Well that's 2012 all done and dusted. Those passengers who could find the room to force down a mince pie or two on top of all the turkey from Christmas have now done so and all the locos have been safely tucked up in bed until the 2013 operating season kicks off for steam on March 9th (diesel railcars Feb 9th). However for the crew of Stanier 8F, 45160 this morning, there were no mince pies and the mess coach was down to its very last tea bag.
|Solitary tea bag in the tea pot|
This Season’s Santa Specials have exceeded our previous best in spite of the fact that we managed to sleigh Santa and of course, the past year has been significant in the railway's history; the million pound appeal reached its target and the works to reinstate the line at Chicken Curve after the landslip of 2 years ago have been completed, culminating in the reopening event on October 30th.
Historically, Chicken Curve has been one of the most popular locations for line side photographers to congregate. This shot kindly provided by Paul Stratford of a beautifully back lit Kinlet Hall at Chicken Curve is an example what can be achieved here.
|4936 Kinlet Hall on Chicken Curve (pre-landslip)|
It would be easy to lean back on our laurels at this point in time and relax thinking that the hard work is over and done with. Nothing could be further from the truth of course, there is still all the winter maintenance to be done, not just on the locos, but for all departments of the railway, be it permanent way, buildings, signal & telegraph, carriage & wagon etc. Mike Hoskin of the Churchill 8F group has already sent out an extremely lengthy email outlining all the work that he is looking for volunteers to assist with over the next couple of months. I have no doubt that the 7903 and 2807 groups will be doing likewise in the near future. Somehow I rather fear that what many rashly assume to be the ‘quiet season’ will actually turn out to be the busiest.
|45160 & No 15, Earl David|