On 18th September enlarging of the car park at Lea Bailey was completed. It looked enormous — an estimated 16 cars could comfortably be fitted in. Way too large, surely? But on Saturday 21st, it was full to overflowing, with at least 7 cars parked on the edge of the road. So the sales team on the stand at Alan Keef had obviously been very persuasive, helped no doubt by the flyer handed out to visitors to Alan Keef’s site.
What did they see at Lea Bailey? Not as much as we had hoped, as the Hunslet (HE7446) refused to start. One of the group, Pat Clifford, who stopped off for the day on his way home to Devon from a holiday in Scotland, spent all day working on it. He attracted quite an audience at times, particularly when he used the compressor to charge up the loco’s air reservoir and then the air starter to try and get the engine going. After checking over the fuel and the exhaust systems, he decided that the problem was the exhaust conditioner, which was out of water and also heavily sooted up. At least at the end of the day we knew what needed doing.
Meanwhile the Simplex was as reliable as ever, driven by Ben Elvey who was shunting wagons around. And at the end of the day the new run-round loop proved its value in enabling the loco to take wagons one or two at a time to their correct locations for the site to be secured.
While all of this activity was going on, Jen was doing a brisk trade providing refreshments, handing out leaflets, selling booklets — and bricks! Several visitors were interested in some of the old bricks lying around the site (having been brought in some years ago as hardcore). So they were told that there was no charge for the bricks, but a donation to Society funds would be appreciated.
Our volunteers seemed to spend all day talking to many interesting people, telling them what we had done, what our plans and hopes were, and answering their questions.