This is why donations are always welcome at the railway.

Ignoring the people who think that the railway runs on thin air and we raid a box of monopoly money when we need to replace something the following was taken from a permanent way update.

It’s worth reflecting that track components are expensive. New bullhead rail (forget serviceable bullhead rail from off the network, its like rocking horse droppings – non-existent!) is currently costing £1252.00 per 60ft length. New timber sleepers are costing £55.00 each and ballast is approaching £40.00 per tonne. To relay a quarter of a mile of track you need forty-four rails, five hundred and fifty sleepers and almost 700 tonnes of ballast. That’s a bill of over £100K and that doesn’t include any small materials such as chairs and screws, heavy plant, labour etc. It can be done cheaper using serviceable concrete sleepers (circa £25 each) and serviceable flat bottom rail (circa £500 each if available) but you need a deeper dig and more ballast (approx. 150 tonnes) to fit the concrete sleepers in. Expensive whichever way you go.

And that ladies and gentlemen is why donations are always welcome. Should you wish to donate to the railway you will find a link at the top of the railways main web site. Click HERE to go directly there.

Just remember the above if you’re one of our regular non-paying visitors.

Look Mom it’s a train.

The Fletton loop is an important part of the railway, it’s our link to the outside world railway wise.

From time to time we run trips for visitors down it, normally either with brake vans or the Swedish railcar. We even did a weekend of cab rides in a couple of class 31’s down there, they were extremely popular.

But it’s rare that we put the MK1 coaches down there, and when we do they are top and tailed as there is no run round at the far end.

So last weekend was the Three Peaks diesel gala, and one of the highlights on the Saturday and Sunday were two trips for the Mk1’s down the Fletton loop each of the two days with peak locomotives at one end and a class 14 at the other.

They were popular and I have seen lots of positive comments.

Here are some pictures sent to me by Harry Wheeler who was visiting the railway and he took them on the Fletton loop.

My thanks to him for sending the pictures they are much appreciated.

© Harry Wheeler.
Over Celta Road Bridge © Harry Wheeler.
© Harry Wheeler.

If you visit the railway and have any pictures you would like to send me for the blog then I would love to receive them. Please send them with full details to the email address for comments that’s on the right had side of the blog.

You can’t get the staff, except when the trains are running.

One question that’s often asked by visitors is what’s passed between the driver and the crew as they pass the signal boxes.

The answer is they are passing the staff. This is given to the driver and authorises the train to proceed, and ensures there is only one train in section at any one time.

The sections are:-
Wansford to Yarwell.
Wansford to Orton Mere.
Orton Mere to Peterborough Nene Valley.
Orton Mere to Fletton Junction.

The staff for each section is unique, and here are pictures of them plus the ticket that’s also used between Wansford to Orton Mere. This is to enable a another train to go between Wansford and Orton Mere after the first has gone out of section. The ticket goes with the first train and the staff with the second.

Wansford to Yarwell Mill
Wansford to Orton Mere Ticket
Wansford to Orton Mere
Orton Mere to Peterborough
Fletton Junction to Orton Mere

Not easy things to loose. They are an essential part of the safety when running trains on a single line.

My thanks to Zak for taking the images.

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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