At least the weather was nice, once early morning fog had burned off leaving weak but surprisingly warm sunshine, however Leekbrook Junction is not known as 'Siberea' for nothing. It is located at the northern end of the Churnet Valley line and has two junctions onto that line; the branch from Stoke on Trent, and the branch up to Cauldon Lowe, all worked by hand-operated points and locks with 'Stop Boards' (no signals). As I've noted on the blog before (see entry for 22nd September 'Diesel gala at Churnet Valley'), there are no facilities there save an unheated wooden hut.
I was there today with Howard and we were operating 'staff and ticket' working as the DMU was working beyond the Churnet Valley line up onto the moors to Cauldon Lowe, while the Class 33 diesel worked its train up and down the valley. An explanation of staff & ticket working will be included here when I have time. We only had two trains up to Cauldon so it was a short day for us. No steam though, as the N7 tank engine was unserviceable and the big S160 is still not ready for service.
We had a visit from Nick A. who is the guy who'll check me out as a qualified signalman at Consall Box (and to work Leekbrook on my own). Unfortunately the railway has rationalised the timetable between now and the end of the year so the Consall Box session I was hoping to earmark for my passing out later this month isn't going to happen. Apart from a night session at Halloween there are no more Consall Box sessions at all this year. "Never mind', said Nick. "We'll get you checked out first sessions next year". That'll be the Steam Gala in late February; fingers crossed!