And it was such a normal weekend.

Last weekend was nothing special, it was an average late March weekend at Orton Mere.

Then, on Sunday afternoon something changed it totally.

As per normal I was out on the platform for the arrival of the service into Peterborough.

Whilst having a few words with the TTI and handing over some bits a lady got off the train smiling. Now I know it’s a tad unfair but I am always wary of smiling staff that get off the train if for no other reason than they are normally bringing me work!

Anyway this lady came up to me and said that she had heard so much about me that she just had to get off and say hello.
I did ask if what she had heard was good or bad and she replied it was all very good, so she had to get off, meet me in person and say hello.

I was quite lost for words as she hopped back on the train before I could get her for a platform ticket.

Now I have been on the railway around 15 years and in that time I have always tried to be nice to people and treat them as I would like to be treated. I may not always achieve it but I always try to do it.

So this happening was especially nice, and as I said to Sue just afterwards it really made my weekend. Now I won’t give the name of the lady concerned as she may get people queueing up to tell her bad bits about me, not that they would be correct of course.

So if the lady concerned is reading this then thanks very much your kind comments quite made the weekend if not the month.

A funny couple of weeks.

It’s been a funny couple of weeks at the station, the cool weather has not helped neither has stocking up on ice cream. Let me explain, each year at the start of March I order in the first ice cream of the year and for the next couple of weeks we have poor weather at the weekends. This happens every year regular as clockwork, even if I adjust which week I put the order in.

Then we get people wandering in saying it’s too cold for ice cream, and I point out that ice cream is always the same temperature irrespective of the time of year. A comment that zooms over the heads of most people.

Last weekend I had the first request for the date Santa tickets will go on sale, and they were genuinely surprised when I said I did not know.

I have now had four people ask if Flying Scotsman when it visits in September will pass through the station when it travels with passengers the length of the line. If it doesn’t then how do they think it will get from one end to the other, perhaps it will tip toe past using the path behind the station.

We get the odd customer stand behind somebody buying tickets and then ask when it’s their turn, if we sell tickets. You can see why I said odd customer! It’s the same with people who see others buying tea and coffee and then ask if we sell tea and coffee. Some seem to have the attention span of a fossil, and looking at them they are about the same age.

On Sunday a woman came into the station asking for directions to Wansford as they wanted to go to the open weekend. I pointed out they could catch a train if they waited about 5 minutes. I was informed that none of them, “whoever them were” liked trains they were just looking for a cheap/free day out somewhere. I was tempted to send them to NYMR!!!

The comment of the two weeks  award must go to a chap who came on the platform as the train was pulling out and asked if we were Nene Valley Railway, when I said we were he thanked me and walked off never to be seen again.

Ah well it’s not that far into the season, and I am already telling myself that it can only get better loony wise. Though I don’t sound convincing even to myself!

I do wish people would sometimes!!

Steam from the South.

Last weekend saw the railways Southern Steam Weekend, and it’s best described as cold but enjoyable.

Guest locomotive Repton shared hauling services with 92 Squadron.

Here is Repton on the Saturday third service to Wansford.

Although the weather was dull I was pleased to get a decent picture under the circumstances.

Paddy assisted Sue and I on Saturday fresh from his holiday in Cornwall, casually mentioning a few times his highlight of the week which had been a trip round a brewery, it was noted that no samples were bought back. Tom was with us on Sunday and keen as always.

Rosemary was in the garden as usual on Saturday doing maintenance and chatting to a few people.

Business was steady and decent and it was. ice to see some of my regulars make their first visit of the year to the station, shame a couple had got out of the habit of spending money, but panic not we will soon get them retrained in the are of parting with cash.

On Saturday the unthinkable happened n as much as the train ran pithing a minute of time all day, we were in a state of shock.

The weather reminded us how darn cold the station can be in winter especially on Sunday, but hopefully it will get better as the weeks pass.

This coming weekend sees the last weekend of the Blue winter timetable and after that we revert to the normal Green timetable for non-special event weekends.

 

Back in the swing of things.

Saturday saw us back at the station for the first time since late December.

It’s nice to be back, I must admit I have missed it, and some things had not changed in the slightest.

While I sorted the till etc. Sue did the priority job of getting some heating going.

All in all Saturday was a quiet day, it was cool and dismal which did not help.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny, and turned out to be not a bad day for a February one, especially in the shop.

The train ran late for a number of reasons and as normal the only ones who moaned and tried to get a bit of sympathy were the non-paying public just out for a picture without spending a penny, as I say some things had not changed.

Nice to see some of the regulars as well. As I have said before we loose a number of regulars each winter and I often wonder what’s happened to them, but to counter act that we always get a few new ones so it works out in the end.

This coming weekend sees the same service as this past weekend but hopefully we will run to time better.

Comment of the weekend was a woman who uttered the immortal words… Nice weather for March!! Her husband turned his eyes skywards and followed her out of the gate.

There is no such thing as a stupid question, or is there?

In the approx 15 years of running the station and volunteering on the railway we have, for want of a better description been asked a few questions that could be classed as perhaps a tad stupid.

So I thought we would take a trip down memory lane and bring to you some of the questions I can remember, they are in no particular order.

As it’s Saturday today are you running the Saturday timetable?

Do you do free taster trips incase my son does not like it?

Is there another train after the last one?

Does the train go any further than the end of the line?

I am visiting North Norfolk Railway next week, can I buy tickets here to save me queuing next week?

I know it’s a diesel gala weekend but surely you must be running some steam services?

(One from last year.) I know the General Manager he is a nice person. (Reply.) Yes she is!

My boyfriend and I just want to go one way to the city centre can I buy one return and use it as two singles as it will be cheaper!!

How much are your £1.70 Magnum ice creams.

I just bought this mint Cornetto and my son had a couple of licks and does not like it. I have rewrapped it, can I swap it for a strawberry one?

Do you have a sleeping car as my husband was on nights last night.

Is it steam today? Just as a steam locomotive arrived at the platform.

On a Wednesday DMU service some years ago. Can I travel with my back to the engine? Yes if you lie on the floor the engine is underneath.

I am a regular visitor to this station, mind you not been here for the last five years.

There are many more lost in the mists of time, but the ones above often spring to mind.

But such questions often raise a smile, so they can’t really be that bad!!!

Cough Cough Sniff Sniff

Well here we are on the road to recovery after my dose of the lurgi, and I will freely admit I have not enjoyed the experience, not one little bit.

My thanks though to those on and off the railway who have sent me text and email messages asking after my health. It is appreciated.

All being well we will be open again on the 16th February, I have no intention of rushing things, one thing I realise as I get older is that I can’t rush things like I did when I was younger, gone are the days of walking up the platform in shirt sleeves with a cold wind blowing. I must have been mad!!!

Looking at the events planned and confirmed for the coming year we have some super weekends ahead, last year had it’s ups and downs with hopefully this year having less troughs and more peaks.

So there you have it, Arkwright is not so horizontal but also still not firing on four cylinders. But looking on the bright side I appear to have lost some weight due my total loss of appetite, so some good can come from the bad.

One thing that has increased is my reading, I have been getting through six books a week, in-between the times spent in bed asleep.

So we will see your wallets soon.

What’s all this then?

Those of you going on the train today and up and down the line cannot have failed to notice that Orton Mere station was closed.

I am down with the lurgi, and have been since Wednesday. Spending more time in bed than up and about. I don’t know what I have but I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

Permanently exhausted does not adequately describe how I feel.

Showing no sign of getting better I would be surprised if I open up next weekend either. January is never a busy month at the station so we are not loosing money, some weekends it can cost me more to get to the station than we take in the shop.

Plus as those who have visited the station in the depths of winter it is not exactly warm down there next to the river, so I will be making sure I am 100% fit before I open open up again.

That’s about it really, no doubt I caught what ~I have from somebody at the station last weekend, I am considering a sheep dip at the entrance to the station building so it does not happen again.

More updates as and when….

It’s amazing what a free mince pie will do for business.

This last weekend we ran our traditional after Christmas winter warmer service.

On offer was a free mince pie if you presented your ticket at the bar.

Both days the trains were full or very busy for all services. Now call me cynical but something tells me it was not due to the free mince pie!

It may have had something to do with the fact that Tornado was hauling services. I have not seen the winter warmers so busy for a number of years, and it means of course profit in the till.

There are two more days of Tornado services before it finally leaves us, one next Sunday and the final day the following weekend. It will be interesting to see how busy we are on those two days.

Next Sunday sees the first services of 2019 and let’s hope it is a profitable fun year both for the volunteers and the visitors.

We shall see….. Watch this space as they say…..

Santa on the move

At Orton Mere Station today. Having a tidy up ready for opening next Saturday for the winter warmers.

Santa trains for the next three days, and here it is passing the station. Class 14 diesel one end and Tornado steam locomotive the other.

 

Here we go again.

Tomorrow 21st December we will be down the station having a sort out and ready for opening for the winter warmers next weekend.

It will be nice to get back to the station, though we have normally quiet days through January and February. Plus of course the weather can be very unpredictable and it can get quite cold down there even with portable heating.

Here are a few pictures of Orton Mere in previous winters, let’s see how this winter pans out.