The pleasures of Autumn.

It was cold this morning with the temperature sitting at +1c when I surfaced.

Looking out at the frost on the house roofs and the cars reminded me of Autumn mornings on the railway.

Now I think it’s fair to say that when you ask the average person what they imagine it’s like on a heritage railway station. They will wax lyrical about sunshine, happy visitors and endless enjoyable days.

In reality that can often be wrong, in the Autumn it can be cold, bleak, dismal and foggy and that’s mid-afternoon.

In the Autumn and Winter months we used to have a saying when people asked for a soft drink. “Would you like a cold one off the side or a warm one out of the chiller?”

This is what a typical morning can be like.

Down the track towards Wansford is never better.

We would open up as normal and the odd walker or cyclist would wander in looking for warmth, they were disappointed, the staff stood outside to get warm!
The favourite comment was “I could kill for a hot drink.” This was normally from people who had no money with them. But they stood with an expectant look on their faces in case a freebie was in the offing.

They tried to look especially desperate if any of the staff were standing there with a steaming mug of hot liquid in their hands.

They would wonder off dragging their dog behind them. The staff would retire to the kitchen to await the next poor soul.

You would find somedays that you could not see the signal box from the station because of the fog or mist. The first sign of life from the box would be the signal man coming through the door clutching an empty mug.

First train would arrive, normally late, but that’s another story. The crew either warm in their diesel cab or huddled round the firebox. The guard would be well wrapped up with often just a little round red face poking out from under a cap.

Once the train had gone back to Wansford we would get the iPads out and settle down for the arrival of the second train.

Oh the excitement of an Autumn day at a station!