Good start to the year

Well that’s Christmas and New Year out of the way. The wife bought me a cordelss drill at Christmas so heaven knows what jobs she has planned for me over the coming months.

Tomorrow sees a steam service running, though how many visitors we get will very much depend on the weather. Unfortunately my station will be closed although the trains will stop. But the wife and I are down with a dose of the lurgi, and I am coughing enough to be mistaken for a misfiring engine. Hopefully normal service will be resumed next week all being well.

My target at home at the moment is to have a cull of my computer stuff, I have no room for anything and it’s really irritating me no end. I did say I would have a clear out when I retired at the end of November but at the moment I have one more computer than I did then, which was not the plan at all. So I can see that sometime next week when I no longer cough everywhere I will start the clear out and I think I will have to be quite ruthless..

We also have plans for a sort out at the station and perhaps a bit of a move round, so watch for progress on that at some stage.

Now to find a bit of paper and make a list of what I can get rid of…..

This could be at the station.

This is taken from

If you substitute the station for the car park mentioned and substitute a couple of other words. This could be Orton Mere Station at a typical weekend.

(A guy with a dog walks up to our car park.)

Guy: “Can I bring my dog in here so it can take a dump?”

Me: “Sorry, we can’t allow you to do that. Plus, you don’t even look like you’re carrying anything to clean up the mess.”

Guy: “No, I’m not carrying anything to clean it up so you’ll have to do that. My dog needs to go to the toilet. You’re not being very helpful here.”

Me: “Sorry, I’m just here to direct people to where they need to park.”

Guy: “Look, my dog needs to go to the toilet and I’m bringing it in.”

Coworker: “Look, you bloody moron. This is a car park, not a g**d*** toilet! Take your dog and piss off!”

Guy: “You are not being very helpful at all! ¬†I’m going to go and issue a complaint against you but after I bring my dog in here and let it do its business!”

Coworker: “You bring your dog in here and we’ll have you fined. This car park is located on government property and allowing a dog to go to the toilet carries a fine.”

Guy: “It’s people like you who are what is wrong with the world!”

Some people never cease to amaze me.

I sat here today my attention split between sorting out some software, watching the snow coming down outside and watching the Wansford station Cam on Railcam.

Today the weather was to put it mildly, horrible. I don’t go out in snow and ice as I have this knack of going horizontal, and that I am not keen on.

However, looking at the webcam I saw working members beavering about in the cold and the snow, clearing paths, points and anything else that needed clearing. They were guiding visitors who had braved the snow to take their children on the Santa special trains. Making sure they had an enjoyable day despite the weather.

The one thing the railway excels at is adapting and coping in the face of adversity. Today showed the working members at their very best, they never cease to amaze me.

I am privileged to work with them, and I am aware of that every single time I do so.

What do Santa’s little helpers do the rest of the year?

Now one question that’s often asked is what Santa’s little helpers do for the rest of the year?

Well I am now in a position to tell you that one of the helpers secretly works the rest of the year undercover at Nene Valley Railway.

He carries out many tasks but the most important one is that he takes the minutes for Board meetings.

During the year he does like to try and keep in trim, for what exactly nobody is really sure. But last night at the board meeting we were treated to him arriving in his Christmas uniform. Apparently he has to try it on at the start of December every year, and if it does not fit he goes on several cross-country runs with a couple of reindeer prodding him along with their antlers until it fits.

As you can see from the picture below he just avoided the runs this year.

So here is the person you know as Philip at the railway, in Santa land he is known as Bunny, mainly because he hops it when there is work to be done.

Apparently as a side line he recycles reindeer droppings as mince pie fillings, but he assures me he does not sell the pies in question onto the railway.

Please wish him a merry Christmas when you see him as he has to work over Christmas.

Please always remember.

I was sad to see the following in a tweet from Wansford today.

Our Santa special trains were very busy today, full of happy passengers! But oh dear, someone’s going to be on Santa’s naughty list… the new MP3 player that was playing some festive tunes was stolen from our cafe today! Naughty step and a piece of coal for someone.

Please always remember that every member of the public who visits the railway will be one or both of the following.  A potential customer or a potential thief.


It’s been a strange week or so.

Well here we are well into the Santa train season and as I have said in previous years it was strange to have a weekend where I was not at the station.

Mind you we managed a proper Sunday dinner at the right time which was very nice.

One of the things that happened the last weekend we were at the station was that the urn sprang a leak. I mean this is major!!!

So Sue and I have bought a 4 litre instant water unit for the station, so no more simmering urn.

We will pop down a week on Sunday and set it up and give it a test drive. It will be much easier to use and maintain. But knowing the staff as I do Sue will be giving them a run through showing how it’s used. What with that and the Tassimo coffee machine for the staff we have come a long way from when we just had a dodgy kettle that had seen better days.

Last Monday saw me cease my self employment, I have taken early retirement and it’s hard work!! If only keeping a few steps ahead of the wife who is chasing me with a list of jobs to be done! I may have to resort to hiding out at the station, at least I wont run out of hot water and hot drinks!!!


A lovely start to the day.

Over the years I have found some strange things on the platform when I have arrived for the day, from ladies underwear to the homeless having a kip.

However, today was a new experience. Sitting on one of the benches under the canopy were four bags of dog dirt, complete with a note…  The note said the following… Please dispose of as no bin on station platform.

I was lost for words.

So what have I learnt this year?

So here we are approaching the last weekend of the main running season for the railway, the last weekend of steam services but its followed by a weekends break then two weekends of the Swedish Railcar.

So sitting here looking at the uncharacteristic sunshine, what have I learnt this year?

Well for a start I have learnt that yet again the ones who spend the least generally moan the most.

There is a distinct lack of knowledge on the use of the words please and thank you.

Behind every noisy child that comes through the doors into the station there is a noisy parent not far behind.

We still have parents who expect us when their little offspring drops their ice cream on that platform to replace it for free and with a smile.

If we get two parents and a child in normally the child will have better manners than the parents.

People who read the no toilet sign will still come in and ask if we have a toilet.

A number will, when they find themselves a pound or more short to buy what they want will expect us to say don’t worry have it anyway.

Regulars will come in most weeks ask about the trains, moan if they find we are running late and then walk off minus a thank you and without spending any money.

The best indication a train is due is the number of people gathering at the foot crossing to watch.

So there we have what I have learnt this year, I suppose I have not learnt as much as had by previous knowledge confirmed as still being correct.

In all fairness the nice, friendly, pleasant visitors far outweigh the rude ones, but the sad fact is we are more prone to remember the bad than we are the good.

Who knows next year all the irritating visitors may turn good! Then again I am not holding my breath.

At least I knew what was coming next.

Last weekend saw a three day diesel gala with a difference.

The difference being that all the locomotives were class 31’s. We were marking the 60th anniversary of them coming into service.

As a gala it wont go down as the busiest, the most profitable or for that matter the biggest. But that said it was in my opinion an excellent weekend.

The visitors were generally nice, even though I had three people moan because we were not running steam for those not interested in diesels.

Saturday saw some of the admin team from Railcam visit the railway and we had pleasure in presenting them with the first stamp cover in a limited set of 100 to mark their first year of cameras on the railway.

Amusing incidents were in short supply although I often wonder about the clothing choices of some of the diesel followers. I saw a t-shirt that had I love steam on the front and on the back is had the words just joking!

Footwear was varied and went from bright red wellies to open toed sandals. Just out of interest the red wellies were worn by some chap well past the wrong side of fifty.

Tea and coffee was consumed in quantity, and one noticeable memory was an elderly man that asked if we had instant as he did not like the filter rubbish.

I must say that I did enjoy the weekend especially some of the regular diesel gala visitors coming to say hello. The old codgers corner was well used as well, but with no reports of anybody falling asleep in either of the chairs.

This coming weekend sees a visiting steam loco hauling services and Thomas also in action.

You wait somebody will come along and moan we are not running diesel!

Back to normal, well as normal as I ever am.

Well after being off last week with a dose of something I wish I had never had I was back at the station this last weekend.

I am about 75% better so decided rather than sit at home I would open the station.

It was a quiet weekend, the weather did not help on Saturday and the Great Eastern Run on Sunday did us no favours either.

But the few who were about did I am pleased to say spend money.

One advantage of not being rushed of course is that you can spend more time chatting to people and that’s always nice especially if they are visiting the area. I like to hear what people think of both Peterborough and Nene Park, as a resident we can I think become very blinkered in our outlook.

We are now on mainly the blue service which means the last train is at 1506 so it’s nice and early home. One problem of that is if the weather improves mid afternoon. If that happens then we are on the way home just as they are arriving. But as we can’t accurately forecast the weather for specific weekends when the timetable is being compiled at the start of the year we have to go with the flow.

This coming weekend sees a three day diesel gala on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Hopefully the weather will be decent, we shall have to see….