Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Back to business

 If there is one thing this guard learnt before joining the Steam department, it’s that the department seemingly runs on tea and bacon sandwiches. This therefore put me in good stead once I had joined the department and we were running again last year. A stop at Cheltenham and the ‘tip’ for the handbrake is usually followed up with a “tea?” call, and delivered with a smile once the loco has coupled back on. Now that the kitchen carriage is reattached to train 1 post Covid, bacon sandwiches are also offered if there’s time before the first train of the day. It’s all about teamwork, am I right?

All jokes about favours being acquired aside, finally being out on the footplate brought a whole new appreciation for how hard a working day can be. It was the standard “you think you know until you actually do it”. Even now I’m trying to wrap my head around how and when everything is supposed to happen, and I’ve experienced first hand how having something simply appear when you don’t have time yourself can make a big difference to the next trip, especially if you’re tight on time.

“Bribing” our retired blogger into writing the post about his successful assessment as a driver had its perks though, as I was out on the opposite footplate on the day of (on the 5.30 start so mentioned) and I have only been on a footplate once since, so had very little to talk about! Balancing a roster in two operational departments can be hard work, so thank you roster clerks (I know you’re both here)!

It does present good photo opportunities

A couple of people have stepped forwards about timings for the arrival of the now retired mess coach; one source said they had been reading old “Cornishmans” and found mention of it being installed in around 1995! It has now officially left Toddington for the final time and arrived at its new home at The Station Kitchen in West Bay, Bridport (thank you social media)! One of our drivers came across the coach in its new home. It seems to be settling in nicely. 

The carriage formerly known as 'Tina' 

Since opening the full timetable again post Covid, things have pretty much gone back to business as usual. One thing that has changed, however, is 76077. The owning group held their first shareholders open day a couple of weekends ago, which I hear was a great success. 

Things are starting to feel a little more real for 76077

For all of our restoration and overhaul projects at the moment, the sight of things going back on rather than being taken off is a relief. 2807 is due back on her wheels imminently (I keep waiting for the joyous email to pop into my inbox) and since 3850 had its cylinders flipped back in early summer, it’s slowly coming back together nicely. (Dear owners reps, I hope I didn’t just jinx anything, don’t come after me!)

Up, up and away

I believe there have been more than a few trips to see boilers recently, so everyone keep their fingers crossed!


In case you missed it, the 40th Anniversary Gala was last weekend, and the next blog will be 'Memories from the Gala', so stay tuned.

Apologies for disappearing for two months, life got in the way (as it does). Hopefully we can be slightly more regular in the coming months.

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