Today has seen a number of the ungalmorous, but very necessary, winter maintenance tasks taking place at the Apedale Valley Light Railway. No.13, the 60-hp Motor Rail which takes the brunt of the diesel-hauled passenger duties, has been undergoing its annual maintenance exam. This includes an oil and filter change. This is not the easiest of tasks, and led the person doing the work to suggest that the designers may have failed to attend properly to the maintainability aspects when they developed the locomotive. Or at least that’s what I think he said. Meanwhile, the Joffre steam loco has been undergoing preparation for boiler exam; this involves – amongst other things – removing the firebars and fusible plug, then cleaning the firebox. The Joffre is unusual inasmuch that it is basically built around the ashpan. Therefore, access into the firebox is very difficult. Enter Sam; it would seem that Sam is the only one on site today who was thin enough to get into the firebox. We are therefore now placing Sam on a carefully-monitored, calorie-controlled diet, since it is clear that the steam loco maintenance programme critically depends on Sam not eating any more pies. As ever, get in touch here (unless you work for a well-known pie manufacturer).