A RAIL37 Churnet Valley Railway picture report

 Here we are again rushing headlong towards November and, of course, the now annual scary happening on the Churnet Valley Railway. We were warned that this time it would be different - and it certainly was. Once again Margaret and her incredible team produced a show that really will be difficult to beat, but I have been saying that since the Ghost Train was first run and still it gets better. This year we were taken, by train, down the valley in total blackness, to Froghall where it was all happening. The following photographs portray only some of the events that were on offer and, as I said last year, if you missed it, it's your own fault!

 Arrival at Cheddleton and the train pulled in from Leekbrook with a class 20 leading and the S160 trailing - complete with scary face!

 The platform was filled to capacity as everyone waited with anticipation, encouraged by the somewhat disconcerting notices posted around.

 Always encouraging and a just reward for all the efforts in the past as well as on this occasion.

 Arrival at Froghall and the ghosties and skellingtons appear to have migrated from Leekbrook tunnel to join us at the overbridge.

 This was absolutely fantastic! The sombre looking chap on the left invited onlookers to come closer to read the inscription on the tombstone. Closer and closer we were invited to come and closer we went. Just at the right moment the grave burst open and.......well you can imagine the effect on the people gathered round!

 Huh! you think, they won't get me on THAT again. On now into the (very) large marquee to see what else was in store and, just inside the door, was a display of hideous monsters. Very good and very effective I thought, I will just have a photo for the record and, as I was lining up the shot, several other victims joined me. At that point the character in the centre of the scene, who had been crouching down with the "knife", shot up with a loud scream!!! Boy did I jump - very funny young lady!

 There were mad, ghoulish musicians as well.

 At the far end of the marquee was "Bobby Williams", a local singer of some repute, complete with backing singers. Another terrific show as we "let him entertain us"

 Over now to the station building, attracted by the hot dog stall and its never ending queue of hungry guests. What's this, a real live Dalek in pursuit of Dr Who. The animation was so convincing that one little lad was unable to stay and made a dash for the door. Everyone smiled in amusement but how many of us remember Dr Who the first time round and hiding behind a cushion? As Dr Who remarked, it still works!

 Into the Tea Room and even the plates were in character.

 The people behind the counter were, as ever, incredible albeit somewhat intimidating this time.

 Sadly the train arrived from Cheddleton once again led by the class 20 diesel and it was time to reboard for the trip back. During the return trip the coaches were full and the general hubbub from the crowd was a sure sign that everyone had enjoyed themselves.

 As the train pulled out and I was watching the latest crowd of victims finding their way off the platform to be frightened, I noticed a couple of odd characters watching me watching them in the telephone exchange. There's a ghost on the line.........

 Back at Cheddleton and I was feeling a little light headed after all the excitement so I took time to warm up in front of the blazing fire. My Wife suggested I should calm down and not lose my head.

 I just do not know where all the people came from to board the next train down the valley but come they did. The train appeared to be totally filled as it prepared to head South for another trip to.......

 The train has gone and the last few stragglers find their way off the platform - another tremendous day out on the Churnet Valley Railway.

 The last train from Froghall was advertised as leaving at 11.00 p.m. and I am conscious of the fact that when this train had gone the locomotives and stock had to be bedded down for the night with all that that entailed. The Tea Shop had to be closed down and pots cleared away, the electrics had to be made safe and probably another thousand jobs had to be completed before the staff went home. Goodness knows what time they all got to bed but I, for one, want to thank them for all the hard work that had gone in to making this Ghost Train. It was, for me, the event of the year. It was interesting to note, that while I was around, there did seem to be an awful lot more adults than children, but then again, when did we all stop being children given half a chance?

Bear in mind that running next Sunday is The Wizard's Express and work has to start all over again!

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