Yesterday (Saturday) I was in the box all day with a trainee signalman, Mark. Today I gave the morning session in the 'box to Howard and took the opportunity to travel the line (beginning with the ride in the 33 'light engine') before taking over as signalman after lunch, though another trainee, Thomas, did most of the work.
Please click on any picture for a larger image.
'Sophie' at Leekbrook seen on an earlier occasion
There was music from bands and singers at Cheddleton (above), Consall, and Froghall stations all weekend
Armoured cars on a flat waggon at Cheddleton
A miniature traction engine was giving rides at Cheddleton
This morning, Sophie's engine room as the big straight 6 Sulzer diesel engine deafens me (when I open the engine room door) with its lazy but loud tickover as we await departure from Cheddleton
My rucksac rests on Sophie's hand brake wheel in the back cab as we wait at Cheddleton this morning
A view out of Sophie's cab side-window as the Polish Tank, cylinder drain cocks open in the crisp early morning air, moves forward in the shed yard
Polish Tank prepares to reverse down onto the coaling stage at Cheddleton
The view out of the back cab was we rock and roll down the valley from Cheddleton to Consall
At Consall I left my rucksac with Howard in Consall 'box and joined Sophie's crew in the front cab for the run down to Froghall. Here's Emma in the co-pilot's seat.
'Captain' Dave is in the P1 seat
At Froghall an RAF pilot with a ukalayli belts out an Andrews Sisters number....
....While 'Captain Mainwaring' and his entourage wait on the platform
I travelled from Froghall to Leekbrook and back to Consall in the brake van of Sophie's train. Here's the view back from the brake van veranda to Cheddleton as we head for Leekbrook.
The brake van had been making a few odd noises so the oil in the relevant axlebox was topped up during the Cheddleton stop on the way back south down the valley
A ferret at Consall
The view from Consall Box as the Polish Tank 'makes smoke' as it sets off for Froghall with 5 coaches (including the Sunday Dining set) and the armoured cars on their flat waggon
A particularly good jazz band playing at Consall this afternoon
Ferrets in their racing runs
Today's trainee, Thomas, collects the token from the Polish Tank's driver
Sunday lunch being enjoyed in the dining car during its Consall station stop (click on the picture for a larger image)
These air pumps seem quite troublesome; viewed from Consall signal box steps a member of the tank engine's crew nurses it back into life with a hammer!
That jazz band again, with the 'box in the background
An Indian Runner Duck leads the pack of Cayuga ducks....
....As they are herded by a sheep dog from Foxt (near Froghall)
We had a few problems this morning in the 'box, including a snapped signal wire to the up home signal, necessitating the drivers phoning in from that signal so I could verify the route set (or not!) and authorise them (or not!) to pass that signal at danger. The problems meant the last trains ran about 25 minutes late, so it was after 6pm before I was able to close down the box, climb into the cab of the adjacent, waiting, clattering and thrumming Sophie, and rock and roll up the valley accompanied by a 'Sulzer symphony' to Cheddleton and my waiting car.