Saturday, 14 July 2012

A Wedding Special at Shackerstone...

Hi Everyone. Following a brilliant night at Market Bosworth Goods Shed last night for a performance from Dr Busker, I returned to the railway this morning. It was Rails & Ales weekend and a mixed traffic roster was operating an hourly service from Shackerstone between 10am and 7pm. The 3:30pm returning train from Shenton and the 4pm train from Shackerstone would have 120 very special guests on board: it would be a Wedding Train. Wedding trips on the railway are rare but not unheard of. I joined the train at 9:30am in my suit, ready for the day. Gina was in charge with myself, Mark, Beth, Adrian and Kirsty as the waiters/waitress'. The Wedding party would be enjoying a Bucks Fizz reception with Cream Teas then served aboard the two reserved BR Mk1 TSOs. We started prepping the TSOs on the first departure from Shackerstone and, without joking, it took us all day long. We were 'just' ready in time for the arrival of the Bride & Groom at 3pm - thank goodness! Mind you, the train looked brilliant, appropriately hauled by 3803 to boot.
The loco wore two silver wedding bells on the smokebox door handles during her Wedding service. I must admit, the atmosphere was brilliant aboard the train. The guests joined at Shenton via a reception line and then took their seats aboard the coaches. Once the train got away we waiters set to work. First we served the Scones before taking countless pots of coffee and tea up and down the train. Phrases such as "Tea or Coffee, Sir, Madam", "Are You Enjoying Your Day So Far?" and "Is There Anything Else I Can Get For You?" were common place. One lady asked me how I walked so steadily on a moving train. My response was: "Well, I'm normally on the engine which is much bumpier so this is the easy life!". Mind you, with boiling tea in your hand you had to be careful when 3803 braked or you would be over, and probably badly burnt.
The party alighted at Shackerstone for photographs with the locomotive and on the station, as light rain fell. The return run involved the serving of Bucks Fizz in the same manner as we did the tea/coffee. I must admit, though it sounds odd, I do enjoy things like this. It was nice to see the train (well these 2 coaches anyway) full and people enjoying themselves too. I've travelled on many trains like this (as a customer) and I find the service adds everything to the experience. Therefore, I try to remember that when I'm serving our customers. Alot of the time I'm covered in muck and grime with a shovel in my hands so standing back here in my smarts and chatting to passengers can sometimes be a nice change. Mind you, if I had to choose, give me muck and grime anyday ;) A pot of tea just doesn't feel the same as 3803s regulator! Haha. The wedding party thanked us heartily for their experience and alighted happy at Shenton. We meanwhile returned to Shackerstone on the cushions...rather than standing up as we had done all day! Gina thanked us all for our help and we enjoyed some cake before alighting at Shackerstone. I headed home to get changed before Maisie and I returned to Market Bosworth for another performance by Dr Busker, beginning at 8pm. The Real Ale event was based here and four visiting road locomotives stood impressively in the car park. One of my favourites is "Elsa", a blue Marshall single...
Dr Busker was brilliant once again and I believe he will be returning next year. I would seriously recommend him to anyone: very catchy, and very funny!
The show went on til' midnight (as it did last night) but Phil Bates' Aveiling Roller still stood proudly in steam outside the Goods Shed with parrafin lamps lit...and fair play to him!
All in all it had been a fantastic day (and two evenings) at the Battlefield Line. It was the kind of time that makes you feel proud to be a member...and I didn't even touch a shovel! ;) Cheers everyone. Sam...

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