Not of this planet.

Now as many of you know, before writing this blog I used to do one of my own based upon my experiences running Orton Mere Station for fourteen years. I also did five short articles covering the first five years at the railway.

These are no longer on-line. However, I have commenced writing a book covering my almost 17 years on Nene Valley Railway. This will be published as an e-book and 50% of the profits will be donated to the railway.

Because of this I have been thinking back to some of the more, shall we say strange visitors I have never mentioned before in my musings and writings.

One which I must admit I had forgotten about came to mind. So here it is, on an average weekend running day.

It was a summer Saturday afternoon, and for once the sun was shining. I was in my normal position behind the counter guarding the till.

In walked this middle aged lady and without saying a word she took two Mars bars out of her pocket and slammed them down on the counter.

Looking at me she uttered a single word. Refund.”

Looking at her with no doubt a look of disbelief on my face. I pointed out that she had not bought them from us.

She then informed me that she had bought them from a local shop not to far away but did not now want them. Then she also informed me that the shop in question had refused her a refund. Despite her telling me that she had made a scene in the shop in question.

So with distorted logic she decided that she would get a refund elsewhere, and joy of joys she had chosen Orton Mere Station.

She went a lovely shade of red as I informed her she would not see me refunding something I had not sold.

Thankfully I was not subject to a slanging match. Loudly she stated that we were providing lousy customer service. Then when I pointed out that actually she was not a customer she picked up the Mars bars whilst emitting a scream that sounded like dodgy brakes on a diesel and stormed out of the station. As she passed to rubbish bin she slung the Mars bars into it.

Me, I took a deep breath looked at the man standing the other side of the counter with an open mouth and uttered the immortal words.

“Yes what can I do for you?”

With a straight face he said “Got any Mars bars?”

We looked at each other for a few seconds then both burst out laughing.

It was just a normal day at Orton Mere.

When a weekend just flows.

When we look back at previous years we tend to remember the special events, Thomas weekends and galas etc.

We tend to forget for want of a better description “The normal weekends.” Where everything just flows. When the trains run on time, the sun shines and we have some really nice visitors.

See you’re remembering some now. The weekends where you sit down on a Sunday afternoon and think to yourself. I enjoyed that!

You may find when you think back that there are more normal weekends than you thought there were.

These weekends are important to the railway as they bring in revenue and more importantly Profit!

So when you realise it’s just a normal weekend, enjoy it, after all enjoying volunteering at the railway is what it’s all about.

The River Nene in Flood April 1998

Often over the years visitors have looked with doubt when I have explained how the Nene Floods around Orton Mere. Here are a few pictures from April 1998, regretfully I don’t know the copyright info. If you do please let me know.

The Wansford Station Masters Office

Part of the Barnwell building on platform 2 houses the Station Masters office.

This has been refurbished in recent years, and here are some pictures of how it looks today.

© Kim Shaw
© Kim Shaw
© Kim Shaw

Should you visit Wansford then take a look at this office, well worth the visit to see what can be achieved on a refurbishment with some effort.

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Jason’s Photo of the Month September 2021

© Jason Isaac

I would like to dedicate this photo to former NVR driver and Steam inspector Peter Richardson who sadly passed away last month. A4 60009 Union of South Africa opens up at Longueville Junction during a photo charter in September 2017 with Peter Richardson at the controls. 

Jason Isaac

The Orton Mere Signal Box

A few months ago we published pictures of the inside of Wansford Signal Box. So now it’s the turn of the Orton Mere Signal Box.

Now I know it’s not very large, and I still remember when we had the allotment at the station a visitor asking me if it was a potting shed.

So here are some internal shots of the box.

The box that holds the Staff.
The train register
The signal leavers and instruments.
Signal leavers, instruments and diagram of signal layout at the station

Pictures © Keith Parkinson. My thanks to Keith for taking and sending me the pictures.

The Wansford Booking Office.

One place that people rarely think about except when validating or buying tickets is the booking office. Not realising that it houses a crack squad trained to extract money with the least amount of pain.

Here are a few pictures of the booking office.

The Booking Hall.
Where you part with your money.
The nerve centre.
You too can have one of these for a couple of pounds!

So there you have it, the hub of the station on running days.

All images are © Kim Shaw.