Not a funny story I'm afraid, but may be of interest to some! There is a video link to accompany the following: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=D4sf5FSud00 As per usual, I reported to Horsted Keynes for P-Way duties bright and early last Sunday morning. According to someone’s car thermometer it was -8C, and the day didn’t get off to the best of starts when it was found that the hot water for the messroom had frozen (don’t ask!). Our Wickham trolley wasn’t too happy at the cold either, and it took the best part of 45 minutes to get it ready to move. At least we took it in turns to lie on the sleepers underneath the vehicle to try and overcome the problem (the Loco boys may have to book on earlier, but at least they have a pit!). Eventually though, we were slipping and sliding our way out onto the “mainline”, adhesion being at a premium even on the level section outside Horsted signal-box. The job was not a surprising one – checking West Hoathly tunnel for build up of ice (for those that don’t know, when they built the tunnel they “discovered” some underground springs. Hence the tunnel is permanently wet towards the north end – nice in the summer, but not so nice at this time of year!). Anyhow, the main problem with this task was that we were at Horsted Keynes, and the tunnel was 2 miles away and uphill. But we were up for the challenge, and so with station limits safely behind us, the Wickham tried to pick up speed. Unfortunately the 1 in 63 gradient of Fireslip meant that it didn’t, but we carried on crawling up to Horsted House farm, where the change in gradient to 1 in 75 at least allowed a small increase in speed. The further easing to 1 in 134 at Black Hut allowed us to meet the 1 in 60 that leads up to the tunnel at line-speed. Up to this point, there had been much comment as to how it was “rather cold” (some slightly stronger words may also have been used, but unfortunately I seem to have forgotten them). However, on entering the tunnel the drop in temperature was noticeable. It would have been interesting to have had a thermometer in there to see just how cold it actually was! Suffice to say that the icicles (that we had cleared only three days previously) had built up again rather rapidly, as can be seen in the video. So it was on with the hard-hats and out with the poles, and about an hour later the worst of the ice had been removed. As the Wickham arrived back at Horsted Keynes to clear the way for No.9017 on the first “up” train of the day, there was time for a well deserved cup of tea before we set out in the cold once more for the next job of the day.