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Quainton News Archive - No. 58 - Autumn / Winter 1985 / 86
The Enthusiast's Day - 29th September 1985 - Observer
"I'm told there will be ten engines in steam!" said our optimistic member. "I'll believe it when I see it!" I replied. In the end it turned out to be seven. In the up yard there were three engines, 7715 and two Sentinels, namely Susan and Isebrook. Dennis Howell's Pannier should have been there as well. He had been expected to have had it back from Didcot by the end of September, but it liked GW company too much. In the down yard Coventry and Met No 1 shared the heavy work - and Frank's Peckett and the Fireless did lighter demonstrations in the short siding and Wembley shed road.
The day began with a passenger service in the down yard, headed by Met No 1, until 11.30 am. Then Coventry took over heading a goods train until 1.30 pm. Met No 1 returned to pull a parcels train up and down for two hours. Then it switched to a very impressive rake of stock, which included the LNW Diner and the Gresley BSK! No, it is not a typing error, the BSK was out, in the light of day - and excellent it looked too. Someone standing on the platform watching the train go past asked if the BSK looked as good on the other side! Its unexpected appearance caused another member, who shall be nameless, to exclaim: "Today I have seen both our Chairman and the BSK!"
While all that was happening in the down yard, the up yard was having fun with an Engineer's train pulled by 7715. At 11 am a change was made and the two Sentinels came on. At l2 noon the passenger service began in the up yard, headed by 7715. At 4 pm the Engineer's train returned for a short time and then the Sentinels were put onto the passenger train from 4.45 until 6 pm. It was while those two engines were busy with the passenger train that one of them developed some peculiar trouble, which produced the most unusual noises. A member murmured, as he passed me in the up yard, that perhaps the unfortunate engine had been fed on baked beans!
Meanwhile, in the down yard, the Mixed Goods and Parcels train had the honour of being double headed. Coventry was the train engine and she and Met No 1 were running bunker to bunker. Their respective drivers were having some fun. The engines went out pulling together, but after that it seemed to be Met No 1 doing all the work and she has a most impressive exhaust. A visitor, watching from the footbridge during a return run, wondered if someone had put Coventry's hand brake on a bit, to make Met No 1 work really hard. She sounded as though she was pulling a very heavy train.
In the station forecourt there was an interesting display of fire engines. The visit had been arranged by Ray Maslen of London Transport. The owners had enjoyed their first appearance at Quainton and want to come again next year. Certainly, they had a lot of admirers.
In the morning the fog had lifted quite quickly and out came the sun to give us a most beautiful day. It was warmer than the May weekend and the visitors poured in. The up yard was full by mid-day and the members on car park duty had a difficult job packing everyone in. Refreshments were run off their feet and eaten out of house and home. The Treasurer was unhappy that we did not top the 2,000 mark, but we must have had 1,500 visitors, which was very good. Many of the steam railways and steam centres put on a big event at the end of September, so competition is fierce.
Watching it all, I couldn't help remembering that first Enthusiasts Weekend in September 1977. We were open for two days, had six engines in steam - and a total of 1,240 visitors. The engines then were Coventry No. 1, 7715, Beattie, Del's Peckett, Swanscombe, and John Hutching's Sentinel. We were operating in the down yard only and lack of space meant we could only put on a Cavalcade, which happened twice each day. One advantage on that occasion was the commentary given over the public address, which visitors found very helpful, because the majority of them were not the well-versed enthusiasts that haunt special steamings. We could have done with the same thing this time, because the ordinary families were very much in the majority. They were loving it, but I think could have benefited from more information.
The whole event was very well organised by Trevor Page and he and his assistants should be congratulated for a very enjoyable day, as indeed should all the engine crews and the dozens of other helpers who made it such a great success. I hope our Lakeside friends enjoyed themselves too!
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 18 November 2017