Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Thomas 1:0 England

It seems that it's not just classic steam locomotives that get attracted to the GWSR, Peter spotted this little collection at Toddington last week.
Route master bus (not for rail replacement services I should add)
Bugatti & Ford
 I'm sure that there is a joke in there somewhere about not being able to afford a Bugatti.
Bugatti... very nice indeed!
Cars were even to be found in the shed, in this case, Nigel & Chris were busy installing emergency lights in the indoor pit.
I don't think this one is steam powered!
All the above photos courtesy of Peter Gutteridge.

Sunday saw the return of the famous blue engine... no, not 6023, King Edward II, but Thomas.  Sharing the stage with Thomas was Foremarke Hall, which we usually refer to on these occasions as "The big green engine" for want of a better name.

 For reasons that were never entirely clear to me, Thomas started the day round on the shed wearing both an L plate and a P plate.
Public Image LTD?
 The L plate was nicked and placed on Foremarke Hall the big green engine, as we had Andy, a learner driver at the controls.
Andy insisted on hiding the L plate in the cab though
 As usual, the fat controller was on hand to make sure that everything ran smoothly on the day.  His talents would have been better employed on the big railway where everything is currently far from being as well run as it is on the island of Sodor.  He had also very kindly brought some coal along for Thomas.  The big green engine was declared to be too big and had been put on a diet, no coal cakes for us.
It comes to something when you're put on a diet by the fat controller
 The big green engine has a full on day, and once it has left Toddington, spends the day non-stop shuttling passengers between Cheltenham Race Course station and Winchcombe where the majority of the child friendly activities take place.  On our first trip back up to Winchcombe, we found Thomas waiting in the yard and the customary friendly whistles were exchanged.
Whistle while you work
 The next time that we appeared in Winchcombe, there was Thomas as expected, and although we whistled, there was no response.
A silent Thomas
 We discovered that Thomas' crew had all decided that it was far too hot to loaf around in Thomas' cab by the fire and had gone off to relax on the seats by the Carriage & Wagon dept.
I hope the fat controller doesn't find out, or there will be trouble!
One of our crew had obtained tickets for the day so that this wife, daughter (Emily) and granddaughter (Sophie) could enjoy the event.  His wife was fairly relaxed about spending a day with steam locomotives, but Emily was rather less so. Emily would have preferred to have been at home watching England play Panama in the world cup... and she hates football with a passion.  Watching slow motion action replays of paint drying would have been a distinct preference to either the football or Thomas.  Emily's misery was compounded even further by Sophie noticing that grandad was covered in coal dust and announcing that when she is older that she would like to drive steam engines and get grubby like grandad.  Emily was won round by the end of the day though, especially when she discovered that most of the children thought that 7903 was the Thomas character called Emily.  Heaven knows why, Emily is clearly a Stirling single, which aside from being steam powered has just about nothing in common with a Modified Hall such as 7903. 
Foremarke Hall having an identity crisis
You might well have thought that Thomas clashing with England playing in the world cup would have had a detrimental effect on visitor numbers, which wasn't the case, though there was a notable gender imbalance amongst the parents.  Updates on the score were relayed to us from time to time, but at least one of us was heard to proclaim that he really wasn't interested in a bunch of overpaid millionaires kicking a bag of wind around. 

 As usual, the diesels (two class 37's) were out and about as well, though neither was equipped with a face.  As far as I can tell nobody seemed to mind.
One of the class 37's
 At the end of the day, it was discovered that the water pump in the ash pit had stopped working, so we ended up disposing on the new pits.
Luke trying to coax the pump into life
Luke (L) and Steve checking that "Emily" has washed behind her ears
 Following on from the theme of last week, 7903, The Big Green Engine Emily Foremarke Hall is now stopped for a washout, Dinmore Manor will be hauling the trains on the running days this week, along with 2807 at the weekend.

I have received the following couple of photos courtesy of Matthew Harris of 7903 at work on Saturday:
Trainee fireman James at work
(L-r), James, Matthew, Ade & Andrew with The big green Emily?
And finally, I note from one of the GWSR'sa social media outlets that there is now a last minute vacancy for a place on the silver footplate experience course on Friday 6th July.  Sign up, and you just might find yourself featuring on this blog ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog. The pictures were 'The biz'. (and I can't stand Thomas weekends)!!
    Regards, Paul.