Monthly Archives: August 2014

You can not always predict what will happen.

It’s been a funny old week, the station was open two days in the week and also the three days over the bank holiday.

Today we have had driving rain, it’s been much cooler and at times downright dismal, but money wise it’s been the best day of the lot especially on tickets.

The two weekdays we were open were quiet, but at least on quiet days you can have a longer chat with the people who are about which is always nice. Several people were spoken to who came back on the Saturday to travel.

Saturday was better than expected and to be honest so was Sunday. We are having the station repainted externally and on both days good progress was made. Sunday saw more stuff from the signalling work disappear from the station which was most welcome as well, so thanks Keith for that.

But Monday was the star, I did not experience the fun as I let Peter & Susan run the station, which as always they will have enjoyed. From Peters brief report to me it showed the railway at it’s best with communication between the buffet on the train and the station, we were able to help filling urns and also supplying poly cups when they ran short.

That’s what it’s all about working as a team to everybody’s benefit, not keeping things secret, not assuming that staff should look for information on the web, not assuming that the stations have a crystal ball. It’s about working as a team, it’s not rocket science it’s just basic common sense and being professional.

If we can do the same level of team work for the upcoming steam and diesel galas then we will have two very good and hopefully profitable weekends.

Well that’s another one out of the way.

Well that’s another weekend out of the way.

Yet again a very quiet Saturday, these are becoming too regular. There were very few people about and those that were about seemed to have left their money at home.

On Saturday all services were hauled by two class 14 diesels to mark the 50th anniversary of the class. It was a shame that most people did not have a clue as to what the railway was marking as there were no posters with information at the station, perhaps there were elsewhere but certainly not at my station. All we had were people moaning that we were running diesel and not steam. When we explained what was going on there was a general air of none interest. I am sure we lost passengers due to the diesel service. Certainly I had a few who when they found what was running just left disappointed.

Sunday saw mixed traction with first and third service diesel and second and fourth steam. It was just a shame nobody told us what was going on, I had left my crystal ball at home so could not gaze hopefully into the future. Personally I am not sure mixed traction services days are a great idea, I know that heritage railways should run both steam and diesel because it’s important that both are preserved and shown in use but I am not convinced about mixing the two on one day. In the eyes of a few visitors we were just running two steam services, the diesel ones were just an interruption to what they had come to see. Certainly the two steam services were busier than the two diesel.

Now I accept that we are actually a working museum, but in the current economic climate we have to get the punters in and get them to spend money, because without them we would not run any services at all. So we have to offer them what they want and visit for, assuming of course we know what that is. If we don’t offer what people want then they will not visit simple as that.

Now we did have a special event in the building on Saturday and S&T have asked that it get a special mention, so here it is…..

S&T removed a drum of cable from the station building, to mark the occasion there was a drum roll, or perhaps it was a rumble of thunder, and pictures were taken to mark the event, it was I feel just a shame that nobody mentioned that it should have gone some eight months ago! But you can’t have everything can you, at least the thought was there.

The other big event is that they have commenced the painting of the outside of the station and all the fittings etc. I do question why this was not left until September when we are not running so many services especially in the week, but at least they have made a start. I am reliably informed that the grey on the lamp standards is the undercoat, personally I think it fits in with the drab graffiti ridden area but I have been told that there will be some decent paint on top that will last ten years. This perhaps means that by the time the job is finished the first bit that was painted will still look decent!! As I often say, time will tell….

There goes the sun…

What a weekend…..

Back at the station feeling much better after my virus but still not 100% I must admit. Mind you some people reckon I am never 100%. Peter & Susan were with me and there is no truth in the rumour that Peter kept going out the back to pat and smile at the new urn he has kindly bought the station, then nipping into the loo to put some burn cream on his hand.

Saturday started perfect, blue sky, slight cool breeze and an ideal day for a trip out, but yet again it just did not happen, yes we took money in the shop and for tickets but it was nothing special, and if I were being totally honest it was a bit of a disappointment. Still there we go there was always Sunday to look forward to. The only highlight Saturday was when a visiting simpleton asked me if the trains were running as the American locomotive was pulling into the platform, believe me there was a great temptation to say no!!

Sunday dawned for want of a better word slightly damp. Here is a picture before first train.

Orto Mere Summer

As you can see a typical British summer Sunday morning. Paddy was with me and we were ready for a quiet day, I had my iPad and he had a paperback we were ready for the rush.

In the end considering the weather we had quite a nice and often steady day, we took more money than I expected which was good.

It was also amusing to see the joggers out soaked to the skin all looking as miserable as hell, and all in the cause of fitness. The highlight was a young lady running past in short shorts and a tight top with her headlights on full beam. “Lovely day” she said as she passed. My reply was “It is now!” she burst out laughing and said I had made her day, one things for sure she sure as hell made my morning. It’s little things like this that makes me enjoy running the station.

One thing showed itself this weekend and that was a sunny day does not mean a good one and a wet day does not mean a bad one. We have of course to make the best of what we have weather wise, we can’t control it so we just have to work with it as best we can.

Something this year is just not right, the year is not for want of a better term flowing. It’s not the fault of anything the railway is doing it’s just things generally. People don’t seem in the mood to go out even for a walk and when they do they don’t bring much money with them. The big drop I have noticed this year is in the number of dog walkers, I seem to remember I have mentioned this in a pastelist year. But certainly this year the numbers have really gone down.

This brings back something from Saturday I had forgotten about. Couple came on the platform with a dog and bought ice creams, the woman then stood there holding her ice cream in the same hand as a semi see through bag of dog dirt whilst using the other hand to unwrap it, once she had succeeded she took a bit of the ice-cream with the bag of dog dirt touching her cheek. I was lost for words. Certainly she must have had a bad sense of smell.

Oh the joys of a summer weekend……

Harry Mallett R.I.P.

I have just heard from the General Manager that Harry Mallett died on 20th July in hospital.

This is a picture of him taken back in 2007 when he was driving Thomas.


He was an ex main line driver and a gentleman. Certainly when he was at my station he always had time to speak to the visitors, especially the children.

When he retired the railway lost a great ambassador, and now he has passed away he has joined the growing number of departed old timers that served the railway well

I fondly remember one day when he was given a trip on a class 31 diesel, I asked him if he was enjoying it? He replied he was but he was baffled as to where they put the coal!

Rest in Peace Harry.


Thought for the day from the house of the sick…..

When the inventor of the USB stick dies they’ll gently lower the coffin, then pull it back up, turn it the other way, then lower it again.

See you can tell I am getting bored… Sue and I are thinking of putting a TV in the toilet we are spending so much time in there. But looking on the bright side it’s got good wi-fi coverage.