Similarly the generous owners of the company had donated another Ultimate Steam Experience auction prize at a NSPCA event. I joined the footplate before all the passengers arrived and assisted ? the drive and fireman to re-sight the engine. I then went for a gargantian full English Railway Mans' breakfast and waddled back to the footplate and started stoking the engine- phew. The Fireman (an employee)and Driver (a volunteer part of a famous baking company which he started) were brilliant. Volunteering all manner of interesting facts and figures and answering questions without any form of patronising. Then completed two return journeys up to Lakeside with a full load of passengers through the fell-side country. Marvelled at the skill and experience used by the footplate men as they used the steam to drive and stop the engine with the finest of accuracy.
Then back down to Haverthwaite where I was obliged? to consume a huge beautifully cooked luncheon with delightful manager and staff, in the same Station Restaurant and then back to work for the final trip shovelling coal for a touch longer than I was prepared for.
Spoke to many of the passengers who were delighted with the experience, steam buff or otherwise, and who usually then took a boat up the lakes.
Brilliant day out.
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