2018 - A Year of Contrasting Weather
We began late as winter work pushed running back and it was not until May 26 that three locos, Eileen, L94 and Scott Line, ventured on to the track.
Things got going properly in time for the Charity Day on June 23rd; this was at the start of a period of really hot and dry weather but by mid August it had cooled so the Family Day and Louise and Eric's wedding celebration in September had comfortable sunny weather. At the end of the season, in contrast to July, we lost two running days to rain.
This year's Charity Day was in aid of Godalming and Villages Lions. Robin was controller and as usual had planned thoroughly but even so we struggled to a late start what with more leaves to clear and locomotives making their first run of the season. The weather was great - the start of the year's hot summer.
Our guests did not really notice our late start, rather were impressed with our organisation. Most passenger trains were double headed but later several locomotives turned to 'Driver Experience' and two are shown above.
The glorious weather encouraged us to the first bbq of the year, provided as usual by June and assisted this day by Louise and Eric.
As ever the dogs were around when food was about and Millie can be seen in the picture.
These events on balmy summer evenings add icing to the cake of our most enjoyable railway days, however, we all managed to look a bit glum on Tim's picture here!
Gordon Clarke was a regular at the railway back in the last century. In fact he and a colleague, Mike Carvell, purchased the Scot from the Ballantine-Dykes family,
took it away, rebuilt it and ran it in other locations near London for several years.
Sadly, Mike died and then Gordon became the sole owner.
When Gordon retired to Somerset there were few opportunities to run the locomotive and so he sold it to David Grant on the understanding that it would return to the SLR
By a happy chance David had just finished preparing the engine when Gordon and his family arrived so it was put into steam to give the visitors several trips round the Railway.
Preparation began on the Friday when some friends attended to clear the railway of debris. The day itself was well attended with over 30 visitors, with several taking the opportunity to drive. Let the pictures speak for themselves
As you can see from the picture below there was some casual dining at Old Oak.
The other picture shows Mick's newly married daughter Sarah, with the delicious cake she baked for the occasion.
The picture right above shows Louise and Eric on King Jack. Cliff made the brilliant wedding headboard, depicting the Malta and UK flags as well as a picture from the wedding.
Two cakes from the wedding in Malta were on display and considering the mileage they had done to the UK, they were in good condition. Tradition has it that a cake is made for each witness and today we saw one of those and part of the main cake.
A photo album was available to view for those with clean hands - so not many of the drivers!!!!!
On the left is a record of our efforts on the 8F.
Whilst the locomotive is sound mechanically we knew that the boiler was beyond repair, thus a new one is required and a team led by Alan S managed to remove it.
The old boiler will become a pattern for a replacement whilst we have a new task of cleaning the chassis.
A lovely sunny and warm day for October, which inevitably began with clearing leaves. Ingfield always make us welcome on their slightly larger locomotives, so it was good to offer them a chance to drive on our railway. The Ingfield group brought an enormous loco to the Romulus design which can be seen below. Generous as ever, Mick allowed Henry to drive Kate.
Peter has been working at home making station name boards with a distinctive style. He is gradually working his way round the railway and the two pictures show a couple of his signs, new in summer 2018.
Getting the team together for a photograph was a surprising challenge. (Herding cats?)
Neither photo below shows all those present on September 1st but we did our best.
Left hand picture :- Back row - L - R Mick, June, Alan, Peter, Cliff, Front row :- David G, Tim, Bob, Dave MB, Robin, Adrian.
Right hand picture :- Back row - L - R Andrew, June, Alan, Mick, Robin, Front row :- David G, Bob, Peter, David D, Tim, Cliff. Missing from the pictures were:- Nick, Tom, Richard, Jamie, Heather, Dave M and Alan S.
The year ended in in November with the now traditional "Fish 'n Chips" plus Fireworks.
The camera can never quite do justice to fireworks but Dave MB did well with this one where you can also make out the bushes on the top lawn to prove the photo was indeed taken at Spinney.
It is not often that our host actually operates his railway so it was a pleasure to see host and hostess enjoying the Scot on the railway one evening in early July.
This postscript is to say "Thank you" to Alan and June for another great year.