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These are the geezers that populate the DLR; the worker, shirkers, drivers and skivers and the passengers and local residents of Benbril, Elsden Parva and St Edmonds.
This man is a regular visitor to all parts of the construction site and I must say that his support has been invaluable. If he rings me when I'm feeling 'not quite up to snuff', he always has a beneficial effect on my morale. Here, he inspects a ground signal in the museum.
'Well, of course it's fubar you silly boy Wayne, you just dropped it!'. Arfer never did have a lot of time for the younger generation. Terry? Well he's sweet but dim, I'm afraid. You can tell can't you? Just look at that face!
'No, Mr Sedgewick, I'm not that sort of girl!' I'll say she's not. In a previous existence, when she left that nice Mr Bennett's casting shop, she was a Scot's Guardsman! Amazing what a sharp knife and some miliput can achieve. And all on the NHS too!
Frank and George inspect a wayward wagon before having another cup of tea.
Flt Sgt 'Jimmy' Green attempting to get home on leave, makes the tactical error of asking Frenchy, one of the signalmen, for an estimate of how long he might have to wait for the next train to St Edmonds.
'You know what, Cedric, there was a bloomin' bench in this here shelter last week and it's bloomin' gorn nah' 
'Yes, thank you George. I'll look into it'
'Incidentally, George, what do you make of the management replacing those slates on the roof of this shelter with pantiles? Not quite pukka, what?'
'No, Guv, but they was a cheap lot on ebay I heared tell'
Top driver, Ben takes Beatrice back to the shed. An interesting man in many ways. His right leg has been replaced by a brass strip and he carries a displacement lubricator where the sun never shines.
Now here's a situation. Jim, on the left, takes the same train to work every weekday, carrying his dockie box, full of Shiphams meat paste sandwiches and a nice slice. His missus of thirty years simply doesn't understand him, but then, she is having an affair with the local greengrocer. Clifford, as far as you can sit on the right, works in accounts at the same factory.  His holdall contains absolutely nothing to eat whatsoever because his wife doesn't love him. Jim and Clifford never speak, which is a pity, since they are both closet gays.
The question is this. Should I maintain the illusion that the DLR is set in the early 1960's, or, should I decide that it is a preservation line in modern time and allow these two nice chaps to consider a civil partnership?
Suggestions on a postcard please to Uncle Dai at the DLR.
Actually, seriously guys, what do you think about the time line thing with our set-ups?
The motley crew of gangers
George here tells Sid, Eric and Podraig what they must do with the tea, tar and gunpowder with which they have been provided. Which to drink and so on. This is not the brightest crew of gangers on earth. ' And, by the way, where is Wilf?'
Down in the forest, something stirred. What stirred? A Wilf's.......Wilf, after a night on the beer, has been caught short and is swiftly pulling his keks up before leaving Barry Hill woods. 
Ever wondered what became of that vile ARP warden from Dad's Army? Of course, he was a jumped up Jack in office, always trying to get one over on Captain Mainwaring but the war ended and so did his entire status as officious twerp. He had always been interested in all things steam so he jumped at the chance to learn to be a fireman on the DLR. He didn't take too kindly to the cleaning apprenticeship but saw the point of it and now is a stalwart both in the cab and on the committee.
Well, would you want the so and so on your line, straight from Rob Bennet, without major plastic surgery? After reshaping the tin hat, cutting off and replacing the arms, actually swapping left for right, major amputation of the right leg, the use of Miliput to make good and add some jacket edges, and you'd never recognise the old dear. The old canvas pouch/ knapsack was there all along and offered the inspiration for the conversion. I've already converted Sgt Wilson into a Flight Sergeant. Now for a major assault (Oooh, I do apologise!) on the beastly verger. The surplice can be hacked about and the cardigan will need something doing to it and as for the dog collar!  Well!  Not on this man's railway, Rob!
The verger loses his surplice and dog collar, puts on a city suit and sports a magnificent handlebar tache. Resplendent with rose buttonhole, furled brolly and copy of the Times, he waits at St Edmonds for the link to the mainline, attempting to ignore Phil McCrevice who is travelling to see Scotland thrashed again by Wales. You thought the 'see-you-Jimmy' hat was ironic? No, they really mean to look like that. Sid of course is asking himself the traditional question about kilt wearers. The answer is, 'Nae, it's all in purrrrfect wurrkin' order'
On her way to the races, Grandma Giles challenges Big Bill, the St Edmonds undertaker about the exhorbitant estimate from him for her forthcoming cat's funeral. 'OK OK, I'll see you right my Darlin' he purrs. 'How do you find the new Bonnevile then?' he enquires,changing the subject. ' Much more reliable than my old Norton' says she.
Here is an odd circumstance. Both these figure conversions began life as Rob Bennet kilted guardsman bodies. A modicum of miliput and we have Phil McCrevice and Sister Noverflow. 'Which is your favourite, apple pie, young man, or a meringue?' 'Yer nae rang Sister, I like apple pie just fine'
Sid is very proud of his daughter Virginia, not least because she won a scholarship to St Edmond's High School for Young Ladies where she is doing very well. Although she protests, Sid insists on seeing her onto the train at Benbril every morning and meets her again at night. Today, as you see, she will have a violin class. Tonight, she will drive Sid and Hilda to the edge of insanity with practice. Ah! Parenthood!
{Virginia is of course based on another one of those Scots Guardsman bodies which have proved so inspirational. The family resemblance is achieved simply because Georgina's head was adapted from a spare Sid head. Off with the tache, reduce the chin and the old man's ears, halve the nose, reduce the head size then build the plaits and hat brim.}
Now see the entire gruesome foursome together. What stories they could tell.
Bert, Peggy and Wayne live at 5, Railway terrace, Benbril, close by the level crossing. Peggy always does the washing of a Monday, whatever the weather and it will be bubble and squeak for dinner.

It's 11 am but Peggy already has her hair in curlers for tonight is Bingo night at the Odeon. The washing load today is mostly Wayne's Y-fronts, his pyjama bottoms which somehow need washing twice as frequently as the tops, his work overalls and his pillow-slip, always so vile with Brylcreem. The bra is Peggy's. Wayne thinks Peggy doesn't know about his little collection of girlfriend souvenirs, but she does.

Long suffering Bert has had enough. 'I'm orf, Duck, darn the bookies'. I'm not saying he's work-shy, but he has been 'on the panel' since demob in 1947. 'It's me bronichals, Doc'. 40 Capstan a day can't help. He talks little of the unpleasantness between 1939 and 45 but to be truthful, the worst thing that might happen to one who served in the Mobile Bath Corps was boredom or slipping on a bar of soap.
Moseying down to the old Directors' Saloon, this evening, I chanced upon an ad hoc meeting between two of the DLR directors, seated at the boardroom table. General Malfeasance JP was having his ear banged by the vicar, 'Tubby' Peuce, on the subject of providing new and more modern uniforms for the station staff. 'I've worn the same uniform all my life,' barked the Old Bulldog, 'and even when I was shot in 1943, I saw no reason for anything but a clean and press! Isn't that so Din?' 'Ah! Indeed, Sahib, but perhaps you did not know how many hours it took to fumigate those trousers? I recall, your worship, that you were stretchered off to the first aid tent but the jodphurs ran back on their own.'  'But,' implored the Rev, 'Don't you think, General, that we should move with the times?' 'Hmmph!' 'Don't see you swopping your dog collar for a polo neck. Any chance of you wearing anything but cricket whites and a tribesman's hat, my faithful batman?' 'Goodness me, Sir! Gorblimey! No!'

There's always one. The man who thinks he's Elvis. Nowadays, of course, they have less hair but you do see them about. The DLR is set for ever at 1965 so Brylcreem still rules here. St Edmonds's answer to the King of Rock is Teddy Soles. As dim as a Toc H lantern, is Teddy but snappy dresser? None snappier, he'd say. Will he flick his ash in the fire bucket? You're joking, surely?

Siggie Fischer is the signalman at St Edmonds but he also does service at Benbril North Box when Frenchy is on leave. Here he is, testing out the new rig before it is installed. Any resemblance between Adolf Schickelgruber and Sigismund is entirely genetic.

Mike Pullett, crossing keeper at Elsden Parva is seen here opening the gates to allow passage of a very important E-Type Jaguar, driven by the most important person in Dingle Leigh. Sir James Sinjin Wiskas, owner and Chairman of the famous cat food conglomerate that bears his name (slogan: 'If my Tiddles wouldn't touch it, your pussy's not getting it'). Never a man to waste a second when money can be made, even in the minute it takes for Mike to open those gates, he has negotiated to buy up the entire Grand National field before the flies land on a single carcase, communicating with his state of the art hand-held Morse code machine. What a man! Obsessed by steam locomotives, he has just bought up the entire LNWR which, it is widely believed, he intends to scrap. Gossip mongers have also alleged that he has recently taken up the art of clay sculpture.

The Birth of a Legend

In many ways, 1965 was a momentous year. Forget about the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Harold Wilson, Myra Hyndley. This was the year Churchill and Freddie Mills died, the Kray twins were banged up but Ronnie Biggs let himself out of Wandsworth nick. Liverpool won the FA cup for the first time in their history but Sir Stanley Mathews quit at 50. More than all this, Kenneth Tynan said a naughty word on TV and now you can't get through a night's viewing without hearing it.

In Dingle Leigh, a chance meeting would lead on to legendary travel events. There happened to be an American airman, one Eugene, temporarily stationed at the nearby USAF bomber base, Shuttermouth.  Like many of his colleagues, Eugene had imported a big fat Buick, which was fine whilst the base mechanics would service it, but when it developed serious suspension problems, he was obliged to seek help from a local welder, Dai Laffin. 

Dai Laffin, welder and bodgeller extra-ordinaire.

Dai and his mechanic mate 'Stickie Dickie' Bird, (so-named because of his dapper appearance and taste in shirts) had long thought they would start up a modern garage in competition with Grady Bros in Benbril, but lacked the capital and the flare. In a sense, they needed some big idea as well as some shekels.

Richard Bird, known as 'Sticky' seen here with his whistle stick.

Eugene had a brave but ultimately brilliant idea. Outside the base were few garages that had any idea about American cars. Soon, many of his fellow airmen would head for home and want to sell their lovely cars in the UK rather than ship them home. Meantime, all those cars would need servicing. Two of his base colleagues had already married local girls and planned to stay. They would have a good severance pay and Eugene saw how neat it would be for the four men to go into business together and solve all the problems in one go. Who were the others?

Chuck 'The Melter' Butt was one of the base firemen but was also skilled in all things electrical and, building. He had been part of a team that refurbished the baseball ground at Shuttermouth, so was well experienced in the laying of astroturf. He was also built like an ox and had a big packet coming.

Chuck A Butt Jnr known as 'the Melter' because of his penchant for arson.

Lenny Nimmo was an unusual man to say the least of it. To say he was clever would be an understatement. He was a genius. Odd-looking, to be sure, but this was a man who could look without emotion at a spreadsheet and predict the whether. He had a gift for technology and was working, in his spare time, on various devices to speed up transporting people from place to place.

Eugene brought the four together and a deal was struck almost immediately. Dai and Dickie would find a suitable workshop and do their homework on Chevrolets and Cadillacs. The Melter and Lenny would put as much work from the base their way. Eugene was very insistent that a modern image was essential. No more scruffy overalls, but smart fitted uniforms with a corporate logo. 


they became

**** START A WRECK ****

Beam us up, Spotty!

2011 saw the development of a more Irish flavour to the DLR. Making a few Atropos Schull & Skibbereen kits led to research into the entire Irish narrow gauge scene. It seems plain that the totally informal, shoestring way of running a railway which appears to have been a common Irish experience lends itself joyfully to garden railway. It's quirky and anarchistic and appeals to me. Naturally, the new era needed personnel to do the work.

Fitting handbrakes to all rolling stock doesn't just make them look right. With the gradients of the DLR, they're essential at times. Not that the gradients are anything like the 1 in 30 of the S&S where every now and then, passengers were obliged to get out and push! Handbrakes need men to put them on and off. Step forward Pat.

Horse boxes have groom's quarters so Scobie arrived

Of course, things being what they are in the horse world, getting an Irish dray horse into a box is not for the faint-hearted and when the time comes, it's all hands to the task. No horseman, Feargal, but he has a pretty good idea that he feels safer clutching a stout broom. It makes a nice break from sweeping out tubes.

Even George the Station Master takes a firm hand as ever