Back home (after our Switzerland holiday), my bike riding was taking on a whole new level of interest.
Not only could I reach a number of different railway locations, but I was enjoying my time on my bike so much that I kept increasing my ride distances. I then started going on bike rides just to be on my bike and enjoying the ride.
Pat* was not so ambitious on his bike but, on one Sunday, we decided to “do” March loco sheds (probably about a 1 hour ride to get there). We had made this trip before but this time we also took an adjustable wrench and a hammer along with our pen, paper and books!
This was the time in British Railways development when steam engines were slowly being phased out as new diesel types were being brought into service. We decided that we really should try and get some steam engine souvenirs!
We got into March sheds without being seen and proceeded to walk the rows as per usual. Once that had been done, it was decided to remove a shed plate from a steam engine. A shed plate was anchored onto the boiler front by two very large bolts which had probably been undisturbed for many years making them quite difficult to remove. We were well prepared however, and we proceeded to put the adjustable wrench over the bolt head and then hit it as hard as we could with the hammer.
I find that revisiting this scenario to be very amusing. Imagine an open warehouse style of building on a Sunday morning with no sounds other than that of birds twittering away in the roof. Imagine a couple of little lads hitting a steel wrench as hard as they can with a hammer. Imagine how fast they moved when they heard the inevitable “Hey you two ……………. what do you think you are doing?” I really do not believe that it ever crossed our minds how well we were announcing our presence!
Not too surprisingly, we were chased out of there without our intended souvenir!
Footnote: We went back many months later and successfully removed the shed plate from a diesel locomotive that was being evaluated in yellow ochre livery (in contrast to BR’s standard green for diesels).
*See Post “Dear Diary – Page 37” – August 17, 2015 & “Dear Diary – Page 23” – July 16, 2015