It always seems a bit of a challenge to ‘re-start’ the railway, even if we only seem to have been closed for 5 minutes. With the Racecourse specials splitting the November break in two you wouldn’t have thought the points had time to rust up! Today, therefore, the GWSR was busy getting steam up for the first of the 2017 Santa Specials. Which, as ever, seems to induce a cheery mood amongst our customers, the Station Staff and last, by no means least of all, the Saturday gang. Maintenance work took something of a back seat as the customer facing duties up and down the line quite rightly took priority – so if I fail to mention what all our volunteers were doing then please excuse me. I saw Dave G, Dave T, Bob, Colin, Mike, Steve, Dick & Ben and there may have been others; I know some of our regulars are busy up the line being Santa’s helpers at Winchcombe etc.
The weather dawned dull and damp but the early rain desisted by about 1000, by which
time the post removal team (Ben, yours truly and Colin) had achieved early success with some of the concrete monstrosities which have been disfiguring the bank above Platform 1. Here are a selection of our efforts:
The posts are tapered and it is the dickens of job to pull them out ‘vertically’. Sometimes the concrete breaks meaning the reinforcing bars needing to be chopped off and leaving 2 x 4 sharp spikes to impale oneself upon! Much use of the sledge hammer, the bolt croppers and the lump hammer – and occasional recourse to expressions such as ‘Dash me that was a tough one’ or similar. Anyway, a bit like Fred Dibnah after felling a chimney, here is Ben declaring victory over another post:
I have to say that I never want to see another concrete post again or engage in any post hoc discussions! Ho, ho ho ……………
Meanwhile, everyone else on the Station was revelling in the general bonhomie and early festive spirit. I note, in passing, that it is often a grandparents treat to visit Father Christmas (perhaps they enjoy the nostalgia element as much as we do) – so there’s a marketing dimension to this blog! Here are some of the crowds (of station staff!) waiting to greet our visitors and a new addition – live music.
I have to say that the all lady singing group was excellent – and so much better than the tannoy tunes! I hope they managed to keep going all day?
Meanwhile we had another visitor (from South Devon I believe ) in the form of engine 5526:
Here, resplendent in its Christmas finery, and taking a well earned drink after the wheezy ride up from Toddington.
Keep up the good work everyone, only another 50 or so Santa Specials to go!