20th Nov 2017 in Miniature Railway
We have just reached the end of our 3rd operating season at the Miniature Railway, although it doesn’t seem like 3 years since we first started operations at our new site. I thought this would be an opportune moment to reflect on the year and also to welcome our newest recruits, Charlene, Maria and their two children Rufus and Tilly plus Roger who has literally only just joined- a warm welcome to them all.
Firstly, though, I must report on the last two events of the season. I missed most of the Diesel Gala due to being away on holiday but, apparently, we saw little traffic on our railway mostly due to the bad weather, particularly on the Saturday. The Wizard Weekend was far better with well over 500 passengers carried on each day. I must say we were very impressed with the trouble some of our passengers had gone to with their costumes. We handed out sweets to our younger passengers with Phil and Karen’s son, Connor, happily taking on the role of “Sweet Wizard”. Charlene and Maria’s boy Rufus helped with station duties and proved to be a very able Guard’s Assistant whilst their daughter Tilly kept a watchful eye on proceedings. These two families did so much to help out at this event, particularly on the Sunday when we were short staffed.
So what have we achieved over the past year? These are the major accomplishments:
- Completed 2 coaches out of our 3 coach articulated set and the 3rd one is nearing completion.
- Completed 2 of the most successful Day Out With Thomas events we have ever done.
- We have run every Saturday plus during certain special events and we even had a wedding reception booking!
- The container roof and lean-to are nearing completion and look very impressive.
- Our extension is well under way with approximately 150m of track laid, virtually doubling the length of the railway. This has been accomplished despite the setback of severe vandalism that resulted in 12 track panels (72m) having to be re-laid. I must say that I am immensely proud of the way the entire team responded to this major setback. Just 2 Saturdays saw all of the lifted track re-laid.
- Engine change on Patricia completed to replace the defective unit.
- Some good publicity, via social media posts and even in the local press!
- Blog posts- the weekly blog posts are proving increasingly popular with members of our railway, as well as other enthusiasts.
So what does the future hold? Well we have numerous projects that are already underway or in the pipeline including:
- Completing the 3rd coach including access for wheelchairs and buggies.
- Adding air braking system, the prototype has already undergone testing.
- Completing the extension to the Four Acre Field boundary.
- New build Diesel Hydraulic loco, the wooden frame / body mock up is already done.
- New build Battery Electric loco, bogies procured.
- More coaches, bogies procured.
- Tinkerbell Steam Loco. This project has been stalled for far too long, if anybody feels they could help with this then do please get in touch.
- Social media. By the start of next season we will have our own email address, Facebook page and Twitter account.
To conclude I would like to thank all our regular team members (it is now quite a significant team!) plus all who have supported and helped us throughout the season. I really feel that this railway is evolving and growing into what we hope will become a major attraction. Judging by all the positive feedback we have received I think we are already well on the way there!