October began with the continuation of the work from September. The broken fence post was finally removed and a new one was carefully set into place. The carriage brakes were adjusted to ensure sufficient braking force was available.
Some signal work was also undertaken, adding a new control panel inside the former signal cabin. This control panel allows you to hold certain signals at danger before operating the point to the carriage sidings which has now been connected up to the existing motor. There are repeating indicators to show occupied tracks, red signals and the point direction in this limited area.
The museum opened for 7 days during the half term break at the end of October. The LTMR was in service all 7 days, although some days we were very short on volunteer numbers. The event was in parallel to a similar event at the main museum in Covent Garden. This, possibly combined with rising infection rates across the country, meant that passenger numbers were very low at 875 – This is still a good number at 58% of depot attendance.
Another factor contributing to low numbers was likely to be the weather. On several days we stopped for over an hour as passengers were scarce due to the bands of heavy rain. Being autumn, an important job preformed at the start of, and throughout, the day was leaf clearance. Just like the big railway, leaves get crushed by train wheels, forming a slippery film on the railhead which prevents trains both accelerating and braking. In miniature, another effect is more prominent as the leaves disrupt the track circuits, causing them to bounce or lose detection as trains enter or leave sections, with only one or two wheelsets on the circuit.
Although the event was quiet, it was still enjoyable. We used the extra time to get some odd jobs done, including the installation of a shelf in the carriage shed for chargers to sit on. We also used the time to train our volunteers and we cannot deny, some empty trains were run just for fun.
Thanks to those who of you that visited us (we are aware one family returned specifically to visit us!). Currently in lockdown 2, November will see little to no progress on the railway, but we will use this time to rest, relax and plan so that we are ready for action when we are able to return.