A winter preview

Now it’s a fair bet this winter at some stage we will get snow, so to get you prepared and in the mood here are a few winter shots taken in the past at Orton Mere, I don’t have that many as I am rarely there in the snow.

Enjoy…….

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Just to round it off here are a couple taken in the area of the station over the years by Paddy who helps at the station.

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Don’t forget to keep warm this winter!!!

Birthdays can be boring!!!

Well today has been my birthday, and I must admit so far it’s been a tad boring, then again most of my days are.

To those who sent me a text or email wishing me happy birthday, many thanks and all three of you will get a special Christmas card.

So what did old Arkwright get up to on his birthday then? I hear you ask. Well the answer is not a lot. The wife bought me an iTunes voucher so I downloaded a couple of CD’s from a band I have come across and like and also a film. See I told you it was exciting.

The band is called “Angel Band” before any of you ask and here is a clip of them on YouTube.

The Angel Band

See I told you it was an exciting day. Plus it continued as I sorted out a few problems on the office network that have been irritating me for weeks.

So there you have it, the Arkwright way of having a super birthday, please feel free to copy any of these super ideas I won’t charge honest!!!

Tomorrow could be really exciting as I am contemplating doing a clean install of Windows 8 on the lap top. The fun just goes on and on.

A TASC at the station

Yesterday I closed the station down totally for the winter, oh the excitement of draining the water and getting rid of the last of the rubbish, I tell you it’s so exciting watching a tap drain and tying the top of a refuse sack. Never let anyone say it’s not a glamour job running a station.

Anyway it was all sorted and done.

Weather started off really dismal, here are a couple of pictures.

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Then something funny happened, the sun came out and the above changed into this…

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The Civils stopped on their way through to Peterborough, not that they had much choice as crossover was set to send them to the Fletton Loop. They had to await the arrival of a signalman from Wansford. Now I am sure if I had still got stock to sell they would have sworn I did it in the hope of getting money out of them.

As it was they had free tea and coffee and there is no truth in the rumour that one of the civils took away the poly cup as a memento of actually getting something free off me.

At the end of the afternoon they and a few of the directors took a trip up the Fletton loop to survey and look at what the railway has just spent a decent chunk of money on. They went in the TASC machine, here to give an idea of how snug they were are a couple of pictures of the beast standing at platform 1

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I think it’s only fair that I point out they all snugly fitted in the cab and no had to travel in the back.

Peter turned up before all the excitement of the TASC machine and helped me close down the station.

A few months of rest now, although I will be trotting down on a regular basis to check the place is OK.

As I have said before it’s been a funny old year but it has gone very quickly, hopefully the break will go a bit slower.

 

Having fun can be a serious business

This headline on the BBC News website

Georgia Varley train fall death: Christopher McGee jailed

You can’t help but feel sad when reading this story. Georgia Varley died when she fell between the carriage and platform at James Street station in October 2011.

You can read the story here:- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-20339630

Now without doubt the vast majority of people who work on either the national network or a heritage railway and anywhere near the trains always have safety on their mind, I know I do, my responsibilities extend to the safety of myself, people I work with and others.

If you like we have a duty of care towards other people.

This is often not helped by visitors or any member of the general public either not realising or choosing to ignore the fact that a railway of any type can be a dangerous place irrespective of the size of the railway. Anybody who disagrees should read this story of another tragic loss of life. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/4672231.stm

As an example “City of Peterborough” a steam locomotive weighs in at 126 tons. Even little “Thomas” weighs in at a shade over 41 tons. Such things should be treated with respect.

Getting back to the original story we should always remember that passengers and visitors can often do unpredictable things especially when they are not in control of themselves either through for example drink or sudden illness.

Now I was not there to witness the tragic events that led to this young ladies death, and irrespective of your thoughts on youngsters and alcohol, in an ideal world it should not have happened. But we are humans and humans make mistakes that’s a fact of life.

I am sure that the guard will have this on his mind for the rest of his life and nothing can bring back this young lady. Plus of course there is the grief and sadness with her family. As somebody once said “Death does not just affect the dead.”

So please remember this sad loss of life next time you are dealing with other people where there is possible danger, just remember you have a life in front of you Georgia Varley sadly does not.

Take Care of yourself and others.

The First Sunday

Well today has been the first Sunday until the end of December with no public stopping service on the railway.

I had a nice lie in, Bacon for breakfast and Lamb with all the trimmings for lunch, and you know what, I wished I was at the station!!

I know I have been going on about looking forward to my weekends back and the other bits. but to be honest I missed the station today, the regulars popping in for a natter, the banter with other visitors.

Now I can’t say that I missed the opportunity to freeze my nuts off if it had been cold, but other than that yes I missed the railway.

Through the winter I will pop down from time to time and do a good sort out on Saturdays when Sue is at work. One thing I do intend to do also is crack on with the book I am writing, it’s been on the back burner for the summer. Sundays will be my writing day. So that should keep me amused until 29th December when we have a public service.

Hopefully if your local and about on the 29/30th December you will pop in and say hello.

1 can make a difference

It’s true 1 can make a difference, no this is not part of a royal speech but the tale of spending money and upgrading.

Yes I know it’s hard to believe but Arkwright has spent some money, though not a lot I hasten to add.

I love technology and playing with gadgets, my computers are shall we say well used, and typing this on the laptop I note that the most used keys have a shine on them from lots of use.

Anyway you can’t have missed the fact that Windows have bought out a new operating system. I am a great Windows fan and is used on both the laptop and desktop computers. I can remember almost wetting myself with excitement when Windows 3.1 came out on a set of 3.5” disks, and somewhere I have an older version  of DOS on 5.25” disks. Shame I no longer have a disk drive on any of the computers. With the latest version  which is Windows 8 I downloaded and installed on-line, how things change.

Now over the years I have often gone against the trend, for example I loved Windows Me and Windows Vista even though both were regarded as failures by those who profess to be experts in such matters. I am a believer in the simple method of trying something and if I like it then I use it and if not I downgrade back to what I had before. A software review is often one persons personal view and as such I always read them and make up my own mind.

Right Windows 8, I upgraded the laptop rather than the main machine for the simple reason that I have old web design software on the desktop that the upgrade adviser said might give problems. There you see a good example of using old software simply because it works and does what I want. But I digress back to the upgrade. You have three choices.

1. Order on CD.

2. Download and install online.

3. Download and install online and also order a CD.

I took the third option, though at the time of writing this I am still awaiting the CD in the post. downloading was easy as was installing. You again have three choices.

1. A clean Install

2. Install and retain your document files etc.

3. Install and retain all your programs, files and settings.

I chose again the third option as there is some software that’s a pain to reinstall on the laptop so I wanted to avoid that. Now I could waffle on about how easy the install was, but even though it was I won’t.

You will have seen in the advertisements that they rave about touch screen abilities with the software. I will admit to not being a fan of touch screens especially large ones, I mean for heavens sake for years we have kept dusters by the computer to wipe dust and irritating finger marks off the monitor screen, now we see users being encouraged to stick their sticky little pinkies all over the darn thing.

You will have guessed that this laptop is not touch screen! So that being the case how does it affect me using Windows 8 that’s been designed especially with touch screens in mind? Well the answer is it doesn’t, it works quite happily with the mouse and keyboard (I hate the laptop touchpad with a passion and always use a cordless mouse) no problems at all. Already there are apps out that let you go to the desktop direct and I saw in a magazine an article on how to make Windows 8 look like Windows 7, well to be honest if you do that you might as well stick with Windows 7.

Before I waffle on too much I will sum up by saying at I love Windows 8 with it’s more graphical interface, but if your a bit of a luddite then to be honest stick with Windows 7 in my humble opinion it’s just as good, I use it on the desk top and I am quite happy switching between the two operating systems.

Should you give it a try yourself? Well only you can answer this question but at the moment with the ability to upgrade from under £25.00 I think if you like playing then you would be crackers not to give it a go. If you do then let me know what you think I would be interested to hear your experiences.

A cartoon weekend

Well this weekend sees the last public services before the Santa trains start at the end of the month.

It also means that for three months almost I get my Sundays back!!

Now I know your all puzzled about the title of this blog posting, well I was thinking of standing on the platform after last service on Sunday and in my best Daffy Duck voice shout loudly “That’s all folks!!!!”

As I have said several times, it’s been a funny old year, with good bits, bad bits and bloody terrible bits!

I have been thinking about who to award the “Idiot customer of the year” award to, and like the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award this year I am spoilt for choice.

There has been a definite improvement in the quality of idiots this year, some have put a lot of effort into being bloody irritating, There is nothing worse than a half arsed idiot, I mean if you are going to be a pain at least put some effort into it.

So after much debate and racking my brain, here is the winner of the Idiot of the year award.

It’s Good Friday, Tornado is doing driver experience and is at my platform1. A woman stands there looking at the name plate which says in nice large letters “Tornado” she then turns to me and utters the immortal words “Is this Tornado?” Upon me confirming it was whilst struggling to retain a straight face she utters the words that guaranteed her second place as well as first “Yes I thought it might be!”

So there you have it First and Second place awarded to the same person, no mean feat in just a single visit to the station. Third place for Idiot of the Year is a tie between at least fifty other people. They all in their own small way made me and the other staff why we let some people breed without supervision.

My favourite picture of the year that I took goes to this one. I know it’s not of a locomotive but it is my favourite.

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Taken when we had the Olympic flame it shows that Laurel & Hardy are alive and well. The lady on our left is Jayne who is in charge of the cafe at Wansford, without her and her staff working away a visit to the railway would be nowhere near as enjoyable. Thanks Jayne for your help this year and I promise not to be such a pain next year!! Honest!!!!! I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all the members of the railway who have helped me run the station this year, some have helped by turning up and some by staying away. To those who helped by turning up you have my thanks, it’s been great working with you all and I look forward to working with you all next year. To those who helped by staying away you also have my thanks and I urge you to carry on doing the same next year!!!

Please also remember that it does not all grind to a halt with the last of the public services. There are people at Wansford beavering away getting ready for the Santa trains and also of course the civils gang who will be out and about in all weathers through the winter with maintenance, these are the people we tend to forget about when things run well and moan about when things go wrong. Just give them a thought on the next cold wet dismal Saturday when you are warm in front of the TV they will be somewhere along the track working.