Friday, 31 July 2009

Mixed Traffic Gala On The Garden Railway...

Today the garden railway hosted a somewhat rare event: A 'Mixed Traffic' Gala. This saw 4 steam & 3 diesel locomotives taking their turn on both passenger & freight trains. There was also light engine movements and banking demonstrations. The locomotive roster was:-
*2-6-2 ex-GWR 45XX No4560
*0-6-0 ex-GWR 57XX No5775
*4-6-0 ex-LMS Black 5 No45156 "Ayrshire Yeomanry"
*4-6-2 ex-SR Battle fo Britain No34051 "Winston Churchill"
*Class 47 'Duff' 47 844 (Virgin Red)
*Class 31 'Ped' D5572 (BR Green)
*Class 50 'Hoover' named "Furious" (Network SE Livery)

The event included many different movements up and down the line with all of the action being recorded and placed on our Youtube channel. (The two-part video that results can be seen below. You can however see all of our garden railway video's at www.youtube.com/steampics ). Thanks for reading. Tomorrow I'll be back on 5" gauge rails with Sweet Pea Class No499 "John H Owen"...all being well! Good evening.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A Spare Afternoon...

Today I had a spare afternoon resulting in, you've guessed it(!), the running of trains on the garden railway! Trains ran for around 3-4 hours. The above image shows Black 5 No45156 "Ayrshire Yeomanry" arriving at Chilvers Loop with a passenger train, crossing-over with Battle of Britain Class No34051 "Winston Churchill", on a northbound freight. The following trains ran at differening intervals with all of the lines passing loops & sidings being utilised:-

*Black 5 On LNER Teaks (Clockwise, Chimney First)
*Battle of Britain On Freight (Anti-Clockwise, Chimney First)
*66XX 0-6-2 Tank On GWR Train (Anti-Clockwise, Bunker First)
*Class 08 Diesel On Works Train (Clockwise, Cab First)
As you can see, only a small selection of our stock was being used but it still made for quite a frequent timetable. Thanks for reading. More posts coming soon.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

"Blue Circle" Steals The Show...

Today was 'just another day' at Shackerstone, my standard gauge concern. I signed on at 10:15am before heading down to the shed with a few of my collegues. As the small side-door opened, the first sight was the tender of the massive LNER B1 No1306 "Mayflower". Behind her was the frames of the ever-changing Peckett 0-6-0ST "Sir Gomer" (1859 of 1932) and, finally, the quaint Aveiling & Porter 2-2-0 "Blue Circle". Today I was to, as usual, be working on "Sir Gomer" and aiding her return to service. "Blue Circle" meanwhile was to undergo a test steaming. This was carried out to allow checking of the safety valves. The little engine was rolled, by three of us, out into the open before being "screwed down". Her smokebox and tubes were then cleared before her fire was lit. It was then a matter of playing "the waiting game". Meanwhile, I was underneath "Sir Gomer" cleaning the brake rigging, leaf springs and axleboxes with a parrafin mixture and a scraper. This resulted in a lot of slimey muck being removed from the stated areas and a much tidier "bottom end" would result. Elsewhere, the engine was also being needle-gunned. This was to remove any final paint from the rear bufferbeams which will later be primed & then painted. Finally, the last two rods which remained red on the firemans side were being paint-stripped and rubbed down. This created the "burnished" effect that has been achieved on the driver's side.
So, "Sir Gomer" is coming along 'slowly but surely'. Now, a little about the unusual "Blue Circle". The first thing to note is that this is NOT a traction engine, it is a railway locomotive! Well, actually, everything is virtually the same as a traction engine, apart from the wheels of course! "Blue Circle" was built by Aveiling & Porter in 1926 to a design which dates back to the 1860's. Therefore, the engine was, effectively, already over 60 years out of date when she was built! She worked at the Blue Circle Cement works at Snodland, hauling trains of heavy cement, before being withdrawn in 1962. She was then presented to the Bluebell Railway in Sussex and was named "The Blue Circle". After many years derelict she was repaired and later moved to the Northampton Ironstone Railway Trust's base. She did however return to the Bluebell in 2004 and hauled a short freight train for photographers. After that she went to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre before, in March 2005, moving to the Chinnor Railway. She visited Shackerstone (as a registered "Fergus" Thomas Character) in October 2006 and later became resident in November 2007, after leaving Chinnor. Since then, the 2-2-0 has been in steam at Shackerstone many times, whether it be as "Blue Circle" or as "Fergus"!
After around 3 hours the engine had some steam on the clock and began to quietly 'tick-over' outside the shed. The above image shows the cab controls clearly. The handbrake can be seen to the left and the reversering lever can also be seen on the opposite side. The two water gauge glasses can be clearly seen, as can the central pressure gauge. The lever at the top of the image is the gear lever (for neutral or go!) and just to the right of that is the regulator. Also, attached to the gear lever is the whistle string. The circular control above the left gauge glass is the steam feed for the injector. "Blue Circle" also has a mechanical water-pump which operates when the engine is in motion or ticking over. The 2-2-0 is apparently a 10 horsepower locomotive and is a 'single' (only one cylinder). The fire can clearly be seen through the slightly-open firehole doors. The engine can easily move herself on around 10psi(!!) and can also tick-over before steam even shows on the gauge...not bad!! "Blue Circle" ticked over all afternoon before moving back into the cosy shed under her own steam. She was then left to cool down and with my cleaning jobs on "Sir G" complete, I left with my collegues, signing off at 5:20pm. Meanwhile, 1306 "Mayflower" lay dormant and untouched throughout the day. More posts coming soon!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Bourton Model Railway & My Own...

The tranquil, Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water lies not too far from the town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. Today, for the first time in 10 years or so, we took a visit. The village includes attractions such as a model village, motor museum, bird sanctuary, maze and many quirky and mostly independant shopping outlets. The motor museum has a claim to fame of its own: It is the home of the little yellow motor car which was the star of the television show "Brum". "Brum" is on display in the museum everyday for fans to see. The museum shots in the "Brum" episodes were filmed on site at Bourton. "Brum" would leave the museum through the main entrance and trundle through the village towards the 'Big Town' before returning later on. Therefore, he is iconic to the little village. The centrepiece of the village is the small river which runs straight through, crossed by many small, stone bridges which carry both road & footpath across the trickling waters. My favourite piece of the village is, naturally, the model railway shop & exhibition. The shop is very well-stocked and to be honest I could buy the whole place if I had the funds to do so!! It is fabulous!! The shop's model railway exhibition, which includes some visitor control, is also well worth a visit if you're passing by. When I got home, as it was such a nice evening, it was straight out into the garden for some 'playing with trains' of my own....(seen above)...Thanks for readng folks. More posts coming soon.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Garden Railway Mini-Documentary...

Hi all. This is a small, vocied documentary on my garden railway. The film discusses the current infrastructure of the railway and also, in minor detail, its history. The locomotive fleet and route is also described. Enjoy.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Pullman Dining On The "Shakespeare Express" With The Magical 5972...

The wonderful "Shakespeare Express" is a main line service, operated by Tyseley-based Vintage Trains Limited, which runs between Birmingham & Stratford-upon-Avon every Sunday from July until September. Beginning its journey at Birmingham Snow Hill the train then calls at Birmingham Moor Strret, Tyseley & Henley-in-Arden before arriving in Stratford. (Two round trips are operated from Snow Hill per day). Train fare's are very reasonable in Standard Class and, if you want to make a very special day, you can travel in Pullman Class, enjoying meals served at your table. Today, as a 40th birthday treat for my mother, I had booked myself & her aboard the "Shakespeare Express" in Pullman Class. We arrived at Snow Hill before 10am under threatening skies and were very pleased with the clean & secure car park above the station. We then made our way down to the already crowded platforms. A few minutes later, the day's locomotive, ex-GWR Hall Class 4-6-0 No5972 "Olton Hall" (star of the Harry Potter movies), arrived with the morning's "Shakespeare Express" ECS in platform 1. She, and the coaches, were all turned out very smartly and, due to the spitting rain, we boarded the Pullman's ready for breakfast. (I've included photo's of the table & the food as it was too fantastic not too!).
Breakfast on a steam train? What can be better? After sitting down at our table for two we indulged in the already laid-out orange juice. A few minutes later the first round of the breakfast was served...we had porridge and, without doubt, it was the best porridge I'd ever tasted. (It even had added fresh cream...yum yum!). After quickly finishing the porridge we enjoyed the view from the train across the Birmingham skyline as it still wasn't departure time. Soon after, toast was served and that was also fantastic...it was just right! After that it was time for the highly anticapted full english breakfast and, as 5972 pulled us away from Snow Hill on time, we began...
This, without doubt, is the best way to travel. After passing through the lengthy Snow Hill Tunnel, we picked up more passengers at Moor Street & Tyseley. It was then a leisurely run (with 5972 running tender-first) all the way down the 'Shakespeare Line' to Stratford. After calling at a packed Henley-in-Arden station, it was time to continue the last leg into Stratford. The views from the train were fantastic...rolling fields, tree-lined embankments and lots & lots of wildlife! (The "Shakespeare Express" route notes come in very handy when trying to spot points of interest!). Tea (or coffee) was also served along with the breakfast and, with a cup of tea in one hand and the route notes in the other hand, the journey was fabulous! We arrived at Stratford on time and quickly left the train (feeling very well-fed indeed!) to admire the locomotive. We crossed to Platform 2 and witnessed 5972 shunting the stock ready for return of the 1st trip to Snow Hill. (Shown below).
Once 5972 had completed the move we headed into Stratford town (around 5-10 minutes walk from the main line station). It is a lovely town to take a steam train to, with its culture & its unique history. Though the skies stayed ever-threatening, it didn't dampen our spirits however. The hearty breakfast we had enjoyed on the train kept us going all afternoon. After a few hours of checking out the various quirky shops and the riverside market we headed back to the main line station as it was getting towards departure time. 5972 was already back there again, proudly standing at the head of the 8-coach rake of chocolate & cream coaches in platform 2. As we had more than 40 minutes until our 4:10pm departure, we took some time to admire the red-liveried locomotive.
I must admit, this engine does look fantastic in the red livery it carries. As can be seen above, the loco also carries the "Hogwarts Railway"s logo on its tender-sides. Now for a bit of info about No5972. Built in April 1937, the loco is one of the numorous Hall class engines which worked mixed traffic all over the GWR system. After her working life she was withdrawn in December 1963 and went to the well-known steam loco burial ground, Barry Scrapyard. Happily, she was purchased, and was the 125th engine to leave the yard, departing in May 1981. She is now based at the West Coast Railway Company's yard in Carnforth, Lancashire. The engine achieved ever-lasting fame when she was featured as the "Hogwarts Express" locomotive in the first Harry Potter film. She has since featured in many more of the Harry Potter movies, carrying a red livery, "Hogwarts Castle" nameplates and the well known "Hogwarts Express" headboard on the smokebox. (Today of course she was carrying the "Shakespeare Express" headboard and her "Olton Hall" namplates).
5972 has a very much standard GWR cab-control layout. The regulator can be seen in the centre with the reverser being visible in the bottom-right corner. The one water gauge glass can be seen to the left of the image. The pressure gauge is seen clearly in the top left corner, below which is, I believe, the steam heating gauge. The red handle at the bottom of the image operates the firehole doors. The two 'cocks' in the top-centre of the image are the two steam valves for the two injectors. The control just to the right of the regulator is for the combined steam/vacuum brake. The highest gauge on the right is the vacuum gauge. The whistle chain can also be seen above this gauge. Against the window can be seen the various instruments requiring for main line operation.
After admiring the engine it was time to make our way to our Pullman car ready for dining again on the return run. We were actually quite 'lucky' as it started raining very (very!) heavily as soon as we'd got on the train! Oh well, were safe & sound in the beautifully restored Pullman Cars. Once at our table for two we ordered drinks before awaiting departure. Just before departure time the meals began to arrive. My mum had a salmon dinner but I had the chicken in peppercorn sauce...it was fantastic!...
The meal served on the last train from Stratford is usually known as 'High Tea' and, following our dinner, included more tea and even a fresh cake. What could be better? Steam locomotive+Pullman cars+Cup of tea+Fresh cake...fastastic!...
Meanwhile, 5972 was storming out of Stratford towards Bearley Junction. Here, the express comes off the "Shakespeare Line" (on the return run only) and makes its way through small villages, such as Claverdon, before arriving at Hatton North Junction and connecting with the main line between Leamington & Tyseley. The scenary is also lovely on this section of the line too. I think Vintage Trains chose the route for their trains very well indeed...
Munch, Munch, Munch...
Oh well, when its gone its gone! Once on the main line, 5972 was given her head and began to fly along the tracks towards Dorridge. She was obviously working at her maximum permitted speed and, afterall, thats what main line steam is all about! It's always wonderful to see locomotive's built, in this case more than 70 years ago, tearing along the main line doing what they were designed to do and, more importantly, doing it very well indeed! The 8 coach train seemed to be absolutely no problem for the locomotive at all. The most pressing problem was the approach of several very dark clouds and, within seconds, the heavens opened and hammering rain began to fall. 5972 didn't care though, and continued to tear along making sure that those "modern trains" didn't have chance to catch up! It was a fantastic run and I'm sure everyone on the train was a little dissapointed when we had to slow down again for Tyseley station! However, it had been a fantastic trip and the food was definately the best. After setting down passengers at Tyseley, 5972 continued on to Moor Street, dropping off more passengers there as well. It was then a short run up the 1 in 45 gradient through Snow Hill Tunnel.
With rain still falling, 5972 arrived triumphantly back at Birmingham Snow Hill with the days final "Shakespeare Express". We then reluctantly left the train before watching 5972 run round in the wet. She still looked very very clean! (Must of been the 'power-wash' on the way back!). Our day was superb and I would recommend it to absolutely anybody, whatever your interests. The great food, friendly staff, well-turned out locomotives & coaches and of course the excellent service makes a fantastic & extremely memorable day out for the young & old alike. I'm sure we'll cherish memories of the day for many years to come and, I'm sure we'll take another railtour (maybe to York again??) aboard the Pullman's with Vintage Trains sometime next year and, without doubt, I will emmensely look forward to it. Thank you very much Vintage Trains (and 5972...) for a fantastic day out on the "Shakespeare Express".

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Open Day On The Garden Railway...

Hello everyone. We sometime's hold very private open days at our 00 gauge garden railway, the "Sutherland Steam Railway". Today was a very special open day in which our friends from Rocky Ridge Railroad (Rugby) came over for a running session. There was alot of preparation involved in the latter part of the week to get everything ready for today but we got there in the end. It was a very, very enjoyable day with, to my surprise, the weather forecast of mixed sunshine & showers being proved very wrong as we didn't receive a single drop of rain! How pleasant! Maybe the english "summer" is finally here? We'll see! For this open day, both ourselves and our visitor's from the RRR provided items for operation. What was there to see? Well...
00 Gauge Garden Railway, "The Sutherland Steam Railway":-The garden railway, as with all open days, ran throughout the event and performed faultlessly. The turntable was also in operation, providing demonstrations of its electronically activated drive. ex-GWR 4-6-0 No6862 "Derwent Grange" spent most of her day being continually rotated on the turntable for our visitors. Meanwhile, the visitor's were also allowed access to the "behind the scenes" area's of the line, such as the shed, the place from which the line operates. Many different steam locomotive's, hauling many different loads, made their way up & down the line throughout the day. The new "Devon Belle" observation Saloon made its 'public' debut and was attached to most trains, mostly joined by our Pullman Dining cars. Extra locomotives were on display at the turntable, in the main shed and at Sutherland Jnc sheds. The electrically operated signalling, controlling the line between Ashford Jnc & Sutherland, was also used today and proved both visually and mechanically effective.
'O' Gauge (32mm) Lego Model Railway:-As we had special visitors coming along it was decided to put out our model railway layout as well, the 'O' Gauge "Lego Line". This 6ftx4ft model railway has been exhibited at many show's in recent years, most memorably the National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham. With preparations for its operation being made mid-week, the "Lego Line" was moved from its base to the SSR around midday yesterday. Having been stored overnight, the layout spent the event operating happily for both family & visitors in the garage. With two trains running at all times, the layout proved visually pleasing and interesting. Due to the bad weather forecast, it was decided that operating a railway in the garage was "the safe option", in case of pouring rain! This was certainly proved when we were setting the line up on Friday and a very heavy thunder storm hit us! Lucky we, and the layout, were safe & sound inside! The layout operated faultlessly throughout the day and proved very popular.
45mm Live Steam Demonstrations:-This was something we had all anticipated, 45mm live steam operating in the garden along with the 00! Our friends from the Rocky Ridge Railroad kindly brought along 0-4-0 Roundhouse loco "Billy" and a relatively large oval of track on which to run her. The owner also provided three loaded flat wagons to give the engine something to haul. "Billy" is a standard Roundhouse locomotive and is butane-gas fired internally. The locomotive is also Radio-Controlled with the reversing gear & regulator being operated in this practise. The cab includes, as well as the R/C gear, a pressure gauge & gas tank. The pressure gauge reads up to 100psi but the loco runs on around 30psi I believe. "Billy" steamed many times during the afternoon and I had two oppotunities at driving her around continually around the circuit. (Thanks alot for that Adrian!). The engine steamed up in around 10-15 minutes and then ran for a further 15-20 minutes, easily hauling her 3 wagons with much steam to spare. The engine ran faultlessly throughout the afternoon and I believe her owner left us feeling very pleased with his little locomotive! We must thank our RRR friends for taking the time to bring "Billy" over and demonstrate her for us.
Steam Toys (Wilesco D405 & D365):-As well as providing "Billy", the RRR also provided Wilesco D365 Steam Roller "Old Smokey" (seen to the left in the pic above). We then provided our Wilesco D405 Traction Engine & her green living van. Together, the two little "steam toys" ran very well and were steamed at numorous times during the day. I must admit it was very nice to see the two Wilesco's ticking-over together with "Billy" occasionally steaming past! The D365 is a model of a typical steam roller, used in the early-mid 20th century on road's throughout Britain. The D405 is, not a prototype, but a model of a typical steam tractor. Both engine's include 15psi boiler's, fired by "dry spirit tablets", safety valves, steam whistles and conventional valve gear fitted as standard. There is no reverser on the engine's however and the flywheel has to be spun to determine a direction whilst the cylinder is under-steam. There is also a clutch which enables the engines to either tick-over standing still or move theirselves along. Thanks most again go to our RRR friends for bringing the D365 over to run alongside our D405.
So, thats what went on! The day was very, very enjoyable as I've said and we hope we can do it again sometime, maybe next year?! (The video below features all of the above at differing times during the day). Thanks for reading folks...more posts coming soon! We're Pullman Dining on the "Shakespeare Express" tomorrow! Good evening.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Whats Coming Up??

Saturday 18th July:-Open Day at Garden Railway (Rugby Visitors)
Sunday 19th July:-Day Out on the Shakespeare Express (Main Line Railtour)
Sunday 26th July:-Volunteer Day at Shackerstone Loco Works
Saturday 1st August:-Passed Driver for Trainee Driver (Emma) at CMES
Sunday 2nd August:-Visit to GEC 50th Anniversary Gala (with Pete Waterman)
Fri 7th-Sun 9th August:-Shackerstone Weekend (1306 "Mayflower" in steam)
Sunday 16th August:-Volunteer Day at Shackerstone Loco Works
Sunday 23rd August:-Crew Day at RPMR
Saturday 29th August-Saturday 5th September:-Devon Holiday (for PDSR)
Sunday 6th September:-Volunteer Day at Shackerstone Loco Works
Saturday 12th September-Saturday 19th September:-Somerset Holiday (for WSR)

And More!! Busy, busy, Busy! Many more posts coming soon!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

"Back to Shack"

Hi again all.Today it was back to my full-size concern at Shackerstone. On arrival at 10am I renewed my membership for another year before continuing down to the engine shed. After letting myself in and putting on the light's, the massive B1 1306 "Mayflower" was dwarfing me straight away! She was a little further down the shed today with Aveiling & Porter "Blue Circle" heading the shed's line up. Between "Blue Circle" & "Mayflower" was the ever changing remains of Peckett 0-6-0 Saddle Tank No1859 of 1932 "Sir Gomer" (our flagship locomotive). Although we still have around 6 weeks until the boiler returns from Llangollen, progress is being made with the repainting of the engine. Those who know the engine will remember her bright red connecting rods...they are gone! She now has burnished rods (silver to you and me!) with the bare metal uncovered after years of being painted over. The bufferbeams, frames, running boards and eccentrics have also received OR are going to receive a complete repaint. The debate is currently whether or not to repaint the engine completely. One suggestion was black all over with red lining and the number "1859" on the bufferbeams. This would give the engine more of an industrial appearance than she has recently had. However, shape-wise, it should like this by the end of the year (or so!):- With B1 "Mayflower" & little "Blue Circle" being steamable, "Sir Gomer" isn't missed "too much" at the moment because steam can still be provided on peak weekends and special events. However, once "Sir Gomer" is finished and proven she will lead us proudly in 2010, providing four return steam train trips per day...every Sunday! This will leave bank holiday's and special event's to either "Mayflower" or even both locomotive's together! The amount of work that has been done to 1859 since she was stripped in mid-December has been massive. Every weekend more work is done as we slowly soldier towards our target. Our current target is Easter 2010 at the latest BUT you never know...maybe Xmas 2009? We'll see...we'll certainly try our best! I will provide a before and after shot of the engine for a later post (i.e. when the engine is done!). We look forward to that! Elsewhere in the shed "Blue Circle" was standing, paintwork shining, quietly. B1 "Mayflower" is currently operational but is also awaiting an annual boiler inspection. Following that, the engine is planned to steam on normal train services (Timetable B) on August 8th/9th. She will also run on the August bank holiday at the railway's "Big Engine Weekend", subject to availability. The massive 4-6-0 was still shining, even though she was just sitting in the shed hiding away! Outside the shed, Class 31 (31 101 "Brush Veteran") was out & about hauling the 4 timetabled trains to the Battlefield on Timetable B. However, sister loco 31 130 "Calder Hall Power Station" was propelled up to the shed by Class 04 (110) for work to be carried out on the loco's bogies on the outside inspection pit. I'll next be at Shackerstone on Sunday July 26th, working in the shed...again!! Lots more posts coming soon! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

"Devon Belle" Saloon Arrives On The Garden Railway...

The new Pullman "Devon Belle" Observation Saloon arrived on the garden line on Thursday July 9th. However, today saw it's first proper tests occur. The new saloon is modelled on the Pullman observation car which is preserved on the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway in Devon (No13). The PDSR example was one of 2 identical car's which were remodelled for use on the "Devon Belle" express which ran between London Waterloo & Ilfracombe. The service operated in the years 1947-1954. Once the service ended the cars were used on charter's and No13 still works regularly today. No14 however had a few different experiences. In 1969 she was taken to the USA on the ill-fated tour with A3 No4472 "Flying Scotsman", then owned by Alan Peglar. When the tour ran out of money both No14 and 4472 were left stranded in the USA. Not long after, 4472 was shipped home with a new owner whilst No14 was still left abroad. The car was used as part of an office in San Francisco before being bought for use on the Swanage Railway in earlier 2007. The coach arrived at Southampton Docks in February that year...back on home soil once again! The car was restored and was relaunched into service in pristine condition on 16/7/2008 at her Swanage base. Both cars featured seating for 27 passengers whilst, at the closed end, they featured a Bar which enabled a drinks service to operate. They were painted in the traditional Pullman livery. The model is a pretty exact replica of No13 in it's "Devon Belle" days. Manufactured by 00 gauge producers Hornby, the coach is available to buy now with a price of around £48. The model features great detail along with a fully illuminated interior, with lights powered via the wheels from the track. The "Devon Belle" Saloon will now see regular service on the line, running with our illuminated Pullman Dining Cars. More posts coming soon folks! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

TPO Demonstrations On The Garden Railway...

Today we tested our TPO coach at high speed behind our GWR 4-6-0 No6862 "Derwent Grange". As part of a 6-coach train the TPO worked very well and we filmed a few of the test-demo's for the records. The video can be seen below. More posts coming soon!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Another Steam Up At Ryton...

Hi all. I was hoping that this post would be longer but I actually didn't manage to get any pics as I was so busy in the day! The day began at 10am with myself and Ken having a go at steaming 0-6-0 Tank "Achilles" again. Unfortunately, though the problem-plagued pump worked better, it still wasn't good enough to be declared successful in our opinions. After blowing the engine down and putting her back in Ken's car, myself & the apprentice (Peter) headed to the other end of the site to awake 0-4-0 Sweet Pea Class No499 "John H Owen", the society's engine. After steaming up, I gave my family & a few visiting friends of mine a ride around the track before Peter took over as a "driver training" exercise. After many laps I took over again to give more rides whilst Peter took in a nice bap at the BBQ. Peter later took over for another training run.

Meanwhile, other locomotive's on the track included the following:-
*0-6-0 Simplex Side Tank
*0-4-0 BR Dock Shunter "Benella"
*0-4-0 BR 'Ride on Railway's built Shunter
*0-4-0 BR Radio-Control Dock Shunter
*0-6-0 MR Class 08 Diesel Shunter
*0-4-0 Sweet Violet Class Saddle Tank
*0-4-0 Bagnall Quarry Saddle Tank (Dragged Cold for Testing)
*Bo-Bo MR 'Sarah Siddons' locomotive
*Co-Co BR Class 37 Diesel

From the above list, all of the locomotive's were 5" gauge, apart from the Sweet Violet which is 3.5" gauge. The Bagnall was simply dragged around the track by myself using the Class 37 locomotive. This was for testing of the lubricator and the valve gear to check for any tight spots. Apart from losing a single valve pin the loco's tests were declared successful. By the way...The BBQ?...fantastic!!...well done to all! Next railway volunteering day will be "Back at Shack" next Sunday (12th). Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

A New Video of The Garden Railway...

Today we filmed this video of the "steam services" on the garden railway. It was a red-hot day but we still managed to operate 8 round trips from Sutherland to Chilvers & back. The locomotives we ran were:- 56XX 0-6-2 No6600, 45XX 2-6-2 No4560 & 57XX 0-6-0 No5775. There was also an evening Pullman Dining Service, which ran with 4560, and this is briefly featured in the video. Simply click "Play" to view (also click "HQ" if applicable, for better quality). We hope you all enjoy the video. More posts coming soon!