The neighbours are coming...
Demolition and site clearance works are well underway on the old Alty's site, removing all trace of the old brickworks, including the chimney.
Yesterday saw Santa's little (and not so little) helpers come out in force for the annual present-wrapping.
In anticipation of another sell-out year, a record number of presents were unboxed, wrapped and re-boxed during the evening.
Extraordinary what the lure of mince pies can do...
A new arrival on site. Guesses on its purpose included the chairman's new luxury office suite, an overflow store for health and safety paperwork (not nearly big enough), and a punishment cell for unruly staff.
The official explanation is accommodation for those dispensing good cheer (of the drinkable variety) during Santa Specials. Got your tickets yet?
Activity at the regular Thursday workshop day. The access coach gets its blue topcoat, whilst assembly of Sybil's boiler proceeds apace (and not just from the outside).
Today, Remembrance Sunday, we observed the two minutes' silence beside Joffre, our WW1 French Artillery locomotive. Afterwards we gave rides to visitors, in return for a donation to the Poppy Appeal.
Our thanks to those who came to remember with us.
Yesterday 90 (!) children from Anfield school, Liverpool visited us to learn all about our engines and what we do here. They saw how a steam engine works, how the crew operate a train, how we restore and maintain our rolling stock, and lots more besides.
A very enjoyable day for the children, their teachers and our members!
Significant progress with the access coach - on its bogies and out for a test run.
The verdict - very smooth!
The restoration of Sybil continues. A recent milestone was the initial fitting of the firebox to the boiler, making the whole thing look very businesslike!
The sun shone and the workers were out in force today.
Irish Mail is parked on the turntable for attention to her running gear....
....and right next door the new pointwork for the turntable receives some careful fettling.
We always like to welcome tour parties to West Lancs, and yesterday we hosted the Maertens Rail Romance Coach party from Germany.
To quote one of the visitors: 'They put on a big show, also the bacon butties are to die for!'
With the new operating season well under way, restoration and maintenance work continues in the workshops.
Here our Hudswell mines loco gets a coat of paint on its brand-new cab.
In its first life underground it was cabless, as there was no room in the tunnels!
This weekend sees our first running days of the year, kicking off with a normal operating day on Good Friday.
The weather could be better, but a warm welcome awaits our visitors to our Easter Egg Hunts on Sunday and Monday.
Yesterday was Awards Night at the Heritage Railway Association. A number of our members attended the ceremony, some almost unrecognisable out of their overalls...
And we were runners-up in the Small Groups category! The award was for our 50th Anniversary celebrations - a big thank you to all who contributed to the galas!
After an exciting and very successful 50th anniversary year, we are looking forward to what 2018 will bring us!
We open for the season on Good Friday, but in the meantime there's lots going on behind the scenes, maintaining and improving the site and our collection of preserved engines and rolling stock.
We hope this year to be running our new Access Coach, so those with restricted mobility can have a ride on our trains. And our Quarry Bagnall loco Sybil should be making an appearance after restoration.
There's lots to do before Easter - visit our membership page to see how you can help!