A fistful of shovels

November brings not only fogs and gales but also the annual Ravenglass track week, notwithstanding the fact that it lasts a fortnight. As before, a select band of SMRS members volunteered their services to shovel ballast, hump sleepers and do anything else, within reason, required of us by the railway authorities. A novel factor this year was the choice of sleeping quarters, namely 'Elmira' one of two Pullman sleeping cars kept at Ravenglass station. Built nearly a century ago its history included a period serving as an ambulance car in the First World War.

One unfortunate incident occurred on day two of our excursion, when a number of sheep got onto the line and fell foul of a fleet of ballast wagons being propelled towards the worksite. The casualty list was one sheep immediately dispatched to the Great Shepherd in the Sky, and one severely shocked by premature burial in half a ton of quarry bottoms. The latter animal was last seen
making good its escape from the scene of the incident, no doubt to consult its lawyer at the earliest opportunity. Two wagons were upended and suffered damage to both woodwork and running gear, testament to the hardy nature of Cumbrian fell sheep.

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A happier incident was the presentation to Dr Ford of a memento to mark the start of his passage towards at least partial retirement. This took the form of a sign pointing to the leisure activity of choice for the discerning consultant. The contributors were those who have the most cause to be grateful for his open-house policy regarding sleeping accommodation at his Porthmadog flat.

Some photos and a bit of video are

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