Assessment at last

The final crucial exercise in North Wales, with the five candidates who have lasted the pace so far, the survivors of more than two years of strenuous training in a variety of remote locations.

After a gruelling Saturday trip on the Ffestiniog, suffering the full rigours of the first class accommodation in the observation car, it was clear that two of the party were not meeting the stringent standards set down for Project 2010. So they were despatched on the Sunday to do more railway-building on the Welsh Highland, whilst the others remained behind to supervise the Ffestiniog on a further visit to Blaenau.

Such drastic action had the desired effect, and all five were declared passed fit for tourist travel to India by way of the 'Darjeeling at Leisure' itinerary. Booking details were circulated, videos and photo galleries of the line viewed, an Indian cricket flag displayed at a strategic location, and Cobra and Tiger beer consumed at the 'Passage to India' restaurant, along with a variety of appropriate ethnic food.

Job done, as they say, although there remains the likelihood of requiring top-up training in the Foxfield area in the summer, to maintain peak condition. And, as magnanimous as ever (even if he can't spell it), the Chairman has indicated other candidates may still submit themselves for examination of their suitability to participate in sub-continental railway adventures.

Studying for the final exam.

Some more photos are here.