Tuesday, 28 June 2011

New Saxo =)

Read on ;)



Completely none railway related but got me a new car last Friday. "Yes, another Saxo". This one is a 1.6-litre Saxo VTR in shining yellow. I love it :)





Thanks all :)

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Another 'Day Out With Thomas'....

Hi everyone. Another long day today, 6am - 6pm again in fact, on "Thomas" (Jinty 47298) at Shackerstone. My crew were Eddie & Jan; I fired whilst they shared the driving. It was a very enjoyable day with us making 3 departures out of the 7 from Shackerstone, as usual. We also managed to take one DMU shuttle to Market Bosworth and back as well. Not only that, we took part in sing-a-longs, playlets, races, games and stories. The railway did us proud again, and so did Jinty No47298; though she does clank a bit! In tradition of "Thomas", we cooked alot more bacon on the shovel today...lovely...
Jan in the cab of "Thomas" whilst myself and Eddie stand by for departure at Shackerstone. The train is the 5pm "Tea on Thomas" Dining train...
Fantastic little day out again. But, I'm very tired now! Evening all, Sam.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A Jaunt With A Jinty...

Hello everybody. Well, what a fantastic day with a great crew and a great engine at Shackerstone. Arriving at 6am, I discovered my charge for the day; "Thomas"; in the car park on the loading ramp. This is not ideal as there are no tools nearby but, need's must. After parking up, I clambered up onto the footplate and checked the water levels. I then checked around inside the firebox and of course the outside mudlids. Just then, Dave (our 3rd man) turned up, and so did the crew of 3803. Soon after, I had "Thomas" lit. This time, "Thomas" was being played by the Llangollen Railway 'Jinty' Tank; or Midland 3F to some. At 7am, the day's driver (Eddie) arrived and we set to preparing the engine. By 8am, after a good warming fire the night before, the 3F had enough steam to move herself(!), so we headed off to the loco shed. Once in the shed, we could wash the engine, oil her up underneath and of course ash her out. At 9:10am, we were called. We had to be ready to move by 9:30pm for the opening of the event. Luckily, we were all washed and changed by the time we were needed. The first train was at 10am, hauled by the Class 25 ("Boco"), and tailed by "Thomas". The run down is easy, we just get dragged. The fire is kept thin and the water level up, ready for the return run. At Shenton, there is a 4-minute wait before the return. Here, the fire is made up and I generally open the damper and ensure the water level is high. The weight of the 25 plus a 6-coach train makes an equivalent weight of around 8.25 coaches; not bad for a little engine! After a good run back, a restful Dave & Eddie are spotted at Shackerstone...
First trip over, 3803 took our place at the back of the train. The 25 would lead the way again. The train gone, the games began. My favourite; the Engine Races! "Thomas" is always a favourite in the races and we did what we could to win; even cheat (just for fun!). After the races, games took place with the Fat Controller and Mr Conductor, along with "Thomas". During this time, we had chance to cook round one of our lunch! Yum...
The loco we had today was lovely; if a little tired. A Midland 3F (or 'Jinty'), she was built in 1924 by Hunslet...
Below, a rather unsatisfying view from "Thomas". "Boco" is up at the front with 6 coaches in between. This was the 12:20pm train, also a "Lunch on Thomas" Dining train. Another successful journey. However, at Shenton, it rained terribly hard; we couldn't even see the Guard...
However, after the very wet 12:20pm train, the sun came out again! Three departures then took place with 3803, giving us plenty of time for games, stories, races, playlets and general fooling around. The kids loved it and passenger numbers seemed strong. A new addition to this event was "Rusty"; the Station Porter. Obviously, she was an actress but she was very good as a childrens entertainer. Good fun. Below, "Thomas" stands in Platform 2 under blue skies...
A gleeful "Thomas the Tank"...
Driver Eddie Jones sits in the Drivers seat of the Class 3F as we await further instruction. Honestly, it is true what they say; an engine is only as good as the crew. I must admit, Eddie & Dave were a fantastic crew and I really enjoyed the day with them...
A good fire in the sizeable firebox of the Jinty...
The last departure of the day; the 5pm; was hauled by us. This was our 3rd run down the line of the day, but it was of course the only one that we actually hauled both ways! I fired, and Eddie drove. Dave was just enjoying the ride. The Jinty performed beautifully, and steamed freely. As long as you keep a level fire with a strong back-end, she's perfect. However, if you do have trouble, one good shovelfull in each corner of the box will often bring her back again. At Shenton, after a good run, "Thomas" feathers after hauling the "Tea on Thomas" diner...
"Thomas" and his train at Shenton...
Once run round, we departed Shenton upgrade with a good fire and a strong water level. The Jinty roared as Driver Eddie pushed the regulator open more and more. What a run! The 3F pulled well and steamed lovely. There was also plenty of steam to fill the boiler with water. As it was the last run, I was running the fire down ready to go on shed. Coming over Hedleys, we had full steam and a little fire with a strong water level. So, Eddie let the 3F go! She chugged hard up the hill to the summit, before shutting off to descend into Shackerstone. With injector running, we sailed into Shackerstone with hardly any fire left at all. At the end of the platform, Eddie & Dave uncoupled "Thomas" whilst I raked the fire. After a good rake, there was almost nothing left. So, with injector running, we steamed on shed and disposed of the engine. It was perfect; if I do say so myself! What a fantastic day with "Thomas", Dave & Eddie. Thanks to everyone for a great time, and thanks to everyone for reading. Better still; next Saturday I'm back on "Thomas" again, with Eddie & Jan! Goodnight all...

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Darkest Day for 3803...

Evening everybody. Today, at 6am, I arrived at Shackerstone for a turn on 3803 with Carl, Pockets and Alan. Walking into the shed, I found the massive GW 2-8-0, resting quietly but already nice and warm from a warming fire. Soon, the rest of the crew arrived and we set to preparing the engine. I for one went underneath, between the frames, and oiled the loco up. Its a long but satisfying job. We then took 3803 for coal under dark skies. After coaling, the rain came, and it didn't stop all day! It was horrid! We had 5 trips, which were OK when running in the Shackerstone direction, but torrential when running to Shenton with the open tender. Great Western men must have been tough souls! The loco did however perform well, and we did have a laugh. My friend Ken came on with us for the 3rd trip, enjoying his first ride on a loco footplate. Despite the rain, Ken seemed to enjoy himself which was very good in my book. After the 5th trip, we took the big 2-8-0 back into the warmth and dry of the shed where she was later left to rest. Not a bad day at all, despite the awful weather. I must admit, I think the day is best summed up with the words; "Never has one been so glad to hear that the day is over". Well, thanks everybody; I'm going to dry off! Sam.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

"Achilles" Rises Again...

Hello everyone. Today, we were at CMES at Ryton Pool, with 0-6-0 "Achilles". The loco, a Side Tank designed by Reeves, is owned by Mr K Hall but I've had some involvement with it recently. The engine was test steamed last weekend following water pump repairs and some changes to the boiler backhead. Today, she was booked for both a Hydraulic and a Steam test at the club. The Hydraulic was done first. This test involves the fittings being closed and the safety valves and pressure gauge 'capped off'. Water is then forced into the boiler up to 1.5 times normal pressure. As "Achilles" boiler pressure is 90psi, she was of course forced up to 135psi. After 10 minutes the loco had passed the test. The engine was then prepared for lighting and later steam tested. This requires the safety valves to lift at the correct pressure, and also to hold the pressure down at 90psi against the blower. You also need two methods of putting water into the boiler. Thankfully, "Achilles" also passed this test. Tests passed, we steamed off the bay and onto the track. We undertook many laps with the lovely 0-6-0 and she proved very powerful and free-steaming. We now plan to run "Achilles" again in a month's time. A great day. Thanks for reading folks. Sam.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Of All The Bars...

Hello everyone. Well, with little else to do today as the railway was planned to be pretty quiet in terms of staff, I decided to take up a request to serve on the Buffet Car at Shackerstone. The coach; "Jessie"; is very comfortable and is always part of the train rake. She has a fully licensed Bar on board, selling all kinds of bottled ales and spirits. There is also a Buffet area where the coach offers Hot & Cold drinks, Savouries and various Sweets and Crisps. On gala days, "Jessie" even serves Breakfast Cob's! She is a very durable coach! Today, I arrived at Shackerstone at around 10:30am and signed in. I then made my way down to the loco shed to see the day's loco; GWR No3803; and to collect the day's cash tins and float. I then returned to "Jessie", where myself and Janet would be in charge all day. Today, as usual, the railway was operating 5 services, behind No3803. I served on "Jessie" all day, selling many teas and coffees as well as various sweets and packets of crisps. Its a quiet life on the Buffet Car, though it does get a bit hectic at times; especially when alot of passengers have boarded at once! 3803 at Shackerstone...
"Jessie" is seperated into two main areas. The first is the Bar Area. This area features the Bar itself as well as a comfortable seating area in which passengers can enjoy the scenic journey to Shenton and back. The seats are well padded and include tiny tables on which to place your drinks...
In the centre of the coach stands the Kitchen Area. This area is completely private and the public cannot see the various goings on. For example, the washing up! On the other side of the kitchen is the Buffet Area. Below, I can be seen working the Buffet Area, serving a few Soft Drinks...
Between customers, there is time to either chat away to the other staff and visitors, walk along the train, hang from the windows or simply enjoy a little quiet time...
The Buffet Area on "Jessie"...
It is a quiet day on "Jessie" but, believe it or not, it is much harder than working on the loco; early starts aside! I would never want to work on here on a busy Thomas day; those days are manic on "Jessie"...non-stop even! However, now and again, even if only once or twice a year, it is a very enjoyable little day. The one difference is starting work clean, and finishing work clean! Thanks for reading everyone. Next weekend? Well, I believe I'm at Ryton on Saturday to help with two boiler tests on "Achilles". On Sunday, I'm out firing 3803. Posts coming as they happen. Evening all. Sam...

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Fish, Chips, Coal & Steam...

Hi all. Well, after a visit to GEC on the way, I made it to Ryton Pools (and Coventry Model Engineering) by 4pm. The evening "Fish n Chip" 'Steam Up' was already in full swing and many locomotives were out & about on the track. This event was a great success in 2010 and, therefore, this success made it a definate for 2011. Miss Emma Dunning (of CMES) organised the event and, well done to her. A fabulous evening out. The weather was kind and the turnout good. The only improvement would have been yet more steam loco's! So, lets start showing some photo's of the loco's as it were. Below, Dave Hall's 'Planet' 0-4-0 electric makes its way around the track, driven by Ruby...
Next, the club steamer; 0-4-0 Sweet Pea "John H Owen"; crosses the bridge in the return direction...
3rd is Reg's 0-6-0 3.5" 'Rob Roy' side tank. This engine, enjoying its first ever run (apart from steam test) I believe, seemed to go OK. Though small, she is a powerful little machine and was flying around the track for a good hour. Reg seemed pleased with the engines performance, though commented that some improvements may be required to the mechanical pump...
Fourth: Guy & Mark's Metropolitan Train. The electric loco is a replica of the "Sarah Siddons" type, named "Michael Farraday". She carries what seems to be a Luggage Van, three MR Coaches and a Brake Van. The rake is very impressive and has taken many hours of work to complete. It is a joy to see a rake of proper coaches going around the circuit...
On the bays, the Santa Fe 5" loco (which I believe to be a GP-38) stands quiet after a good run. In the background is a yellow electric, a Modelworks 'Bagnall' and a Modelworks 'Pug'...
Below, Dave Strapps casually drives his 'Simplex' 0-6-0T. This locomotive was beautifully built and is the current title-holder as the most 'Efficient Locomotive' in CMES. (Or so the 2010 competition proved!)...
Below, I'm driving "John H Owen"; feathering at the valves; with Mum and Steve on board. The loco has just topped Ryton Bank and is now descending towards the bridge...
Jim's fabulous 'Butch' 0-6-0 was also out and about today. This stalwart loco always runs like a 'well oiled sewing machine' and is beautifully built. Wearing shining Maroon, she was spotted on the track for a good few hours before the chips arrived!...
Reg, still out & about with the 'Rob Roy'...
Bob Webb's yellow electric loco stands quietly on the bays. I believe there was some kind of problem that as yet remains unsolved...
Dave & his wife aboard their 'Planet' electric...
Kevin's 'Bagnall' was also on the track during the afternoon. However, Kevin also brought along one of his projects, for display. This lovely little 5" gauge L & Y 'Pug' stood on the bays for most of the evening. The 'Pug' was a powerful shunting engine, designed by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. This particular example is a Modelworks kit that is speedily nearing completion. I personally really like the slidebar covers!...
Another loco!; Peter's 0-4-0 Compass House electric. This stalwart loco is often spotted out & about at CMES. Today, she did some running, whilst enjoying some quiet periods on the steaming bays. The locomotive stands on Bay 1...
After much running, at 6:30pm, the 'Fish n Chips' arrived. They were lovely. Well done to Emma for organising such a fantastic event. On top of this, thanks to everyone who attended and made it such an enjoyable and social event. It really was lovely. I look forward to another repeat of this event in 2012! After helping put away the Pea, I left CMES at just gone 8pm. I shall next be at CMES next Saturday to help with the two boiler tests required on 0-6-0T "Achilles". Tomorrow?: I'm off to Shackerstone to work the Buffet Car. Thanks for reading folks. Evening all...

A Cuppa' At GEC...

Hello everyone. Today, whilst on my way to a 'steam up' at Coventry Model Engineering, I drove past the GEC Railway and, inevitably I called in for a cuppa'. As it was the first Saturday in the month, the railway was running its 3.5"/5" gauge raised track. The track was being operated by two loco's. These engines were "Jackie"; a Simplex 0-6-0T; and Tony's Midland Compound 4-4-0. The Tea Room and Model Railway were also open. Tomorrow, the society will be running their 7.25" line; 2pm - 5pm. The 5" line runs in a large oval around a scenic wooded area. Following a stiff climb, the line descends on a long straight, running parallel with the driveway, before arriving back at the station again. I believe that passenger trains do 2 laps per trip. Below, the lovely Midland 4-4-0; which visited CMES last September; is spotted at the GEC 5" station...
Following the departure of the 4-4-0, "Jackie" was able to pull forward into the Departure Platform to load more passengers. Don't worry, the track is full signalled. A nice little trick is that, if a train passes a Signal at Danger, a bell is sounded to alert all other trains, as well as the offending one. Below, "Jackie"...
Why not go along for a train ride? (And, look out for certain special events too!)...
Below, the beautiful Compound. Baring certain resemblences to the 'Maid of Kent' 4-4-0, this engine is not an example of the type. I believe that the boiler is different. However, she is a very good example of a Compound. I really like the LMS Maroon...
Resting on a nearby steaming bay was 0-4-0 RoR Saddle Tank "Percival". This colourful battery electric also visited CMES last year...
After half-hour or so at GEC, I decided that I'd better head off to CMES so, after saying my goodbyes and handing my mug back in, I headed off. Again, as always, the Tea Room Ladies were doing a sterling job in the tea room. I look forward to my next driving turn at GEC....more tea!! Thanks everyone. Now its back in the Saxo and off to CMES...