Today was the day when thoughts began to pop into your mind whilst you are on the drive to Wirksworth, with the car's thermometre reading -5 degrees, about whether or not the trains would start or indeed whether there would be any public to travel on it.
First thing, with ice everywhere, a small team set off the young offender, his minder and his minder's trainee cleaning the old grime off the formica inside the 119. There were reasonable results with this although there is still alot to do. Other conscripts arrived soon after and began to fettle the narrow gauge ballast. With all six conscripts sorted out and working, it enabled the team to get on with other jobs.
At the back of the shed, the Dream Steam Team continued with their boiler whilst at the front, a small team began to prepare the DMUs for Santa Specials. Just before lunch, the crunch time came and it was time to attempt to start the service train. Everybody knew that this would be hit and miss but with ice on the windows, inside and out, 55006 gradually bubbled into life very slowly and received a cheer afterwards. Diesels do not like the cold! It was worth it though as there were quite a few people milling around in the winter sunshine. The booking hall and EVRA shop relieved people of some money as they passed.
After lunch, work continued on the Santa train. As there is a minor issue with an engine on 51188 the decision was taken to couple the 117 power car on the front of the two Met-Camms creating a three car for the Santa Specials but also giving the train a little bit more insurance against the weather next weekend. Whilst underneath the train, opportunity was taken to oil various bits and pieces as well. This consist was then taken on a test run to Ravenstor creating quite a stir in the windows of the houses that grace the incline. I don't think they had ever seen three car passenger stock in their neck of the woods!
Elsewhere, Rod began to apply the finishing touches to the castle for next weekend but couldn't resist a play with the new narrow gauge toy that had arrived earlier in the week.
It was such a fun day (bring on Summer),