It’s always a tricky one – what to get your loved ones for Christmas? Should it be socks - or a Socket Set? Aftershave or After-work hand cleaner? Maybe moisturiser or perhaps a really good barrier cream?
This year I think we have got it about right for our loved ones, they have certainly been dropping colossal hints about what they want (or need). I’ll tell you what we’ve got because I’m pretty sure that they don’t use the internet...
For 45305 we have got her a new set of Axlebox liners and some prettily machined white metal bearings. That should do the trick; every girl loves shiny metal!
One of the Five's axleboxes.
70013 Oliver Cromwell is getting a new bottom for her Ashpan, with a hand-made hopper door. I didn’t get a photo, although I must have walked past Dave Wright about 20 times yesterday as he was welding it up. I didn’t even stop to ask what it was, Focus, you see, I was on a different job entirely. Cromwell is part of the National Collection, so you could say that in a way, this present it for everyone in the country, I hope you all enjoy it.
30777 Sir Lamiel is getting a new set of superheater elements. I know, it’s not a surprise. We’ve been going on about them for weeks. But it takes time, partly because there are so many bits; there are 24 elements, each with 4 tubes, 3 return bends, 2 bottle ends, 2 collars, a bridge and a couple of straps. (Lamiel’s a National Collection engine as well, so Happy Elements Everyone!) I know that Lamiel will enjoy her elements, particularly after the huge hint she gave just before she was due to go to the Bluebell for a visit.
We haven’t forgotten the support coach, that’s already had a big present in the shape of 6 bunk beds and a surprise extra of a Fire-hose rack. The rack is in the position formerly occupied by the guard’s desk and should make water stops much easier. The top shelf will have dedicated spaces for all the special adaptors that are part of watering – a place for everything and everything in its place.
I don’t know what Alastair has got lined up for the Diesels, but I’m certain that he will have plans for a few little tweaks or improvements.
Finally, for all the engines, we have a diary - to be precise it’s a draft list of all the planned trips and events for next year. It’s still in the planning stages, so I can’t publish the details yet, but I can say that it looks as if next year will be a busy one, with plenty of variety so look out for steam locomotives near you!