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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Our Super Train

Here is our mega-train at Leeds at the end of its passenger carrying day - though they still had to get back to Carlisle via York and Newcastle.
click to enlarge

These two mighty great engines were at the front and a third was at the back!   What a sound they made echoing round the Dales.   I doubt a passenger train has ever had so much power attached to it - and it all came for free, so appealing to the rail industry was the event - the saving of he S&C from closure.   Normally these engines haul heavy freight, push snow ploughs or propel nuclear fuel and other such nastiness around.  They sure look and sound the part.   DRS had even painted the buffers silver for the occasion, bless them.

Video of our train - sound on!

A Weekend to Remember

11th April was the precise 25th Anniversary of the announcement that the Settle-Carlisle Railway would not close.  To mark the event an amazing train of nine carriages hauled by three locomotives went from Leeds to Carlisle and back carrying 600 or so people - about 200 of them were involved in either saving the line or ensuring its subsequent success.   Guest of honour was Michael Portillo - Transport Minister at the time of the line's reprieve.   This was the amazing scene at Settle Station when the train stopped here.   Flags were flying and the church bells were ringing.
click to enlarge
Just three days before this amazing sight a social media appeal was put out to parents and children in Settle to turn up at the station at 11am and for children to bring with them red clothing to wave at the train - in Railway Children style.   This was the staggering result.   Even the sun shone.

I was the commentator on the train and had no idea how great or small the response would be so I told our 600 passengers to look out and wave to the children at Settle, more in hope than expectation of attendance. The Settle schools were on holiday so organised attendance was not possible.

Settle and its children rose to the occasion in style.   The children,who could be forgiven for taking their railway line for granted, will now be in no doubt that it was once at risk of almost certain closure.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Growing Old is Inevitable: Growing Up is Optional

Went to Carlisle today and three experiences underlined anno domini.

First, I had my eyes tested.  20:20 perfect (with glasses) and no change since last time - good.

Next, on SWMBO's orders I had my hearing tested.   This followed a number of "You don't listen, that's half your trouble" incidents.   Besides wondering what the other half of 'my trouble' is I agreed to a hearing test.   To my delight my hearing is perfect, with a slight dip in the range of listening to consonants.   Ball back in SWMBO's court to speak more clearly.   The day was getting even better.

Finally, I treated myself to a pair of decent secateurs:
The lady at the check-out at TKMaxx looked at the secateurs, then at me.   "Are your eighteen?" she demanded to know.   I could have kissed her.   My day was complete.

Monday, 7 April 2014


Blogs - sorts of internet diaries - enable comparisons and I had quite forgotten how dire the coal wagon was:
click to enlarge


As George Clarke would say, "Unbelievable"

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Flowerpot Fever Grips Settle

Not a lot of people know this but 2014 marks the first ever Flowerpot Men Festival of Settle.


It runs from 28th June to 31st August.

I claim the prize for the first f.p.m. sighting of Spring:
 Click to enlarge , if you dare
All flowerpot men have three letter names, as is well known.   Sooooooo:

Meet Ian.

BBC's Mark Forrest Showcases the S&C

Last evening I did a live interview about the water tower on the BBC's Mark Forrest Show.    This is the national programme that goes out on all the BBC local radio stations between 7pm and 10pm nightly.

You can, for the next six days at least, hear it at
BBC Mark Forrest Show

You just click on the arrow on the left and slide along to 2 hours:4mins:20 seconds

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Chain Gang

 Craven Council's Leader, Cllr Donny Whaites (centre in the group below) asked us ages ago if he could bring along his counterparts from all over York and North Yorkshire - in other words the chain gang.   Today was the day.   I have never seen so much gold and big black cars at Settle Station before.

The S&C trolley staff plied them with coffee.   They visited the signal box, pulled the levers and rang the bells.   Then they toured the water tower before gliding off to the Craven Arms for lunch.

 click to enlarge images
Wild horses will not drag from me what I said to the assembled group on the water tower steps to get them to smile.
They were a jolly bunch of people who seemed appreciative.   We were really quite chuffed that given the entire district to pick from, Donny Whaites chose Settle Station, its signal box and water tower as the things he wanted to show off.

What IS the collective noun for Council Leaders incidentally?