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November News Letter

November 8th, 2010

November newsletter

As far as the general public are concerned, October will have passed with nothing appearing from the railway for once. However, behind the scenes, a lot of very important work was being done. At last, extra toilet facilities have been built in the station house and the cinema coach is now open with a large screen and projector operating a DVD and Blu-ray reproduction system showing films of railway interest in the comfort of railway seats with blinds drawn and excellent sound.

Outside, the work was being done in neighbouring fields where the old WCR track bed was being grubbed out of its thorn and bush cover. It is now ready for the track itself. This will be laid as a priority once An Bord Pleannala have reached a decision but they have postponed their part of the proceedings by yet another month. However, the re-grading of the land has been generally welcomed by local farmers as a great improvement in the village’s aspect and the cinema coach’s orange roof can be seen from miles away advertising the railway’s presence from the Kilrush direction.

Hallowe’en was one the best evening entertainments organised so far. A surprisingly large attendance was entertained by the railway staff and the local “Crack”d Spoon Theatre Company” to rides on the ghost train interrupted by cackling witches, walking corpses, wailing banshees, sirens and screaming ghosts. The calm weather helped considerably by making the steam and smoke of the engine so atmospheric and one 18year old told the writer that she didn’t know what was happening to the children visiting but her 15 year old sister was scared out of her wits!

One result from the need to work the train at night was the experiment in push-pulling the train. The RFS diesel was attached to the rear of the train and the steam engine was required to give all the power. However, the diesel provided the light both for front and rear as well as the power to light the coach interiors. The diesel became an ideal guard’s van with the power to stop the train with its air brakes in any emergency whilst the steam engine just gloried in the increased weight of its train. Both driver and fireman were astonished by the positive reactions to the controls and the more predictable actions in the fire that the extra weight brought about. Whilst water consumption increased heavily, coal consumption seemed to be reduced and the “chuffs” emanating from the chimney at all times when steam was being used were a real joy – she was really “chipping them off the old block” for once!