Visit to Saint-Ghislain – Update

Hello everyone,

Firstly – this is not at all bad news! – hopefully quite the opposite.  However I would be very interested as a matter of some urgency in the thoughts of those planning to attend.

I have received an update today (08/08/18) that the four ‘confirmed’ locos – i.e. CFL 80670057358 and 8428 – remain confirmed, and as of right now are available for traffic.

The extra locos…

You will be aware that our hope all along has also been to use 7349 and/or 8320 – however these have not to date been operational.  I am pleased and very grateful to say that the PFT/TSP volunteers have been working like trojans on them with a view to having them available to haul our train.

However, numerous parts (including at least one full set of batteries) have had to be purchased and some work remains to be done, by people who I speculate may possibly rather be helping with preparations for the Bocq “Festival”.  They are however very willing to do this, but have asked that – if these locos are to be used and turn out on the day – a supplement of €5 is levied per locomotive for their use to cover the work and parts involved and the extra cost incurred in operating them.  This would not be charged if 7349 or 8320 did not work.  For clarity – if one of these locos worked, then the fare for the day would be €30, and if both worked, €35.

Additionally, we have been offered Cockerill Bo-Bo 6106 for our train, within the same timeframe in addition to the other locos, which would equally come at a small additional price (I expect this to also be €5 and will confirm ASAP).

I am very keen for this not to be seen as any kind of cynical move either by the PFT/TSP or myself in ‘suddenly’ asking for more money at the last minute.  That is not the case at all; any and all extra fare money will be specifically to cover further expenses in providing what I hope would make a more enjoyable event.  That is also why I am asking you, as the participants, for your input to the decision making process on this – the options seem to me to be:-

  • We plan to use 806, 6106, 7005, 7349, 7358, 8320 and 8428 at a fare of €40 (TBC, see above)
  • We plan to use 806, 7005, 7349, 7358, 8320 and 8428 at a fare of €35 (€30 if one of the ‘extras’ could not work)
  • We remain with the four confirmed locos (806, 7005, 7358, 8428) at €25 as advertised

Please do contact me as soon as possible at jw218344@gmail.com to let me know your thoughts as I would be interested in everyone’s opinion.  I can’t promise that the eventual outcome will please everybody, but I am keen not to make the decision for people, and to give everyone a voice.  I emphasise that it remains very much an option to proceed with just the four locos you were expecting at the price initially advertised.

Beer

A fine stock of Belgian triples and strong beer will be available at Saint-Ghislain for you to purchase on site, either to consume straight away or to take home.

Shop

There is indeed usually a shop at Saint-Ghislain however understandably the stock will all be at the Bocq railway for the weekend, so this will be closed.  I can highly recommend perusing this whilst you are at Spontin!

Reminder

Please can I remind you that a yellow (not orange, or any other colour I am afraid) high-vis vest will be required for admittance to the event.

I extend my sincere thanks to the PFT/TSP and all of their hardworking volunteers for everything that has been done to date.  I very much look forward to a sociable event on Sunday, to catch up with many good friends and hopefully make new ones.

Jonathan Wilcox

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