Firstly, an apology for an omission from the blog from last Tuesday regarding the photo charter. I made a note to mention it, but by the time the wee small hours of Tuesday morning were threatening to become fairly large hours and with the prospect of an early start for work, I'm afraid that it got overlooked. What I failed to say and should have done was that large swathes of the lineside had been cleared of vegetation by the lineside clearance team. Much praise was heaped upon the results of their labours by the photographers on the charter who appreciated the unobstructed views of the train.
Along with a number of others from the Steam Locomotive Dept, I helped out with manning our stand in the David Page shed for the recruitment fair on Sunday. In fact I was wearing two hats, as along with Len, I was also manning the Dinmore Manor Locomotive LTD (DMLL) stand too. Conveniently the two stands were right next to each other which made my life considerably easier. The Saturday had gone extremely well, with 200 visitors, 30 of whom had expressed an interest in joining the steam loco dept. The Sunday was a little quieter, but nonetheless well attended.
Apparently we needed some sort of statement to say that we were here. Statements don't come much bigger than 35006 which was being shunted into the car park as I arrived to proclaim that this was the home of the Steam Loco Dept.
|35006 finds her way into the car park|
|Ed in the cab of 35006|
|All steamed up|
|As usual, an excellent flyer design from Andy|
The skips in the yard have recently been emptied. I was a little concerned to discover that the metal recycling skip had a large number of beer cans in it. Not some wild party in the Steam Loco Dept to which I hadn't been invited, but the empties from the race trains. Just in case anybody takes the party reference seriously, consumption of alcohol on site by working volunteers is of course strictly forbidden.
|I expect there were a few sore heads the morning after|
|The display stand|
|George too wearing two hats|
|Ed missed a trick by not demanding modeling fees|
I imagine that Ian's photos will feature on the news section of the GWSR website in due course.
So what did we have to do? Well it basically boiled down to meeting people as they wandered in through the door, engaging them in conversation and trying to answer any questions that they might have relating to the operation of the Steam Loco Dept. Hopefully we wouldn't scare them off too much. Who knows, perhaps we might impart enough information to allow them to decide if volunteering with us was the sort of thing that they would like to do. Needless to say, many of the people that passed through were interested in finding out more, but already had a desire to volunteer in other departments, some had no idea which department would interest them most and others just wanted to look around. I had intended to bring to you a list of the most commonly asked questions along with their answers, but very few people asked the same thing. The only one that sticks in my mind regarded the ownership of the locomotives which 2 or 3 people asked about. The answer is that the GWSR hires in all it's locos from their owning groups, paying a steaming fee each time one is used, which will then typically go towards the next heavy overhaul of the loco. All of our currently operational locos are owned by different groups, or in the case of 4270, by one individual person.
Quite a few were interested in the loco restoration and maintenance aspect of our work, but on balance I suspect more were interested in progressing onto the footplate. Most of the people that I spoke to already understood the career progression from cleaner to fireman to driver. Having joined the department, a demonstration of both commitment and aptitude is required if you want to progress to the footplate, turning up at least a couple of times a month would be required. There is no such stipulation for loco restoration though again some degree of commitment would be required before training in aspects of engineering could take place. People already possessing engineering skills or people with none at would all be very welcome.
I spent a brief while manning the cab of 2807 first thing in the morning, and predictably most of the questions asked there centred around the controls and what they did. If you're interested, the handy online footplate guide is just the thing for you.
|Potential recruits and volunteers|
|This won't be an easy roadside rescue|
|Even with two vans at their disposal, they decided that they couldn't tow this one home.|
|Dinmore Manor back off to Cheltenham Race Course|
|The GWSR's new gazebo|
The emergency rescue team had a stand. Judging by reports that I have heard about locos blowing off this season, perhaps we need to add one of this kind of fireman to our regular crews to help keep the fire under control:
|The other kind of fireman|
The Diesel Group had a stand and of course a number of diesels to display in their shed.
|Diesel Group stand|
|The Friends of Toddington stand|
|Broadway Area Group stand|
At the end of course it was time to put everything away, including 35006. I noticed as she was being shunted round that a substantial collection of components of the tender brake gear were sat around, hopefully in anticipation of being installed soon.
|Brake components set out ready|
|35006 being shunted back into the shed|
|7820, Dinmore Manor returning for disposal|