Sunday, 27 August 2017

Consall 'box on a lovely late summer day

It was a lovely day in the valley today, and an interesting one in Consall box for me as duty signalman.
The brief failure of a track circuit was easily dealt with, but late in the day I could not get a 'release' on the lever that controls our electric point (point 11) at the north end of Consall loop (the electrical interlocking would not release the lever), so I could not operate it from the box (it's an electrically operated point, being so far from the 'box).
Howard, as 'Signalman's Agent' went down to the point, round the corner beyond the Black Lion pub, with the winding handle to manually wind the point over, and took a yellow flag to flag trains through the junction, and a point clamp to lock the points for the last facing point movement of the day.
With this, and a few authorisations from me for drivers to pass signals at danger (the failure also prevented some signals from being pulled off) we finished the day not much later than timetabled so no serious delays for our passengers, who seemed to be very much enjoying our 'Gins & Trains' weekend.
Good effort from all concerned!

Here are some super pictures by Dave Gibson.

 S160 No.5197 approaches Consall from the south, as I wait by the signal box to retrieve the token from the loco crew as they pass.

 S160 and its train the down platform, Class 33 diesel 33102 and its train in the up platform as I stand by to retrieve that token from that locomotive.

 5197 runs into Consall on this lovely late summer afternoon.

 I retrieve the Leekbrook - Consall token from the 33's crew.

 The 33 and its train have departed for Froghall, the S160 about to go. My signalling duties finished until both trains have gone, I relax and enjoy the view from the top of the 'box steps.

 A nice view from atop my up loop starter signal of both trains passing, class 33 in the Consall loop, S160 on the main line. Caldon canal on the right. Note the up platform shelter cantilevered out over the cut.

5197 runs into Consall. The signal box, with its bay window is in the centre of the picture.

The 'box has a bay window (visible here) as it was originally situated at Clifton, near Uttoxeter, which controlled a road level crossing. The bay window allowed the signalman to monitor road traffic as he contemplated closing the crossing gates.


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Chelford Traction Engine Rally again...

The weather was kind... a couple of minor showers in the morning, clearing to sunshine later. This unmissable annual event was well up to standard today (and it's on tomorrow if you missed today!).

We went on the little bikes (Malc on his T80, Ivan on his SS50, me on my Innova), so no traffic problems in or out, and we got to park right up by the action, not way back in the car park.
These excellent pictures are by Barry Knapper. He might be complaining about £6 for a burger, but I went for a hog roast bap at £5.50. I don't like stuffing (well, not that sort!) so asked for it without. So they filled the bap generously with nothing but pork - excellent value!

Met a lot of old steam friends, and saw a lot of familiar engines and some I've not seen before (especially some of the miniatures).

There were a couple of light rain showers but nothing to spoil the fun, and later in the day it was just glorious!
Astle Park at its best!

Pictures by Barry Knapper. Click on any one for a larger image.


Saturday, 5 August 2017

1930s style posters to promote the lovely Mid Cheshire line unveiled today

Today, Friday 4th August, I was invited to a private unveiling at Northwich's Lion Salt Works of a series of fabulous posters publicising the scenic Manchester to Chester Mid Cheshire Railway Line, for which I am a volunteer.
Artist Nicky Thompson was commissioned to produce a series of posters in '1930s' style to publicise this scenic railway line, and today at the former Salt Works David Briggs, Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, with special guest Pete Waterman, officially launched the posters which will appear at stations along the line.
Here is the collection, in order of principle stations along the line from Manchester to Chester.

I think they are superb.

As for the Salt Works itself, I remember when we visited it back in the late 1970s or early 80s when it was still working, producing salt. It was like Dante's inferno! Heat, steam, guys stripped to the waist shoving salt in the open coal-fired brine pans.

What a contrast today... A lovely museum, but a bit 'picture perfect' compared to the brutal reality of the tatty but working actuality.