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admin 29.09.2015

The Phoenix Model Engineering Society run their 5 inch gauge miniature railway, on Telford Steam Railway land, next to the Spring Village Railway Station.
On Tues 5th Apr, 2016, we at the Telford Steam Railway were proud to host staff and trainees from RAF Cosford who undertook a community project on behalf of the railway. The old path had reached the end of its life and was extremely worn and very slippery when wet. The day finally arrived and at 08:30 our bright eyed helpers arrived on site to begin the day’s activities. We all headed down on to Horsehay & Dawley platform where Ian Loffman gave them a brief and they were all invited to board the train for a ride up to Lawley. We then waved off our new friends from down the M54 and all agreed that this could be the start of a long and fruitful partnership.
The miniature trains can carry passengers, and on the last Sunday afternoon of every month from Easter to September, plus Bank Holidays, it is open to the public for train rides.
The decision was taken so as to ensure its serviceability for the Bank Holiday weekend and the 1940’s event. Due to a mechanical issue our narrow gauge tram has been withdrawn from service this coming Sun 16th Aug.  Standard gauge services will be running as normal and there will be a special pricing structure in place due to the unavailability of our tram. We took the decision to ensure that it is serviceable for the Bank Holiday weekend and the 1940s event.

This was a chance for the railway to rekindle a working relationship with the Royal Air Force that had proved fruitful in achieving combined objectives a number of years previously. At the same time we were working on making our sleeping coach available for Youth Organisations to use to carry out their own community projects. At the same time we were fortunate in that we had sufficient TSR volunteers on site who were staffing a Driver Experience course. We returned fifteen minutes later with them all thinking that it was back to work but here is where the real surprise was revealed.
Then it was time to pose in front of the loco for a big team photo and an extremely sincere handshake and thank you to each and every member of RAF Cosford who so freely and willingly gave of their time. The Station Commander of RAF Cosford can be rightly proud of his personnel and the values that each and every one of them displayed throughout the day. Part of the training programme for all new trainee courses at RAF Cosford are that they are expected to undertake a project in the local community that offers immediate and realistic benefits.
They were informed that they would all visit the footplate of our steam loco ‘Rocket’ in twos and each would then get to have an actual go at driving the loco.
But not only were we thankful to the RAF but also to our own volunteers who once again gave up their free time as well.
We are lucky in that our Commercial Director, Mark Paynter, has a contact on the inside and through his hard work and dedication, was able to make the necessary arrangements.

After a mandatory Health & Safety brief and a welcome introduction by the TSR team leaders, Chris Whitehead and Alan Jenner, our eager trainees set to with gusto. There were quite a few surprised looks and more than fair few smiles and as promised they were invited aboard the footplate by Andrew Fox, our driver, and David Wright, our fireman. The TSR Directors would like to thank Barry Jukes, Fin Whitehead, Allan Oliver, Steve Halford and Brian Butler.
After consulting the different departments at the TSR it was decided that the best quick gain project would be the replacement of the path leading from Railway House to the cafe. With a steady supply of drinks and cake, provided by our wonderful Catering Manager Jacky McCusker, good progress was made on both tasks and by the time we stopped for lunch we were well on course to complete what we had planned for the day. So for the rest of the afternoon both staff and trainees took it in turns to drive while the rest of the team were busy finishing what they had started in the morning. After a filling selection of bacon and fishfinger butties and more cake, we at the TSR sprung our surprise on the trainees. As if by magic or brilliant planning, both projects finished on time as the last of our trainee drivers departed the footplate.

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