Who turned the heating off?

What a difference 24 hours makes, yesterday was quite warm and today was to put it mildly darn cold with sunshine!

Quiet start to the day as we eased Nathan into the Arkwright way of doing things. No great rush just a steady flow of people through the door, which was good as a very busy day would have made it harder for him to pick things up and I would have had less time to run through things. As it was the lad did well, he is good with customers, pleasant, neat & tidy and most important keen and quick to learn. As he picks it all up and gets into the swing of things he will be a valuable member of the team.

Customer wise nice to see more of last years regulars returning now we have a shiny ball up in the sky again. Tickets were disappointing but shop sales this weekend have been excellent. Ice cream will have to be ordered again as we are running low of some of the items.

Highlights of the day…..

One incident of track trespass, which was dealt with as always by words of advice, and they were then sent on their way.

But the most important thing was that every service was on time, we were amazed as it rarely happens that ALL were on time, still can’t complain as it may be an experience that will not happen again this year!!!!

So there you have it, all in all a decent day. This coming week is works week and the civils will be down working each day, I will be there to sort out refreshments etc, but will not be open to the public.

Watch this space for daily updates on the work week.

Spring has sprung

Well after that super original title things can only get better.

Spring appeared with vengeance today with wall to wall sunshine for a large part of it.

Ice cream was the choice of the day, with Magnums going at a good rate of knots.

Highlight of the day was the key saga. The civils were down today and after their stuff had been dumped where they were working the train was then going to be stabled on my platform 2 and the locomotive go back to Wansford. Well it sat the other side of the crossing and I thought nothing of it until staff arrived from Wansford, they had no key apparently to get into the box as there are two locks and just had a key for the one. The missing key was dispatched by road from Wansford. Then I sauntered down to the box to see what was the problem, I had great pleasure in informing the great and the good assembled that if they had just asked me then I could have opened the door no problem as I have both keys!!

You had to be there to appreciate the event but it made me chuckle when I thought of it for most of the day.

The words lack of communication came to mind.

Tomorrow we have a new victim, whoops make that volunteer, young Nathan I am sure he will be fine, he is neat, smart and tidy which is 90% of the battle, watch this space tomorrow for an update….

Sun wind and ice cream

Well a super sunny day today but a cold wind blowing down the river…

I just knew it was going to be one of those days when as I was opening the door to get in at 8.30am this morning some chap asked me where he could get a passport picture done!! When I pointed him in the direction of the city centre he asked if there was anywhere nearer.

The on one of the nicest days of the year when we have been running Paddy arrived on 4 wheels instead of two, his excuse was that he was going to check the dog at lunch time and also fetch us fish and chips. So he was excused.

Before anybody asks the fish & chips were excellent!!!

Trains ran fairly well to time and we took a few pounds in tickets and had a decent day in the shop, the latter all happening after I had cashed up, as is often the case.

Delivery arrived just before I went into panic mode, and when Paddy picked up a box of 1000 poly cups the bottom fell out and they had to be repacked, it could only happen to him!!

Nice bunch of customers as well with a few visitors to the area walking about and enjoying the sunshine.

Next day open will be Saturday, although there are services tomorrow.

Saving the best until last.

Well today bank holiday Monday was dull, cold and dismal but people came out and spent money.

Best day for ticket sales and also for the shop as well. So all in all a good end to the Easter holiday.

Trains almost ran to time, or to put it another way it was the earliest they had been late all weekend.

Paddy was with me today and despite the start of a bit of a clod he was his normal cheery self. Nice passengers as well which made the day really enjoyable, but gawd it was a bit on the cool side.

Not open now again until Thursday although the trains are running Tuesday and Wednesday. Lot’s of things to catch up on so that must take priority.

Gem of the day… Regular was chatting about the closing of the toilets. “You know” he said “They say you can’t take it with you, well with the toilets closed if you drink anything here you will have to take it with you!!!”

1+ 1 = two days

I am pleased to say that Easter Saturday and Sunday have both been most enjoyable. Sue the wife has been with me and keeping me in order, so that makes it even more pleasurable that a normal running day.

Not that warm I must admit but some nice sunshine. Both days we have run a two locomotive service with a 4F steam and a class 14 diesel. For the desperate here are a couple of pictures.

100_0590  100_0588

As always riding behind the steam locomotive was the most popular amongst the passengers.

Customer wise we have had in some really nice people, and lots of sympathy over the closure of the public toilets, though if one more person describes the closure as a “Bog Standard” problem I will throttle them!!

As you will see in the above pictures there has been some sunshine, and that has lead to a good run on ice cream, which is always a good profit earner. As are teas and coffees which have been going out of the door at a steady rate of knots. Bottled Coke and Pepsi has also gone well, but unlike last year bottled water is not exactly a big seller.

Highlights of the two days…..

The chap on Saturday when the class 14 was approaching who asked me if it was a steam diesel!!!

The woman who is a regular who came in for a couple of Magnums, and commented that her partner had come in the previous week and had made the wrong choice, “Come to think of it” she said “the last time he made a good choice was when he chose me!!”

Steam service just pulling out of the station when a chap arrived looked at it and asked if he had missed the steam train!!

A couple of families on the Saturday came in looking for the small narrow gauge train that runs in Ferry Meadows park and they seems genuinely confused that we were running a full sized train. They were pointed in the right direction.

Nigel popped in yesterday with his brother in law and today with Sally his better half, they had been photographing the trains today and called in to say hello and have a drink. Always nice to chat to staff when they pop in.

Right after two days excitement I am off for a lie down to prepare myself for the excitement of Easter Monday with Paddy helping, it will be an interesting day….

On the first day of Easter

Well I was right it rained today, though that did not stop some hardy souls from venturing out and spending some money.

The toilets in the car park have been closed as from 31st March by the council in a cost cutting exercise so they can waste money elsewhere. A few comments from passers by but it will be the first decent day weather wise when we have problems.

Certainly the closure will cause us problems with people wanting to use a toilet.

Nice people in today, caught two young lads track trespassing and read them the riot act.

Peter H was with me today for the first time this year and it was nice to have a  natter with him, and we put the world to rights between us.

In true tradition the train was late on all services but nobody seemed to mind at all.

We will see what Saturday brings with six trains each way and two locomotives in operation.

It’s raining it must almost be Easter

Well sitting here looking at the rain coming down. Should be super for the next ten days as we trundle through Easter and the week beyond.

No doubt at the end of it we will want a bulk purchase of something to calm us down.

It’s a funny time the week after Easter as we will have mothers pushing their children along in buggies or shouting at them to keep up.

Over Easter itself there will be families out with dad looking as though he would rather be sitting in front of the TV watching the endless sport.

Plus of course the rain and the wind, those two ingredients are becoming more of a tradition than Easter eggs.

So here we go ten days of fun and counting……………………………………

STOP PRESS:- Ice cream saves the world. Woman almost wets herself!!!!

Would you believe it, we have ice cream in again and it seems like we have saved the world.

I have never seen people so happy at being able to buy a Cornetto, one women almost wet herself first thing that we had a selection of three different flavours. No mini milks this year at 40p they are a pain in the rear and people always buy their little darlings something more expensive anyway!

Overall it was a good day on Sunday with comic capers transferring stuff via the trains.

It all went like this:- My pouch which is used to send stuff to mission control was dropped off at Ferry Meadows and the TTI tried to give me theirs. That got sorted out second train, when I also received three info sheets, one for each station, they had been put off at FM with the pouch and finally sent to me. Shame one was for FM so that went back on the second train.

Stock to city centre and FM reached it’s destination all OK I am pleased to say. Trade was steady through the day but kept us busy, I had Susan with me from city centre, and I must say she is a good worker, she was on the go all the time, the regulars liked her as well which is always a bonus.

Highlight of the day was just as I was arriving, I got accosted by a jogger who complained that he had to stop as he went over the railway foot crossing and open the gates, I educated him as to why the gates shut behind him and how it was not really a good idea to dispose with the gates all together!

Trains were on time as well which was a bonus, the sun was out and all was well with the world!

All I need to do now is find cover for Good Friday.

Sun, fun and an incident form.

What a super day, the sun shone and it was nice to see trains out without wearing a fleece, certainly the most enjoyable day of the year so far.

Paddy and Harry were in form and helped the day go quickly.

Three services each way and a small rush for tickets on the first service got the day off to a good start. A few regulars appeared out of the woodwork as well which was nice.

Had the pleasure of filling in an incident form when a male complete with child and dog decided to trot up the track after the second service into Peterborough, it never ceases to amaze me that adults would encourage their children through their own actions to trespass on an operational running railway. In my humble opinion they are saying to their child that it is OK to trespass on a railway, well perhaps next time it will be on a main line and the trains will be going a darn sight faster than ours do. This is the one subject I feel most strongly about.

Anyway the nice pleasurable bits of the day offset that incident. Nice to see the trains busy and people enjoying themselves, and most importantly spending money!!

Had a brief chat with Neville and Robert at Ferry meadows on the way home and that always rounds the day off nicely.

All in all an excellent day.

Three plus One

On my best behaviour today, had the wife with me and also Paddy.

Nice to be back at Orton Mere after last weeks expedition to Ferry Meadows.

Quite on the trains and in the station, not really a day to be out and about.

One of the gates off the crossing by the station had been ripped off and thrown in the river by the Mere.

It was rescued by members of the canoe club and put back into place with the able assistance of Paddy & Harry, it’s removal was another act of senseless vandalism that seems to take place from time to time irrespective of where you are.

Harry has started his years work on the garden and he has put in some hours this weekend and it’s already looking nice.

But the highlight of the day was the thank you train for the volunteers after the last service. Really nice to see people who I don’t often see and an excellent buffet as well. Plus a ride behind the 4f steam locomotive.

All in all a super day irrespective of the lack of customers and the gate problem.