Training goes extreme

With time fast running out before our fitness is put to the ultimate test, it was necessary to up the training regime a gear and go for extreme winter conditions in the Lake District, courtesy of Ravenglass and Eskdale's annual maintenance fortnight.

For two whole days we braved low temperatures, bright sunshine, open-air hot lunches and tea breaks in heated carriages. We also shovelled vast quantities of ballast, shovel-packed large numbers of new sleepers, and stacked numerous old ones.

Accommodation was provided in the chairman's
winter quarters, where the diversions included home cooking, a bonfire and fireworks. Not to mention Darjeeling DVDs.