Today, children, we will see exactly how many Mark One coach cushions can be stacked inside a VW Transporter van, how long it takes to unload said van, how many times Potter can change his mind about where the fresh cushions should go and how long it will be before Lynn and Maggie tell Potter to stop being a prima donna and sod off while they organise things properly.
Also in this issue; 4VEP Light Fittings – Do They Have Vampiric Tendencies?, What Has Gone Wrong With Pret a Manger’s Bacon & Omelette Rolls? and Do You Know How Many Cups of Tea & Milk Chocolate HobNobs the SETG Can Force Into a Delivery Driver’s face Before He Begs for Mercy or Drowns in Tannin?”
Before we start, the SETG would like to publicly thank our friends at TBM Rail of Crewe and the Brighton Belle Trust. Without their support, what follows could not have happened. We are deeply grateful for their support.
Railway restoration seems to run gently along for a while, then something dramatic happens and things take a sudden leap forwards. Thursday was marked by a ‘Something Dramatic’. The saga begins with a few emails exchanged between us and the Brighton Belle Trust, who are doing stirling work bringing the revered 5BEL Brighton Belle electric multiple unit back from the dead. The Brighton Belle Trust purchased several redundant Mark One units and broke them to provide mechanical spares to rebuild the 5BEL unit. This mean that all the windows, doors, trim – everything non-mechanical, essentially – was surplus to their requirements. Being a generous bunch, the Brighton Belle Trust undertook to pass all this surplus material to groups who may require it. For us, that meant seats and cushions. On Thursday, after a trip to Crewe for deep cleaning by our friends at TBM Rail, the fresh trim arrived at Strawberry Hill. To say we are delighted with what arrived would be an understatement. TBM have done a brilliant job; we are very very impressed with the quality of the clean.
Unloading the van took some considerable effort (these proper seats for proper trains weigh a bit, folks) and all the Minions were pleased to get the job done and indulge a well deserved cup of tea. Out of appreciation for his efforts, Mark (TBM’s delivery driver) was filled with sufficient tea and biscuits to respectively float a battleship and then sink it again afterwards. Potter then gave him a tour of the unit and a bit of background. Lynn and Maggie were very pleased with this, since it allowed them a chance to organise the seats and cushions in some logical order: Potter is after all a Motorman and therefore only useful when it comes to making tea, drinking tea, recognising green and red light bulbs from a distance and complaining about how much work he isn’t actually doing. As I write this, we believe we currently have enough good trim to complete Driving Trailer Composite No.76262 and Trailer Open No.70797.
To finish TBM’s involvement in the day, they collected the light fittings from the entire unit. These have been taken to Crewe, where they will be stripped, cleaned and re-coated. On their return, we will refit them and then – once again – we will be able to work aboard the unit under the full splendour of fluorescent light! We have to be careful about saying this to Minion Darren; he wants to see the DTC he has worked on fully lit and ready for service. (Any mention of installed lighting and working heating make him twitch and dribble worryingly – it looks very much like the reaction Buckie and Potter have to the phrase “Pay Day”, funnily enough)
The final thought of the day has to go to Pret a Manger, though. Once upon a time Minions could rely on them to provide a nearly civilised breakfast before a good day of Train Fiddling. Alas no longer. Their Bacon and Omelette Breakfast Roll is truly dreadful. Henceforth the Minions will be bringing their own bread, sliced pig and eggies. Minions will not tolerate sub-standard breakfasts!