Monthly Archives: September 2013

Outnumbering the customers

It has just been one of those weekends where the staff at all times outnumbered the customers.

Saturday I had Harry with me and on Sunday Peter & Susan.

Both days were quiet to say the least, even though the weekend was mild and sunny. Really nice for the time of year.

Here is a picture of No22 which ran on Sunday, as you can see the sun was shining.



The platform shows how quiet it was.

Those people we did see were really nice and there were a few visitors to the area. I suppose on reflection we should take it as a weekend to rest before the three day diesel gala this coming weekend. What’s the betting that it rains!!

Not much of a blog this time but to be honest the length of the post reflects the number of customers.

What helps to make a nice weekend.

Now without doubt one of the things that helps to make a nice weekend working at the station are nice visitors.

These visitors can be paying passengers or just people passing who stop to look at the trains and hopefully buy something from the station shop.

Now some weekends you can get a run of visitors that given half the chance you would happily throttle until they go a delicate shade of blue. You know those visitors who love to find something to have a moan at no matter how trivial, and generally speaking the less they end up spending the more they like to moan. I mean over the years some of the trivial junk that people have moaned about include, in no special order.

The price of something… Funnily enough the lower the price the more they tend to moan.
The time of the next train… As if they think we should bend over so a train can magically appear.
The type of traction we are running that day… People moan there is not steam or they moan there is no diesel, and to top it all they can moan if we run mixed traction because it’s either not all steam or it’s not all diesel. In other words we can’t win.
The dog bowl is not out… Why is it that the majority of dog owners don’t know please and thank you, I have yet to find the reason.

That’s just a small selection.

Then some weekends you can have a constant stream of customers who are a pure pleasure to deal with, they are friendly, nice, pleasant and like to chat.

We have just had that sort of weekend, both days we have had some really nice people in both adults and children. All in all it’s been one of the best weekends this year for dealing with the general public. Not one moan even when the train was 52 minutes late, they just sat there and we chatted some more.

This year I have had some really frustrating weekends, where support from those who should have supported has been lacking and when many of the visitors left their basic manners and tolerance at home. But this weekend was a pleasure, I met some really nice people, and for a change I came home relaxed and in a good mood. Not frustrated and wondering why some people bothered to turn up either visiting or volunteering across the railway.

It is often said that the best asset the railway has are the working members, during an average year I will hear countless positive comments about those working at the stations and on the trains, be they engine crew or working in a customer facing job. That’s excellent to hear, but I just wish that sometimes somebody who matters on the railway, (And this is not aimed at any specific person.) could just be bothered to just say thank you and well done, a couple of words of thanks go a long way. Some people do, and after special events they send out a note saying thank you, and certainly myself and my staff appreciate them. But it should be done more often, it’s not as though cost can be used as an excuse.

Then again there is a rumour that one day hell may freeze over.

50% there

Well this is being written on the second day of the autumn steam gala and I am not at the station.

My back is giving me a bit of jip so giving it a rest today. Peter & Susan are running the station.

Yesterday was a mixed day, we had a fair number of passengers, but due to the weather many of the regulars were missing. Here are a couple of shots of two of the guest locomotives that are running this weekend.

Not the best shots I have ever taken. But the visitors must always come first.

100_1219 100_1220

We started the day with rain, so that was going to put the regular passers by from being out and about

100_1216 100_1217


This was first thing saturday morning, and as you can see it was a tad on the damp side.

Today, Sunday is forecast for rain this afternoon so I don’t think records will be broken.

One incident that pleased me happened after last train Saturday. Two couples who had travelled together earlier returned and were going on about how they had enjoyed the day, telling me they had a tour of the engine shed etc. This quite made my day, it’s always nice when people say they have enjoyed themselves.



Yes we are here……..Honest……

It was one of those weekends where you wondered where everybody was then you realised they were elsewhere.

My station relies mainly on locals for shop sales, you know the dog walkers, the joggers and the cyclists. This weekend was not really the weather for them to be out and about, on both days at times it looked like rain, and we actually managed a short shower when last service on Sunday ran.

So we were left with visitors to the area, of which there were a few, and as with last week we had some really nice people in on both days, quite a lot of enquiries as well reference the steam gala next weekend. Hopefully they will come back and travel, but it will depend so much on the weather. We can have a really good weekend event, but if the weather is not right then I will still have a quiet weekend. It’s not unknown to have a quiet weekend when a special event is on then have a really busy one the following weekend when we are running a normal service.

One thing that was noticeable this weekend was that the weather is starting to get an autumnal feel to it, there is a crispness in the air first thing. Customers have been commenting on it this weekend, soon be time to ditch the shirt sleeves and put the fleece on again. Also time to start winding down stock, there will be no more ice cream orders for example, I have a fair amount and know I will shift it before we have the winter break. But the danger this time of year is to get more in because we have a couple of good weekends, then the weather turns and we are stuck with it over the winter. So when what we have has gone that will be it. The same goes for bottled drinks as well. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate will of course continue to be in endless supply. Hot chocolate is always in demand when it gets cold.

It will be a funny end to the running year as we have on the 2nd & 3rd November a visit by Tornado again, so we will be busy on what would normally be our wind down weekend where there would be little if any stock left in the station, I will have to play it by ear, it will depend so much on the weather.


Full steam ahead……

Well after the recent danger of line  side fires it was really nice to see steam back in action along the whole line this weekend.

Here is the loco that hauled services both days this weekend arriving at platform 1 at my station pulling the last service of the day to Wansford today (Sunday).


As you can see from the picture it was not a sun filled day today, yesterday was slightly better.

On Saturday I had Jason helping at the station with Rosemary doing the garden, whilst today I had Peter & Susan with me.

Both days could best be described as steady, but that said on both days we had some really nice people in, and we had some really nice chats to some of them.

Some weekends you can get some really nice people in and other weekends you could throttle most of them, but this weekend was really enjoyable customer wise.

The return of steam was welcomed by all those travelling. Whilst diesel locomotives are popular and have a following, it normally takes steam to give people a dreamy look as they remember back to days past. It can often be interesting if they share those memories with us. You know the summers when the sun shone and it never rained, the trains were on time and everybody was a nice person.

In reality they remember lots of good memories from different times and merge them together. In the process they forget or tuck away the bad bits.

But all in all one of the more enjoyable weekends of the year.