I'm pleased to be able to say that 2011 was another good year for me and I'll mention some of the highlights below. I'm still working at Ford Electronics where most of our projects are railway-related but, for commercial reasons, I don't normally put much in the blog about this important area of my life. The year wasn't all good, of course, but let's emphasise the good bits. I've divided the review into 'OVERSEAS TRAVEL', 'RAILWAYS' and 'BREWOOD HALL'.
There were three overseas trips in the year, all very enjoyable and instructive.
Saint Helena and Ascension
I was determined to visit the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic before they build the long-threatened airport, which will surely transform island life for ever. The picture shows Jamestown, St. Helena, viewed from the sea. After a few days on the fascinating island, I then sailed on to Ascension Island where there is an airport but the only flights are RAF Transport Command! This trip exceeded my expectations and you can find the various posts on the trip here.
On the second trip, I flew to Moscow and joined one of the many river ships which cruise between Moscow and Saint Petersburg on a combination rivers and canals. There were some fascinating contrasts as we moved between cities, towns and villages. The picture shows the improbable-looking, wood-constructed Transubstantiation Cathedral on Kizhi Island.My reports are here.
For my last overseas trip in 2011, I returned to the river cruise ship 'Road to Mandalay' in Burma. I re-visited two schools, visited three schools for the first time and visited two boys' and one girls' orphanage. At each place, I helped in the distribution of charitable support provided through 'Road to Manadalay' by the ship's passengers. I also participated in the official opening of a new Medical Clinic in Bagan built, staffed and supported by the 'Road to Mandalay' and its passengers. The picture shows a group of brick pagodas in Bagan. My reports on the trip are here.
During the year, I continued driving at Peak Rail, the Battlefield Line and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester on a regular basis. I'm still secretary of the Old Locomotive Committee (LION's supporters club). I'm also involved with an informal Historical Group researching railways in the West Midlands. In March 2011, the Historical Group held another Slideshow and Meeting at Brewood. For the rest of the year, communication was mainly by a (sometimes frantic) exchange of e-mails. In connection with that research, there are a number of articles in the blog about Traffic Movements and signal boxes in the '60s. I've also put rough sketches of a number of track diagrams in the blog (before I lose them again).
Old Locomotive Committee
The A.G.M. in May 2011 gave members a last chance to view 'Lion' before her transfer to the new Museum of Liverpool (see below).
Agecroft No. 1
In June 2011, I had my first opportunity to drive newly-restored Agecroft No. 1. She's proved a popular and reliable performer and made many new friends on her visit to the Tanfield Railway.
Day out with Thomas
At the Battlefield Line Day out with Thomas, I shared the driving on 'Thomas' with Eddie on the 25th June 2011 and returned the following day to drive 'Daisy', the 2-car DMU.
Matlock Station Re-opening
The first Peak Rail trains into the former down platform at Matlock station ran on Friday 1st July 2011, reserved for invited guests and Peak Rail shareholders. The first revenue trains were on Saturday 2nd July 2011, when I drove 68103 as part of the Matlock Station Festival Reopening.
On 6th July 2011, John Hawley and I took part in the Lion Shoot, where Centre Screen filmed interviews to be incorporated in the Audio-Visual interpretation of 'Lion' in the Museum of Liverpool (see below).
Lionsmeet 2011 was held at Chelmsford on 30th July 2011. After a good contest, the Mike Parrot Memorial Cup was won by Jon Swindlehurst.
Summer Saturday at Shackerstone
On 27th August 2011, I had my first turn on the Great Western 2-8-0 currently at the Battlefield Line. More details here.
Thomas visits MOSI
Thomas made his second visit to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester in September and I was driver on 1st September 2011. More details here.
Thomas visits the Battlefield Line
'Thomas' was back at the Battlefield Line in October for two weekends. On the 9th October 2011, I was driving 'Daisy' the DMU and on the 16th October I was in charge of 'Thomas'. More details here.
Royal Opening of the Museum of Liverpool
I was present at the Official Opening of the Museum of Liverpool by Her Majesty the Queen on 1st December 2011. There's a report here.
Peak Rail Santa Specials
Peak Rail had another well-patronised 'Santa' season. I was the driver on 10th December 2011 on visiting locomotive 'Sapper'. My report is here.
Battlefield Line Santa Specials
The Battlefield Line Santa Specials were handled by popular visitor '3803'. I was the driver on 17th December and had a great time.
MOSI Christmas Trains
Agecroft No. 1 handled the MOSI Christmas Trains and I was driver on 29th December. The weather was pretty bad but we still had lots of passengers (the photograph above was taken earlier in the year).
The 'Mince Pie Flyer'
On New Year's Eve, I drove the recently-outshopped single-unit DMU ('Bubble Car') on the Mince Pie Flyer at the Battlefield Line. The weather was pretty good and plenty of passengers turned up. An enjoyable end to the year!
No major works in 2011, just ongoing maintenance. Various visits from friends and family, plus three Group Visits outlined below.
Wulfrun College Retired Staff Association
On 23rd February the Wulfrun College Retired Staff Association visited Brewood Hall. There's a very brief report here.
A party of 41 from History Walks toured Brewood Hall on 8th May.
National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies
NADFAS visited on 13th October and there's a report here.