Even as we implement enhanced safety (COVID) protocols, from booking your trip, through to taking your seat on our trains, our staff work hard to give every customer the best heritage railway experience possible. Every effort is made to provide the advertised locomotives, however working with heritage locomotives and coaches sometimes things break down. We take pride in the services that we operate and will go that extra mile to try and meet customer expectations. Often this goes on in the background, customers never knowing it happened.
During our first service on the 5th September S160 Steam Locomotive 5197 suffered from a broken fire hole door towards the end of the climb to Ipstones. The locomotive was able to return with the train to Cheddleton but required repairs. Volunteers working in the depot at Cheddleton stopped what they were doing to fix 5197.
It takes several hours to prepare a steam locomotive, therefore one of our Heritage diesels Class 33 33102 was prepared in readiness to take the service over as the train headed back through to Kingsley & Froghall. At the same time parts were sourced from another locomotive in order to affect a repair to 5197. Our aim was to give customers on the second trip the experience of a steam hauled service.
Whilst maintaining social distancing practices, the broken components were removed from 5197 and a replacement fitted, and tested. 5197 had its fire built back up and the steam loco crew who were operating 33102 returned. Where a fully operational 5197 was waiting to head back to Kinglsey and Froghall for the second round trip.