I like to open these posts with a thought-provoking, insightful observation into the state of the heritage railway industry or something equally profound, but usually fail to think of anything. Tonight is no exception.
For most of my news this week I must rely on other people's efforts: for with less than a week to go before Rob leaves Peak Rail (at least in a full time capacity) the pace to get the trackwork completed has hardly slowed down.
So as I left it last week, the works train, but without motive power, was down at Darley and Rob, aided by whomever was available, was pursuing the track modifications and repairs. Cheedale was parked at Rowsley awaiting a new lift pump and fuel filter, and pretty much all was well with the world.
The highlight of the week was I suppose, our first formal day of Forklift truck training. That may be a strange thing to say in a “railway” blog, but the art of driving and operating a forklift is likely to be a vital skill to restoration work in the future.
2014 went out with rather more of a bang than a whimper as snow suddenly covered over everything. Just before though, I had been up to our favourite battery suppliers and acquired a couple of nice new ones for James, which had “hand-me-downs” from another loco and which frankly weren't up to the task.
So, an apology first to all those who logged in last night or earlier this morning looking for this week's edition of the blog. Unfortunately the Briddon family were struck down by a vomiting bug – starting with Steph on Christmas day night. Andrew started Saturday evening and by comparison I had it easy – waking up at 5 am Sunday morning feeling very cold and nauseous and remaining so most of the day. Consequently I stayed in bed but not having eaten since Saturday night, my stomach was emptier and I managed to avoid the joy of up-chucking.
So, a few more days and all this Christmas humbug will be over and I can get back to more normal things. Even my daughter has taken me to task over last week's edition, pointing out that it was 1994, not 1997 when my mother died, but giving me the opportunity to blame any excess melancholy on it being the 20th anniversary.
Apparently the news of the bogie well wagon arrival was of considerable interest to the readers of the National Preservation forum as within half-an-hour of last week's instalment, a link had been put up and I accrued loads more readers than usual over the next few days. If you are one that has returned this week, hiya!
There are some firms that are easy to do business with, and others that make you wonder how they stay in business at all. Around two-and-a-half years ago, I was in discussion with a firm – I'll not name them – about repairing and converting a tacho head (for the uninitiated, I mean the bit what goes in the desk and has a needle that indicates how many rpm the engine is doing) to suit a different input speed.
No sooner do I pose a question in this blog than someone responds with an answer – for such a specialist interest it still astonishes me how many diverse people read it. In this case, I had rambled on about the likely grade of oil to be found in the dashpots of the Matterson Overload relays, and first thing Monday morning, a reader working within the MoD had e-mailed me not only identifying the make of said relays but advising what type and grade of oil he had used in the past!