Sunday, 31 October 2010

A Trip on 5786 And Nursing Old "Gomer"...

Hi everyone. Today I was over at Shackerstone for around 10am for a day in the shed. On my arrival I discovered the day's locomotive; Pannier No5786; being prepared alongside the Engine Shed. There, I also found the day's crew; Driver Andy, Fireman Carl and Trainee Dave. Andy then asked me a favour; could I climb through the small gap between the Tank's and The Running Board's and down into the Inside Valve Gear to oil the Eccentrics and Crank Axle. I, sort of willingly(!), said "Yes". Pannier's were favoured for their 'easy access' valve gear and boilers. However, the gap isn't as big as you would think. It took me a good while to slip myself under the Balance Pipe and in between the main Connecting Rods. Of course, the engine was handbraked and chocked to prevent any movement. I then oiled the specified parts before climbing out. The 57xx then had to be ashed out before she was ready to go off shed. Soon, the loco was off shed and down on the coal road where the Digger refilled her bunker...
Recoaled and ready to go, 5786 backed out of the North End and through Platform 2 to the Signalbox. She then moved down into Platform 1 onto the waiting 6-coach train. Below, 5786 poses before buffering up to the stock...I wonder how much longer that telegraph post on the left will last?...
Once buffered up, I coupled 5786 to the train. I was then invited onto the footplate for the first trip, whilst Trainee Dave popped home. Below, the Pannier drags the rake across the Crossover with the first departure; the 11:30am. Down on the left, on the pit road, you can see the Trap-Point which protects the Crossover from runaway vehicles...
Andy took 5786 slowly up the bank out of Shackerstone, watching out for a recently repaired section of track. The video below was taken by me and shows 5786 climbing towards Congerstone, slowly but surely...
Carl fired down to Shenton and I fired back. It was a very good return trip and I enjoyed it very much. The Pannier steams beautifully and has fantastic injectors which are remarkably reliable. The Pannier steams well on minimal fire, as long as you keep a 'good back end' in the box. It's a lovely machine. Once back at Shackerstone I left the engine for some work in the shed, whilst Trainee Dave returned for his day on the Pannier. My job today was to scrape, sand and repolish "Sir Gomer"s burnished connecting/coupling rods, which recently have been attracting rust. Another video for you now, taken by Shackerstone Volunteer Chris (Youtuber 'Fidodog08'). The video shows the lovely Pannier out and about on this blustery autumn day...
Third and final video now, taken by a passenger (Youtuber 'Barryat11'). This really is a great video, good quality indeed; I just had to include it! Well done, Sir! 5786 is seen steaming around the railway. You can even see me in there as the Pannier pulls in; looking out for the Foot Crossing from the footplate...
Down in the shed we see a bit of "Sir Gomer", our poor old tired Peckett... Outside, the Pannier takes water ready for another trip...
Later in the day, the Pannier returned to the shed and was disposed. Following that, I left the shed, signed off and headed for home in the darkness. (It gets dark so early when the clocks go back!). It was a good day at Shackerstone; varied to say the least. I love firing that Pannier! Thanks for reading folks. It's November tomorrow; Christmas soon!...

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Night Driving at the GEC...

Hi all. Today I was invited for the second year running to drive at the GEC Miniature Railway's "Night Run". The run, themed around "Halloween", took place between 3pm and 9pm, with setting up beginning around midday. I arrived at about 12:30pm and immediately found 0-4-0 Sweet William "Luna" on the 7.25" gauge steaming bays. Also present were the Warship battery electric and "Sammy" the Diesel Hydraulic. My charge for the day, Romulus No5 "James", would arrive at about 1:30pm. Above and below, we see the powerful little "Luna" on the steaming bays...
Trains began running at 3pm, with "Sammy" taking charge of the first trains...
Meanwhile, myself and owner James had been preparing his Romulus. On the other bay, "Luna" was ready to go and headed off to take her first run. "James" slowly came off shed as "Luna" departed. However, "Luna" became stranded half way down the line when a Crosshead seized to a Slide bar. Therefore, Malcom took "Sammy" to the rescue and soon returned with the passenger train. "James", sporting a large toolbox on the tender, was then sent to rescue "Luna". With connecting rods taken off, "Luna" was dragged back to the steaming bays for repair. Meanwhile, "James" and "Sammy" operated services. However, within 20 minutes "Luna" was repaired and back in action. Therefore, three loco's on two sets of service coaches gave us an intense service. Over on the raised track, many loco's were in action; both steam and diesel; providing another intensive service. As the evening drew in, passenger numbers got greater and greater, with myself and James taking turns on his loco. "James" runs a treat and is a pleasure to drive. I must admit, I do like 7.25". My particular favourite is the 'clickity-clack' of the wheels on the joints...just like the real thing! Below, see a video, taken by a GEC member of staff I believe, showing trains in operation. You can spot me in there a few times with the bright red engine!...

When the darkness came down, a Bonfire was lit and many illuminations came on; both electric and candle powered! "Luna", "James" and "Sammy" all sported headlights and tail-lamps, with the track decorated with Pumpkins and Ghosts! However, once you were out onto the single line section, the darkness engulfed the track and you couldn't see anything. I personally drive by sound on occasions like this. Obviously a big obstacle will stick out to your vision but anything tiny will not. Also, the sound of the engine and the wheels on the joints gives you a rough guide to your speed. Its a great experience. Of course, any good driver carries a footplate lamp for the water level and pressure gauge. The 'Tea Room Ladies' were again fantastic, serving countless visitors, as well as staff, amazing hot-dog's, cups of tea/coffee and even pumpkin soup! The hot-dogs were fantastic but the tea brought to the footplate was even more fantastic! Well done again ladies, you always make my night! My last run departed at around 8:15pm, with my family as well as a few more passengers on board the train. "James" ran beautifully all night; what a machine. After helping dispose, tidy up and load loco's, I departed GEC at around 9:30pm after a great evening. Thanks very much to everyone at GEC and of course James; the owner of "James"! Special thanks also to the Tea Room Ladies; as always, keep up the good work! Thank you all; I had a great time. Thanks for reading folks. Goodnight...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

5786 Cleaning Turn & Shed Work at Shackerstone...

Hi all. Today I was out early again, about 6am to be precise, off over to Shackerstone for a cleaning turn on Pannier Tank No5786. After a morning helping clean the 57xx with Driver John, Fireman Mic and Trainee Beth, I took to a day of work in the shed. The main job today involved work on the slowly progressing Peckett No1859 "Sir Gomer". Though her overhaul is taking much longer than expected, mainly due to low volunteer numbers and on-going boiler work, "Gomer" is slowly 'getting there'. The main task today was preparing the Foundation Ring for fitment of the new Ashpan. Below, we see the Foundation Ring on the small firebox. The Rear Axle is in the foreground and the Eccentrics for the inside Stephenson's Valve Gear can be seen up ahead, connected to the Centre Axle...
Whilst you're underneath the engine you can currently see up into the Firebox. Below, you can see some of the Sheets, Crown Stay's and the main Tubeplate...
During the day, we also sectioned-off the shed into two parts; 'Running' and 'Storage'. This was done using the two large doors that were once the Front Doors (before the shed was extended, way back when). Below, you can see the 'Storage Area', sporting "Lamport No3", the Bubblecar, 1306 "Mayflower" and 9449 "The Blue Circle"...
All in all, a good bit of work done. Thanks folks, Good Evening...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition 2010...

Hi all. Today I was at the annual Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition, driving on Coventry Model Engineering Society's portable 5" gauge track. The MMEE brings together the very best models, from 'toy' trains right up to traction engine's of sizes larger than 6"! The show ran from Friday (15th Oct) up until Tuesday (19th Oct), at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on the Fosseway. CMES put on another very good stand and of course, as I've mentioned, their Portable Track was in action, offering FREE(!) rides to the public. My shift was rostered between 1:30pm and 5pm, though I did arrive at just before 10am so that I could check arrangements and have a good look around the show myself! It was a very good show this year with some fantastic models on display. (My Christmas list could extend cross-country here!). In this post I'll show you just a few of the models which caught my eye. Firstly, a fantastic model of Teddy Boston's Bagnall 0-4-0ST "Pixie". Being the simple industrial Bagnall (produced in countless numbers way back when), I've never seen "Pixie" modelled before. I, like many others, will remember having many free rides on Teddy's own 200-yard long 2ft gauge garden railway behind "Pixie", before the Cadeby Light Railway (as it was known) finally closed in May 2005. The Bagnall is seen here on the 'potential winners' table...well done to the guy (or girl!) who built her; brings back many memories!...
Not far from the quaint "Pixie" stood a beautiful piece of precision engineering...a 5" gauge model of the Stanier 7P Pacific "Princess Marie Louise"!...
Now, if I could take any engine home...it may have to be this one!...
The Stanier's really were out in force this year; "City of Coventry" (the nameplate of which still hangs inside Coventry Railway Station) stands on a club display. Another beautiful machine...
Thirdly, back on the winner's table, another Stanier beast; "Duchess of Gloucester", No46225. In a striking BR Maroon livery, this machine really looked the business. This one was a real gem...
Across the way, near the Main Entrance was a 7.25" model of the LNER B1 (or "Antelope" Class). Beautiful "Bongo", in striking LNER Apple Green, was built and is owned by Christopher Vine, author of the well known children's railway books; entitled "Peter's Railway". Mr Vine was there, of course selling his popular books and meeting his many readers, yet "Bongo" was also in steam on the table! With her wheels jacked up, "Bongo" turned herself over freely throughout the show; giving a working demonstration of steam power 'up close and personal'. She really is a beautiful model; well done Mr Vine. Did I mention my dealings with "Mayflower"; of course I did! In fact, Mr Vine had enjoyed a footplate ride on "Mayflower" last year when she was at Llangollen! Small world! Below, "Bongo" wows the crowds, and me...
Outside, Eddie and Dave had got the portable track in action for their morning turn. "Polly V" had been pressed into service and was busy giving rides on the again steeply-graded track. As well as the railway there were fairground organs, model cars and of course the usual, very impressive display of traction engines and steam rollers. In fact, I even got a drive of one! Fellow CMES member Mr D Hall has been building his lovely 4" Burrell for some time, from a Modelworks kit. In fact, this time last year she was inside the hall as part of the CMES stand; in "nearly finished" condition. One year one, she's in fine form and runs beautifully. I was thrilled when asked if I would like a go! ("Yes Please"!). Below, Dave prepares his engine for the day...
It has been a while since I've driven a road traction engine (I have driven "Blue Circle" recently at Shackerstone but she is a rail-vehicle afterall!) but I soon fell back into it. In the past, I've driven a full size Burrell Road engine and a full size Simplicity Roller, as well as miniature versions such as a 6" Burrell and a 4" Garratt. Dave's engine drove beautifully; very pleasant indeed; well done and thank you very much! Back on the portable track, trains were still running well, with "Polly V" at the head under the warm October sun. Normally, we are the only portable track but this year we were joined by the very friendly lot from locomotive seller 'Station Road Steam', who brought along their portable 7.25" gauge track. Their motive power was provided by their new creation; "Stafford", a beefy and powerful Marine-boilered 0-4-0ST. "Stafford" is now being produced in batches of half a dozen at a time I believe, for a bargain price of £9950; Ready to Run! And "No", I'm not joking about the price, this is really good value in my eyes for an engine of this size, pedigree and potential (especially for a club!). The SRS group were very pleasant company throughout the day and many of us enjoyed a good few runs on "Stafford" to boot (including me of course! ^_^ ). Below, "Stafford", driven by SRS Rep "Sam", arrives back at the tent...
Thanks very much to SRS (particularly "Sam") for letting me have a go on "Stafford". I wouldn't mind one myself; they're very powerful and much bigger in the flesh than I thought! If you want one, buy one...on sale now! By now, it wasn't long before my shift began with my fellow driver, Emma. We, being avid steam fans, decided to use both of the two engines that we had on offer. Therefore, I steamed "Polly III" (smaller sister to "Polly V") whilst Emma looked after the latter. We then top and tailed the two engines throughout the afternoon, taking turns on either engine's regulator as we wished; great stuff! "Polly III" was kept on the downward end of the train as we felt that she was a much better banker than a puller, with tiny wheels and good size cylinders. Below, "Polly III" waits for another upgrade slog...
Throughout the afternoon we gave many FREE rides to many passengers who all seemed to enjoy their little trip; particularly when slightly "racing" the 7.25" beast opposite! Below, "Stafford" and "Polly V" create a 'David and Goliath' spectacle!...
Finally, I have a portrait of "Polly V", showing her likeness to the GWR Small Prairie Class...shame she has no rear pony! As well as doing many runs on "Polly III", I also did a good few on the "V". I make no qualms about Polly being a well respected and good locomotive maker but, I must admit, I'm never overly impressed with the haulage capacity of "Polly V". However, on the other hand, its an attractive and reliable machine. "Polly III" on the other hand very much surprised me with its power, chalm and turn of speed. If I had a Polly, it would be a "IV" (a "III" with a tender!). Keep it up Polly, they're very good engines!...
After many driving turns and many rides given, we called it a day at 5pm with both engines being disposed of and taken inside for the night (they'll be running again tomorrow!). Thanks very much to traction engine owner Dave, "Stafford" owner's 'SRS' and CMES members Emma, Brian, Eddie and Dave for a great day out again. I really enjoyed it; what a great show! Thanks for reading folks; Good Evening, I hope you enjoyed the show...I did!...

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Gem's Of The London Science Museum...

Hi everyone. Today we were on a day out in London. After taking in the London Eye, Big Ben, Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and many stations of the London Underground, we took in the famous Science Museum in South Kensington. Overall, there were many interesting things to see but, naturally, it was the few pieces of steam machinery that stood out to me! The first item was a beautiful 1903-built Mill Engine. Built by the Burnley Ironworks Company, the engine worked at Harle Syke Mill, finally being retired in 1970. The huge engine stands in "Energy Hall" on the Main Entrance to the Museum. I don't know how often she is in steam but she certainly was today! I must admit, the engine turned over effortlessly and looked a treat; beautifully preserved. I could have watched her all day! The engineer informed me that this huge machine is powered by steam created in a modern, electric boiler. (I must admit, it did surprise me that the engine was in steam inside a busy, modern museum!). She is however, so I was told, "hardly able to move herself". I did wonder wether she would need some rather severe rebushing but apparently she just isn't provided with enough steam. Below, you can see the huge Crank on the left-side...
Below are the engine's huge cylinders...
I must admit, the Burnley engine was fantastic to see; I don't think I've ever seen a horizontal engine in such a good cosmetic condition. Moving along we saw one of Trevithick's engines before moving into the next hall. There, in front of us, stood the remains of Stephenson's 1929-built 0-2-2 locomotive; "Rocket". Now, surely everybody knows of "Rocket"?! She was the most advanced steam locomotive of her day; encorporating a 25 fire-tube boiler, a blastpipe and 35-degree inclined cylinders. Previous designs had used only one or two large flue-tubes and then verticle cylinders. Stephenson's "Rocket" was the leader of her day. She was however not without misfortune. On the opening day of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (September 15th 1830), "Rocket" struck William Huskisson; Liverpool's member of Parliament. Huskisson died from his injuries a short while later. After a varied life, "Rocket" was donated to the Patent Office Museum in 1862. As you can see below, "Rocket" has been modified since building. She has been given a proper smokebox and had her cylinders lowered to an almost horizontal position. Even so, this is the real "Rocket" and she is still, without doubt, one of the most important locomotives in railway development history. And so, here she is, stuffed and mounted inside the museum...
Now, the next piece was one that I was very surprised to find. This is "Columbine", a 2-2-2 'Single Wheeler', built for the Grand Junction Railway in 1845 (built at Crewe Works). She is owned by the National Railway Museum in York and was GJR No49 (LNWR No1868). This is another stuffed and mounted machine of course and, seperated from her tender, she stands not far from "Rocket"...
The large single wheel can be seen below. These huge diameter driving wheels were an aid to preventing overheating of cylinders. In these days of rather primitive lubrication, any method of slowing down the running speed of the pistons was gratefully accepted...
Moving on from beautiful "Columbine", there was a very early Aveiling & Porter Tractor to be seen. Another nice piece...
The rest of the museum is pretty much non-steam but is still well worth a look. I'd go again just to see the Burnley engine! (Can't be FREE Admission). After our trip to this museum, and the equally FREE Natural History Museum next door, we reboarded the Tube and headed off for the bright lights of Picadilly Circus!...
Thanks for reading folks. We're off to Oxford Street...

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Glow of The Duchess...

video

Hi all. Well, on the way home from Shackerstone tonight, knowing full well that the Princess Coronation Class Pacific No6233 "Duchess of Sutherland" was passing by the area with a return train to Euston, I couldn't resist trying to see her! Fearing that I wouldn't make it much further before I missed her, I parked on Eastboro Way, Nuneaton. Up on the bridge in the darkness, another photter' came up and chatted to me about the Duchess. Surprised he was indeed when I told him that I'd been firing a Pannier Tank at Shackerstone during the day! Coincidence much?! Anyway, the Duchess came roaring around the corner with 13 coaches behind the tender and the firehole doors open. In a flash, she was gone. I managed to get a short, relatively-poor quality video of the passing of the train through the darkness; you can just make out the glow! This was the Duchess' very last revenue-earning railtour before full 10-year overhaul and I'm so glad that I've seen the Ivatt Black liveried monster in action at last; if not just briefly! I've footplated her before back in 2005 at Crewe, alongside then rebuilt sister No46229 "Duchess of Hamilton" (who we saw at York in August). Below, a blast from the past with the two beautiful Stanier Duchess' together in a picture I took at Crewe...only needed "City of Birmingham" to make the set!...
Thanks for reading everyone. Goodnight...Home time now!...

Perfect Day with a Perfect Pannier...

Hello everyone. Today, bright and early, I was in McDonald's at 5am for breakfast! Then, it was onwards to Shackerstone for a day on Pannier Tank No5786 with Driver John Britt and Fireman Mic Jones. Arriving there at 5:30am, we drove up the drive in total darkness; apart from our headlights, naturally! Present at this hour were myself, Fireman Mic, Carl (Thomas' Fireman) and Danny (Thomas' Trainee). Together, the four of us walked up the drive and 'signed on' in the Staff Room. We then plundered on through the morning darkness and finally reached the loco shed. Inside lay our charges for the day. Through the door we went and there was No5786, 'warming fired' and all ready to go. "Thomas" and "Fergus" stood in front of her towards the shed's roller-door whilst behind stood the dormant "Sir Gomer" and "Mayflower". With the kettle already on, Carl and Danny went off to light the Jinty whilst I and Mic headed off to break up some wood for the 57xx. An hour later and the fire inside 5786 is crackling away and black smoke fills the inside of the shed. Up in front, the Jinty is also smoking away, as is "Blue Circle" in between(!); how authentic a loco shed can you get?...
Driver John Britt had now arrived and had set to filling the oiling points inside the cab. Underneath the engine, Mic was busy oiling the motion and the axleboxes. I also went under the engine for a look at the 4-eccentric Stephenson's Valve Gear. Below, you can see the crank axle. The 4 eccentrics sit on the axle, with the two main cranks either side (one up, one down). Behind, you can see the Front Damper door...
Outside, the shed looked as if it were on fire!!!...
The Class 02 Shunter was preparing to remove all three loco's from the confines of the shed; mainly to allow the vast amounts of smoke to clear! With the kettle on again, the Jinty was prepared to leave first. 47327 was on loan from the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley and is currently their only operational locomotive. The 3F is, in my opinion, a beautiful design; practical in every way. However, this one has two downsides; A) She's Blue, and B) She needs a little bit of TLC...as all these 'used and abused' Thomas replica's seem to! Nevertheless, not a bad machine...I wouldn't mind one in BR Black though! Below, the Jinty is ready to move...
With a big heave from the Rolls Royce-engined "Diane", out the Jinty comes on the downgrade...
Back under the Pannier, my Fireman (Mic Jones) is still working away under the locomotive. In this case, he's filling up the Left-Leading Axlebox. Up above, the powerful tank engine's boiler is already making steam, enclosing many pounds per square inch of pressure in safety...
Up in the cab, the smoke is still terrible; no Blower until a certain pressure of course! A Pannier Tank cab is easily workable and simple. Everything is in easy reach of both the Driver and the Fireman. However, there is one thing (well two things!) to watch out for; the Rear Axle Springs. As the engine moves, the Cab Springs provide the suspension for the back end. This means a more comfortable ride yet, when they bite...THEY BITE!! That's why we keep our knee's well clear on this engine! Below, the Left-hand spring can be seen in the bottom corner of the photo...
As 5786 warmed up, we all did our fair bit of cleaning. I in particular did the toolboxes, bunker side, cab side, tank sides, smokebox, tank fronts and steam chest cover. I also did the tank tops and dome but the smoke from the chimney soon rendered this job unsuccessful! Once outside, the shining 5786 is a real picture...A beautiful machine...
"OK, just one more of the engine before the face goes on"...
Unfortunately, as time rolled around, we did have to put the face on. (What a shame!). The Pannier, unfortunately not Green anymore, could not therefore play the Thomas Character "Duck". However, she was said to be playing "Goose"; a long lost relative of the former! Once ready, we moved off shed before "Thomas" left on the first train (the 10am). "Fergus" was already in the North End Sidings, collecting 'his' Brake Van. Moving around the points, 5786 rolled into Platform 1 and was stopped under orders from the Big F.C himself. Mic saw this as an oppotunity to cook us breakfast; Western style...nice one Mic!...
Not many Firemen look after their crews as much as Mic does (and "no, I'm not just writing this because I fear he may be reading it!"). Below, the bacon cooks quickly on the hot shovel, rested on the Firehole ring. That Bacon sandwich was one of the best I've ever had, though the engine did smell a bit like the set of "Saturday Kitchen" afterwards!...
After the bacon, there wasn't much time until "Thomas" came back on 'his' return trip. Therefore, we got ready to haul the 11:20am service to Shenton; our first of three duties for the day. "Thomas" soon arrived and we ran round onto the back of 'his' train. 5786 was coupled up and we left on time with Mic firing and me simply enjoying my first ride on a 57xx Pannier! (I have fired a Pannier before; Dennis Howells' 94xx No9466 though, to me, she is a HUGE Pannier! This would be my first time on a 'prototype' Pannier). We had a good first run to Shenton, a little bouncy on the back end but, thats the way Pannier's are! (Remember the springs?: they were up and down like nobody's business). At Shenton, the BR Black engine stands ready at the front of the train; shame about the rather angelic looking face!...
With me firing on the way back, I found out just how well a Pannier Tank steams. With a full pressure of 200psi, you can run easily with your 'needle' between 160 & 180psi. As she's a Western, the Vacuum can be kept up by the loudly hissing Pump between the frames too. I was a little rusty on the way back; I haven't fired for about 7 weeks; but I pretty much had the hang of it by the time we dropped into Shackerstone. With only 25 minutes to run round and get back out again, we didn't hang around much at Shack. Once ready on the end of the train we awaited the Guard's signal to go but, at the last minute, they decided that they would attach a 6th coach to boost passenger capacity. So, we waited...and waited...and WAITED. Finally, we found out; the coach had derailed in the yard on its way to the train, blocking off the run round loop. Damn! Finally, the Guard's whistle came and we left Shack with the same 5-coach load; Mic firing again. At Shenton, the fire had died down again and Mic said that I would be firing back. Western's generally like to be fired with a big 'back end' (as the previous visitor, No5542, did!), therefore, I obliged. This time, Mic was driving and John took to supervising my antics on the shovel. Below, the fire is ready for more coal before leaving Shenton...
On the way back, I stuck between 170psi and 200psi with relative ease. (I thought I'd got the hang of it at this point!). My major problem has always been overfiring. In this case, you don't get complete combustion, meaning that you waste fuel and don't use it to its full potential. On this run at least, I seemed to have managed not to over-fire! ("Yes"!). Dropping into Shackerstone, we were held at the Stop Board's as we couldn't access the North End; the Coach was still jacked up in an attempt to re-rail it. Therefore, "Thomas" joined the end of our train and took out the next service to Shenton; 'shunt releasing' the Pannier. Mic had had to leave with "Thomas" as his Fireman due to the fact that his rostered Fireman and Cleaner had been conscripted to help with the rerailing process! Indeed, you could really hear Driver Eddie Jones taking the engine up the cutting; good on you, Eddie! Meanwhile, myself and John were in charge of 5786. Cup of coffee in hand, we chugged up and down Platform 2 to give the visitors something to look at. Meanwhile, "Fergus" was doing Brake Van ride's on One. The next trip was our last one and the 2nd last of the day. I fired both ways on this trip. At Shenton, the Pannier is captured again...
The way down was very good but the way back proved a bit more of a problem. Running up to Carlton (2.5 miles from Shack) was easy but once we hit Hedley's (1 mile from Shack); I was beginning to struggle! In an attempt not to run the engine down, I had under-fired and pressure was dropping. Luckily, Mic jumped in and fired a few shovelfull's in the right places; saving our skin for the last mile into Shack. I have no fear admitting that I 'let it go a bit'; all part and parcel of the training; BUT I won't say I wasn't annoyed!! Once back, "Thomas" was coupled up to the now SIX coach train; "Yes", the coach was rerailed safely! 'He' then left with the last train; the 4:40pm "Tea on Thomas" Special. We meanwhile took 5786 to bed. It had been a fantastic day with the Pannier Tank; she was perfect and I had a great crew, indeed. Thank you very much John and Mic! I had a great time! Finally, a shot of us coming towards 'Airport Bridge' at Carlton on our last outward service. There I am looking over to check the injector flow; the paddle and ashpan rake can be seen hanging on the back of the bunker... Thank you very much to Mr D.Hanks for sending in yet another photo; I really appreciate it! Thanks for reading folks. Good Evening...