Saturday, 25 May 2013

Cotswold Steam Celebration - Phew, what a scorcher!

The weather has done a complete 180 degree about turn.  Yesterday, brass monkeys were in extreme danger of losing all that they hold most dear,  today they would have simply melted in the sun.  Let's just say that whenever I passed the ice cream van at Toddington, there was a very long queue.  

This morning, the locos really did need cleaning after being out all day yesterday, so upon arrival I selected one of the first two booked to leave, Cheltenham, and started sprucing her up.  Just to make me feel at home, she has a nice brass name plate though not cabside numbers, well you can't have everything.  Not having mastered the ability of taking my own photo in front of things, I got Dan to pose by her nameplate.  He protested about not actually having cleaned them himself, but I gave him some story about artistic licence along with taking journalistic liberties and while he was still trying to come up with an answer I grabbed his photo.
Back to school for Dan
There was of course a considerable gathering of people to prep seven locos, here are just a few of them at work:
Matt, polishing up the brasswork of Foremarke Hall
Tonia on her first cleaning turn making the PFP (5542) gleam
Tina does her best Florence Nightingale impression

Neil and Ian take a break from prepping 2807
Chris & Neil working on 2807
The visiting engines have mostly arrived with owner's representatives on board.  The Mid Hant's sent Chris & Simon along to mind Cheltenham.  They have both been highly impressed by our collection of Great Western locos and were delighted to be seen posing in front of 2807.
Chris & Simon, have seen the light and have been assimilated into the GWR.
I took a few just loco shots too:
2807 & Cheltenham
8274 moving onto one of the pits
The normally camera shy Ben was driving the second train of the day and was keen that I should grab a photo of him setting off in the Standard 4 to Cheltenham:
The Red Dragon with Ben at the controls
Once the last locos had departed from the shed, my task was to ride on the freight train all day.  Apparently people will pay good money to stand on the verandah of a freight train and for no apparent reason throw themselves overboard at the drop of a hat.  My task was to sit on the verandah and prevent them from coming to any harm.  The book of instructions didn't mention what should happen if I too caught this contagion and decided to throw myself overboard, whether or not a hat had been dropped (Have I mentioned dropping hats enough yet Tim?). I decided not to leap over board to find out anyway.  There are it has to be said far worse ways to spend your day than riding up and down our line on the verandah of a brake van on a freight train.  Several people asked me who I'd had to sleep with give a large well stuffed plain brown envelope to in order to get such a cushy number.   Highlights of the brake van rides were as follows:
Mark over-filled the tanks on 5542
Roger Lockyer who retired from the footplate on Friday still turned up as a crossing monitor today
Tina & Nick take first prize in the national elephant trunk wrestling competition
Not being a complete fool, I got Tina to damp down the coal before we set off
Is the board on or off?  John rings the bobby to find out
Ian chilled out on crossing duty at Cheltenham
Heading back to Toddington
Don't look back in anger
Arrival back at Toddington after each trip was timetabled for roughly an hour's layover, plenty of time to wander around, grab some tea and catch up with what has been going on:  Tony and Cliff were parked up in the 8F in platform 1 awaiting their next trip along the line.
Tony and Cliff
I took a look around the yard at Toddington.  All the working locos were of course somewhere out on the line, only 4270 which had been shunted out of the shed remained:
4270 playing Cinderella
The early start had been too much for Matt, Dan seems relatively awake though
Jonathan on crossing monitor duty at Gotherington
2807 on freight crossed by Foremarke Hall at Gotherington
Ian, in a rare change from being behind the camera to being in front of one
2807 disappearing into Greet tunnel
And finally, once again it was moving to see that Brian Peacey's widow appreciates her friends here at the railway.  I hope that we can continue to provide some measure of comfort to her and her family in this difficult time:

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