Monthly Archives: May 2014

Better late than never.

I have received a couple of emails commenting on a lack of a post for bank holiday monday.

Well it was noting special really it can be summed up as they came, they saw, some spent, then they went away.

Jason was with me and he was up and down the platform like a whippet with a stick of something with a fuse on stuck somewhere.

For a bank holiday it was quite average to be honest, we took some money but not at all exciting. Some visitors were really nice and some needed either a verbal or a physical slapping to get them to show any sign of manners.

So we now await this weekend, which my waters tell me will be quite average as well.. We shall see..

I had it off today!!!

Now now get your minds out of the gutter!!

Today was a running day and I had it off, I spent a lazy day at home doing not a lot, but I did have a nibble at lunch time, the chicken was lovely as were the vegetables.

Back to normal at the station tomorrow, or as normal as a day at Orton Mere can be.

My thanks to Peter & Susan baby sitting the station today and I look forward to not being able to find a thing tomorrow.



Rail & River

I opened today as we were running services and I was also expecting a delivery.

Before first service and also before my delivery arrived I pooped down to the Staunch to take a few pictures.

I also took some shots of the American locomotive and the Class 66 that visited for a short period.

Here are the pictures in no particular order, and before anybody asks the two white water pictures were taken from the bridge over the Staunch looking down over the safety rail.

It was nice to be out even briefly with the camera again.

100_1424 100_1425 100_1427 100_1428 100_1429 100_1430 100_1432 100_1434 100_1436 100_1437 100_1438 100_1439 100_1440 100_1441


The Diesel Gala

Well what a great three days, but before I go through all the excitement just a quick word of thanks to all those who helped me at Orton Mere this weekend. Firstly Sue my wife followed in no special order by Peter & his daughter Susan, Sally & Nigel, Cris and even Harry who popped in as he had some free time offering to help. Plus last but not least David the railways president who visited on Friday & Saturday and on Friday helped on the platform. My thanks to all of you for you help no matter how small, it all contributed to the event being a success at the station.

The railway issued the following just before the gala.

60 Locomotive (60074) “Teenage spirit” which was named in honour of the Teenage cancer trust and appearing at the Nene Valley Railway Diesel gala this weekend.

In light of recent events and with the permission of The Teenage cancer trust the railway have decided to dedicate this Gala to the memory of fundraiser Stephen Sutton.


66074 was the star of the show this weekend, and here are some pictures of it in service at my station, they are in no particular order.

CIMG1284 CIMG1285 CIMG1299 CIMG1300 CIMG1305 CIMG1306

The stage was set Friday morning for a good gala, the weather forecast was on our side and we had a good lineup of locomotives.

I think it’s fair to say that the gala was the most successful for quite a few years. We were busy all three days and on the Friday the brake van rides up the Fletton Branch were well supported.

We were to put it in simple terms BUSY!!! We sold out of most things and did a decent number of tickets on all the days. The last couple of services on Sunday ran a shade late due to a failure of the class 40 at city centre. This involved fetching staffs, and rescue locomotives plus some shunting thrown in for good measure. But we got there in the end, and everybody seemed happy. I am personally exhausted doing in the region of 35 hours over the three days including almost thirteen today, leaving at just before 8pm after a 7.15am start.

So here are some images, in no particular order of the locomotives passing and stopping at Orton Mere over the three days.

CIMG1286 CIMG1287 CIMG1288 CIMG1290 CIMG1291 CIMG1292 CIMG1294 CIMG1295 CIMG1296 CIMG1297 CIMG1298 CIMG1301 CIMG1303 CIMG1304 CIMG1308 CIMG1310 CIMG1313 CIMG1316 CIMG1317 CIMG1318 CIMG1320 CIMG1321 CIMG1323 CIMG1324


The latter ones show the convoy of visitors leaving just after 7.30pm this evening.

Normal services resume on Wednesday and I have a delivery coming in of stock to sell over the bank holiday next weekend.

Now some of you will be expecting a few fun photographs that I took to appear in the blog, well I am sorry to say that they were just that fun photographs and I have no wish to embarras the unsuspecting victims. They will remain locked in Arkwright’s vault for display at a future date perhaps!

Tomorrow (Monday) I have declared a recovery day!


Sometimes the railway just gets it so right.

Taken from the Nene Valley Railway Facebook Page.

Diesel Gala (Update)

60 Locomotive (60074) “Teenage spirit” which was named in honour of the Teenage cancer trust and appearing at the Nene Valley Railway Diesel gala this weekend.

In light of recent events and with the permission of The Teenage cancer trust the railway have decided to dedicate this Gala to the memory of fundraiser Stephen Sutton.

There is nothing really I can add except to say what a lovely gesture. Here’s to a great three days.

Deader than a dead thing

Well here we are sitting in the station, the wind is blowing and the rain lashing down, that can only mean one thing, and that thing is we are heading towards summer. But at least the rain is warm.

It’s been a quiet weekend, horrible weather and more rain than sunshine. Not exactly a recipe for a successful busy weekend. But at least it’s not a bank holiday so that’s a bonus!

The knack this weather is to find something to do in-between services. Hence me writing the blog now rather than at home this evening.

As I often say it’s been a funny weekend, not many passengers but a few people in the shop spending money. Had some nice people to chat to as well which is always a bonus, I do enjoy chatting to people visiting the area, it’s always nice to see what they think of the area and of course the railway. I think it’s fair to say that you can get a fixed impression of something you see week in week out, so it’s always nice to hear visitors thoughts and opinions.

So a short blog this week, next weekend sees a three day diesel gala, so hopefully the weather will be decent and we will get lots of visitors, but time will tell.

Now all we can do is wait for the last service of the day and hope it’s not raining when we go home later!!

A little bundle of joy.

Well spotted, this is a mid-week blog post.

I opened today mainly because I needed a delivery. I got to the station for 7am with the intention of checking for early morning interlopers down the track, especially from the local school.

Instead I was greeted by a little bundle of joy on platform 2. No it was not a new born baby, I would think a fair few have been conceived on the platforms in the hours of darkness over the years but I can’t recall a baby ever being left there in the past, and that was not the case today.

Nor was it a passenger who had missed their train. No it was a vagrant who had decided to kip on platform 2 under the bridge. Here is the little bundle of joy in all his glory asleep.

CIMG1277 CIMG1278

He did not respond to my dulcet tones either so we had to resort to plan B. We phoned the Police to get him removed. Now here for non-emergency calls we dial 101 and pay 15p per call for the pleasure. By the time I had navigated all the options I had almost lost the will to live, but just as I was about to chuck myself on the track in desperation, (Not that it would have done any good as it was four hours before the first train.) I was answered by a very pleasant efficient lady who took the details and said somebody would be despatched. Shame she did not mention they would be coming second class! 1hr 38mins later two PCSO’s arrived and after some 25 minutes chatting to the bundle he was escorted off the station pushing his worldly possessions in front of him in a supermarket trolley. I gather he was French, that’s the bundle of joy not either of the PCSO’s

I had a chat with one of the PCSO’s and thanked them for attending.

That set me off for an exciting day.

To say it was quiet was an understatement, the first train was 50 minutes late and the second 40 minutes late. As I had sold just one cup of coffee and two tubs of ice cream I decided to call it a day. Weekdays are not really worth opening to be honest but we had a need to be there so it was OK.

After the excitement of today I will await with baited breath to see what the weekend brings.

It’s been another one of those……

The last three days have been yet another Bank Holiday here in the UK, but this one was a little different to most others in as much as it was quite warm and we had no rain.

This confused the locals who were at a loss what to do now they could have three days without rain and the need to wear a muffler and thermals over a bank holiday.

Some ventured out in a selection of attire varying from you have got to be joking to Heavens! look at them. The British have this knack of being able to dress to look like an idiot without really trying.

Anyway back to the excitement of a bank holiday at the station. We had a total of four staff to cover the three days. Saturday saw me and Susan, Sunday saw me, Sue my wife and Susan, Monday saw me and Paddy. So as you  can see we were not exactly flush with staff. We also had Rosemary intending the garden on Saturday and Sunday, it’s looking nice as always this year.

The motive power provided a bit of interest as always in it’s performance and expectations. The little tank engine No22 was down to provide the hauling power all three days. Here it is on Saturday.



Rumour has it that as soon as it was known to be down for all three days a book was opened and bets were taken as to how long it would last. Whoever chose just the first three services on Saturday will have won the money!!!

It was giving some problems on the third service back to Wansford and by the time the fourth service arrived it had changed it’s colour to blue and was running on diesel looking just like a class 14. Here is a picture of the locomotive pulling fourth service and it is a class 14!!!



That put the dampers on us running an all steam service over the weekend, but at least we ran a service and on time as well. It’s a shame that the No22 failed as when it’s running it’s a nice little engine and popular with the visitors.

So locomotive wise that bought us to Sunday and Monday. Now it was a fair bet that we would not be running diesel, so with the tank engine out of the frame there were really only two options. The first was the American locomotive that’s with us or the other option was “City of Peterborough.” Now go on guess which one we used…. Go on be a devil have a guess….. If you selected City of Peterborough then you have won first prize which is a weekend helping me at the station. Now if you think thats a poor first prize please bear in mind that second prize is helping me for a month!

Here it is first service on Sunday morning arriving hot wheeled from the depths of Wansford.



The one thing you can always be certain of when it’s running is that it will keep the visitors happy, it’s a popular locomotive with both the paying and non-paying public.

A lot of work has been put into making the locomotive look nice, it gleamed in the sunshine and ran almost to time on both days give or take.

Right with that out of the way lets get round to the visitors.

We had quite a few of my regulars and a few of those who think they are regulars but aren’t really. But as always it was nice to see them.

We did OK in tickets and in the shop, we knew in the present economic climate we were not going to break any records. But all in all we had some really nice people over the weekend.


Certainly the chap who asked for a loo and then expected me to fill four almost empty plastic bottles with water. I tactfully or as tactfully as I normally am pointed out that we sell bottled water and don’t fill bottles with tap water. We are after all out to make a profit even if at times it does mean we don’t make friends in the process. It’s also a shame that at no stage of his education did he learn to use the words please and thank you. Perhaps he was off school that day?

But the best highlight must go to first thing this morning when, after putting out the signage and the bins etc a little old chap approached me and asked if I rented out canoes. When I said we didn’t he muttered that he was sure he had rented one from us before and could I check out the back to see if we had some hidden away. I informed hime we did not have an out the back, and we did not rent canoes. He wandered off muttering and was not seen again.

So there you have it a potted summary of an exciting weekend at the cutting edge of the tourist industry. Next weekend is a normal weekend, or as normal as any weekend at the station ever is.