Sunday, 30 October 2011

Post 100: Shed & Steam at Shackerstone...

Hello everyone. Well, here it is, Post 100 of 2011 and, you've guessed it, it had to be Shackerstone didn't it?! Today I arrived at just after 9am under blue but chilly skies, discovering GWR 2-8-0 No3803 just about to come off shed for a 'Foot Ex'. I spent the day in the shed drinking tea, cleaning the pit, wrapping up "Sir Gomer"s injectors for winter and of course doing some good old fashioned moaning and chatting. On the last trip of the day (the 3pm), Driver Adrian and Fireman Scott invited me out on the footplate of the 38' for a run. As the sun began to go down, the 38' is captured at Shenton...
It was chilly on the engine but the weather looked beautiful. What a lovely way to spend Post No100; on the footplate on 'our' railway...
Arriving back at Shackerstone, we uncoupled before dropping back into Platform 1 to take the Dock Road up into the shed for disposal. Overall, a nice quiet day on the railway. I left at around 5pm after a chat with some of the lads from the shed. 3803 was of course long tucked up in bed by then! I shall be back at Shack next Sunday for a proper turn on the 38' with Drivers Jan & Eddie - Should be good! Now, Post 100! No100 seems to appear earlier every year! 2009 was the first time that the blog reached a total of over 100 posts. The 100th post itself appeared on December 21st. In 2010, the special 100 appeared on November 14th. So, in 2011, we are 2 weeks earlier again! Must doing more and more each year but, lets be honest, that can't last can it! However, it will be nice to see how long it does ;) . Good evening everybody. Thanks for reading...

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Steaming Through The Night...GEC 2011...

Hello everybody. Well, here we are again; the GEC Night Run. This fabulous event arrives at the very end of October every year, allowing the GEC Miniature Railway in Coventry to shine. Trains run from 3pm - 8pm on both the 5" & 7.25" gauge tracks, with all rides being FREE (donations are of course very welcome). From 4:30pm, there is hot food available and there is always a selection of cakes and hot drinks for sale throughout! The trains continue running into the darkness and, as night falls, a bonfire is lit and illuminations are set. It really is a lovely occassion and the atmosphere is fantastic. I have driven at the Night Run three times now; including this year; and always enjoy myself immensely. This year, I arrived at 1pm to help set-up, decorate and of course to help test the 7.25" gauge track which I would be driving on. FREE bacon rolls were given out to the workers (Mmm, fantastic!). At 2:30pm my charge for the night ("James") arrived and myself & her owner (James) unloaded 'him' from his trailer. Once on the steaming bay, we filled and oiled the loco before I lit her up. By 3pm, we were on the stock ready for the first run; right on time! (I always light up with a good fire!). Throughout the afternoon and evening, myself and James shared the driving on his loco. It was lovely. The trains were packed and the queues never ending. At nightfall, the bonfire was lit...
My family also popped down for a few rides this afternoon, during which I drove "James". They always seem surprised at how fast the 7.25" trains go but, to me, its normal! As darkness drew in, the loco's had their lamps switched on and the prep area and station were floodlit. "James" also carried a torch for the water gauge glass. After all, though the fire is bright, it isn't enough to see everything!...
It's 7:21pm and the station is still packed. The ghostly Signalman looks on from the box in his usual pale manner...
"James" performed faultlessly throughout the evening, pulling even the heaviest loads with ease. Also on the track were "Luna"; the Sweet William; and Malcom's 'Warship' electric, with the 3 engines sharing the two sets of coaches. I must admit, if any engine had failed, we would have been rushed off our feet completely! Admittedly, "Luna" did miss a trip due to steam loss following some dragging brakes on the coaches, a turn which I took over immediately with "James". Even just running straight around that trip with no break and going straight back out was hard work. Luckily, no other problems occured. Throughout the evening, the fabulous 'Tea Room Ladies' were on fine form, delivering tea to the footplates of the engines; lovely! The Hot Dogs were also fantastic! Below, "James" (driven by owner), waits in the station passing loop for a path into the currently occupied platform...
On shed, little blue "Luna" is prepared for another pitch-black run...
"James" takes on water and coal before I take her out on another trip...
Owner James takes his engine away from the platform and into the yard before preparing for another outing (I hate to think how much mileage we clocked up tonight!)...
"James" on shed...

At 8:10pm, the last train left the station for a trip of the line. I had meanwhile taken "James" on shed and we then blew her down. After helping clean up, I left at just gone 9pm. All in all, it had been a fantastic evening. Donations had been encouraging and passenger numbers on both tracks through the roof. The engines had performed well and the food sold out. Best of all, no accidents, derailments or real delays for the 7.25"! Overall, a well organised event held by a little railway with alot of potential. As I say, I always enjoy this event; it is fantastic! I do hope they invite me back to drive again next year! ;) . Thanks to James for letting me drive his lovely engine again, and to all the staff who made the event a success. Finally, thanks to the amazing 'Tea Room Ladies' for their continued and always appreciated support. A very enjoyable evening indeed. I do hope I was of help. Thanks for reading folks - Goodnight...

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Achilles Report No6: Hard Work at GEC...

Hello everybody. Following a successful return to service at Ryton about 3 weeks ago, my 5" gauge loco "Achilles" was invited up to the GEC Railway today to do a little more work. Though not a public day, the railway had been booked for one of its regular 'Birthday Parties'. In this case, the customer had chosen the 5" gauge raised track and so, locomotives would be required to haul the trains. We arrived at Midday, in good time for the 1pm - 3pm run. After unloading the loco and selecting a steaming bay, we filled the boiler and oiled round. Soon enough, we had a good water level and so the fire could be lit. Within 20 minutes of the match being struck, "Achilles" was simmering away on the bay, feathering at the valves after a pretty gradual warm-up. After a quick dust off (the engine was still pretty clean after her display at the MMEE last week) I moved the engine under her own steam. As the drain cocks on this engine have a mind of their own, I am always careful when moving off shed. I open the regulator and then shut it, before throwing the reverser into the opposite direction. Water begins to come out. I repeat this process until the engine actually moves, forcing the last dregs of water out and, just then, the cocks shut themselves. You do need to be careful with auto drains. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I myself am considering one day putting manual's on! Anyhow, we moved off the bay and onto the turntable before backing down towards the station area with "Achilles" blue paint (old but not too bad!) shining...
The first trip was with 2 coaches but, soon enough, we were asked to swap with the day's other steamer; the LMS 4-4-0 Midland Compound 'Maid of Kent' (a GEC regular). I did think 1 truck would be a little easy but, we swapped. Just then, the Party arrived. I reckon there must have been around 15 children and then their parents and some of their siblings too. So, there was plenty of work to do. The GEC's Class 08 also put in an appearance on another 2-car set. At 1pm, the work began and we began circling the track. The 08 led the way, and then the Compound, followed by "Achilles" at the back. A trip on the 5" gauge line here means two circuits. The track is only around 1/3 of the length of Ryton but it does have a 1 in 49 gradient, tight curves and woodland scenary. So, for a short ride, there is quite a bit of interest. Anyway, leaving the station I had 3 children behind me on our 1 truck. Climbing the 1 in 49, I was halted at a red signal. We waited and just then, up ahead, you could hear the Compound slipping for all it was worth! The Guard got off to restart the train with a reassuring push and the traffic got moving again. But, when the Compound slipped on its next trip, she snapped a Crosshead pin and left the track for repair. The controller came back to me and asked "Can you take the two trucks?"..."No worries" came the reply. After swapping "Achilles" onto the front of the bigger train and loading up, we departed for our first 'heavy' run. Up the 1 in 49 we went. The loco was working very hard but didn't slip or moan (but, I will admit, you could not notch up...she sounded great!). Later in the day, my brother drives the engine on a 'play' trip (sorry for poor quality)...

We continued to work the 2-car train with ease, though the bark from the chimney was very audible up the bank and around the top bend. I did have to pop off after around 90 minutes so that I could reposition a Washer in the water pump system but, that done, we came straight back on. We managed the last few trips with relative ease and soon enough it was 3pm. After that, we swapped back to 1 car so that we could have a play with the engine. The Maid of Kent also remained on the track for a play following earlier repair. We eventually finished running at 4pm, with the sun still shining. It was a very nice afternoon and I am very pleased with the performance from the engine today. Her next run will be at the RPMR in 2 weeks time and, due to the fast approaching deep winter, will probably be her last in 2011. Thanks very much to the GEC for having us today, though I do hope we helped a bit! Next weekend? I'm at the GEC again on Saturday night, for the annual (and very busy, no doubt!) Night Run! I'll be sharing the driving on my friends 7.25" Romulus "James" and, to be honest, I can't wait! Evening all... Update 28/10/10: Why not check out the new online advert for the blog?...
Thank you...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Sun & Steam on the Fosseway...

Hi everybody. Today, I was back at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on the Fosseway near Leamington. It was to be my 2nd day of driving at the Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition, on behalf of CMES. I arrived at just before 10am, and entered through the Exhibitors extrance. There were already vast queue's forming outside the main doors, eagerly awaiting the 10am opening. Before the crowds burst in, I managed to get a shot of the 7ft advert for Engineering in Miniature, which was titled with the picture of myself driving "James". Fame, ay?!...
First stop...
With my driving shift not due to start until 1:30pm, I had time to look around the show. I did get a brief look yesterday but tried to have a few more chats today and ask a few questions. First stop was the CMES stand to see if my engine was still clean! Luckily, she was. My 5" gauge tank was sitting quietly; brass bonnet shining; on one of the corners. I knew this because I placed her there Thursday evening before the show began! The loco was cleaned out the other day, with the smokebox, tubes and spark arrestor all brushed. Ash dealt with, I cleaned the paintwork and motion with a parrafin and oil mixture. With the main grime patches gone, all I had to was clean the brasses. Sure enough, after an hour or so, the brass was clean. The engine was then in the condition that she is displayed in today. She will be here until the end of the show on Tuesday evening. She was also, as far as I could see, the only "Achilles" tank at the show...
My engine, a few dents and paint scratches here and there but, otherwise shiney!...
With the loco all well and good, my second port of call was the outside portable track to see how the morning shift (Brian and Hilary) were getting on. "Polly V" was quietly steaming up and everything seemed fine. I then headed off for a walk around the show. The standard this year was very good. There was everything from Mamods to Gauge 1 to 10.25" gauge. There were also countless 2.5", 3.5", 5" and 7.25" gauge models as well as tooling displays, trade stands, engines for sale, traction engines in steam and of course the portable 5" gauge railway. There were also various demonstrations and lectures. All in all, a fab display. Outside, I got another couple of laps on Dave's fabulous 4" Burrell traction engine. Lovely thing and a pleasure to drive, though very different to a rail engine in many ways! At 12:15pm, Brian felt a little unwell so I did just short of an hours worth of driving on "Polly V". Passenger numbers were good and the loco was performing well...

A good fire in the box...
At 13:15, I headed off for another little work, returning at 13:40. I had of course already done an hour so needed a bit of a break! On my return, Emma had arrived and we duly shared the afternoon driving "Polly V". Not bad at all - just a little back and forth ;) ...
As with other MMEE posts, I have included some of my favourite displays. This year there were three that really caught my eye. One, on the Winners Table, was this beautiful 5" gauge model of the West Country pacific "Padstow", obviously built by a prolific engineer. Well done. I was quite in awe of this engine...
Next, a 6" Garratt tractor, completed in April this year, that was running outside. What a huge thing. Beautifully engineered by her builders, from the Black Country. A pleasure to watch. She steamed effortlessly around for both of the days that I was there. Wonderful...
Finally, this Mamod SR1 was a true gem. At 36" scale to the foot, this engineer really knew how to scale thigns up! If you look closely, you can see a standard SR1 under the boiler barrel, and an even smaller version underneath the water bowser behind the 36" version. The huge Mamod really was exact down to the last detail, apart from the pressure gauge and water glass! Lovely thing...I want it!...
After a good afternoon's running, including lots of whistling, passenger haulage and chatting (not to mention an Ice Cream or two!) we disposed of the engine towards the end of the show. No problems, apart from a little clinker. Below, Driver Emma chats to some interested visitors about the finer points of engine disposal...
Finally, a short, fairly average video clip I took. This shows a simple jaunt up and down the Portable track; provided by CMES; on "Polly V". I hope it gets some interest on here at least ;) ...

Well thats it folks, at 5:15pm I drove out of the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre in the Saxo, bound for home. It had been a very nice day. "Polly V" had performed well and I'd met up with a few friends and made some new ones. Thanks to Brian, Emma, CMES and MMEE for a fab day. Also thanks to Polly for use of their golden 2-6-0. Finally, thank you for reading folks. Good evening. I'll be back here on Tuesday night to pick up "Achilles". Next weekend? Well, I think I'm off to GEC with the engine to lighten the load by hauling some Birthday Party trains that will be operating up there. More posts as they happen! Kindest Regards, Sam...

Friday, 14 October 2011

Along Came Polly...

Hi all. Well, straight after work at 12pm I jumped in the Saxo and headed off up the Fosseway to the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre. The WEC hosts the annual Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition, and today was the first day of five. It was a very good show, with many models on display of varying types and sizes (more on those in tomorrow's post though!). Today; after a quick visit last night to drop off "Achilles" for her appearance on the club stand; I was due to be driving on CMES' portable 5" gauge track. The locomotive was again provided by Polly Models, as it has been in previous years. As usual, it was their demonstrator; "Polly V"; a brass liveried 2-6-0 side tank kitted out with two injectors, a weir pump and a chime whistle amongst other things. I must admit, in previous years we have had trouble with this engine. Either it didn't pull or it wouldn't steam. But, this year, I stand corrected...it was great! Apparently the valve gear has been retimed, the lubricator modified and the whole engine given a bit of an overhaul. I must admit, it went much better and I had no trouble driving or steaming the engine. My shift today was 1:30pm until 5pm, with Emma. A nice little afternoon. I'm on again tomorrow and looking forward to another day in the sun with other fellow steam enthusiasts. Fantastic. Evening all...

Sunday, 9 October 2011

October with "Thomas" Part II...

Howdo everybody. Everybody who read yesterday's post will know most of the story behind this one! 6am this morning, I drove through the not so pearly gates and into Shackerstone. Up in the shed lay "Thomas", 3803 and "Sir Gomer". After signing on with Chris, Danny, Carl and Craig, we all proceeded to the shed and prepared our various engines. I had "Thomas", Danny had 3803 and the other three lads had "Gomer". By 7am, all three engines were lit and warming up slowly. The shed, though thick with smoke, was very atmospheric, evoking past days when much bigger examples lay cross-country with huge steam engines slumbering inside between their exhausting turns. I'd have loved to have seen that! At 7:30am, Pockets (my driver) arrived. Pockets began cleaning whilst I had to clamber underneath to oil up and then ash out. I must admit, with no pit, the Jinty is a bit of a bugga' to oil up. The eccentrics are in totally the wrong position. You sort of lie under the engine with your lags mangled in the motion whilst trying to turn your arm into a slinky with an oil can on the end! Eventually, you realise that you can just chuck oil all over the place to get it where you want and then check the level afterwards. Seeing the oil pot is not the issue; getting the oil there is! But, eventually, I got there...its all learning! By 9:30am, cleaned, oiled, ashed out and steam up, we (me, Pockets and the big FC himself) took 47298 off shed and down to the opening...
Usual format again today with hourly services from 10am until 5pm; with trains at 10am, 1pm and 5pm hauled by "Thomas", and the others hauled by 3803. All trains were top & tailed again, with a steamer and the Class 25 ("Boco"). At Shackerstone, our chunky Peckett "Sir Gomer" was in steam again, as "Percy" or just herself! She's looking well now. Wales certainly cleaned out the tubes! She has a few leaks here and there but nothing that doesn't seem to be slowly taking up. Below, "Sir Gomer" stands with the Tidmouth Milk Tanker at the water colour, with Chris on top...
On another note, we finally got the Jinty steaming well today! We found that a horse-shoe shaped mound around the back end of the firebox; so sides and rear; created the best results. The rest of the fire was kept thin but replenished little and often. As long as you kept the horse-shoe shape and filled holes on the rest of the grate, 47298 kept 150psi easily and the water level remained strong. I'll remember that! After our 1pm trip, the Fat Controller was trying to decide which would haul the brake van rides. In the end, we put "Sir Gomer" on the front and "Thomas" on the back...just to add a good bit of weight! Below, "a man and his engine". Jokes aside, I will always think of "Sir Gomer" as Pockets' engine so, here he is with her again...
A bit of overkill on the brakevan special! These two engines should be capable of hauling a 2000-ton train together so, a brake van and a tanker should be childs play!...
These drivers have all the bloody fun! Pockets at rest on the back shelf of the Jinty whilst I had a go at driving, for a change!...
The day also included much singing, waving, racing, whistling, playing games, getting wet and of course doing a few silly playlets! But, it was fun as usual. At 5pm, we steamed out of Shackerstone with the "Tea on Thomas" train. Tonight, following a request earlier, we hauled it both ways so that the 25 could have a break. This is much better for us as hauling the train only one way is just plain boring! But, half way out of Shackerstone we were given a red signal in the cutting and so came to an abrupt stop. The tail-lamp was missing! Whilst this was rectified, I had a quick minute to get a snap of "Thomas" and his unusual Royal-Train headlamp code!...
Earlier in the day, either Mr or Mrs Simmons was about taking a little clip. "Sir Gomer" races the winner ("Thomas"). You can see me hanging from the side of the 3F and doing the whistle half way through!...

Mr D Hanks was also about today doing his usual quick photography. He has sent in the following 3 images. Below, a goofy looking 3803 sits at Shenton wondering..."How did I get here?!"...
Back at Shackerstone, Dave snapped the blue tankee himself with myself, Pockets and Carl at the cab...
Further down the platform, myself and Pockets are snapped again on the 3F with Mr Conductor nearby. It was at this point Dave realised that 3803 was about to leave and he was not on her footplate...cue Dave running!...
Thanks for those 3 photo's Dave; great stuff. Always appreciated! After our successful 5pm trip, we returned the 3F to the shed after a successful weekend. "Sir Gomer" and 3803 were already simmering inside, sheltering from the rain which was beginning to fall. Soon enough, we had disposed and headed down to faithful 'Jessie' the Buffet Car for a soothing drink. What a long and tiring weekend but fun nevertheless. Thanks to Pockets and Carl for a great day today, and to everyone else involved. Next weekend? I'll be at the annual Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition on the Fosseway. Maybe see some of you there? Evening all. Regards, Sam...

Saturday, 8 October 2011

'Idryss' & 'Siadwell' Take "Thomas"!...

Hi everybody. Well, it had to come didn't it; the final Thomas Event of 2011 at Shackerstone! At 6am this morning I drove under the bridge through the thick darkness and onto Battlefield Line property. Just as I was going to close the gates, the driver of 3803 (John) arrived. I was rostered on "Thomas" himself (Jinty 47298 from Llangollen) with my dream team partner, Eddie! The crack team of Idryss & Siadwell; our slightly humorous Welsh names; have proved themselves useful both at Bala and at Shack in the past so we were hopefully in line for another good day today. After signing on, myself and John walked down to the sheds where we found 3803 and "Sir Gomer" both slightly warm inside. However, the Jinty stood outside in the gloom, straddling the main line! What a stupid place to put it! "Oh well, best crack on really", I thought. So I grabbed a torch and clambered up into the cab. The engine had had a warming fire the night before, and held 3/4 of a glass of water in the gauges. She was pretty warm too; all good stuff. After checking the firebox and external mudlids, I cleaned the grate before laying a coal bed down. Myself and John then headed off to break some wood. Soon enough, "Thomas" and 3803 were both lit. With no fireman for "Sir Gomer" having turned up, I lit her too! Eddie arrived at 7:30am and set to oiling the blue Fowler Class 3F. Meanwhile, my fire was going well...
Ready on time, we steamed into Platform 1 at 9:40am for the opening. We then proceeded to take the 10am train, led to Shenton by "Boco" the Class 25, with us hauling back. I fired but, allas, this was not the same 47298 that we had in June because this one just would NOT steam! The flat firing (little and often) technique that had worked before did not so today. But, it just goes to show no engine can be exactly the same twice! Following our first trip we made breakfast on the shovel...that was fab! Below, I've included a film taken by one of the passengers from Youtube, of us cooking...
The rest of the day panned out as normal. We hauled brake van rides, took part in stories, playlets and various games and even did some singing too. The Jinty wasn't a happy bunny though...she wouldn't steam very well at all. Later on, at 1pm, we took the "Lunch on Thomas" Diner to Shenton and back with the 25. Though the Jinty went better, it still wasn't great. Maybe thicker firing will help? Back at Shack, "Sir Gomer" was doing a short freight tied in with the brake van rides. I even ended up firing her later in the day, on both the brake van rides and during the races...too many jobs! I didn't manage to get a pic of Eddie today but Mr C Simmons did, with a little teddy bear on the 3F too (Photo = C.Simmons)...

At 5pm, with the fun and games coming to an end, we took the "Tea on Thomas" Diner with "Boco". Again, not great for the Jinty but we WILL get there! I've got the engine with Pockets tomorrow and we will get it right! Look out for the post asap. After the "Tea on Thomas", we were back on shed by 6pm and disposed by 6:20pm. A lovely day all told, with the 'dream team' crew enjoying another embarrassment-free day: apart from the singing ;) . Thank you Eddie and thank you everyone else. Lets now see what tomorrow brings, after a Beer tonight...

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunny Joy with "James"...

Hi everybody. Well, after doing some jobs this morning, I had been invited over to the GEC Railway to drive my friend James' engine; "James". The 0-4-0 Romulus; which I have mentioned many times before on this blog; has just returned to service following a Superheater repair. Today was the GEC's last normal 7.25" gauge public running day of 2011, seeing three steam locomotives and two electrics operating the service at various intervals throughout the afternoon. I arrived at 12:45pm in order to help set up and steam up before passenger services began at 2:30pm. The steamers; "James", "Luna" and "Tom"; were soon on site and began steaming up. "Luna" is spotted on shed, being fired up by Ian, her owner...
Behind "Luna" was "Tom" the 'Tich'. 'Tich' is of course a 3.5" gauge design but "Tom" & "Jerry" were built as 7.25" gauge versions before being parted due to their individual sales. Barry, of the GEC, now owns "Tom" and his green brother "Jerry" lives elsewhere. Lovely little machine. "Tom" ran for some of the afternoon, giving a ride to the odd lucky passenger on his driving truck...
Whilst the other engines made their preparations, myself and James got the Romulus ready. I cleaned the paint and shared the oiling, as well as keeping the fire fed. Soon enough, "James" was in steam and I was gently opening her regulator to warm the cylinders. After moving back and forth along the shed road to clear any water from the steam circuit, I took "James" down onto the turntable. My friend Eddie then arrived and we had a jaunt out on a test run with "James" and the train. I must admit, it was weird riding in the coaches for once! After arriving back safely, James took the first public trip with his engine. I then took over for the next run. Below, "Luna" has arrived back with the red set whilst "James" gets ready to back down off shed to take over...
Later in the day, James drives "James" along what I call the 'fast section', up the bank and towards the Car Park on the return run. The track on this section is very good and the engine rides it well. The problem is, she does try to get away from you along here because she really wants to 'GO'!...
Back at the sheds, "James" basks in the warm October sun...
I had a lovely afternoon on "James". She steamed well, pulled well and rode the track beautifully. If anything, she ran even better than normal, making me wonder how long that superheater had been leaking! Myself and James shared the driving throughout the afternoon, and passenger numbers were strong to boot. Lovely! At 5pm on the dot, I drove "James" down onto the turntable and then up onto the shed road again before disposing with James. At 5:15pm, after a very quick blow-down, "James" waits to go home on the loading ramp...
After helping to load "James", I collected my things, washed my hands and soon left. It had been another great, if unexpected, afternoon at the GEC. I next plan to be up there with "James" on October 29th for the infamous 'Night Run' during which we do five continuous hours running (3pm - 8pm) and drive through the darkness of the tree-lined route. The 5" gauge track will also be running and the model railway and tea room will be in full swing. Best of all, all rides are FREE (donations welcome)! Why not come along? Honestly, you will love it! Mind you, it is very busy! There will be a post on that of course; as it happens! Thanks for reading folks. Next weekend?: Well, the inevitable..."Thomas" at Shackerstone!...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Achilles Report No5: She's Back!...

Hello everyone. Well, "Achilles" post No5 is here and, thank goodness, she is back in action again! Regular readers will remember that in early August; whilst on a visit to the GEC; the engine suffered a slipped eccentric on the mechanical water pump between the frames. Following a clean down, this problem was repaired within a week. However, when I steamed the engine up at home to check the freedom on the replaced eccentric, I saw alot of water gushing out from underneath. This was soon recognised as a broken silver-soldered joint. A crack had obviously formed in the fitting, growing over time as this joint is constantly under pressure when water is being pumped into the boiler, sometimes carrying pressure as high as 90psi. So, with no means of getting water into the boiler besides the handpump, I failed the loco again. With the engine stripped down, the old fitting was obviously beyond repair and so a new one had to be made. So, today, the engine returned to work fully water-tight and steaming well, thanks to alot of kind help from fellow CMES members Reg and Gary, as well as the engine's builder; Ken. Thank goodness, I am so relieved...
Today was a normal members running day at RPMR and a few loco's turned up besides mine. We arrived at just before 1pm and were in steam before 1:30. The loco gave many rides during the afternoon, hauling two cars easily along the track and up the lengthy 1 in 70 incline. I was very pleased with the loco's performance and ability to steam. The water pump was also running well; top notch!...
I must admit, it was a very nice afternoon in the sun with my engine. I loved it. Lets hope I have more days like this; problem free!...
Below, "Achilles" climbs to the summit of the 1 in 70 incline, hauling two cars. I'm driving, and the loco climbs easily to the top of the bank with very little effort...

The loco finally left the track at just after 4pm, still steaming well and running perfectly. I must admit, I am very pleased with the engine after today. She will probably be at RMPR again in a month's time for another members day. Before that though, she has an appointment at the Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition, where she is due to go on the CMES stand throughout the show. Thanks for reading folks, and thanks to Ken, Gary and Reg for helping me get the engine back into steam again. Lets hope she continues to run as well as she did today! Evening all...