B&DSME Invite Day 14th May 2016.

With the country experiencing some of the hottest weather of the year in early May, we had high hopes that the weather gods would smile favourably on us for our Invite Day. As it happened, the aforementioned meteorological deities must’ve had the day off, as the day proved to be a bit on the windy and chilly side, with only a rare appearance on the sun. But, no matter, as we saw many engines and visitors come along to enjoy this day.

The road steam department was well attended, and was complimented by Geoff B’s lovely model Ford Model T van that was seen running around the site.

Andy has now officially named his 4 ½” Burrell agricultural “Little Robert”, and it was seen sporting it’s new nameplate that Andy made himself. The rubber strakes to the hind wheels improve driving comfort on the road whilst maintaining it’s agricultural appearance; really smart!

Alan was seen preparing wife Marian’s 4 ½” Burrell agricultural for her arrival. I’m assured that everything was present and correct when she arrived, with plenty of steam, fire, and water. Fingers crossed he’ll get his steam apprentice ticket signed soon! The engine was then enjoyed by the whole family throughout the day.

Norman and Colin had brought along the splendid 4” Foster agricultural, which was soon in steam and chuffing about.

Chris was busy steaming his 3” Minnie “Scallywag”. With its balanced crank and fine work it really does run well.

Mike H’s nephew (I’m sorry, I never got his name!) came along with his 3” Burrell agricultural and covered quite a distance on it throughout the day.

Ray also had his steam car running about; always nice to see.

On the track we had a grand selection of locos; some steam and some electric. The steaming bays were gratifyingly full!

Pete from the Fenland Light Railway and the Peterborough club is one of our regular visitors and has been for many years. He had brought along his 5” battery electric Y6 tram engine, as well as a few friends. I hope you all had fun.

Mick W had his 3 ½” A1 “Great Northern” on static display. Mick acquired this engine part-built and has made a splendid job of finishing it off.

Myles had his 7 ¼” 2-6-0 tender loco “Baloo” also on static display, showing the progress he is making in re-commissioning this cracking engine. The new copper boiler is in the process of being fitted, together with the associated fittings etc. The ashpan is set to be the next hurdle to overcome, but with the help of club members I’m certain this little job will be tackled with confidence. We can’t wait to see it in steam.

Mick W had also brought his 5” battery electric 08 shunter out for a play, together with newly acquired Klaxon hooter. We’ll certainly hear you coming now!

Fresh from the paintshop was Don’s new creation, an 0-4-0 7 ¼” battery electric shunter. Not quite finished, it was nice to see it on the track.

Hugh was seen running his 5” loco-boilered Sweet Pea. Very nicely made, this engine purrs around the track effortlessly.

It was something of a momentous day for Geoff E as he was running his 7 ¼” Porter Marie Estelle for the first time on the track. Geoff purchased the engine last year and has been working on it since. Firstly I must say that the engine looks superb with it’s new paintwork and shining brightwork; a real treat for the eye. Secondly, it runs very sweetly indeed, with evenly pronounced chuffs. The attractive lamp on the smokebox is a fine addition (every engine needs it’s lamps!) and is complete with a fully working paraffin burner inside. Very smart indeed! Geoff’s family came along as well, with Geoff’s granddaughter trying her hand at driving. In fact I think she drove it more than Geoff! It looked great running around the track with the family on board. It’s fair to say that it was a successful steaming and enjoyed by all.

Unable to bring an engine along to play with, Kev brought the driving truck for his new project, a 7 ¼” gauge Y6 steam tram. The wagon was put to use behind Geoff’s Porter and used to convey the family.

The club loco was giving rides to members and their families, with some of the youngsters having a drive, and very competent they were too.

A very fine miniature internal combustion engine was also being run by Chris. This is one of the many engines he has made over the years, and despite his protestations, it is certainly not the work of the “village idiot”! He even made the spark plug! It ran really well and entertained quite a large crowd. To control such a crowd perhaps the next running of this engine should be a ticket-only affair; be sure to get your tickets asap!!

I apologise that I never managed to photograph the lovely model boats that were on the pond. Many people commented on how nice it was to see them.

An excellent BBQ was provided, as well as teas, coffees and cakes, so I’m sure that no one went hungry or thirsty. Many thanks to those who provided cakes and nibbles, and special thanks to those who cooked the BBQ and help to present the catering department so beautifully. A raffle was drawn, and soon after, people started thinking about packing away and heading home after another really friendly and pleasant day.

Kev B

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