BRC Website Home
Quainton Virtual Stockbook
Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 32 - Summer 1977
The Easter and Jubilee Open Days
Perhaps one of these days we will begin our operating season without the customary panic! This year we tried hard to have things well organised but in spite of valiant efforts on the part of C & W and four volunteers the GC coach was not quite ready for Easter and we had to fall back on the Chatham four wheeler again. Also there was not enough time or volunteers available to give the LNW brake a top coat of paint. It has been in under coat since Loco painted it last August and will need re-doing.
The engines in steam on Easter Saturday were Beattie and Del Etheridge's Peckett which was the standby engine doing a turn from 4 to 6 pm. Beattie began the service at 11.20 am a little late due to trouble with the vacuum connection between the Chatham and Great Northern coaches which took a bit of time to correct. The first two runs were an object lesson to the enthusiastic trainee P-way gangers who had oiled the fishplates and sharp curves! Neville Royce wasn't there that day and we were somewhat surprised to see three people out with pots of oil and brushes. Unfortunately they had put some oil on top of the rails before any one mentioned to them to be very careful not to do so! The Driver was also warned so that he wouldn't be surprised if Beattie slipped all over the place. And that is just what she did! She spread the oil from one end of the siding to the other and simply couldn't get her feet. Robin Waywell, who was the Yard Supervisor, and Trevor Page went the length of the siding sprinkling sand onto the rails. However, from our mistakes often something good comes! The immediate result was that Loco fitted up an excellent impromptu drying device for sand for the sandboxes. A permanent arrangement is being worked out so that in the future the engines can always have dry sand ready for their sand boxes.
In the afternoon Coventry was steam tested having had a replacement pressure gauge fitted as hers needed re-calibrating. Her new fusible plug had been fitted the previous weekend, as were her mudhole doors. After the public had gone Coventry was given several test runs up the long siding, while the Peckett and Swanscombe, which had been in light steam all day, did some shunting in the yard.
Sunday saw Beattie again beginning the service with Coventry taking over for the afternoon. After 6 pm the Peckett and Swanscombe double headed the carriages for several runs so that some action photographs could be taken. (Where are they? - Ed.)
Easter Monday brought a change and the Peckett came on until 12 noon, when Beattie took over for 2 hours. Coventry came on a 2 pm and worked until closing time. The two coaches provided adequate seating for Saturday and Sunday, on Monday the trains were full for most of the afternoon, until the rain fell! The turn round time was 4 minutes and Monday's Guard and Platform staff showed what can be done in the way of efficient working when there are crowds. In fact we were amazed when the figures came out to find that we actually carried more passengers on the Monday with one train running than we did on the August Monday last year, with two trains running.
Our gloomy forecasts about the field being too muddy and unfit to use as a Car Park turned out to be quite wrong and we didn't have a repeat of the 1975 situation. On the Saturday Roddy used the Up Yard for car parking and saved the field for Sunday and Monday. It was a good idea and; in spite of some rain on Saturday it was dry enough for Sunday and Monday.
We had 6,500 visitors compared with 9,050 in 1976, but the weather was not so good. Sunday was terribly gloomy and everyone looked, and felt dispirited. Only 1,700 visitors came that day and we feared the worst. However Monday was much better and we did at least reach our budget for the holiday and our Treasurer ended the first weekend of Open Days with a happy smile.
The story of the Spring Holiday Weekend - or the Jubilee Open Days is one of very disappointing attendances. Only 2,200 visitors came to Quainton in the three days (we didn't operate on the Jubilee Day, Tuesday, 7th June) and the Saturday was so quiet that members on duty even had time to talk to each other! We are hoping for better days at the end of August when there will be less competition from Jubilee street parties, the Telly, carnivals and perhaps better weather.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 12 November 2017