Thursday, 18 February 2010

Wet, Wet, Wet At EVLR (Half Term Post 2)...

Hi all. As I write this post snow is again falling from the heavens and a thick blanket is forming on my garden...I can see it in the reflection of the street lighting! Today we had planned to take a drive over to Evesham as my family rather fancied a look around the Garden Centre and Shopping Village at the Country Park. Of course, I seized my chance and made sure that the visit was made just so as I could visit the Evesham Vale Light Railway which runs on the same site! (See earlier posts for further details). On arrival at around 11am, heavy snow and sleet was falling and visibility was very poor. Walking through the Booking Office, I was told that the loco was in steam and would next run, as to the timetable, at 11:30am. I bought my ticket and soon, sure enough, a very wet 0-6-2 Severn Lamb-built "Dougal" arrived back under the overall station roof with her three cosy, covered coaches behind her! Built in 1970, "Dougal" was originally a Longleat Railway (Safari Park) locomotive and worked their for a number of years. Sold to the EVLR in 2004, she was restored in a new green livery before being sent into service on the Worcestershire line. Since then, she has endured another overhaul which included a brand new boiler and a conversion from a tank engine to a tendered-tank engine. The loco is now much larger in stature and includes a higher boiler capacity. It also, from the sounds she made, "runs like a well-oiled sewing machine"!...
With "Dougal" ran round I had a quick chat with the driver, Chris (an ex-BR Fireman), about the conversion, before taking my seat on the train. As I did so, Jim, the railway's owner, approached and said, "If you don't mind getting wet, you're more than welcome to have a ride on the engine". What do you think I said? "Yes please!". Even sleet doesn't stop me turning down a footplate ride! I'd actually had a footplate ride on this engine before, back when she was a Tank Engine, and, I must admit, the tender is so much more spacious and comfortable than the old 'bunker-seat' was! At 11:30am, we left Twyford Station on time and "Dougal" set out on the line. She chugged along happily, notched up with the regulator just cracked, and running like a brand new engine! Not a clank or a grind or a sqeak...fantastic! Show's just how well looked after these engines are! The clean cab, though not an all-over type (no roof), did give a bit of shelter from the elements but, on the engine, I wasn't bothered about the driving rain! After an attack on the Far Bank, "Dougal" descended the 1 in 50 through the tunnel and then chugged merrily into Evesham Vale Station. By then, the snow had momentarily stopped with only the rain remaining, making conditions on the footplate a little better. After a few minutes it was time to leave again and, after a blast on the Guard's (Jim) whistle, we set off. "Dougal" climbed the 1 in 65 back towards Twyford with steam to spare and hardly a bark from the chimney. (This engine is very powerful!). Chris shut-off once the bank was topped and the 0-6-2 dropped down towards Twyford. Entering the yard once more, "Dougal" chugged happily back into the cover of the station roof. The passengers then left the train and came up to admire the engine whilst I thanked Chris for my very enjoyable ride, before thanking Jim for the privilege also! (I've had a few footplate rides there now...they're so generous and friendly! Thanks very much for the experiences!). Now back on the platform, I watched "Dougal" run-round again before setting off, into the now only "light" rain, to try and capture a few shots of the train 'on the move', with a degree of sucess. (The rain was very hard to work with, very hard!). I followed the train all the way around and back again before chatting with Jim & Chris again. As I was now soaking, Jim very kindly gave me a hot cup of tea from the workshop kitchen (how thoughtful!)...very welcome! I watched "Dougal" depart again, this time with Driver Helen Shackell 'on the handle', before chatting to Chris, now working the ticket office, about possible future developments. See my Video Footage from the day below (Simply click PLAY to view)...
"Dougal" was soon back again (time flies) and, after watching her run-round once last time, I decided to call it a day. My family were now back at the car so I was ready for home rather than braving the cold, wet & snowy(!) weather any longer! "Dougal" then departed on the 1:30pm train and I said my goodbyes to Jim as he passed on the train. "Come back on a Nice Day!"...he replied. He was very right...on a nice day, the EVLR is a lovely, peaceful and scenic place to be. For anyone interested, the EVLR runs at weekends and during school holidays. They are very friendly and train rides are enjoyable, interesting, scenic and, best of all, fairly priced! For more information, why not check out their website at http://www.evlr.co.uk/ . I must admit, I was very dissapointed when I arrived to find the weather in such a state today but, the kind and friendly staff at the EVLR more than made up for it...I had a great time again...thanks to Jim, Helen and Chris. See you again in the Summer! Thanks for reading folks. Evening All...

1 comment:

peter1uk said...

Hi Sammy
It certainly was a very wet day. Lets hope the weather is better for your next visit to Evesham.
The Graduate