Mrs Dale’s Diary

The everyday diary of simple Gricing folk. Tuesday 1st May, May Day, and the first of the season’s Dalesman is spotted alongside the river Ribble, at Helwith Bridge. The train had arrived early at Hellifield for the engine change but, was, for reasons unknown, 12 late leaving and still 12 late when she passed. Given the nice feather flying I’m guessing the delay wasn’t caused by a shortage of steam.

The Dalesman runs until September 4th and twice a week sometimes in the summer, throw in the Fellsmen and the Cumbrian Mountain Express and the Waverley on the weekends and it all adds up to a lot of trips, uphill and down dale to see some of the action. When you start totting it all up and that’s just the S&C, there are the Scarborough runs, runs up the ECML, round the Surrey Hills, the Dorset Coast, the Cathedrals Express, and the Jacobite, not to mention one offs and private charters. That’s a lot of volunteers to support all that activity. Equally important is it requires quite a lot of ‘traction trained’ drivers to cover all these tours.

All this activity requires tenderfulls of coal and water, and this latter has to be delivered by road tanker to prearranged stops along the route of the tour. What happens if the tanker gets stuck on the motorway or has a breakdown – it really would be ‘call the fire brigade’ – or put the fire out. Anyway, on that cheerful note, let’s hope all goes well; and enjoy No.48151 in God’s, almost, green acres.

If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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