Saturday was a very varied, interesting, and fun day, with 15 in attendance.
Firstly, congratulations to Cheryl on becoming a Granny for the fourth time. Needless to say, she wasn't in today as she was seeing her new granddaughter. More good news is that Peter Hackett continues to improve following his stroke just before Christmas. Dave Ward has just had an operation - we wish him well for a speedy recovery.
After opening up the Workshop and Barn, I just had to go and see Foremarke Hall being prepared for the first day of the new running season. She looked wonderful in the morning sunshine, after her servicing and partial repaint, with the loco crew getting her ready for the first train.
RBR 1672 - work began early on our new RBr, with Andy doing some more pressure oiling of the bogies. Later Richard, Phil and Andy completed the fitting of the brake mechanism prior to a run up the yard with the 03 shunter to enable the brakes to be tested.
Other work - John Osborn and grandson Ben were busy again, with John preparing a metal strip for Dave Staniforth (from the Friends of Toddington Station group),
while Ben cut out and ground some small metal panels for use in RBr 1672.
Meanwhile John Hamer continued his excellent work with coach batteries, preparing some new battery connectors using a giant crimping tool.
11:00 and Phil rings the bell for our morning tea break. The remains of Peter's birthday cake from Thursday were soon demolished! Thank you again Peter, and once again, "Happy Birthday from us all"
SO 4790 - Steve has been busy preparing the wooden inserts for the door frames, and is seen fitting the top section to the double door portal. With varnishing completed, we also began the internal refit of the east end compartment.
Derek fitted the remaining replacement panels under the windows, glued down some veneer where it had lifted from the panelling, and reversed some wooden slats to enable the seat backs to be properly secured when they are reinstated. During the latter part of the afternoon I cleared the compartment, and swept and washed the lino so that Eddie could begin installing the new seat side panels next week.
Maroon Rake - in preparation for Gold Cup Day on Friday, Dennis and I swept out and cleaned inside the rake.
The 03 shunter was also coupled to the rake so that Andy, Phil and Richard could check the braking system. John Hamer also changed the batteries on the RMB.
CK 7221 - John Hill continued recovering the second class seating ready for the CK. I think he said that this is just about the last one.
Ex-GWR Monster Van - Bob Keyte continued paint-stripping inside the van. Bob has also started to mark the bad areas inside the van where planking will need to be replaced. One particular bit where two planks bulged out was fixed by Chris.
Being a nice dry day it enabled Grenville and Nicky to start on the outside. The latter cleared area was later painted with wood primer by Bob. There is a lot to do yet, including some roof recovering, but when completed the van will go into GWR Brown.
Broom Leaning - with RBr 1672 outside the Barn, Phil eventualy swept out the Jack Road - it is amazing just how much dirt came of the bogies. In the picture he is talking to Mark, one of the team working on the Class 73 electro-diesel in the siding alongside the Workshop.
And finally the fun part of the day - with the new season kicking off and a gloriously sunny day, then what better way to have some time off, enjoy a trip down the line, and appreciate travelling in the lovely coaches that we spend so long restoring and refurbishing.
The first group travelled down in the morning, and as an added bonus were able to enjoy the celebrations being put on for the 100th birthday of Cheltenham Racecourse Station. While they were away, Richard decided that he also needed to "check" that our Chocolate and Cream rake was running satisfactorily, and no surprises that he had a very willing group of us all ready to "help out" - so the 14:35 from Winchcombe also carried a group of C&W "escapees".
And, after all our hard work, and on such a lovely day, it's good to take time out and enjoy our wonderful railway.