Spring Steam Gala

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A4 60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley' approaches Colton Jct, York with a Newcastle train in December 2010

Following on from my last rather exasperated post about the Trust Board blocking my nomination for the Trust Chairmanship it now seems that there is nothing I can do to reverse this decision. Whether it is based on fact, fiction, misguided opinion or whatever I have to accept the position and move forward.

My initial reaction was to question whether I was actually achieving anything by being a member of the Trust Board and I should perhaps stand down. This is after all a hobby, I don’t get paid for doing it so it ought to be enjoyable and bring some sense of satisfaction. However most people that I have spoken to think it would be a mistake to let this latest slight bring about my departure from the Board.

Upon reflection I have therefore decided to carry on. As one member put it “We want our Railway back” - I’ll let readers draw their own conclusions as to what is meant by this!

Future of this Blog

When I started these jottings last November I did it to prove that a weekly news sheet was both feasible and would have sufficient newsworthy content to be informative for anyone who cared to read it. I’ve set great store by producing a blog each week without fail as I believe that readers want to receive regular and reliable news updates. I had hoped that the ‘e-briefing’ due to be issued by the Railways management team ‘after Easter’ would do away with the need for me to continue writing these notes. As nothing has appeared yet it is clear that, in the absence of anything else, I had better carry on - so here goes:

Spring Steam Gala

The Railway held its Spring Steam Gala over the weekends of 26/27th April and the Mayday Bank Holiday 3-5th May. Guest locos included A4 ‘Bittern’, LMS Black 5’s 44871 and 45407, K1 62005 and Jinty 3F 47406. Members of the ‘home’ fleet taking part were Black 5, 44806, Standard 4, 75029 and B1 61264. At first sight a good line up complemented by an interesting timetable. Unfortunately some of the visiting engines developed faults and as a result the K1 didn’t get used at all and the Jinty was sidelined after only one trip up the bank with a demonstration freight.

The Whitby services were top and tailed with the Class 25 at the north end and a steamer facing south.

Other commitments on the national network required the two visiting Black 5s and the K1 to leave after the first weekend, but despite many trials and tribulations the show was kept on the road. Because of the level of diesel substitution the Railway offered a discount of £3 per ticket for the Autumn Steam Gala for anyone producing a ticket from the second weekend of the SSG. Despite disappointing some people we don’t seem to have had any criticism on the ‘Trip Advisor’ website.

Loco Availability

Unfortunately the loco availability problems persisted into last week which was exacerbated on Wednesday with the failure of the Class 25, necessitating two Whitby passed steam locos in top and tail formation to be available for the three Whitby services. This left only 44806 to be able to work south from Grosmont (61264 was already sidelined) and even this one was receiving attention in the shed from early morning but was declared fit to take the 11.30 departure to Pickering and the 13.00 return therefore becoming the only steamer to be seen in Pickering on that day. Similarly on Saturday there were only two steam departures from Pickering.

Pickering Booking Office

I was working in Pickering Booking Office last Wednesday and we had quite a busy morning. As always the through trains to Whitby proved to be very popular and both the 09.00 and the 12.00 services loaded very well. There were a number of people who had come for a ride behind a steam engine, some were satisfied with the promise of steam between Grosmont and Whitby but others turned away and didn’t travel.

At the end of a day in the Booking Office there is always the challenge of balancing the cash in the till with the ticket sales recorded on the machine. Should be a fairly simple process you might think but there are many pitfalls, passengers changing their order part way through the transaction, interruptions from within the ticket office, issuing the wrong tickets for the cash taken, not noticing an unauthorised credit card payment and so on. Fortunately on Wednesday I balanced first time so I was quite pleased about that!

Samsung Charter 29th April

I mentioned in a previous post the chartering of the Pullman Train by Samsung in connection with the launch of their latest CCTV equipment. The delegates were all from the many railway companies in this country and the Learning Centre on Platform 2 at Pickering became the centre for the sales pitch. For the event numerous cameras had been set up around the station and the images were fed to monitors in the Learning Centre. After the formal part of the proceedings the delegates were invited to have lunch on the Pullman whilst they travelled across the moors hauled by Bittern, appropriately a blue engine to match Samsungs’ house colours. I understand that all of the arrangements made were very well received and full marks to Commercial Director Paul Brown and his team for putting on a very successful day.

Whitby Platform 2

Although we are still waiting for the small parcel of land from the Co-op to allow us to relocate their wall over a short length, construction of the new platform continues apace. Nigel Trotters Civil Engineering update with photographs can be seen HERE

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