Monday, 23 April 2012
As rain lashes the land that is supposedly undergoing a drought (!) our final Works visit comes to an end. Well in fact it was two as we also had a visit from the various Mayors in Hampshire the day before. I've been asked why we have stopped doing the visits, as everybody involved agrees that they have been a complete success. The simple answer is that we don't have the time any more to devote to this pleasurable but decidedly non core activity. ( Gosh, that sounds a lot like Corporate Speak) In fact its the complete truth. We are busy. No, in fact we are very busy. Very, very busy. Its sobering to report that we are not having to turn away vehicles from the Works on the basis that we don't have enough room to house them all. The casual observer may have noted the abundance of underground cars facing their final maker as the splendid new S Stock comes in line in greater numbers. Then there are the hordes of class 57s and 47s that seem to multiply every time I turn my back. And EMU's seem to stop off at the Works in ever greater numbers. Of course I won't ever complain about this. After all, its what the place was built for and its a very nice problem to have. However we do spend a lot of time installing new facilities, only to see them fill as soon as we can build them. Regular followers will recall the new tracks being installed by Arlington at the back of the Works. Well they are complete and the newly connected Bay 1 is chock full of rolling stock. We have at least two major EMU overhaul projects in the offing, with contractors staff already doing the enabling works ahead of the first units arriving. Without a lot of fuss the newly installed 4th rail test track has been in use for some months to keep LuL vehicles in good fettle. Now if only we could link it up to the rest of the system, that would be some tube line............ There is also talk of installing a purpose built diesel servicing bay in one of the buildings that we had earmarked as surge capacity for the train disposals. I wouldn't bet against it happening. With all of this going on, something has to give and in this case its the conducted tours. Messers Watson and Knights sadly regret that they will no longer be able to provide their much appreciated service to the discerning members of the rail community and would like to thank their long standing clients for their valued patronage. On the other hand, if its a train to be stored, repaired, painted, rebuilt, refreshed, cleaned or even disposed of, we know a man who can. Now, how soon can they get Cheltenham running so that we can recover the workshop space?