I imagine that most of you will have spotted that it's not Christmas at the moment and will therefore have assumed that the seasonal truce is not in place. Well you'd be wrong, the truce is indeed in place once more, though this time for the opposite reason. England is currently sweltering in a heat wave, the usually welcomed protective cabs of 5542 and the 8F are now being shunned by footplate crews in favour of nice open airy cabs like that of 2807. All sorts of trades are being worked out by crews to try and swap engines.
In the relative cool of the early dawn on Saturday, I set to work on cleaning the first loco to go out, 2807. Mike Hoskin appeared a little later on to start prepping 5542 which was to be the second train out. Things weren't going quite so well for Mike as no cleaner had been rostered for 5542. Ben was heard to say that I was taking on the role of 'super cleaner' as I once again valiantly set about cleaning both locos. So where did I find myself for the day.... yep, you've guessed it, I ended up lighting up 5542 before joining Mike & Kev on its footplate.
|Note the fully enclosed cab of 5542 on the left|
|Dan looking more than happy to be in the cool and breezy cab of 2807|
As predicted, the cab of 5542 was like a furnace. All possible windows and openings were opened and still it was unbearably hot. The outside air was at 30 degrees Centigrade, yet as you entered the cab you were hit by a wall of heat. At one point after the run round at Toddington, I realised that I was left in the cab on my own, yet I could hear voices. It turned out that Mike and Kev were both hiding from the heat of the cab by standing in the shade of the loco:
|Mike and Kev hiding in the shade|
|Kev and Mike at work|
|Ben finds our plight amusing|
|Risking soot in the eyes, but anything for some cool air|
When 5542 next disappears back of to the South Devon Railway for maintenance, please could they see their way clear to installing some air conditioning. Pretty please. You'll make a lot of GWSR crews very happy indeed if you do.
I popped back into Toddington for a few hours on Sunday as well. There was a bus rally taking place in the car park:
|A variety of buses|
|I remember going to school in buses like this|
Meanwhile, in a cunning ploy to defeat the twin perils of sunburn and heatstroke, Nick & Laurence cleaned Foremarke Hall, which was nicely in the shade in the David Page shed. A wise move.
|Nick & Laurence, not to me moved into the sunshine|
For those of you who were at all interested in my itinerary, I have amended it slightly to take account of the fact that after studying the train times I can just about get a train back from Whitby to St Bees and arrive early enough to be able to drive back to Toddington all in one day. That has meant that I have the luxury of an extra day to play with, so I have broken what would have been the longest day into two.
As a reminder of how to sponsor me to raise funds for the railway's extension to Broadway, please send cheques to:
Steve Sperring (Fund Raising Director)
Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway
Toddington Railway Station
Please make cheques payable to GWRT with ‘Ray O’Hara’ written on the back.
The walking starts on Sunday, I will endeavour to make my progress known as access to wifi along the way permits. That is unlikely to be very often though.