Sunday, 28 June 2009

Afternoon Of Driving On The RPMR...

After the forecast predicted sunshine & showers today, I was a bit "in two minds" about the weather. However, it turned out very nice (mostly!) for my 2nd Crew Turn of 2009 at the RPMR (ran by Coventry Model Engineering Society). Today, my jobs were preparing, driving and disposing of the steam loco, 0-4-0 Sweet Pea Class Contractor's loco No499 "John H Owen" (completed in 1999)...with the help of a few of my fellow crew members and our trainee driver, Emma. I arrived on site at around 11:45am, with the running due to start at 1pm, and run until 4pm. On arrival I found that the rest of the crew hadn't arrived yet so I headed up to the track and began checking for any sheared or broken bolts as well as any bad/drop joints. After a successful examination and the rest of the crew arriving, myself & Emma headed to prepare "John H Owen" for service. Once we had her on the steaming bay, Emma began oiling the motion whilst I checked the front & rear tubeplates for any leaks. With 2/3 of a glass of water on the gauge it was time to light the fire. This was done with the usual paraffin-soaked wood, on top of which coal was later added. No499 began to warm through slowly as I checked the engine's motion before using Brasso to clean the copper chimney cap, handrails, water tank top, cab side plates and pressure gauge.
A dirty rag and some steam oil was then use to clean the smokebox and front bufferbeam. The 5" gauge Sweet Pea engine's are a very popular and sucessful design. Employing an 80psi marine boiler coupled with 4 small wheels, the engines are very powerful. The class uses typical Hackworth Valve Gear to transfer power from the cylinders to the wheels. (This particular engine employs a pole-reverser with 3 notches in either direction). The beauty of the marine boiler is that the entire firebox (including the grate etc) can be removed. This allows thorough and easy(!) cleaning of the tubes, tubeplate, grate and firebox. The firebox then simply slides back into place before being bolted (by 2 small nuts) into it's "working" position. Though the firebox is relatively short, a big fire can result in fantastic steaming capabilites and haulage capacities. On the water side of things, this engine has 3 means of transferring water from the tank into the boiler. There are two Crosshead pumps (transferring water via a "bypass" valve whilst the engine is in motion) and a double-acting Hand Pump (situated under the running boards and operated manually by the driver).
CMES owns two Sweet Pea class locomotives, the other being the lovely No2 "Diane", built by a late member. "John H Owen" was built by many different CMES members as a "club project" and is the society's stalwart steam loco. (In previous years, the club used two small 5" gauge "Ajax" tank locomotive's as motive power but these would have been simply inadequate for today's heavy RPMR trains). At around 1pm the Class 37 electric locomotive was already on the track with the main coach rake. She took the first round trip of passengers before No499 made it onto the track...blowing off well. Trainee driver, Emma, took No499 on her first trip light engine (under supervision) before the Class 37 & the steamer switched positions. "John H Owen" was now on the main stock with myself being the driver. After building up the fire I awaited the "right away" from the guard before leaving. After around 6 round trips my collegue took over for 4 trips so that I could have a break. After this, some of my family arrived for a ride so I took over driving again. I then drove until the end of the day. I must of made at least 15 trips!
At 4pm, with one round trip left to do, "John H Owen" was re-swapped for the Class 37. Emma then drove the engine on 2 round trips light engine as another training exercise before we arrived at the steaming bay again for 'blowing down'. This procedure involves removing the firebox to "tip out" the fire, cleaning the grate, tubes and smokebox as well as 'blowing the engine down' and finally, cleaning the loco. At the end of the procedure there should be no steam in the boiler and absolutely no fire in the box. The engine should then be ready for the next time she is steamed. Overall the engine had performed very, very well, arriving back at Ryton Halt with the safety valves blowing after every trip I believe...thats got to be good going! After doing her day's work and her blowing down finished, No499 was "put to bed" before we left the site. It had been a good day and my next day at the RPMR will be this coming Saturday for the July member's "Steam Up" day when I will hopefully be driving 0-6-0 Industrial side tank "Achilles". Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Sunny Afternoon In The Garden...

When faced with the prospect of a few free hours on a sunny afternoon I mostly decide to head outside into the garden for a play on the railway...as I did today! With blue skies above I made my way to the shed and began preparing the railway for running (turning on switches, opening trapdoors, shunting etc) and before long all was ready. I then headed back inside before picking a few loco's (from my collection of 35 or so) to haul trains with for the afternoon. I then had to bring my "coach box" to the shed. (This box simply contains a few of my coach rakes stacked on top of eachother for easy storage). As today was a normal "running session" I was utilising the railway to the maximum capacity available without needing to shunt anything between trips. This means using all 3 passing roads in the shed as well as the passing loop at Chilvers Station. I was also using Ashford Spur, Sutherland Yard & the indoor reception siding for storage and shunting now & again...this just makes things a little more interesting! With the use of the passing roads, 4 complete trains can be stored at any one time with 1 of those trains being allowed into the single line section whilst the other 3 wait their turn. With push-pull trains, such as Autotrains (14xx+Autocoach), the reception siding in the shed can also be used for "overlay", as there is no need to run round.
The above image shows the interior of the shed...as best as possible with my phone camera! The 3 passing roads can be seen clearly. To the right of the image, arriving in No1 Road, can be seen 0-6-2 GWR 56xx No6600 with a clockwise train. An anti-clockwise train is waiting in No2 Road whilst the Black 5 is seen in No3 Road with a mixed-freight train, about to run clockwise around the circuit. At the bottom of the image can be seen Austerity No68075. The 0-6-0 is waiting on the short reception siding which can contain 2 regular bogie coaches if required. In the future, I would like to model a 4-road (at least!) engine shed in the top right hand corner in which to store up to 8 locomotives at once. This will not only make the "fiddle yard" a little more 'scenic' but will also prevent having to store engine's on the above workbench. However, this "fiddle yard" is very effective and can store 4-coach trains with ease. However, longer trains of up to 6-coaches can be stored in No1 Road, whilst still allowing trains to pass in the other 2 roads. (Chilvers Station loop can accomodate trains of up to 5-coaches in length too).
In all, trains ran from around 2:45pm unil 6:15pm. After tidying most things away, the day's steam locomotives were lined up at Ashford Spur in the evening sunlight. They are, from front to back...45xx No4560, 56xx No6600, 68xx No6862 "Derwent Grange", Black 5 No45156 "Ayrshire Yeomanry", 57xx No5775 and J94 No68075. After the image was taken they were all "put to bed" after another successful running session. It had been another nice afternoon spent pleasantly in the tranquility of the sunlit back garden...playing with a good few trains of course! I hate to think of the amount of movements that there must of been up & down the railway over the last 4 years(!)...we must of clocked up some massive mileage! Oh well, 4 years of good fun and hopefully many more to go! The next garden railway session will probably be next Wednesday...as I always do bits & bobs on the track on Wednesday's! However, the next post will come on Sunday June 28th as I will be crewing the RPMR for the afternoon along with a few other CMES members...lets hope for good weather! Thanks for reading folks! Good evening...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Testing Times for "Achilles" & RPMR Track Night...

After another day at school it was time to go along to my 5" gauge concern at Ryton. Tonight was a special "Track Night" in which locomotives would be brought along in the evening light (6:30pm start) to have a run on the railway. On arrival I was informed that 0-6-0 Side Tank "Achilles" (which I have a large amount of involvement with now & again) & her owner were on site. (This determined my whereabouts for some of the evening). I headed to the carriage shed's where I found the substantially sized 0-6-0 waiting for me. Her owner asked me to steam her up so I did so, using the usual mixture of parrafin wood & coal. After around 15 minutes the 0-6-0 was in steam and ready to move BUT the main reason for her steaming was, afterall, to test the repairs the her seemingly ever-failing mechanical water pump. Therefore, after some pumping of water using the hand pump, we made our way off shed for the solitary lap that we managed. With 90psi on the clock steam wasn't a problem, but with no evidence of the working axle pump I, with regret, failed the locomotive again.
Therefore, at Ryton Station (3/4 of a lap around) I opened the blow down tap after raking the fire. The engine then released all of her steam and of course her water, from the boiler at least. She was then pushed empty & cold on the final 1/4 of a lap back to the steaming bays. The 0-6-0 was then cleaned and checked over again with no evidence of any leaks or faults being noted. After an "autotopsy" by a few other members the end result was that there may be a burst or shattered pipe inside the engine. Therefore, her owner, Ken, agreed to have a check once he'd got the engine back home again and, more importantly, completely cold! The engine soon left the site but I was told by her owner that she may be ready for the Steam Up on July 4th if the problem is found & repaired on time...Fingers Crossed!
Away from "Achilles", the idea of the "Track Night" was to allow members to drive different locomotive's which, on normal days, they wouldn't normally drive! The other steamer I got to drive was the lovely 57XX Pannier Tank (Pansy Class) No5717 "Victoria". Wearing GWR Green livery and pure-white scale headlamps, this locomotive is one of my favourites! She, as always, was very responsive, free-steaming & 'happy' to work. I drove her on two very enjoyable laps of the track before unfortunately losing the fire as I forgot that her blower wasn't working! Yes I know..."call yourself a passed driver?!"..."have you driven one of these before?!"...I got all the comments! The engine later came off the track and was cleaned down before heading home. Thanks for a lovely drive "Victoria"...
Now, I know I'm a committed steam fan but when asked by her proud owner if I would like to drive the above loco ("Benella"), I jumped at the chance! She is a Compass House-produced 0-4-0 Battery electric locomotive carrying, I believe(!), 2 batteries. A substantially powerful and very smooth running machine, she is very enjoyable to drive. The controls (including horns etc) are all smartly located in the handheld controller which is connected to the locomotive via a short, flexible wire. This allows very comfortable driving without the need for slouching as is a necessity with other engines of this gauge. I must say, though I love steam, battery electric's do have their rightful place on any miniature railway. Rather than worry about the water or the pressure gauges, as you do with a steamer, you can simply sit back and enjoy the view...lovely! I don't think I'm a "convert" but its certainly very nice to drive one now and again! Thanks driver for the lovely drive on your loco...
Thanks for reading this post folks & my next turn at the RPMR is this coming Sunday (June 28th) and I will be part of the passenger hauling crew. Trains will run from 1pm-4pm weather-permitting and rides are £1 per person per ride. If you would like more information then please visit http://www.coventrymes.co.uk/

Friday, 19 June 2009

Whats Coming Up?....

Wed 24th June:-RPMR Track Night
Sun 28th June:-RPMR Crew
Sat 4th July:-RPMR Steam-Up/Gala
Sun 5th July:-Shackerstone Shed Work Day(?)
Sun 19th July:-Shakespeare Express Day Out

Sunday, 14 June 2009

A Weekend With Thomas The Tank Engine...

Hi all. Now, almost everyone has heard of the television show which surrounds the world's favourite steam engine, Thomas the Tank Engine. Due to the massive popularity which surrounds the show, preserved railway's, such as my railway, the Battlefield Line, have been running "Day Out With Thomas" events for some years now. These events allow children and adults alike to see and of course ride behind a 'real-life' Thomas and this weekend at Shackerstone was no exception. I arrived on Friday afternoon at around 3:30pm to help 'light up' "Thomas"' warming fire ready for the weekend. Outside the engine shed, LNER B1 No1306 "Mayflower" was already lit-up and was enjoying a good clean from a few members of her support crew. I found "Thomas" outside on the Pit Road. My collegue, Pockets, then arrived and we set about checking the engine over. This involved checking the firebox, boiler & smokebox as well as emptying the latter and the ashpan if necessary. After all the checks had been carried out and we had a good "water level" we lit the fire which consisted of oily rags, wood and coal. After a few hours and more checks we left the engine ready for the next days work...
Day 2:-After sleeping on site, I signed on at 5:45am and made my way to the shed. The fireman for the day, Adrian, had arrived just prior to me and had already lit the fire. The engine "sang" happily as we awaited the arrival of Bruce, the driver. When Bruce arrived we enjoyed a cuppa before he began to oil the engine up for the day. Meanwhile, Adrian made continual checks on the fire and I began cleaning the engine. After a few hours, the engine was just about ready. "Daisy The Diesel Railcar" stood behind the loco and when he driver arrived she was started up. Aveiling & Porter "Blue Circle" (as "Fergus") was also in other yard making steam nicely. We were due "off shed" at around 9:10am but we were ready at 8:20am! Therefore, to save time, we decided to use the engine for the "line inspection" (a run designated to checking that the route is safe & complete for the day). This would save the use of a diesel engine to do the job. After being checked again, "Thomas" moved carefully off shed and down into the south yard where "Mayflower" & "Blue Circle" stood. The points were changed and "Thomas" moved over onto the "main line" before receiving the Single Line Token. Once received, the token was placed safely away before we accelerated away from Shackerstone. The line looked as safe as ever but these checks are obviously always necessary just in case!
Within 20 minutes we reached Shenton (the terminus) and checked the ground frame there before returning, with permission from the Signalman, to Shackerstone. We then coupled to the main train (the 10am) whilst "Daisy" made her 15 minute 9:40am run to Hedley's Crossing (1.5 miles from Shackerstone). With "Daisy"s return at 9:55am we got ready to depart. At 10:00am, the passengers were aboard and as the sun shone we departed Shackerstone in a cloud of steam, up the bank towards Barton Bridge. Thomas chugged easily along the line to Shenton where 'he' swiftly ran round, much to the delight of onlookers. After coupling up again, Thomas departed on time for Shackerstone under the care-free blue skies. Once back at Shackerstone we came off the stock ready for the beautiful "Mayflower" to take over for the next 4 departures of the day. Meanwhile, "Daisy" made another run to Hedley's, the 10:55am trip. For the rest of the day we (and Thomas of course!) took part in engine races, games & playlets as well as top & tailing the DMU to Hedley's 4 times. One 'game' involved children passing me buckets of water to refill Thomas' empty (realistically full!!) tank. Once the children had there go, Sir Topham Hatt & Mr Conductor had their turn but, as usual with this 'game', they missed horribly and soaked me (this was of course planned, sadly!!). In all, I got 6 buckets of water thrown over me today, not bad I suppose!
The Station was packed and it was lovely to see so many people around as we chugged around the site. Our races with the Class 25 'Rat' (as "BoCo") we very well received with the crowds! The last trip, the 4:40pm was the "Tea on Thomas" Special and, naturally, was to be hauled by "Thomas". We prepared the engine before departing 10 minutes down. At Shenton, Sir Topham posed with Thomas for photographs before we ran round & returned to Shackerstone, arriving at around 5:45pm. Once uncoupled, we hissed down into the North End sidings for coal, which was put into the bunker by the resident "Wetherill" digger. Once coaled, we chugged through the station back to the sheds and the Pit Road, arriving there at around 6:05pm. We then disposed of the engine and made our way to the wash room after a long days enjoyment! Day 3:-Well, after staying on site again I signed on at 5:35am and headed to the North Yard where we had left Thomas the night before. I put the hose in the tank and turned it on before heading to the "Wood Store" to break up some pallets to light Thomas' fire with. The day's Fireman, Pockets, then arrived before we had a nice "wake up cuppa" (very necessary believe me!). I then went under the engine to "ash out" whilst Pockets built the "new fire" in the 'box'. The Class 02 shunter then arrived pushing A & P "Blue Circle" (as "Fergus"), shunting her just in front of Thomas. The driver, Mark, then arrived to do the oiling as well as other little jobs. Once I had finished my job, I began cleaning the engines wheels with help from my collegue, Craig. Meanwhile, the "Fergus" crew had lit 'him' up for the day and were giving him a careful clean.
Pockets set about cleaning Thomas' "cab brass" whilst I had moved on to cleaning his face (being careful not to get soap in his eyes of course!!). At 9:20am Thomas, Fergus and Daisy (behind Thomas) were ready and Fergus made his way off shed first before trundling down into Platform 1 to impress the early birds. We then took Thomas off shed before moving through the crossing onto the main line. It was then a short trundle back down into Platform 2 before coupling onto the stock for the 10am departure, as we did the day before. Daisy then passed us before departing for Hedley's a few minutes afterwards. Craig was to join us for this run to Shenton and stood on the driver's side with Mark whilst myself & Pockets stood on the fireman's side. Upon Daisy's arrival we "got the road" before departing Shackerstone shrewly. Thomas' bark echoed around the cutting as we accelerated up the bank and under Barton Bridge towards Hedley's. We arrived at Shenton on time before running round shrewly. I recoupled Thomas to the stock and "changed the lamp code" before we departed again. On arrival at Shackerstone, Daisy departed again as we uncoupled. The rest of the day was spent much as the day before was with much racing, gaming, shunting and of course 8 buckets of water over my head, thanks Sir Topham & Mr Conductor, much appreciated. Towards the end of the day we took the final train, the 4:40pm "Tea on Thomas" train to Shenton in the cooling evening sunshine. It was a lovely run indeed with the fire burning brightly, the pressure holding firm and the water level remaining strong in the glasses. We arrived at Shenton on time before Sir Topham again posed with the locomotive for photos. We then ran round before I recoupled Thomas to the stock and rearranged the lamps for the return run. We left Shenton on time and this run was even better! It was fabulous. Unusally, whilst looking out the fireman's side I noticed a small Camper Van chasing the train! They chased us from Shenton to Hedley's, around 3.5 miles. My initial thoughts were that it was Sooty but it turned out not to be afterall! Shame! Once back at Shackerstone we uncoupled before running up the shed for the last time, waving goodbye to the homeward bound passengers who were heading off down the car park. Once back on the Pit Road we disposed of Thomas for the last time. After 45 minutes we were finished and it was left to a diesel shunter (the 02) to put him back in the shed for a good rest after his hard weekend. We then signed off after another enjoyable day and we then headed off home, I was glad to leave for home but had still had a fantastic 3 days. Now, I've talked about what we did and when and how but I haven't told you about "Thomas" himself. The example we used this weekend was an ex-LMS Fowler Class 3F 'Jinty' locomotive, hired in from the Midland Railway at Butterley. She is, in reality, No47327 built in 1926 by the North British Locomotive Company for the LMS. With a water capacity of 1200 gallons and 2 tons of coal space the engine made our round trip's (10 miles) easily. At 31ft or so long she was also a relatively large 0-6-0 and her 160psi boiler pressure along with her 2 cylinders made her very powerful. The engine including the usual features such as steam heating gear. The image above shows the cab. The verticle leaver on the right is the pole reverser with the regulator prominant at the top of the manifold. The small brown knob to the centre-right is part of the combined steam & vacuum brake which can be used with both the engine's large & small ejectors. The small brass handle in the centre is the "blower", hidden behind which is the small "sanding gear" leaver. The two gauge glasses can be seen and the two "cocks" on either side of the manifold are the steam feeds for the two injectors. The water valve for the Fireman's side injector can be seen just to the right of the open "Oil Cupboard" on the left. The "hydrostatic lubricator" can be seen just to the right of the left lead window.
The engine was very nice to work on and was very well received by the crews. I definately enjoyed my 2 days crewing the engine and she (or he?!) behaved very well. The engine will return home this week some time I believe. Thank you for reading everyone, more posts coming soon!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

A Soggy Day At The Statfold Barn Railway...

Today, Saturday June 6th 2009, can only be described with the following three words:- wet, wet & wet! However, this did not stop us visiting the fantastic Statfold Barn Railway near Tamworth. This private multi-gauge railway offers almost everthing to the steam enthusiast, with gauges ranging from 7.25" to standard! I make no apologies for the length of this post as there is just so much to say! Firstly, the railway is owned by Mr Graham Lee, who bought the Hunslet Engine Company a few years ago. Statfold Barn Farm, his home, then became the early beginnings of what we see today. Today was the railway's "Summer Open Day", one of three such day's held each year but it seemed the complete opposite to summer! The continous pouring rain didn't allow for many good pictures but I got what I could and you'll see a good few below. Though split into different sections, the current SBR features the following gauges:-7.25", 10.25", 2ft, 2ft 6" & standard gauge. First however, I will explain the layout of "Statfold Station" & yard.
Statfold Yard begins outside the multi-gauge locomotive running shed. There are three roads in this particular shed, one of which continues straight through and out of a rear door. The left hand road is 2ft gauge only, the centre road is 2ft, 2ft 6" & standard gauge whilst the right hand road is dual 2ft & 2ft 6". This allows for a great variety of locomotives to be both stored & steamed in or around this shed. There is also a water tower and overhead gantry crane here.The centre road leads through the running shed and back outside onto a compact turntable which has the ability to turn engine's of up to 50 tons in weight. From the turntable, the locomotive's can run onto a mutli-gauge traverser which allows the road to be set to another 3-road shed, a storage shed. This is used for overall storage of engine's when they are not in steam. For example, inside today was the "bottom-end" of a standard gauge 0-6-0 Austerity Saddle Tank which is under restoration at Statfold. On the traverser today was a standard gauge 0-6-0 locomotive chassis awaiting overhaul. Next door to this storage shed is the "boiler shop". I took a look inside and work on the Austerity's boiler is well under way, as is work on the boiler from the 0-6-0 which stood on the traverser. On the other side of the storage shed is the "Hunslet Museum". This is filled with many gems including nameplates, lamps, signs and, the best bit, a 10.25" Royal Scott 4-6-0 locomotive in LMS Crimson livery.
Opposite the side-door entrance to the "Hunslet Museum" are the main machine shops. These have no rail access but are filled with massive machinery which has the ability to overhaul even the largest locomotive's. The size of the machines is almost intimidating(!) but they are very useful pieces of kit for their purposes. Even standard gauge locomotive wheels can be "turned" on the lathes inside the machine shops. Down the yard from the machine shops is a final storage shed which is filled with road vehicles. Inside today was the quaint Simplicity Steam Roller "Emily" & massive Marshall Traction Engine "Mary" to name just a few. There is also a collection of vintage tractors and another massive collection of name/works plates. Statfold Yard seemingly has it all! Now for the track layout outside the running shed. Coming "off shed", the narrow gauge locomotive's work down the hill and their 3 roads diverge into 1. They then go through "Statfold Jnc" from which they can access the 2-platform "Statfold Station" by reversal. The standard gauge line however continues across the path of the narrow gauge tracks and then turns sharply left before descending the hill. This is the end of the standard gauge line at present although their are, as I hear, big plans for it still to come. So, lets talk about the "Field Railway", Statfold's main running line which begins at "Statfold Station". The "Field Railway" features dual 2ft & 2ft 6" gauge track throughout. Beginning at Statfold Station, the line leaves Statfold passing the hedged "Garden Railway" enclosure on the right. Trains take a casual pace here as there is a 'blind' curve just before entering the fields. Once around this sharp curve, the trains accelerate downgrade before coasting towards Oak Tree Halt. Here there is a small platform, water point and passing loop. The train is now in the open fields where the SBR's other concern, Statfold Seed Oils, takes its produce from! The trains do occasionally carry the produce too! How useful! From Oak Tree Halt, the trains carefully descend a very sharp downward gradient before curving tightly to the left. They then accelerate along a partially level section of track before arriving at the 'Baloon Loop' which heralds the end of the "Field Railway". The loop is around 1.5 miles from Statfold, though any other trains can be seen in the distance. Trains traverse the loop fully before, in today's case, awaiting the arrival of another train from Statfold to crossover with. Once the other train arrives, the locomotive is off again. Quick acceleration is needed before climbing the steep section of the line to Oak Tree Halt, usually with a quite a loud bark! At Oak Tree, the train's cross again before continuing back to Statfold, arriving in either of the platforms, depending on which is free. On the field railway, passengers travel in mainly enclosed carriages. (The two seen in the above picture are very very comfortable and warm inside with a lovely interior finish and offering great riding qualities). Now for the equally fantastic "Garden Railway". Originally built as an oval around the lake in the beautifully manicured gardens, the line first featured 2ft gauge only. Then, in more recent times, it has been edited to also feature 7.25" & 10.25" gauges as well. However, the two smaller gauges do not link fully, with a 4ft or so gap being left incomplete due to the line not being able to cross a set of the 2ft gauge points. This set of points links the Garden Railway to the Field Railway so cannot be altered as yet. Usually, the Garden Railway feautres 2ft gauge 1-coach running with a small steam loco. However, today there was something a little different. Graham Lee's 0-4-0 7.25" GWR 'Midge' tank and a Kerr Stuart 'Wren' of the same gauge, were out & about top and tailing a 2-coach train around the line! It was lovely to see the pair trundling around the lake and past the impressive Statfold House. The above image shows the 'Midge' hauling one of the trains anti-clockwise around the circuit. The 'Garden Railway' was the first railway at Statfold, with the 'Field Railway' being built afterwards due to Mr Lee not being able to find a steam locomotive suitable for its very tight curves. However, the Garden line is very beautiful, scenic and atmospheric. It also features a small locomotive shed and fully working signalbox.
OK, so thats a general overview of the fantastic (you can't say it isn't!) Statfold Barn Railway. So here is the list of locomotive's that ran today:-
*0-4-0 O & K Shunter WTT "Pakis Baru No1" (Built 1900, 2ft 6")
*0-4-4-0 O & K Mallet "Pakis Baru No5" (2ft 6")
*0-4-2 Krauss "Sragi No1" (Built 1899, Restored Last Year, 2ft)
*0-4-0 Cabless Quarry Hunslet "Jack Lane" (Built at Statfold in 2006,2ft)
*0-4-2 Hunslet "Trangkil No4" (Built 1971, Repatriated from Java, 2ft)
*0-6-0 Peckett Saddle Tank "Harrogate" (No2050 of 1944, 2ft)
*0-6-0 O & K Tendered Shunter "Max" (Restored This Year)
*0-4-0 La Meuse Side Tank (Built 1926, Failed)
*Fowler Steam Roller (Ticking Over In The Car Park Happily)

Also hiding behind the scenes, which I expected to be out, was 1945-built 2-4-0 Bagnall Side Tank "Isibutu". On top of the engine's that were in steam were many hiding at differing locations around the site. One place which seemed to attract everyone's attention was the "Overflow Shed", located at Oak Tree Halt, which was open between 1pm & 2pm only. Inside this shed were even more gems from chassis', boilers & living vans up to Steam Roller's and carriages. One engine that I saw hidden away was 0-6-0 ex-Metheran (India) No740 which I rode behind at Leighton Buzzard back in 2004. Also, two big surprises that I found in the shed were two massive and newly restored American Heavy Haulage Lorries ('Rig's)! They looked beautiful with their black & red liveries shining. On the standard gauge storage line at Statfold was the ex-Falmouth Docks Hawthawn Leslie 0-4-0 which I fired at Shackerstone when it visited last year. She stood silent along with two industrial diesel loco's. I also enjoyed a footplate ride, thanks to one of my Shackerstone collegue's who was crewing, aboard the lovely "Pakis Baru No1". We were hauling the "Seed Oil" train which was made up of 4 seed wagons and a brake van. I was surprised to see that the engine didn't have any self braking apart from her hand brake. How unusual! This did seem to make things a little bit scary when we descended the steep Oak Tree Bank in the pouring rain! Wet brake blocks equal hardly any braking! But it was a very enjoyable trip and my thanks go to my collegue for his hospitality on the footplate. The best place from which to see any railway is of course the footplate of a steam locomotive! I was surprised at the small amount of coal needed for the journey's in each directon but the locomotive wasn't working very hard. I was also surprised at how smoothly the locomotive rode the track considering she is only an 0-4-0 locomotive which usually tend to 'rock' around on the rails due to their small wheelbases. But, all in all, a very nice run and my appreciation is endless! Well done to all Statfold staff and of course Mr Lee for another sucessful, if very very wet(!), Statfold event which, as always, definately impressed the crowds. (The above view is the line between Oak Tree Halt & Statfold from the footplate of No1, built in 1900). I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and having become "too" bored! I hope it has been of interest to you all in some way. If you want to visit the Statfold Barn Railway the main thing to remember is that it is "Private"! You have to book in advance and the tickets are then posted to you. Tickets are not sold for any of the events 'on the day'. However, if you get the chance, it is an amazing place to visit, especially when the weather is nice! I would recommend it to anybody and it is probably a "must visit" place for any steam enthusiast because there is just so many pieces of interest there! There is one more SBR event this year, to be held in September, with the next one being in March 2010. I would advise you to book early to avoid dissapointment as these events are usually sold out! Thanks for reading! More Posts Coming Soon!