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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 72 - March 1993

The Experimental Driving Course - Anthea Hanscomb

The first driving course was a howling success and grateful thanks go to the following Roy Miller for a good introductory talk, with diagrams, on how a steam engine works; to Bruce Murray who gave the four participants a run down on the footplate; to Ian Neates and Ken Hall for the footplate crew and Trevor Paice the guard; to Gwen and Mike who fed them and to Bev and Dave Potter who came to the debriefing and presented them with their certificates and membership packs.

The proposed timetable of events.

It was finally agreed that it was to be a full day's course for four people beginning at 09.30h with an introductory talk and a visit to a dead engine, Coventry, because she is all in one piece and her valve gear is easily seen. At ll.OOh two of the course members were to go on the footplate for two hours instruction on firing and driving. The other two to be in the brake van learning the guard's responsibilities. Lunch at 13.00h (£2.50 including tea, coffee or a soft drink). After lunch the course members would reverse roles and were to be instructed until 16.00h. Then tea and a debriefing session to get their comments for future reference.

How it actually worked out.

They all arrived at 09.39h and duly reported to the booking office, as instructed to sign their membership forms but it was locked. Over to refreshments to find out what was happening and ushered into the New York car. Heating not on but Gwen's husband sorted it out. Roy supervised the signing of the membership forms, welcomed the four participants Lance Hale, Eddie Boyd, Maurice Goodin and Mr Davis-Cook and at about 10.00h began his talk in a rather cold carriage! He over ran his time which was supposed to be half an hour but the talk was good and everyone appreciated it. The visit to the dead engine was cancelled and after everyone had changed into their boiler suits they made their way to Met No 1. Here Bruce Murray did a footplate check so that they would all know the whereabouts of all the bits Roy had referred to. Then Lance and Maurice did an hour on the footplate learning to fire, then swapped over with the other two. By now we were running a bit late so I warned Gwen and Mike that lunch for them would have to be held back until about 13.45h. After lunch they were back on the footplate to have their driving instruction, which finished at 16.30h, followed by tea and the debriefing.

The debriefing.

They had all enjoyed themselves very much, felt they had had value for money and had some useful suggestions to make.

1. One suggestion was that they should have instruction on firing and driving for the first half hour and then if the instructors are satisfied with their ability, take over the driving and firing for the next hour and a half.

2. Have only half an hour in the brake van, which they found interesting but felt an hour was too long.

3. Three of them regretted not seeing the dead engine and suggested half an hour on that would have reinforced what Roy had told them.

4. They would have enjoyed an easy small exam at the end of it to see how much they had remembered, voluntary of course.

5. They would have liked to have Roy's drawings to take away for future reference.

This will now be considered by those organizing these courses to see how the timetable can be rearranged with the possibility of staggering the various phases of the course and making it for three pairs. In due course this will be reported to the membership. The main attraction was the firing and perhaps we could offer future participants a choice?

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1993 and so does not reflect events in the 20+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

The Experimental Driving Course - Anthea Hanscomb - Quainton News No. 72 - March 1993

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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