This weekend has been great fun, nice customers, plenty of trains and working with great people, what more could I ask for?
Saturday I had Paddy with me and Sunday I had Peter and his daughter Susan helping.
Saturday was the busiest of the two days, actually we were busier this weekend overall than we have been for a long time, with much needed cash coming on for the railway on both days.
But it’s not just helping customers and passengers in the station that’s important it’s the other inter-action and support that gives overall the customers a good visitor experience. So with this in mind I would like to highlight three people who this weekend helped things along. Two work at my station and one does not. Let’s start with the one who doesn’t.
Now this is Laura, I suppose you could call her a Jackie of all trades, except of course her name is Laura!
Normally she will be found as a guard and this weekend she was guard on the brake van rides on Saturday and on the main service on Sunday. Though she has been known to put on a mini skirt and sing into a microphone at our 1960’s event, and has in the past wielded a shovel on the footplate.
She is always pleasant, always has a smile and a friendly word for customers and other staff alike, and it’s rare that one of my passengers at least does not make a favourable comment about her whenever she is on duty, and this weekend was no exception.
She could best be described as a credit to the railway, she is smart, friendly & helpful every time she is on duty. Now the keen eyed amongst you will have noticed that she has a slightly dirty face in the picture, it was taken just after she had been involved in a slight trackside fire. See being a guard is not just waving flags and blowing whistles.
This is Rosemary, she maintains the gardens at Orton Mere and her work rate puts many people much younger than her to shame, (That includes me!). She travels a fair way to come and help and can also at times be found at Didcot on the heritage railway there.
Her patience with the garden is amazing and she occasionally is seen either on her hands and knees doing the plant beds, or perhaps be seen wielding a garden fork. She loves chatting to customers as well and somebody once described her as being like a cuddly little grannie, mind you the person was under ten years of age! I even forgive her for dragging mud into the station.
I once said to her that I hoped I would be as fit as she is when I reached her age, her response was. “You may well be with some serious exercise!” I did not pursue the subject, I know when I am beaten.
Now this is the third of the trio, this is Peter or to be more accurate our internal transport system. With the temporary loss of platform one we have to get stuff over from platform two when it’s delivered on the train. This is how it’s done with Orton Mere’s own answer to a packhorse! It’s amazing what he will do for a bale of hay and some nuts.
Like Rosemary Peter is another who’s work rate bares no relation to his years. He is always keen to come down and help and some weekends with his daughter Susan runs the station whilst I have a day or weekend off. This is much appreciated by both myself and the wife.
There is no truth in the rumour that we are having a collection to buy him a trailer so we can shift more stock, I mean as if we would! Anyway it would give him too big a turning circle on the platform.
Now of course this weekend there were two real stars of the show and that’s the Standard Five and black Five locomotives that pulled services and did the brake van rides up the Fletton Branch. So here three pictures of those.
The Standard Five (73050) is City of Peterborough and this weekend was her last outing before she has her ten year service and is stripped down for a major overhaul and repairs. It will be a few years before we see her running on the line again.
So there you have it, the stars and three of the people who help make the railway run and in their own ways help me have an easy life.
That ends a great weekend, that was enjoyable and hopefully profitable for the railway.