Thursday, 22 May 2008

Oliver Cromwell Photo: J Pond

The Gang At Echills Wood: Photo JPond

Each year at about this time some of our members disappear for the weekend to enjoy a variety of railway attractions here and there. Our illustrious 'Social Secretary' usually manages to fit in some varied attractions which normally include one or two 7 1/4" gauge railways so we can enjoy and learn from others ! In previous years we have been to Wales (2005), Dorset & Devon (2006), Kent & Sussex (2007), and this year to the Midlands. So on Friday 16th May at 07.00 hrs, 7 of us left Ashmanhaugh and headed for the Echills Wood Railway near Tamworth. We were well entertained by a friendly bunch of enthusiasts, viewing their workshops & loco sheds, and of course enjoying a train ride, including a trip on part of their new extension.We then proceeded to our Bed & Breakfast accommodation in Loughborough (Highbury Guest House on Leicester Road -highly recommended!). After an early Saturday morning breakfast, we visited the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley where we saw a large variety of steam & diesel locos. We then headed back to Loughborough to visit the Great Central Railway where we had trips behind Sir Lamiel and later, Oliver Cromwell ! On this trip we sat in the Observation car and enjoyed wonderful views of the passing countryside and on the return trip, Oliver Cromwell's smokebox complete with surround sound! During the evening we enjoyed a 6 course meal on the 'Charnwood Forester'.

The next morning we headed for Ruddington (Nottingham Heritage Centre), the other 'half' of the Great Central Railway where we were made to feel very welcome as well, especially by the NSMEE. We didn't really want to leave, and a couple of our members had a go at driving and guarding, but we finally dragged ourselves away at 16.00 hrs, and headed for home. Everybody had had a great weekend again and The Gang would like to express their thanks to everyone on the Railways visited for making them feel so welcome.
Our poor old Social Secretary is wondering how the **** he is going to better that next year! (rumours of Somerset & Devon?)