A damp and misty start which got better for a time, before the heavens opened as dark fell.
There was only a select few volunteers on site today, probably due to the weather - although having said that, we did welcome a new recruit who has recently started a course at Derby University but is actually from Southampton. The Booking Hall was open and welcomed a party of walkers who were shaken for a few pennies and the EVRA shop had a good sort out. Our station master decided he was going to dig a drain out up near the headshunt, which was a useful, if not manky, task. The Global Marketing and Communications Department also paid a brief visit.
There was around six hours of jiggling it a bit in the car park today. A team of dedicated individuals turned up to fit the new engine to 51505 in order to try and get the set ready for the Santa Specials. The day started well, with the unit and the new engine ready in the car park before 09:30. It was sort of hoped that the engine could be mounted relatively quickly to enable work to be started on connecting up all of the various bits and bobs but as with all of these things everybody soon realised it wouldn't be so simple. The engine was offered up to the unit using the forklift and it wasn't too long before the first bolt was successfully attached. For those who are not so up on DMUs, the engines are held to the frame of the unit by three large brackets at different points on the engine. The first one to be attached was the one on the right. What then followed was many hours of "up a bit, down a bit, tilt it back...no no...now just up a gnatt's cod...I can't get it in the hole...". Just as the left-hand bracket was virtually in position, the pallet that the engine was on decided that it was going to snap causing much groaning and calls for the kettle. After a few more hours, the team were nearly ready to retreat for the day after the brackets just did not seem to want to line up (a thought was that the new engine was a slightly different model to the one that had been taken off and maybe the mountings were different) but just as the engine was being prepared for dropping again something finally gave and suddenly the engine was in line with all of the remaining bolt holes! It was then a case of quickly getting the right bolt and shoving in the hole to secure the engine before it moved. The team had finally managed to hang the engine in position just as night fell and the heavens opened. Well done all!
All in all, not a bad day for my first turn as Duty Manager - even though it was a little moist!