, we now have Bittern as a guest locomotive along with Tornado.

There is also a revised timetable as well now available on the railways website at

Should be an excellent weekend and hopefully we will be busy as well.

All being well pictures on here in due course.

If your visiting please pop into Orton Mere and say hello.

Unusual images

Now people who know me will know that I love taking scenic images, I am not into portraits or messing about with images on the computer, I am a great believer that a decent pictures comes from a camera not from a computer.

However, sometimes I do take pictures that are a bit away from my normal scenery & landscape images and the common train pictures. Here are a few of the unusual ones I like.

Comments welcome.

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Nothing special just a few of the unusual pictures from my collection taken around the park and the railway.

As the wife says “It keeps me amused”.

Sun, Tornado & Clouds

An interesting weekend with two very different days.

Saturday saw Sunshine, a Tornado and a Diesel locomotive.

Main service for the day was diesel and was hauled by the class 31, here is a picture of it arriving at my station first service.


As you can see we actually had some sunshine. Not exactly busy passenger wise but I would guess that many are awaiting the steam gala next week and the diesel one the week after.

Together with the normal scheduled service we had a private charter which was steam hauled by “Tornado” which is visiting us for the steam gala.

Here are a few shots of it on the two runs it did with it’s private party.

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It’s a lovely large locomotive and great to photograph especially in the sunshine.

Today (Sunday) started dull and humid and was nothing to shout about but at least the scheduled service was steam hauled.

Again quiet, but next week sees the first of our two gala weekends so hopefully the sun will shine and we will be busy.

But that of course depends so much on the weather, nobody likes to have a day out on a cold dismal or rainy day, so time will tell as to how busy we are.

But with five locomotives running with passenger and freight services we will have to be exceptionally unlucky to have a bad weekend.

Now for a week of normal work and then the busy weekend, I can’t wait!!!!!

Harvesting Apples

Oh God your saying this is another deep meaningful blog from Arkwright. Well sorry to disappoint but it is just some observations.

Now yesterday was in the eyes of many a special day, no I don’t mean we ran the Mk1 rake on a Wednesday I mean that people all over the world tuned in listened and promptly wet themselves in pure excitement.

Apple released the details most already knew about the iPhone 5, the faithful are getting ready to flex their wallets and the haters have stocked up on venom.

I use an Apple product, I have the iPad 2 now the reason I bought it was not due to great marketing, super value or even reputation. I bought it because the wife had one and I wanted one as well. Yes I know the reason is sad but we are all human after all. Also I should point out I wanted a tablet so I could do some of the things I do better away from the main computer.

I will be the first to admit that despite the reasons why I bought the iPad it has changed the way I work. It’s changed how I check emails, where and when I look at the net, how I communicate with people and how I work at the station. I use it to make notes for stuff to be ordered and it sends those notes to the main machine at home, I can then read it and understand what I wrote, as if it’s just a scribbled note I can’t make head nor tail of it most times.

It’s even made me an avid player of Sudoku which was a game on paper I could never get my head round. But that could all have and most likely would have happened irrespective of the tablet I purchased.

Now I know your thinking what the hell is he on about, has he gone into la la land again?

No all I am saying is that all the people either getting excited or condemning Apple for the iPhone 5 are missing one important point and that is the phone is just a tool, nothing more nothing less!

I know every brand has it’s loyal followers and that it’s human nature to condemn successful companies, but just remember that these gadgets are just tools.

When my contract comes up for renewal on my mobile, I will look, have a play and decide if I am going to replace what I have and what I will replace it with. Yes I have a Blackberry at the moment, and come to think of it the previous phone was a Blackberry, but the next one could be anything as long as I like using it and it does what I want.

I have no brand loyalty for electronics, what it does and how it does it are far more important than the name of the front.

The same can be said of locomotives, both steam and diesel have their loyal and in some cases fanatical followers, but perhaps we should just enjoy whatever is pulling the train we are on and appreciate it as a preserved piece of our history rather then a kettle or generator on wheels.

The same goes for phones, tablets, computers etc. Just remember that by the time you get your paws on the latest model it is, like a steam engine part of history and it’s replacement is already planned.

So just work on the theory that your not buying innovations when you buy your next communications gadget but instead your buying a bit of history. It will make you feel better, trust me!!!



Second Sight

Some days you know that despite everything in your favour you know that what should happen won’t. Today was one of those days.

We had sunshine, a nice breeze so the heat was not too much, a steam service and an open station. Normally the recipe for a decent day.

Well right at the start something in my water when I opened told me it was not going to happen and I was spot on. At best the day could be described as acceptable.

Jason was with me and we had a steady flow of customers, but it was in drips and drops some tickets sold but nothing exceptional. Same in the shop, a steady flow of ice cream and drinks but there was no danger of selling out as would have been the case in similar circumstances a few years ago.

Trains ran to time and they were not busy, or at least when they passed each way at Orton Mere.

One thing niggled me and that was that if we had not moved it this weekend would have been the steam gala, and with the weather we had it would have been a corker. It’s revised date is 22/23rd September. Let’s hope we have as good weather then, if we don’t then there will be no justice at all. But as they say it’s in the lap of the gods.

The railway needs, no make that deserves good steam and diesel galas at the end of this month, without money from customers/ visitors and paying passengers there would be no railway. So if your in travelling distance have a look at the gala details on the railways web site at and if you can come and pay a visit, spend some money and have an enjoyable day out either on your own or with the family.

To all those who spend nothing.

This is true of all heritage railways.

If your here today just to look and not travel or buy anything.
Please remember if everybody did as your doing then there would be no trains for you to watch.

Heritage railways make most of their income from paying passengers and visitors buying from station shops.

Those who look and spend nothing are being subsidised by those that spend money

You just could not make it up.

Now I think it’s fair to say that people are aware of how dangerous a railway can be, not only from the locomotives but also from trip hazards etc.

Well today I was standing on the platform and this chap strode purposefully past me down the platform.

Now past me the only thing left was the far end of the platform.

After gaining his attention I asked if I could help him. The answer was no, so I enquired what he was up to? His answer was that he was on his way home down the track as he had done so for the past week.

Almost and I stress almost I was lost for words. He was duly educated about trespassing on a railway and the possible penalties and sent on his way via the public footpath outside the station.

Now this leads me to ask the question why somebody with even an ounce of basic sense would think it was acceptable to walk down a railway track on an operational railway and where there could be a train at any time?

The amazing thing to me was that he genuinely did not think he was doing wrong.

Now I know it takes all sorts to make a world, but the worrying thing is some of them can breed!!!

We will see if we can top this tomorrow, to be honest I would not be surprised if we do.

Almost there

Well the computers are back in the office, now just need to fine tune it to make it feel like home again!!

Here are a couple of pictures, still need to get stuff on the walls and a few things fine tuned so to speak.

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Sue has decided to have her computer downstairs, so I can now spread over the two desks.

The first pictures shows the main working position with the Dell tower out of picture to the left, as are the modems and routers for the broadband connection.

The second picture shows the laptop now out on a desk, this is used mainly for the book I am slowly writing.

At the window is a blind which is wound up out of shot this is useful as the sunlight streams through the window for the first couple of hours in the mornings.

So there you have it, the new office minus a few tweaks, no longer the terracotta crypt as it was once called.

Hopefully today I can catch up on emails and other odds and ends.