Anne and I (Mike Malleson) have been working on the Open Weekend since May, notifying clubs, other organisations and previous visitors of the event, and taking bookings. A steady stream of interest followed and bookings were made from then on right up to the Friday before.
A letter of welcome was sent to all, containing practical details such as the out of hours gate code number, and a warning to stop well short of the gates when leaving as they open inwards!
Pete undertook to receive, register and welcome the traction engines and assign a pitch to those staying over the weekend. David supervised the unloading and registration of the 5” gauge locos at the marshalling yard, and we helped the 7¼” loco owners unload at the hydraulic platform. Smooth communications with the signal box made for rapid transitions to the turntable and sidings, and by late morning all was busy with trains going out onto the main circuit for their first runs. Whilst some owners opted for a few circuits, others ran all day and on into the Night Run which proved to be a great success, as was the barbecue. Meanwhile, the passenger-carrying trains were kept quite busy through the two days, and all our visitors appreciated the supply of coffee and tea, bacon rolls and cakes.
Altogether 23 traction engines, 20 locomotives of various types and 3 steam cars attended, and we hope to see them all again next year, together with some new ones. We have had several emails from our visitors saying how much they enjoyed themselves, and are looking forward to coming again next year, so we think the event can be rated a great success.