Monthly Archives: July 2013

Transport weekend

This weekend has been a transport weekend with Buses at my station both on static display and also running trips for interested visitors.

At the main station at Wansford there have been displays of cars, motorcycles, and mechanical cycles.

Certainly from the point of view of my station and I would guess also the railway as a whole it’s been an excellent weekend. Most enjoyable, the sun shone and we had lots of visitors.

Here are some shots of some of the exhibits, the pictures are a mixture of mine and Sues.

Firstly the buses at Orton Mere


Here now are some of the cars on show at Wansford.


Sue took one shot of a very nice American Police Motorcycle.


Last but not least here are some shots of a few of the pedal cycles on display.


There were other exhibits such as model boats on the river.

The feedback from people who travelled on the train to Wansford to see the exhibits was very positive, everybody seemed to have a great time, which of course is the object of the exercise.

Let’s hope that many of the visitors will return again in the future.

My thanks tho the volounteers who helped at Orton Mere station this weekend, we could not have had such a good weekend without you.

Better Latte than never.

You know it’s not an exciting day when the highlight is the hot drinks machine being fixed.

Had Cris with me today, we were not exactly busy, yet again it was far too hot for people to be out and about, though we did do a bit of ice cream.

Mid afternoon a chap turned up to fix the drinks machine, so now once again we can do all the flash coffee drinks with froth and other such exciting things.

Where will the excitement for the staff all end I ask myself. Still it means we can retire the urn and the kettle which can’t be a bad thing, as in the case of the urn we were always forgetting to top up the darn thing.

How do we cope……..

All quiet on almost the eastern front.

This weekend will not go down as one of the busy ones. Saturday and Sunday were cooler and Saturday was the first day for a week when the temperature did not get above 30 deg anywhere in the UK.

Both days could best be described as quiet both on the trains and in the shop. From this week we are running through to September every day but Monday & Friday. Hopefully we will get some good visitor figures.

As I often say, time will tell…..

I don’t want too many days like today.

This must be a record with three blog posts in a day, but it was an exceptional day.

You will hopefully have seen the pictures of the crane that was featured in the earlier post. Well that sat on platform one for almost four hours due to various circumanstances that I wont go into here as they are not really relevent.

The presence of the crane meant that the first service had to go through platform two both to and from City Centre, this in itself was not a problem, but it caused the signalman some hassle in as much as the crossover played up.

Then to add to the mix we were informed that there were lineside fires between Longueville Junction and our city centre station. The fire brigade asked us not to run services. So this gave a dilema, in the end the second service was run as far as my station where it terminated and the loco after running round took the service back to Wansford. It was touch and go for a time that the crane would depart before the service train got there, but I am pleased to say it did.

The only positive from the situation was that I got some trade in the station shop from the pasengers whilst the carriages sat on platform one, which actually gave me an excellent day overall in the shop money wise.

Thankfully the third service ran as normal to city centre but was around sixty minutes late by the time it went back to Wansford as last service of the day. The signalman and I sat on the platform shattered, I had single manned expecting a quiet day, and it turned out anything but. The signalman must have humped clamps etc up the platform to the crossover a couple of times and in total made the trip about a dozen times.

At it’s peak the temeprature nudged 29c and it was very humid. So in the end we had a day I am not anxious to repeat.

In the week I like to take my laptop so I can do a bit of book writing, today I managed all of three lines before everything started to happen.

I did not once envy the signalman as he had a day on the outskirts of hell, but he worked through it and even found time to chat to a few passengers as well. mention must also be made of Bill who was the pilot on the crane as it came to my station from Wansford yard. He was professional as always and sorted what needed sorting when it occured.

Next time we run services will be Saturday. So time will tell as to how the weekend pans out.

Let the crane take the strain

Colas crane at Orton Mere prior to it departing for the main line.

It’s all excitement today here at the station.

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Something odd at Orton Mere.

Steven at Orton Mere ready to video this morning.
Spot the deleberate mistake in the picture, answers in pencil please on the back of a £10 note.


He will  not live this down…….

Bye Bye 44422

This has been taken from the 4F group web site.


The boiler had its annual boiler examination by the surveyor on Friday the 5th July and unfortunately the crown stays have reached the point whereby the loco cannot be used.

The crown stays are the originals with which it came into preservation and date from at least the 1960′s so they have lasted well.

Though it is possible to change most of the crown stays, there are two rows which cannot be accessed without removing all the tubes out of the boiler which would cost a considerable amount to replace, so reluctantly it has been decided to withdraw the loco early for a 10 yearly overhaul.

In the mean time the engine will go to Peak Rail and be stored under cover at Rowsley. It will be moved there on the 19th July.



The 4F has been a good servant for the railway running many services, it has been popular with the visiting public as well.

Here are a few pictures of 44422 at Orton Mere , these have all been on the blog before, but I think it’s worth republishing them.

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Hello sunshine, and changing the guard.

Well we have just had the hottest weekend of the year so far with temperatures above 28c on both days.

The heat and other activities kept some people away but the trains were well populated both days and I did some good business in the station shop.

Paddy & Cris were with me on Saturday with Cris just covering the morning. By lunch time it was really getting hot so sensibly we stayed in the building as much as possible. Cold drinks and ice cream were popular as expected but that said we did a fair number of teas & coffee as well. Rosemary did a bit of gardening but nipped down to mission control for ride on the TPO.

Sunday was basically more of the same but with Peter & Susan helping. Sunday was the better day of the two in the shop with tickets being about the same both days.

Highlights of the weekend…….

People were generally in a good mood, sunshine always seems to bring out the nice customers. We only get the pains in the rear when the weather is dismal.

Sunday also saw a changing of the guard, each of the mainline services trains had a different guard, whereas normally we have the same guard all day. If I had twigged on early enough I could have run a sweep stake on who the next guard would be. Oh well I will remember that for next time.

One thing we noticed on both days were the runners out and about, all generally looked shattered and past their peak. One has to question what drives an idiot person to do such exercise when the temeprature is hovering around 30c/86F .Personally I can’t understand their logic. Still there we are each to their own I suppose.

Hopefully we will have weather like this for some of our special event weekends, though knowing british weather we could be back wearing a fleece next weekend.

So to temp fate with the weather here are a few pictures of mainly steam locomotives taken at the railway at different times of year.

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The Royal Scotsman

Well all excitement today, the Royal Scotsman visited the railway. It arrived in the middle of the night and left just after 9.30am.

If you fancy a trip on the train you can get details here though be warned you will need deep pockets.

Here are a few shots of it going through Orton Mere.

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Now back to the mundane normal service!

You will note the lack of sunshine, that has nothing to do with the fact we are running trains today so I am informed.

Flames, a Swede and two days of sunshine.

I will admit at the outset that I expected a quiet weekend, heaven knows why I thought that as on Saturday I had Susan and Rosemary to boss me and on Sunday I had Sue my wife to do more of the same, but there we are that’s what I expected. On Saturday Rosemary said she wished she was my Aunt, I was quite moved until she said that if she was she could then nag me properly.

As it turned out it was an interesting weekend.

Let’s start with Saturday……

Now we had wall to wall sunshine and the scene was set for hopefully a good day, in the end business wise it just scraped average but there were a few highlights.

City of Peterborough 73050 was back in service for the first time this year and was due to haul the service train. Now just in case you have forgotten what it looks like here is a picture of it arriving first service back to Wansford.


It certainly came back into service with a bang as on the way between me and Wansford some ash caused a lineside fire, the fire brigade being called out and a change to the scheduled service. This second service was diesel hauled whilst the steam loco was checked.

But it hauled the last two services OK, and during a phone call to me from the General Manager she uttered the immortal words “It’s OK now it will pull ALL of the services for the rest of the weekend.” OH dear that was tempting fate…

Now lets cover Sunday.

Again this morning we had wall to wall sunshine, we also had the Wimbledon Tennis, Waddington Airshow and the German F1 Grand Prix to contend with, little did we know that we would have as much unexpected drama as they did at Wimbledon and also at the Grand Prix.

Now remember those fateful words uttered by the General Manager yesterday….”It’s OK now it will pull ALL of the services for the rest of the weekend.”Keep that phrase in your head……

Well, before first service City of Peterborough was derailed at Wansford, this caused the first service to Peterborough to be cancelled whilst they made every effort to get it back into service.

In the end the railway went with plan “B” which caused the service to be covered by the Swedish Railcar, but at least for the three services it ran it was on time.

Now as it’s a single unit, we knew it was likely to be a little snug in there.

Here are a couple of shots of it arriving on the second service of the day, which was actually I suppose the first service really as the original first one was cancelled. If you can follow that well done, you’re keeping up.

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At least it was different and gave the few people wandering about in the heat something different to look at.

We managed to get on all those that wanted to travel and field endless questions about what it was.

I did not sell tickets, I left that to the ticket chap on the train as because of it’s size I could not guarantee we we would be able to get people on when it arrived on each service.

Shop wise we had an excellent day and the wife would not believe what we had done, I am not sure if she thought a couple of fivers were up to no good at the back of the till draw and breeding bank notes, but wisely I kept quiet. After 27 years I have learnt that is normally the best option.

So to sum up, we had a fire, a derailment, a snug train and wall to wall sunshine, I am left hoping that only the wall to wall sunshine will be repeated!!!