Sunday, 18 December 2011

Stewarding for Santa at Shackerstone...

Hello guys. A very short one today. Well, the post is short but the day was long! I arrived at Shackerstone at 9am, in SNOW! After clearing the foot crossing of the dreaded stuff I changed into my good shoes ready to undertake my days duty as a 'Train Steward' on the popular Santa Specials. As seats are allocated to particular coaches on these trains, at least 1 steward is allocated to each coach (in theory). The stewards seat the passengers, take questions, give information, provide the refreshments and of course keep the coach clean and tidy. We had 4 trains today; 10am, Midday, 2pm and 4pm. I was still a little tired from the day before's firing on the loco but things were soon in full swing. The strengthened train of 7 coaches (6 passenger + the grotto) was half full on the first run but rammed FULL(!) on the 2nd & 3rd! Even on the first run, after not stewarding for a year, I was a little rusty. However, come the latter 2 trips, we had no time to be slow. Between three of us we stewarded 5 coaches! This included drinks, mince pies, cartons, sweets as well as seating, cleaning, questions and god only knows what else. It was so hectic. The train was constantly being walked by countless people on their way to see Santa, which caused more delay in serving the drinks. But, it was a very good feeling once everybody had been catered for and we could declare; "Job Done"! On the returning 2nd run, we were snapped coming into Shack by my friend Dave. There I am in the mid-window of my coach, the Corridor (No1)...
It was a cold day but my coach; with the steam heat on; was very warm indeed. In fact, some passengers were turning the heat off due to it being too warm! Well I never! We were joined on today's Santa's by Mr Wilson (of CMES) and his family. I hope you had a good time my friend and please do come again. The 4th trip was planned to be only 40 people but after hectic booking in the day and thanks to more people turning up 'on the day', we 3/4 filled it! I did try and get away before the 4pm to get a home a little earlier but there was no chance! Ahh well, its only once a year...and its Christmas. All in all, a fantastic day at Shack though very, very busy. I must admit, stewarding that train is HARDER than a day on the loco...FACT! Well, at 6:30pm, I left Shack for home. Thats my last turn at Shack in 2011 done so Merry Christmas to everyone at the Battlefield Line. I shall be back there on Jan 2nd for another firing turn on the marvellous 3803. Evening all. Sam...

2 comments:

Simon said...

Hi Sam,

Happy Christmas & Best wishes to you and family for New Year!

Regards

Simon

Petensue said...

Hi Sam
Many thanks to you all at Shackerstone for a great trip to see santa last Sunday. We enjoyed the sherry and mince pies whilst the grandchildren were over the moon with their presents.
A Merry Christmas and all the very best for the New Year.
See you at the Pools over the holiday.