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Guard's Christmas

Discussion in 'Bullhead Memories' started by olly5764, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Again a stolen title, many thanks to Bing Crosby.
    Gaurding invaryably brings more printable stories than footplate work as you have encounters with a greater variety of people and are pretty well on the front line of customer service work, hence that someone who joined the railway as a footplate man prints more stories about guards turns.

    Christmas is a time when railways can struggle for volenteers, as people natrually want to be at home with their families, particularly, in our case, the week after Christmas. Needless to say, if you are single, willing and live in Stourport-on-Severn, you will find plenty of work on the Severn Valley (non-locals with families are welcome too! lol).

    It is this state of affaris that saw me pick up 8 guards turns and two firing turns in December 2010, which is pretty well normal for me. With the cold weather and the snow, we were all set for some fun from the outset, and it was typical of my luck, the only weekend not affected by bad weather was the one I wasn't on!

    The first weekend of the month went surprisingly well, despite the extreem cold and some slight late running, however, the 18th, and things began to go pear shaped. A problem on the train ahead of mine saw me slip from 4 minutes Late leaveing Arley to 64 late arriving in Kidder, eventually arriving home 104 minutes late on my last trip, and running two paths out of postion, with my plans for the night well and truely scuppered! In railway work, such things are sent to try us.

    Christmas eve, and the railway was not able to run a full service because of the weather, so we ran two sets, both topped and tailed, but otherwise to time, so still no huge issues.

    Que the arrival of Boxing day, following a very cold christmas (minus 19 I belive) and a frozen guard having coaxed his car into life turning up at Kidderminster, and after a while wondering where the loco for the first train was.

    On phoning the signal box, it transpired that the loco had failed at Bewdley, and as had the loco for the second train, and I was to sit tight and wait, while we tried to get things running. Mean while, chatting to the other guard, it was apparent to the two of us, that only one set was likely to run, and we elected if this was the case, it should be me who took it.

    Eventually we got one loco working, with the plan being that I would work the diagram of the 11.40 train for one trip, then pick up my own diagram, knowing full well that as soon as I left Kidderminster, that the last train of the day had to run, as people would be expecting it.

    As we left Kidder, news began to come through that the Bridgnorth train had failed at Erdington. It was just a rumour at the time, and hopes abbounded about fixing the problem and getting things rolling again, although by the time I got to Bewdley, the rumour was confirmed as correct.

    I had my own problems, 103 minutes down on my booked diagram, and 28 minutes down for the train i was now working, with two coach parties both worried that they may not get to Bridgnorth to reach their busses. This was a clear case of how important information and re-assurence is to passengers, as their tempers had been a little frayed earlier, and had been calmed very well by my TTIs, one of whom was only on his second turn.

    We arrived at Hampton Loade to find that the failed train was still stuck in the section as the only available engine was the 08, which would not start. Our options at the time were, our loco rescues it, or we turn back from Hampton, our loco at that time had enough water to get back to Kidder, or wait around at Hampton for an hour or so before proceeding to Bridgnorth, but not enough to do both, we needed assurance that there was water at Bridgnorth, and a decission soon.

    Armed with this knowlege and the info about the coach parties the duty officer went aweay to think about it, while the lads at Bridgnorth tried desperately to get D3586 to start, in the mean time, myself and the fireman kept swapping places, him coming to the box for info, which I would return to the footplate with, and warm myself on Tom's fire, before returning to the box for the next up date, with Tom Heading back to the loco, and so on.

    Eventually, 52 minutes after arriving, we headed for Bridgnorth, where I met up with the Duty officer for further orders.

    "Are we doing the second trip Andy?" I asked

    "I would like you too, if you will," he replied.

    "Thought as much, ok, a late night it is then." It later transpired that if I had said no, it would have been taxis for any passengers who had waited for that last train.

    The rest of the day, we were at least safe in the knowlege we would not be delayed by crossing other trains, 15 and 30 second station stops being the order of the day, with us finishing just over an hour late. Well done to Tom Clarke, Andy Sweet, Denis Pike and Matty Breese who were my Footplate Crew and TTIs that day.

    The next day, my Driver and fireman reminded me that we had had a rough day with an ailing 6695 exactly one year before. My assurences that we had had this years bad luck the previous day luckyly were correct, arriving back in Kidder exactly on time at 6.24.

    The rest of the week managed to pass without too much event, however, I did not really want to be late on the 31st, as I was due to go to one of the legendry Bewley new year parties. Oh well, such is life!
     
  2. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Member

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    And so was the only train running in the West Midlands on the 26th December
    I think Olly will admit it was an interesting day as well as being freezing.
     
  3. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Indeed, it will ern me a few pints for a few years that day will!
     
  4. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Member

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    Some of which can be fullfilled on my part after the 25th April ;)
     
  5. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    lol, wouldn't be your birthday by any chance mate? lol
     
  6. Nexuas

    Nexuas New Member

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    No mention of the Kidderminster incident on IIRC the 28th Dec?

    Manor arrives with train to find all platforms full, stops in the wrong place,Tut Tut Naughty Naughty etc...
     
  7. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    No mention with a VERY good reason thankyou!
     
  8. Nexuas

    Nexuas New Member

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    What me? I never said a word your honour...
     
  9. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    There is still an enquirey to be held on that issue, it wouldn't do for the fireman to comment about it on here!
     
  10. ernestgew

    ernestgew New Member

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    I think that there is a very good reason why any conscientious member of railway staff (which Olly is) wouldn't mention any operating incident that may have occurred, not least for the fact that it wouldn't be their place to mention such things anyway, and would be contary to the rulebook of the railway company, which dictates that information may only be given to the public that is available through normal press releases.

    Bringing things like that up on a forum seems to me to be very childish and thoughtless, and would seem to show that you have an axe to grind with somebody.
     
  11. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Cheers mate, and quite correct too.
     
  12. Nexuas

    Nexuas New Member

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    Axe to Grind? Nope
    Childish? What for just enquiring?

    I was a public passenger, on the train involved, I had ridden the SVR (for the first time) while in Shropshire over Christmas. I was sat in the front end of the front carriage, I, (as was the entire carriage) was informed about the nature of what had just occurred by the TTI. I have no link to the SVR, no inside information, no axe to grind, just an interested member of the public. But shock horror, I get called "Childish and Thoughtless" for asking in what I hope was a vague enough way about an incident that occurred while I was travelling. The time line of Olly's post put him in or around the railway at the time of this incident.

    Olly has declined to mention the incident, end of...
     
  13. ernestgew

    ernestgew New Member

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    If you were in the front coach and told by the TTI what had happened, as you say, then you would already know what had happened, it is quite obvious, and therefore what is the point in asking on here? From looking at your signature, I could guess that you are involved with a heritage railway yourself, and therefore should realise that any heritage railway would not want incidents being mentioned on a public forum like you have done, and equally should know that, as I said in my last post, any good member of railway staff would not comment anyway. And I hardly think that your words were vague, without even having known about the incident previously, I guessed what had happened from your post. You never know who is reading these forums, walls have ears as well as sausages you know.

    I therefore stick by my previous words, mentioning these things on a public forum is thoughtless and childish.
     
  14. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    I'm affraid I have to agree with Ernest here, as you were there, I would have thought as it was obvious what had occured, bringing it up on here can only be seen as attempting to stirr somethiong up, and as it would only have been me or a mate of mine involved, very thoughtless.
     
  15. jtx

    jtx Member

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    Great stuff, Ian. As I've said before to you, with a bit of fleshing out, this would make a brilliant article for the mag. I missed all Christmas and New Year thanks to the 'flu, which left me unable to function, so all this is great news to me and I'm "part of the system," so I can imagine, for the general public, this would be a great behind the scenes glimpse of the SVR overcoming adversity. Plus, of course, there's humour in it, and, you and I both know...there's always humour in it.

    Regards,

    John
     
  16. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Sadly JTX, as you well know, a large percentage of my sense of humour is not printable on here!
     

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