Our 2016 season has finally finished with another week of running for the school half term holiday week. The first half term train left Launceston with four full carriages – a sign of things to come! The railway was busy all week, with many taking advantage of our Locals’ Week special offer in our local newspaper, the Cornish & Devon Post; in fact we believe it may even have been the busiest October half term week we have ever had.
Having been away all summer on her grand tour, Velinheli was used several days over half term to get a few ‘home’ miles in before she is laid up for the winter. We know at least one little boy, having avidly followed all the photos of Velinheli’s holiday on our Facebook page, visited specifically to make sure he could ride behind Velinheli at home this year! Lilian, Covertcoat and Dorothea all took their turns on half term trains as well; most days saw two engines in steam, with lots of double heading to cope with the large passenger numbers.
The October half term week is traditionally the end of our opening season, and this year it is no exception as we will now be closed to the public until Easter 2017. A common question from visitors at half term was “what are you doing over winter when you are closed?”. The answer is lots! The first noticeable winter project, extending the small locomotive shed opposite the platform, is already rapidly nearing completion. The main locomotive shed and workshop, commonly known as ‘Toad Hall’, has a rather leaky roof which it is hoped to replace this winter. Having completed an overhaul on Lilian earlier this year, this winter it is Covertcoat’s turn to be stripped down for a full check and overhaul. Another stretch of track is also due to be relaid over the winter, plus we hope to fit in some more work on our experimental diesel railcar as well. These are just the obvious ‘big’ projects for the winter, and there are a lot of small routine maintenance jobs to do as well – we are just as busy working in the winter as we are at the height of the summer season!