Sunday, 19 October 2008
Saturday, 18 October 2008
The new engine was named "Caroline" and wore a beautiful yellow-lined green livery.I was rostered on the "Saturday PM" shift driving on the portable track.This shift would last from 1:30pm until 5pm.(Or that was the plan!).I arrived at 10:15am and after half an hour or so quickly taking in the sights of the exhibition (very briefly I might add!) I made my way to the track to familiarise myself with the new engine and the man I was going to spend the afternoon with,her builder! He was very pleasant and seemed eager to answer any questions I had about the engine.She was much smaller than the "Polly V" but very smart.The "Well Tank"s were 'fake' and water was carried in the two tanks which surrounded the cab.But there was enough capacity in them to last a good few runs up the track.Features included a mechanical lubricator,injector, crosshead pump, manual drain cocks and more.However, the most unusual thing about the engine was that, when you put the pole reverser to the forward position the engine went backwards.And when you did the opposite, she went forwards.This took a little getting used to and did catch me out a few times during the day but I got the hang of it in the end!
"Caroline" was nice to drive.This was mainly because it was a new engine I believe.The cab layout can be seen below and there is also a view of the "Polly V" which relieved "Caroline" at around 2pm (above).The trouble with the portable track is that the rail quality isn't great.Therefore you are far more likely to slip.Me being the "careful" driver I decided to use the Drain Cocks for one of the runs and this ruined the clean shine on the railheads! After that,"Caroline" slipped up the hill terribly.But it was a fearsome gradient and she was after all, only a small engine.There was no doubt in the power of the engine it was just a lack of weight on the wheels which slightly let her down.We had one car on the back and this would allow for a driver plus 2 children+1 adult OR a driver plus 2 Adults. The start of the station was hard. You needed to get a good turn of speed up as quickly as possible before even thinking about reaching the top! But the engine did pack a punch! There was no doubting that! The "Polly V" replaced her at around 2pm so that "Caroline" could be put on the Polly Models Stand.The "V" is much bigger but still slipped on that sort of a gradient with wet rails.Sometimes even with only the driver on.If the track was flat then we'd have 3 times the load behind it!
Sunday, 12 October 2008
Here there is a 10mph slack so there was a chance to build the fire a little more with a couple of shovel fulls thrown into the middle of the grate.Once out of the 10mph the driver accelerated again so the firedoors were shut along with the injector feeds.The 5mph slack was soon seen and at 145psi we coasted through with the doors shut.Once out of the "5" the driver accelerated once more but the pressure rose a little too.Climbing towards Shackerstone towards Hedley's crossing it was time for another "3 under the back" and "3 over the front".Even though it was hard work I was having a very good time! The driver shut off at the top of the bank but with 2/3 of a glass of water we left the feed off,as well as only having 140psi.Under Barton Bridge we went and No2 signal was clear.The pressure was again rising as Jan handed the 'single line token' over to the signalman at Shackerstone.On arrival in Platform 2 the injector was put on again and the doors opened a crack to calm the safety valves down.Meanwhile,I got down from the footplate to uncouple."Thomas" then,after moving through the North End points,passed Signal No7 and proceeded to the preparation yard for disposal. After disposing of the engine we all headed to the Mess Room to sign off.
All in all it had been a very good day with the highlight for me being able to fire the last run back to Shackerstone.Thanks for that Jan! Couldn't have done it without your guidance!
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Today I was at Shackerstone again and it was day out with Thomas.0-6-0 Hunslet "Jessie" (of the Llangollen Railway) was playing Thomas.After signing on 6:45am myself and Joe prepared a fire to complete the nealing of tubes.Nigel & Mr Britt were preparing Thomas whilst we worked. The fire was lit and began to heat up. Once Thomas had gone off shed at around 9:30am, Dave & Joe brought the Class 02 shunter into the South Yard before dragging "Lamport No3","Sir Gomer" & the Lowmac wagon (full of tubes) out of the shed.
Throughout the day myself and Dave nealed the tubes whilst Joe had a go at cleaning up the front tube plate.B1 "Mayflower" passed us every now and again with the services to Shenton.Joe left around 1pm but myself and Dave continued with the tubes.By around 2:30pm we put the last completed tubes on the Lowmac.We then used the 02 again to push the cavalcade back into the shed.The fire was left to burn down for an hour or so before I got the hose on it! This would dampen down the ash of course so that there would be less dust. Dave then headed up to the station whilst I 'pumped' the outside inspection pit due to the fact that the day was wearing on and a few hours later Thomas would be over the pit.I then got treated to a footplate ride to Shenton and back on Thomas' footplate with the "Tea on Thomas" special.It was good run and "Jessie" proved herself to be very powerful and reliable.I would be on the engine all day the following day and the post about that will come very soon!
Sunday, 5 October 2008
The day's main train motive power was the Class 20 (20 166 "River Fowey"). By just gone 12pm a big fire consisting of paper, pallets, coal, cardboard, oily rags & sleepers(!) had been lit in the preparation yard.Myself, Andy, Mr Britt, Dave, Joe & Graeme were going to have a go at nealing some more tubes.The fire was a bit bigger this time and by 1pm it was roaring and the first 12 tubes were in the fire.(This was of course after myself & Mr Britt had brought the Class 02 shunter around to the back of the shed to drag "Lamport", "Sir Gomer" & the Lowmac out!!).We had no gas equipment this time so it would take a little longer but as the hours went by more and more tubes were nealed.(We think we're very nearly 2/3 of the way there now.Another days worth of that and we'll be finished!). By 5pm we'd all had enough and the last nealed tube was put back on the Lowmac.
Mr Britt then restarted the 02 and myself & Andy "watched him back" into the shed.It had been another long day but more progress had been made.Myself, Mr Britt, Andy & Joe then retired to the washroom to 'sign off' (doing so at 5:30pm), after passing a very clean & shiny "Blue Circle"! I'll be back at Shack this coming Friday and staying over until Sunday night due to the Thomas Event.I am rostered on as 'trainee' on Thomas on Sunday so that should be fun!Meanwhile, on Saturday myself and Joe will be finishing the nealing of the tubes! Thanks for reading everyone and have a good evening!