As most of the tickets had been sold on line, there was only a small queue outside the booking office, and one of our volunteers bought ticket No. 14, full price, for a souvenir. That was very kind of him, as he has free travel but felt that he ought to support the railway.
The day started grey and misty, and rain was forecast for later in the day. We were very lucky that it stayed dry for the first two trains, and were able to perform the ceremony without a hitch. Everything went very smoothly.
The first thing we met, after delivering the clock just acquired for the booking office, was BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester doing a live broadcast.
Here they are commenting the arrival of Foremarke Hall, before turning to your blogger and asking him what he thought of it all. Er....
While the loco went about its business running round ready for the inaugural 09.40 departure, a specially made brass plaque was unveiled by Lord Faulkner of Worcester and our own plc chairman Richard Johnson.
By coincidence, the ceremony was held under the original E Finch of Chepstow worksplate up in the canopy.
The original canopy was constructed in 1903, and the new station with the authentic reproduction in 2018, 114 years later.
The gleaming paintwork on this locomotive is quite striking, it even elicited a comment from a member of the public about it.
The fire on the footplate is burning brightly, ready for the departure in a matter of minutes.
A tight knot of video enthusiasts has formed at the platform end, ready to record every second of this historic departure from the newly rebuilt station.
In the background you can see evidence of the interest shown in our reopening day - cars stretch almost out of sight. After August we should be able to park in the new council car park under the bridge and on the left, a very short walk to the station. Note that you cannot take your car up the station approach on the right, unless you are a local resident. The very few car parking spaces at the top are reserved for disabled drivers and a handful of station staff. The area on the corner of the building is also reserved for coaches and buses to turn round, so that has to be left free as well.
At the bottom of the drive were BAG members Pat and Vic on barrier duty, to make sure only authorised vehicles could venture up the station approach. New 'No Entry' signage left and right also makes this clear.
We were particularly pleased to note that the passengers from the third train, after the opening departure with its guests a more routine passenger train, started to walk to Broadway up station road in quite large numbers.
They were soon followed by your blogger on the way to his favourite Broadway pub for a piping hot bowl of warming Chili con Carne, and a pint of local Stanway beer. Bliss !
On the other side of the bridge is the row of parked cars up the road to Pennylands Bank.
Many people cheerfully admitted they only came to watch the inaugural train, so in future there should be fewer of them, and belonging to actual passengers.
The intention was to take a video of this train, and we were doing quite well with the new smartphone, until it suddenly decided to do what it said on the box - it rang ! The video came to a dead stop just as the loco was passing. Dang ! Who knew that an incoming call would overrule the camera function?
Nevertheless we do have a video of the day for you:
It's Dinmore Manor with the second train of the day. This one wasn't truncated, so enjoy.
After lunch it was time for an interesting piece of station heritage. The booking hall needs a clock. Unfortunately a genuine GWR drop case clock can fetch anything between £2000 and £2500. While a number of kind and generous blog watchers have offered to help with funding such heritage items, our worry was about the risk of theft from such a public space.
The advice was to buy a similar clock (the same manufacturer also made them for things like schools and factories, but those 3 letters suddenly add £2000 to the value of the clock) and add the letters ourselves. In this way we will have recreated the look, but not (we hope) the risk of theft, as it is not a genuine item.
WSR stalwart Robin White very kindly offered to letter it for us, and was keen to try out the new skills acquired after attending a sign writing course.
After a reviving cup of coffee - it was only 5 degrees C outside - we had a whim and decided to hang it up straight away.
The pendulum is still at home - this went rather quicker than expected - so Sunday looks like the day it will start to run.
It's an 8 day movement, so if the station staff remember to wind it up every Sunday it will work just fine, nothing more to do.
And there it is. It looks just right.
We also have a GWR route map and some posters for the walls - we will look at these once things have calmed down a bit.
Hats off to the Broadway gang then !
PS Is nothing original then? Well, we did manage to incorporate two original finds from the wreckage of the station demolition in November 1963: Two cast iron crowd barrier posts found under the dirt, and one cast iron finial from the P2 Gents modesty screen. Both were used to cast more of the same.
And a final post scriptum - the Foremarke Hall video has completed uploading as this blog went to press.
The video stops suddenly just as the loco is passing, leaving you to stare at the driver, frozen in time.
Don't say we didn't warn you - damned incoming phone call...