Watercress Line

Miniature Railway Opens In Time For The Easter Days Out With Thomas!

Firstly apologies for the delay in providing this update. We have been very  busy of late trying to get the Miniature Railway ready for the above event but, pleased to report, we did make it! We managed to get one of our two platforms completely paved, fenced and painted, with four coats being required to make it look presentable.

Works to ease the grade of the access path were also completed thanks to Ben Spraggen’s valuable assistance. Ben also helped with Hedge trimming to allow our passengers better views of the countryside and, of course, the full size trains running alongside us. He even provided us with enough paving slabs to complete the second platform. A really big thank you to Ben for all this! Thanks are also due to David Ford for the splendid Buffer Stop he made and installed for us. However, this is one device that none of us wish to test!

Another last minute task was the addition of temporary fencing to keep the public away from the track. On the day before the event some last minute touches included putting up bunting, warning signage plus some posters giving an overview of the construction and who was involved.

We ran for the whole event and am very pleased to report that the loco’s performed well and the track stood up to the test – not so sure about the operators though! We counted the number of journeys made on two of the days, Thursday 9th and Friday 10th, with 104 and 84 round trips being made respectively. We had some minor issues with the locos, such as a slight oil leak on Patricia and a Battery Isolating Switch issue with Nevada but, these were all swiftly resolved.

The Miniature Railway was kept quite busy throughout the event and we had visits from the likes of Colin Chambers, Sue Clements, Richard Bentley, Robin Higgs, John Trigg, David Ford (plus some of the Wednesday Gang) and the ever helpful Ben Spraggen and his wife. I thinks it’s fair to say that all the comments we received were very positive and complimentary – thank you very much indeed! We also had the Fat Controller who had a ride in what he referred to as his “Inspection Saloon”. He said that “he had heard great things about the Miniature Railway such as that we ran to time unlike the ‘other’ Railway!” I don’t know what he meant (honestly!) but he approved of the ride! We also had what looked like the Vicar being arrested by the Railway Policeman on one of our services! The sight of passengers, especially the younger ones, on our coaches exchanging friendly waves with those on the full size ones is a memory I for one will never forget!

The whole group is very pleased with the apparent success of our railway at DOWT. We now look forward to completing the second platform and egress route for the public and, hopefully, further improvements and enhancements in the future. I think we can safely say that we are well and truly back! As always a very big thank you to all who have helped us reach this major milestone and given us assistance during the 10 days of the event.

Ray Briscall

Photo gallery