Sunday, 29 April 2012

Idryss & Siadwell Take "Thomas"...

Hi everybody. Today for the 3rd and final time during this event, I was rostered on "Thomas The Tank Engine" (Jinty 47298) at Shackerstone. My Driver today was Eddie and we had a very enjoyable day indeed. The only thing wrong was the weather. It either rained heavily or the wind battered us. It really was one of the most unpleasant days for weather that I have ever had on a footplate. The only upside was that we were on an engine with a proper cab rather than the rather lacking cab of 3803! We were ready well before time but as it was so cold and wet the call came for us to put the Jinty onto the back of the train asap to start steam heating. We jumped to the task and the 0-6-0 was soon coupled up and heating at full steam. It was now only around 9:30am and we weren't due out until 10:30am so Eddie got cooking...
The lovely Breakfast Cobs that Eddie produced on that shovel were very welcome this morning, and very tasty. We had a few sausages, a few rashers of bacon and an egg each and it really hit the spot. We even had enough stuff left to do another couple later on: just the ticket!...
As was timetabled, there were 6 trips to Shenton again today. We had the 1st, 3rd and last, with 3803 taking the other three. Our first two trips were top & tailed with the Class 73 to save running round/uncoupling in the heavy rain, and to keep time where possible. I drove our 2nd trip, with Eddie firing, which was very enjoyable. I also drove our one trip coupled to the DMU to Hedleys, with Eddie taking over his post again for our final trip. This run was gratefully taken both ways by the 3F. Top & tailing does save time but it can get boring so its always nice to have at least one run where you can really let the Jinty show what she can do. We did a few races and games today but it was just so wet that everybody stayed on the trains rather than venturing outside to watch our antics. Nevertheless, we had a fantastic day on the locomotive anyway. After a quick clean out (as part of disposal) the Jinty was taken down to the North End sidings ready for departure by road tomorrow at Midday. She is now off to Denmark of all places! My god that Thomas gets around. Anyway folks, thanks to Eddie for a great day and thank you all for reading. Cheers guys. Sam...

Saturday, 28 April 2012

"Day Out With Thomas", With Dave & Jan...

On Shed And Ready To Go
Hello everyone. Today at 6am I was back at Shackerstone, meeting Dave and lighting up Jinty Tank No47298 for another day as "Thomas". Up in the shed we checked the engine over and then lit the fire. She was just about to come onto steam as she started 'singing' straight away. Our Driver for the day: Jan: soon arrived and we all prepped the engine in good time. 3803 was being readied by Mic & John, with cleaning hands being provided by Joe, Danny and Kelly. The Jinty was ready well before time and we all got washed up & changed before the Grand Opening at around 9:50am. After much whistling and waving the Opening was done and the first Daisy Run took place. The Jinty was then moved to the front of the train to start steam-heating the 10:30am departure for Shenton. The DMU soon returned and the passengers crossed the barrow crossing and boarded the 6-coach train that was coupled to 47298. I put a horse-shoe shaped back end in the Jinty's firebox again and she steamed relatively well. We made Shenton in good time and Dave hooked us off before we ran round
47298 At Shenton (by Mark Heseltine)
Back to Shackerstone we went and the loco ran round into Platform 1 for various games, playlets, races and photo opportunities, as per the week before
Shackerstone North End (by Mark Heseltine)
We indulged in various races against the Class 08, playing 'Diesel'. Of course, many people cheered for Thomas but he has to lose a few races to build suspense! Naturally, the last run we often win. Below, I'm driving Thomas as he thrashes the Class 08 in the final scene; to the joy of many ;) We also see a few other Fast & Slow races...

We had to do the 3rd run as it was the "Lunch on Thomas" train. This trip was top & tailed with the Jinty on the front and the 73 on the back. We hauled the train to Shenton with Dave firing, before getting dragged back to Shack by the 73; providing assistance here and there of course. Back at Shackerstone the games continued, with Dave & Jan jubilently taking part in the sing-a-long song. I must admit, they were very good at it...I really don't like doing it. With the 38' pulling the main train, we were limited to station duties. However, during the run-round times, "Daisy the DMU" makes a short run to Hedleys crossing and back. At one point during the day, there is the chance to take "Thomas" on that run as well. So, we coupled up and off we went. Stuart hauled us to Hedleys with the two DMU power cars before changing cabs and exchanging the single-line token. We would then create Vac and then pull the DMU back to Shackerstone's Platform 1. Dave fired this run too, with Jan on the handle.
"Thomas" & "Daisy" At Breezy Hedleys
The locomotive was performing well, though you had to keep the firebed clean to prevent clinker. The final trip was hauled by the 73 and tailed by the Jinty. We hauled them neatly back from Shenton, with the 0-6-0 putting in another good performance on the "Tea on Thomas" service. After uncoupling at Shackerstone it was 5:30pm and time to put the engine to bed again. We steamed up into the shed, put both injectors on and raked the fire to a 'safe' level. Once the boiler was full and the fire pretty much dead, we turned everything off and then left the loco to simmer, with 50psi still on the clock. It had been a fantastic day and I must thank Jan & Dave for a great time. By the way, Jan has her own fantastic blog which can be found here - well worth a read. Well, thats it, another day done. When am I next firing? "Oh yes...tomorrow!". Yes I'll be back at 6am again for a final day on 47298, but with Eddie this time. Thanks for reading folks. Good evening...

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Achilles Report No12: Double-Heading...

Hello everyone. This afternoon I was rostered on as a Driver at RPMR; the miniature railway operated by the Coventry Model Engineering Society. Though the weather forecast had been a bit depressing, the sun was shining as we pulled up to the railway gates at around Midday. The plan today was to double-head my engine ("Achilles") with the clubs own "John H Owen": a Sweet Pea. After unloading the loco we put her onto one of the bays and began prepping her. Gary, Gerry and Ben took the Class 37 electric away with the train and began running the railway (around 45 minutes early) at 12:15. Myself and Driver Emma meanwhile prepped our engines. "John H Owen" was prepared on the loading line ready for action
Emma Raises Steam on "JHO"
My electric blower failed again today so I had to revert to using the clubs blower. As Emma was still making up her wood fire I quickly borrowed it and shoved it onto "Achilles". Once I had enough steam to use a tiny bit of steam blower, I gave her the electric one back asap so that she could steam "John Owen". "Achilles" doesn't take very long to steam up at all, particularly with a good blower, so simmered away happily at around 60psi with the blower just cracked whilst the Pea warmed up
Once the two engines were ready to go, we steamed off shed. "Achilles" + driving truck was pulled onto the traverser and across onto the run-up-rail. We then descended this line a little so as to allow "JHO" to use the traverser. Soon enough, across she came, feathering at the safety valves. "JHO" was then coupled up to the rear of my driving truck before the Pea dragged "Achilles" back up the incline and onto the main. The 37 had just arrived with the ECS from the station so we shunted around and then got coupled up. The 37 headed off down to the traverser for storage. With the two engines on the head of the train, we steamed around the track to the station. "Achilles" led the way, with "JHO" as Train Engine, followed by 4 full size cars and a Guards truck at the back. The ECS was easy to pull and we were soon at the station and raring to go with our first passenger run at 1pm: right on time!
We believe that this is the very first time that two loco's have double-headed a train (in the correct manner) on the RPMR since it opened. The train did look rather odd, with an industrial tank engine on the front and a narrow gauge Bagnall look-a-like behind but, nevertheless, it was fun! On the front, "Achilles" pulled well though steaming was at times inpaired. I don't know if the push of "JHO" from behind was causing bad running but when we got a good head and were working hard the 0-6-0T steamed very well, feathering at the valves most of the way. Some of the loads we pulled were pretty heavy. Indeed I remember two particularly heavy trains when both "Achilles" and "JHO" had to work quite hard on the bank. Emma (driver of "JHO") reported that you could really feel the difference when "Achilles" was on the front, meaning that it was definately doing some of the work. Naturally, the Pea is more powerful but then again it has a much bigger boiler!
4/5 of The Way Around The Track (by E.Furminger)

"Achilles" & "JHO" Pass By (by E.Furminger)
I must admit I was impressed with the running and it certainly was unusual. I always enjoy pulling people with "Achilles". When she goes well, she goes very well. The beauty about having "JHO" behind also meant that I could theoretically work the 0-6-0 as hard as I wanted. If I was struggling then I could just crack the regulator and let the Pea take most of the load but if I wanted a bit of a chuff then I could open the tank right up and take some more of the weight.
Arriving Back (by E.Furminger)
The photograph below is probably the best (yes, the best) photograph I have ever seen of RPMR
Steaming Away As Light Fades (by E.Furminger)
The loco did develop a blower problem later in the afternoon and had to be removed from the track briefly. The blower head was blocked so I cleared it asap and relit the fire. The loco then steamed back onto the track and rejoined "JHO". After a few more runs the rain and hail set in, beating down hard on the railway. The locomotives simmered in the station before being sent away for disposal. We reversed "JHO" back to her bay before "Achilles" took all of the ECS back to the run-up-rail and steaming bays. "Achilles" was then disposed before being cleaned and readied for loading
Once loaded we headed home at around 4:45pm after another successful day. Thank you for reading and thanks to everyone involved on the day for making it so enjoyable. The loco will next run in early June, unless a new date crops up before: in which case it will appear on here! Cheers guys. Sam...

Saturday, 21 April 2012

"Day Out With Thomas" 2012 - Day 1

 Hi guys. This morning, at 6am, I arrived at the gates of the Battlefield Line and opened up, ready for the first of four "Thomas Day"s. As is often the case, I was first there, until the dim morning air was cut by headlight beams from the distance. Sure enough, Dave (my trainee) arrived and we drove in tandem up the driveway to the station. After signing in we walked down to the loco works. Inside sat our Welsh visitor: Jinty Tank No47298: and 3803; both warm and waiting. I dropped my kit in the workshop before clambering up onto our steed for the day (the Jinty). The boiler water level sat at around 3/4 of a glass; all good stuff. I was both amazed and relieved when I looked in the firebox and saw a small fire burning away at the tubeplate end of the grate. It was the remains of the warming fire from the night before and was still flickering nicely. So, after checking the stays, fusibles and the brickarch for any damage, I threw in quite a bit of coal - on top of the remaining flames. I then used the bent-dart to clear the back corners of the grate and the middle section. I could then throw more coal onto the cleared sections before dragging the burning embers back and then clearing the front corners. Though it sounds like alot of messing around, it is SO much easier than breaking up wood and starting afresh...and much quicker. This whole process took less than 5 minutes to complete! Soon enough, Adrian & Danny (the crew of 3803) and Chris (the Bobby) arrived. Within 20 minutes, Adrian had moved the loco's around and the Jinty was on Platform 1 road, allowing 3803 to stay in the dock...
47298 - Courtesy of the Llangollen Railway
 The Jinty was gradually warming up so, after checking the fire, I picked up an Oil Feeder and clambered underneath the locomotive. Without a pit, I joke you not, oiling a Jinty is probably the most unpleasant experience I have ever had. As you clamber up from the floor you need to miss the connecting rods to the expansion links or you may lose your head. Then, the four eccentrics and the two big ends both need oiling. This normally requires you squeezing between the rods as tightly as you can before reaching at arms length as best you can to oil them. It is awkward to say the least. Oh well, I got it done! Below, we see the controls. The reverser is in the foreground, with the regulator in the centre. There are two gauge glasses. The red lever at the bottom is the damper door, next to the firehole doors. The brass cock in the centre is the Blower, either side of which are the injectors. The cock at the top of the reversing lever is the small ejector valve. All in all, a nice workable cab...
 Whilst I oiled 47298, Dave was cleaning her. Danny & Adrian were prepping their steed: the mighty 3803
The Mighty 3803 Stands In The Dock With Danny Scaling The Heights!
 Our driver; John; soon arrived and aided Dave in the cleaning process. 3803 - once she had steam - chugged off down to the North End for coal. This allowed us to get into the shed for ashing out and face-fitting via the dock road. The engine looked spin 'n' span as the Fat Controller approached along the shed path. He examined the engine and then clambered aboard the footplate, making a full four of us. For Thomas events, all engines carry a radio to keep us in contact with the guys in charge. Today, Mr Conductor was on the airwaves giving the orders. So, at 9:50am, bang on time, we left the shed and steamed down into Platform 1 for the Grand Opening. Following that, the loco had to be put onto the front of the train to Steam Heat ready for the first departure at 10:30am
A Steamy "Thomas" at Shackerstone - Ready To Go (by Mark Heseltine)
 The first run saw me firing, with Dave learning the engine. I've been on a few Jinty's now but this one has proved troublesome in the past. However, I fired her with a 'horseshoe' around the back end and, though it was probably a tad too much, she steamed beautifully with plenty of water and steam heat on. At Shenton, we swiftly ran round ready to return to Shack
"Thomas" At Shenton (by Mark Heseltine)
 The engine steamed well on the way back too, bringing us nicely back into Shackerstone. The event was doing well in terms of visitor numbers and we indulged in games, sing-a-longs, engine races, playlets and stories. 3803 took the next trip before we took the 3rd: the "Lunch on Thomas" diner. The Lambert Families 08 & 04 class diesel shunters (as "Diesel" & "Mavis") were doing Brakevan Rides in the meantime
"Well Well Well, Thomas, We Meet Again"
 Once coupled up to the 3rd train, Dave prepared the fire and we got ready to go
 "Thomas" chugged neatly out of Shackerstone with six coaches seeming hardly any effort to move!
"Thomas" Barks Along The Track Towards Hedleys (by Mark Heseltine)
 After another good march to Shenton, we quickly ran round and returned briskly. The performances from the Jinty were fabulous and I think I could really get used to her! Back at Shackerstone there were more songs, games, races and god only knows what else. Visitor reviews seemed positive so all good, ay?! By now we were hungry so I got cooking...
Saturday Kitchen on a Jinty (by Dave Hanks)
 The Bacon went down very well. We had two cooking sessions: one in the platform for the benefit of the visitors, whilst the second was in private - up on the pit out of the way. Bacon on the Shovel rules :)
47298 On The Old Pit - Where We Used To Prep Locos (by Dave Hanks)
After a few more games the day was pretty much drawing to a close and the last train beckoned; hauled by us again. This was the 4:30pm "Tea on Thomas" Diner train. Myself and Dave fired the final trip together: he fired down, I fired back. Off we go then...
 After another fabulous run, we ran round at Shenton before what can only be described as a volcanic run back!! It was fab!!
Once at Shackerstone, we uncoupled, backed up and then steamed up to the dock road and into the shed. The loco was then disposed. I raked the fire and broke alot of clinker up, whilst Dave & John ashed the loco out again. All in all, an absolutely fabulous day. Thanks very much to John & Dave for a fab day, and to Mark & Dave (again) for sending in photographs. "Day out with Thomas" is running at Shackerstone NEXT weekend as well so please do come along. It is a fantastic event which we put alot of time & effort into. Maybe we'll see you there? Thanks very much guys. Sam...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

RMS Titanic: Respect For The Legend...

Hi everyone. Now, I know that this is not a railway post, neither particularly is it anything to do with what I do, but I do think that here in 2012 it would be insensitive not to write a short post about the legend that was and still is RMS Titanic. Titanic was completed on April 2nd 1912 as part of the Olympic Class of Liners created by the White Star Line. At over 46,000 tons in weight and almost 900ft long, she was the biggest ship afloat at the time of her build. However, on 15th April 1912: on her Maiden Voyage to New York: the ship tragically struck an Iceburg in the freezing Atlantic ocean and sank within less than 3 hours; plunging into the depths of history forever. Below, I have included a brief video that is available to watch on Youtube. It shows various pictures of the famous Liner and gives you an idea of just how large, graceful and beautiful she was...
On that terrible night in 1912, the ship (having already split in two from the excess pressure on her hull) sank to a depth of 12,500ft. For reasons that are argued to this day, the ship was not equipped with enough lifeboats to cater for the 2224 souls aboard. Not only this, but some lifeboats left the ship without being filled to capacity. Due to the speed of the sinking (less than 3 hours) the nearest ship ("Carpathia") simply could not get to 'Titanic' in time and so, coupled with the lack of lifeboats and the fact that the temperature of the Atlantic was around -2 Degrees when the liner sank, the result is a shocking death figure of 1514 people. It is on that note that I would like to offer my respect. It was a terrible tragedy that should never have occured but, nevertheless, we will never forget. To this day, the sinking of Titanic is still the worst Maritime disaster in history and I think that it is therefore appropriate that today (100 years since the liner sank) we remember. There have been many documentaries, tributes, news items and rememberance services to mark the centenary and rightly so.

Following the sinking of Titanic, her sisters ("Olympic" & "Britannic") were re-examined in terms of their safety. Both ships received enough lifeboats for the full capacity on board and I believe that their bulkheads were raised higher in order to prevent or slow down a sinking if holed. Indeed, "Olympic" had been holed already in September 1911 when she collided with a warship, though with her watertight doors shut she had managed to remain afloat. In "Titanic"s case however, too many of the watertight compartments had been flooded. The two remaining White Star 'Olympic Class' liners continued their careers, learning lessons taught by Titanic's fate. "Britannic" was lost in 1916 during war service as a Hospital Ship: she hit a mine and sank in the Kea Channel with a loss of 30 lives. "Olympic" meanwhile had a much longer life than her sisters, earning the nickname of "Old Reliable" when used as a Troopship in World War I. After naval service and more years again as a passenger ship, she was retired in 1937 and scrapped. I believe the scrapping of her was a big shame but I guess at the time preserving something that massive would have been very difficult. On a final note about "Titanic", the ship was grand, it was beautiful and it was known as the "Ship of Dreams". Many people boarded the 46,000HP vessel in the hope of starting a new life in America. In todays culture, we remember Titanic as a disaster, with many having seen her as part of the 1997 James Cameron blockbuster movie. However, she was a huge achievement for engineering though, unfortunately in this case, she was doomed. Lastly, I would just like to say that I have a great respect for Titanic, and a great sadness for all those who lost their lives with her in 1912. May they all rest in peace. Thank you for reading.

Driving & Firing A Great Western Heavy Freight...

 Hi everyone. This morning I was at Shackerstone at 5:30am, driving in under dark skies. Up in the loco works I found Pockets; having just arrived himself. He was busy lighting 3803: the locomotive for the day. The engine was due off-shed at 9am for another of the railway's popular "Footplate Experience" courses. Andy (Poc) would be teaching the driving, and I would be firing. With the loco lit, we had a cuppa' as she boiled away in the background. The Foot-Ex people arrived on time at 8am and were given the usual Safety Brief and a description of both the railway and 3803. We left shed at 9am, watered up and then continued down the line for the light engine run. We then returned to Shack, collected the train and away we went. By now the skies had changed their tune and white clouds hung effortlessly above us against the blue backdrop
On The Run Towards Market Bosworth
 Out on the line the weather was lovely. It was a little breezy on the cab of the big 38' but the views were fab as normal. The Battlefield Line is a real country railway and the heart of its rural surroundings
Tender First Towards Hedleys
Below, 3803 climbs out of Shenton towards Far Coton...

Following the Foot-Ex we returned to Shack and handed over the certificates and various souvenir paperwork. The first public train (the 11:15) left on time and 3803 performed well with John driving and me firing. On return to Shackerstone again, we had to take coal
 The coaling is always done with a JCB at Shackerstone, as there is no coal hopper or working conveyer
 Whilst John and Pockets coaled the tender, I watched the water and the fire from the cab. As I had a few minutes spare I got my Chicken & Mushroom pasty out and got cooking
 The rest of our trips were very enjoyable with myself, John, Pockets and Dave sharing duties on the footplate. I drove a trip, and fired a few. 3803 went well all day, pulling the 4 coach train effortlessly
Backhead Controls On 3803
 Trainee Dave was on fine form with the firing during the afternoon and took the 3rd & 4th trips

Another Couple Of Rounds On
We returned to shed on time at around 5:20ish as usual. The loco had performed very well indeed and we had had a good laugh and another good day on 3803. Thanks to everyone involved. I really enjoy doing the Foot-Ex's; they are just a bit different! :) Cheers guys. Sam

Saturday, 14 April 2012

A Mainline Ramble With Two GWR Panniers...

 Hi everyone. Today we were travelling in style: behind steam on the mainline. Last year, Vintage Trains Limited of Tyseley ran a railtour around the Midlands behind two of their trio of Pannier Tanks. I was out spotting that tour last November (see post) and it was then that I vowed to make sure that I had a ticket for this trip. Joining me on the trip were Eddie & Arnold, who I met at Tyseley just after 7:30am. The tour was operated on a circular route from the well-known loco works, around the Midlands and back again. The two locomotives that headed the train were 9600 (in BR Black) and 7752 (in LT Red as 'L94'). The tour departed on time at 7:55am and the journey began. The two Panniers (9600 leading) steamed bunker-first out of Tyseley and onto the mainline. As the countryside passed the window, we enjoyed a cuppa' and read the route notes, timings and some of the railway press. This is how all tables should look...
THE Way To Travel
As the train continued on its merry way, we passed countless photographers in the fields and on the stations. The Panniers made good time to a water stop at a random bridge near Walsall, before continuing to an operational stop at Bescot Yard. From here, we steamed towards Birmingham International station (home of the Airport & the NEC). During this section of the trip, exceedingly good Bacon Baps were served by the waitress' (I couldn't resist)...
Bacon Bap
The Time Sheet
Now for a quick explanation of the route. The timing sheet can be seen below. Leaving Tyseley we headed out through Small Heath and along the Sutton Park line to Walsall. We then ran through Bescot & Aston down to International. Here, the loco's ran round and watered again. From International we climbed back to Aston before changing onto the Cross-City Line to Lichfield. There was then a lengthy water stop at Alrewas Crossing (where the loco's literally stopped on the level crossing - blocking traffic for 45 minutes! The motorists were NOT happy!). From there we steamed to Mantle Lane (Coalville), via Branston Jnc and Moira West Jnc. That was an unusual section of line: very pretty but also echoing history. There were many traces of old & now of course closed routes to various coal mines. The water stop at Mantle Lane was around 40 minutes again, before we steamed away through Coalville and out past Bardon Hill for Knighton Jnc. Here there was yet another water stop. The Panniers then had a quick romp up the Nuneaton line via Hinckley. They really got going along there: very surprising turn of speed for their size! After a chug through Nuneaton's Platform 6 we climbed the flyover over the WCML before a final water stop at Whitacre Jnc. The train then steamed back to Small Heath (Bham) and then back down into Tyseley. In total, an almost 9-hour day but very enjoyable. The Panniers were very quick and got away easily with their 8 coaches. However, a few less water stops would have been fab! ;) ...
Proper Coaches at International
Anyway, back to us on the train. On arrival at International we all disembarked to take a look at the shining Panniers. The sun was shining but it was bitterly cold. 7752 & 9600 were watered using hydrants I believe. However, both were overfilled resulting in some very wet running plates!...seen below on 7752...
7752 (L94)
The duo uncoupled from the train here and ran round the 8-coach stock...
Panniers at Bham International
On the front of the train again, the Panniers were admired by many people. One photographer really caught the eye of HERE to see why. Below, 7752 is now leading the duo as smoke fills the bridge...
Too Much Steam!
Having ran round the Panniers had unfortunately ended up under the floor of the main concourse. This fact became even more apparent when the train was asked to move along slightly as the Panniers were filling the upstairs with smoke & steam! They did move it slightly...just so the Panniers were outside! As this was the only stop during the day where we could get off the train I didn't get many pics. Therefore, I have included the video below (which is available on Youtube) just to give you an idea of what the Panniers got up to...
From International we followed the route mentioned earlier, via all of the water stops and countless stations. The locomotives put in fantastic performances and; from the sounds echoing through the windows; seemed in fabulous mechanical condition. Before long though, journeys end beckoned and we reached Tyseley: home of the Panniers and countless other engines such as "Rood Ashton Hall", "Clun Castle", "Earl of Mount Edgecumbe" and "Princess Elizabeth"...
Panniers Home Again
9600 Cab
The Panniers had made good time and we arrived some 15 minutes early. For a bit of history...7752 was built in 1930 and was withdrawn in 1961, having spent time at Abedare, Tondu and Newport Ebbw Juntion amongst other places. 9600 was built in 1945 and withdrawn 20 years later. She spent time at Newport Ebbw Junction, Swindon and Neath, amongst other places. Below, 7752 sits at the bufferstops with her Tyseley mate and train behind her... 
Journeys End 
It was a great day out behind mainline steam once again. The Panniers had been in fine form, the weather had been relatively kind and the train was comfortable (if a little stationary alot of the time!). Thanks must go to Arnold & Eddie who provided informative, interesting and humorous company on the train! We did have a laugh and a good chat. Below, Arnold enjoys the water stop...

Thats about it then folks. Thank you very much for reading and do look out for more posts as they happen. The one problem with travelling behind mainline steam is that it always leaves you wanting more so don't be surprised if I go on another railtour this year! ;) . Cheers...Sam