Displaying and printing tickets.

Now the keen ones amongst you will have seen the tickets I have posted on here.

Well we also displayed them at Orton Mere each printed to A4 size.

Over the years we lost count of the number of people who would look at the ticket in A4 size and then mutter… The tickets were much bigger in those days!!!

Before you ask it was both men and women who commented.

92 Squadron

There is nothing better than a large steam engine to get visitors to the railway.

This weekend we ran 92 Squadron which is a great favourite.

Here are four pictures taken today.

Class 66 running day

On the 27th September we have a Class 66 running day.

The Class 66 is always a popular visitor and hauls a good number of visitors when we have one running.

Here are a few images of Class 66 locomotives we have had in the past.

Blank Cheque!

Something a little different today, but still railway related.

Here we have a blank cheque from the Stamford & Essendine Railway Company. It’s from their Wansford & Sibson Branch.

An unusual and interesting bit of railway history. Far more fancy than modern cheques are.


One of the comments I often come across from visitors is the fact that we do the paper tickets and not the old style Edmondson tickets.

The main reason is of course cost, the old style tickets with serial numbers on are not cheap to produce.

So to hark back to the days when everything was rosy and the sun always shone in the summer here is a ticket from Wansford to Peterborough & return.

Peterborough to Wansford and return.

Sometimes amazing things happened, for example Peterborough Utd actually progressed in the FA cup. For the football fans amongst you here is a ticket from the 1960’s Peterborough to Sheffield for a football match. I wonder how many fans still have one of these tickets?

Peterborough to Sheffield and return

I will see what other ticket images I can dig out and will post here if I think they will be of interest. If you have any and would be happy to have them reproduced here then please contact me. The email address is in the right hand column .

Steam -v- Diesel

As long as I have been on the railway and I am sure long before that there has always been the ongoing saga of Steam v Diesel.

It can be quite amusing and it’s not unknown for people to come to a diesel gala weekend and still expect to see steam running as well.

The comment on a diesel weekend that we are a steam railway has often been pointed out to me by visitors, I always respond that we are not a steam railway we are a heritage railway and that all forms of traction are important in the history and development of railways. There then either follows a snort by the visitors or a quiet agreement.

It is I think, important to realise that the steam and diesel fans fall into two definite separate camps, with of course a group in between that like both forms of traction.

So who are these two groups and what are the differences between them. Now please bear in mind that the following are my own personal observations which you may either agree or disagree with.

Let us start with steam. The average steam enthusiast in my experience likes to take lots of pictures, sniff the steam and smoke and other than purchasing a ticket spends very little money. They carry a flask and sandwich box, with the obligatory bag of either ready salted or salt and vinegar crisps.

However, they do have one great redeeming quality and that is they love to chat about their love of steam to anybody in range. Should there be time to do so they can be really enjoyable to chat to. I just wish they would get into the fine upstanding habit of spending more money, but that is maybe just me being picky!

Then we have the diesel enthusiast. The big difference between the two groups is that diesel fans generally like to travel on the trains. They will sit on the platform with the timetable and work out how to travel on every service even if it’s just between two stations. To most of them it’s down to mileage.

They will pop into stations for drinks and snacks at a steady rate through the day. The one thing that makes a true diesel enthusiast stand out is that they always carry their money in little plastic cash bags. They huddle in groups and travel in packs, cameras at the ready for that special unique shot that twenty other people are also taking. Again like the steam enthusiast’s they love to chat about the locomotives.

So all in all which are then better visitors? The answer to that is it’s a dead heat. Both bring much needed revenue to the railway and with very few exceptions are really nice to chat to. They say please and thank you, gala and special weekends are always enjoyable if only because a busy weekend goes quicker than a quiet one.

Now no doubt you are itching to know which of the two camps I fall into? The answer is neither, I am not a great fan of trains, my interest lies in the local social history of the railway and how it affects the local area.

One thing I do recommend to those asking about visiting is that they might like to come on a quieter weekend if they have children for example. You have not lived until you have met a group of gala visitors coming down the platform anxious to get a picture of the service coming the other way from the end of the platform.

With the present problems there will be no big gala weekends and that’s a pity, and who knows when if ever there will be any more. We shall just have to wait and see.

Just a reminder.

Just a reminder.

I have not as yet switched on the post comment facility, and actually may never do so as I don’t want this blog a target for spam and the like.

However, if you have any comments or would like to send feedback you are welcome to do so, please send them in an email to comments@nenevalleyrailway.co.uk All emails will be answered, but please remember if asking a question that you may not always get the answer you want.

Old Arkwright.

It must be boring to work at a station.

Whilst I ran Orton Mere Station one of the most common comments was “It must be boring to work at a station.”

Actually that’s far from correct, there is always something to be done. From removing rubbish off the platform to clearing up the mess left on tables by visitors.

On a weekend day unless it’s tipping down with rain there will be a fairly steady stream of visitors. Most of them don’t want a train, they may want a timetable, a drink, a snack, water for their dog, or as is often the case just a chat. It’s amazing how long some of the visitors can go on about trains and railways in general. When a visitor starts with the words. When I worked on the railway…. You know it’s time to sit down. Some regulars will tell you the same things over and over again each visit.

On busy days you will get the platform warmer, who comes to take pictures, get in the way and spend nothing. The mere mention of platform ticket and they will be out of the gate quicker than a whippet on speed. I can recall regular platform warmers who have visited over a period of ten years and have yet to buy anything.

Then you will get the regulars, they will walk in and you know exactly what they will have, it never varies from week to week.

It must be remembered that the station is often where visitors get their first impression of the railway, and as they say you never have a second chance to make a first impression. The volunteers at the station always made all visitors welcome without exception. I have no doubt this is exactly the same at the other stations as well.

One tip by they way. The way a visitor is dressed has no connection to the amount of money they will spend. This is from experience. And remember the better they are dressed then more likely they will be to moan about the price.

Now as well as the sane and sensible questions you also get the odd ones, here are a few in no particular order.

How much are your £1.70p Magnums?
Are the trains running today, with City of Peterborough sitting outside the door.
Do you take Stagecoach Megarider tickets?
Do you sell ice cream? Whilst leaning on the freezer.
Do you sell daily papers?
Where are your Tampax? It was a man asking by the way.
I am off to North Norfolk Railway next week can I buy tickets from you? I was so tempted!!
What steam’s running today? It was a diesel gala.

My personal favourite is. “Is there another train after the last one?”

The list just goes on, but they liven the day.

Then of course the train arrives, and quite often somebody travelling will stand in front of a carriage door and expect it to open automatically. They always look surprised when it doesn’t.

I could rabbit on all day about working at a station, but then if I did there would be nothing for you to discover when you have a go. I do hope the working members amongst you will have a least one go, there is more to the railway then chugging up and down on trains!!

The Jolly Fisherman.

last night (Saturday) saw the return to the railway of the popular Jolly Fisherman event, or as some call it the chip train.

© Robin Neighbour
© Robin Neighbour

Shame the weather was not that nice, but a good evening had by all

Thursday Locomotive Test

Tomorrow (Thursday) sees 4612 on test prior to hopefully entering service.

Here it is sitting in the yard at Wansford today.

© Robin Neighbour

So if you hear a toot tomorrow you will know what it is!