Saturday, 30 April 2016

Tyseley: Castle's Awaiting The Road...

Hi there everyone. Today, after a busy April in and around Statfold Barn, I made a return to Tyseley for their weekly volunteer day. I had a nice run over and arrived at the former 84E a little while before 10am. On route I had called at the ever recommended Tyseley Corner Café just down the road and enjoyed an absolutely delicious sandwich whilst preparing to get changed into my overalls. This was just what the Doctor ordered on this chilly Spring morning...
Saturday Kitchen over, it was time to get changed and head into the site. There were four of us at the shed today volunteering on behalf of the Tyseley Collection, though some of the 6201 boys were also in working on their huge Stanier pacific. Efforts for our gang today centred around the boiler for No7029 "Clun Castle", which is making steady progress towards a much-anticipated return to steam. My first task was to knock up a gasket for the blow-down valve which was to be fitted soon afterwards. The blow-down is bolted to the foundation ring on the door-plate and allows not only the emptying of the boiler (if required) but also allows a fast release of steam and water when the boiler is in steam, thus drawing out any accumulated scale...
With the blow-down valve fitted, the rest of the day revolved around tapping out and fitting studs which will later hold fittings such as the brake valve, blower valve and the gauge glass. It will be amazing when 7029 is finally complete and Tyseley will then boast both of the remaining pair of double-chimney Castle's. Over the way, sister Castle No5043 was waiting patiently near the shed door alongside Pannier Tank No9600...
"5043 & 9600 Think Of The Main Line"
The trips are now being announced for the mainstay of the 2016 season and I'm sure the "Earl" will soon be batting along at 70mph+ once again. Tyseley's most well known tour is arguably the "Shakespeare Express" which runs on summer Sunday's between July and September, operating the North Warwick Line route between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford-Upon-Avon. Motive power is either the ever reliable 4965 "Rood Ashton Hall" or the Castle and for more info you can click here. Tickets for the "Shakespeare" are available now on that link and, though I'm now biased I guess, it is a lovely trip which we've had the pleasure of travelling on a few times before. Likewise, there will be other trips going further afield with either steam or diesel traction at the head. Don't miss your chance to get behind the Castle or the Hall in 2016, with of course all funds from the trips going to good causes such as the restoration of 7029 "Clun Castle". I left Tyseley after another interesting day at around 5pm. All the best all, Sam...

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Statfold Barn Miniature Steam Rally: The Final Day...

"Burrell and Fowler" (Traction Time)
Hi all. Well, at 8am this morning the fourth and final day began for me at the 2016 Statfold Barn Miniature Steam Rally. Today would see engine numbers in the mid-60s (you always get Saturday day visitors) with a further additional engine joining us too. We were just as busy, running around everywhere delivering bits, giving things out, answering questions, lining things up etc. We had just over 40 engines in this afternoon's damp line-up but, joined by the big engines too, it still looked and sounded fantastic. It was a very enjoyable and busy day. Today we performed the Heavy Haulage again, this time using the 3-ton Simplicity roller as the load which actually prompted some of the other engines to get involved (maybe "Pedler" was too heavy!). Meanwhile there were countless model steamers to see, steam train rides, photo op's, footplate rides and much more. By the time closing time came around we were preparing to get everything off-site as efficiently but as calmly as possible. I was in the Defender in case anything got stuck, with all the necessary tow equipment in the back. However, much to our surprise, everything got out easily and under its own power and the site was pretty much empty by the time 6pm rolled around. It had been a great triumph for our team and SBR as a whole. The first family event has now been completed and I think this proves that it can be done at this fantastic railway. My many thanks to all our helpers, exhibitors and visitors for making this event such a worthwhile enjoyable success. I cannot put into words how tired I am at this moment but it has all been worth it and it makes one wonder..."where did those 4 days go?!". Cheers all, Sam...

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Statfold Barn Miniature Steam Rally 2016...

"Saturday Line-Up" (M.Ranieri)
Hi all. First of all..."WHAT A DAY!". Waking up in the Fowler living van to the dawn chorus this morning on site at Statfold Barn was the beginning of a massive day of running around the site doing various jobs, surrounded of course by countless steam engines of all shapes and sizes. At last, after months and months of planning, the Miniature Steam Rally was here and at just gone 6:30am...the day began! After dragging myself from the living van and stumbling across to the loco shed, I grabbed myself a most welcome hot cuppa' before preparing for the job in hand. Stands would be arriving this morning, as would a good twenty or so more engines and so we had to be on the ball. All around, the five SBR engines were slowly coming into steam as their various loco crew's prepared them on the shed frontage. I was soon presented with a radio and the Defender in readiness for leading in more bits and bobs. The opening time of 10:00am rolled around before we knew it and the public were soon arriving whilst the steam trains of the SBR began their days service. All systems were now go and the 72 miniatures in steam today soon found themselves exploring...
"Isibutu Meets Firefly and Co" (M.Ranieri)
In most cases in this picture-heavy post, I'm going to let the images do the talking as they provide you with a clearer picture of what was going on. Mr Partridge was out and about with his recently completed 3" Mac Road Loco "Talos"...
"3-Inch Scale Mac Road Loco" (K.Eyre)
The popular 4.5" Foden Fire Engine...
"Foden Fire Engine" (K.Eyre)
We had road locomotives, agricultural engines, steam tractors, ploughing engines, general purpose and of course the beautiful showman's engines running around the vast site in the Spring sunshine...
"4-Inch Scale Fowler Showman's Engine - Sir Henry" (K.Eyre)
An event like this tends to run itself in terms of the exhibits, once the gates open anyway. The engines simply steam up at their leisure and meander around the site minding their own business. With 72 in steam though, there was always plenty to see...
"Queuing Traffic" (K.Eyre)
A 4" Burrell Agricultural engine, named "Kate"...
"4-Inch Burrell" (K.Eyre)
We had a good variety of sizes this year, from the 1.5" Royal Chester right up to beautiful 6" brutes including the Daniel family's absolutely immaculate Garrett "Jack"...
"6-Inch Garrett" (K.Eyre)
One of my four-years-in-a-row supporters: Mr Hudspith: was at Statfold with his well travelled 4" Foster "Safaniya"...
"The Foster Safaniya" (K.Eyre)
Many engines gathered outside the Seed Oil building for a cuppa'...
"A Small Gathering" (K.Eyre)
Four of the SBR railway engines were employed doing the train service, whilst 0-4-0 Hudswell Clarke No19 found herself working on Platform 3 road throughout the weekend. No19 was offering free footplate rides up and down the car park line and these proved extremely popular with guests of all ages visiting the event...
"No19 In Steam" (K.Eyre)
One of the SBR locomotives in service on the passenger workings was the recently restored 0-6-0 Hudswell Clarke known as "Alpha"...
"HC Alpha" (K.Eyre)
Whilst the many traction engines and railway locomotives were busy going about their day, indoors we had displays of toy steam, Meccano, 16mm, fairground models and much more. In the Hunslet Museum building, the 16mm-scale Bagnall "Frog" (coal fired) is seen working on the Birches Barn Extension Railway layout...
"Coal Fired 16mm Live Steam" (K.Eyre)
In the first field we also had the typical working displays. Corn milling, wood sawing and steam cultivating were the displays on offer. Mr Brett was again working with his much travelled 4" Burrell "Sybil" on the rack sawing display...
"Wood Sawing with Sybil" (Traction Time)
One of the displays we tried to fit in was the Midday "Heavy Haulage" example. Mr Woodbine's superb 6" Burrell DCC Road Loco "Wandering Star" was thankfully employed as we attempted to start one of the SBR's huge triple axle Mack trucks uphill. We estimated the weight at roughly 8 tons but the gradient on this tarmac carpark is pretty strong...
"Mack Pull" (I.Morris)
"Wandering Star" pretty much laughed at the Mack and took it up the car park easily, barely breaking a sweat. The poor old Mack suffered a radiator pipe failure soon after and had to be retired. However, not content to stop at that, we employed the visiting Wallis "Pedler" to be a replacement load for the 6" Burrell. Weighing 3.5 tons (ish), I always knew "Wandering Star" was extremely powerful but not to this extent. In bottom gear, the 6" Burrell lifted 13.5 tons upgrade from a standing start and duly accelerated in absolutely amazing voice uphill. Those privileged enough to be in the right place at the right time got a grand display of power but I feel no other miniature could lay claim to this...what a machine!...
"Wandering Star Pulls Pedler" (D.Hanks)
After doing our 30-minutes or so of heavy haulage (we'll repeat that next time!) there was an hours lull whilst we enjoyed a cuppa' before getting the line-up ready...
"Miniature Foursome" (Traction Time)
It wasn't just the small engines either. We had 5 Full Size engines in steam: Pedler, the Plougher, "Emily" the Simplicity, Arthur Henton's Aveling Roller and Teddy Boston's "Fiery Elias". The display of power was quite something...
"Pedler and the Plougher" (Traction Time)
The ploughing engines came in force this year: 3", 4" and 12"...
"Black Beauty and Black Bess" (Traction Time)
We also had a good number of the less seen McLaren's: 5 in total...
"4-Inch Mac Maud" (Traction Time)
The 1:45pm to 2pm parade came around before any of us could blink and I soon found myself marching into the line-up field with a massive trail of miniatures following me. After getting a good few into a well organised line and thinking how good they looked, I counted to my horror to the result of only 30 engines...meaning another 40 were yet to come and want a place! We ended up with a massive great circle of engines which looked fantastic: a tribute to all of our valued exhibitors who gave up their weekend for us this year...
"Engines All Around" (K.Eyre)
A repeat of the line-up pic from the title image now follows, just to show you the scale of what was going on. For us as a team having organised this, I felt quite emotional to be honest looking at the huge lines of engines all around us. It was quite a journey this one...
"Miniatures Galore" (M.Ranieri)
The 72 engines lined up in the field looked absolutely marvellous and the 2pm Whistle Up - joined by all of our big engines too - was absolutely ear splitting to say the very least. They must have heard us in Tamworth! Following the line-up it was time to disperse the amassed hoards of miniature steamers and prepare for a photo-op run down the concrete road towards Oak Tree (we needed a snap of the engines with a train). "Fiery Elias" meanwhile returned to her spot in the sun outside the traverser shed...
"Teddy Boston's Fiery Elias" (K.Eyre)
Engines on the concrete road, bound for Oak Tree and beyond...
"A Pair of Burrell's" (M.Ranieri)
The concrete tramway allowed the miniatures to steam away from Statfold, down the field and then cross-over the railway, returning along the driveway. This is a good hard running surface, nice and flat, and includes just over a mile of good running on one circuit. The railway and the miniatures were completely entwined for the weekend and this photograph by M.Ranieri proves that...
"Fiji Meets The Miniatures" (M.Ranieri)
Best in show this year went to one of the most unusual traction engines I've ever seen. This Canadian-style Waterous traction engine is driven by her owner - Mr T.Barraclough of Telford and made a fine sight chugging happily along the tramway...
"Waterous Traction Engine" (M.Ranieri)
Izzy, aboard his 6" Savage "Firefly", was most helpful throughout the weekend providing coal bags and water from his well-stocked trailer...
"Firefly Out & About" (M.Ranieri)
One further lovely aspect about the weekend was the ability to pair big with small. Statfold's huge BB Ploughing engine was paired alongside Steve Elliott's equally lovely 3" Fowler Z7...
"Plougher's Big and Small" (M.Ranieri)
The day continued right through to closing time with engines steaming all over the place. Statfold was a real steam heaven: trains and traction engines and models galore. I am so pleased with how it all went off. Ken Eyre captured me here in the car park during the continuing afternoon sunny period, radio in hand as per...
"Me With Two 6" Engines" (K.Eyre)
Eventually, as closing time neared, engines started to bed down for the evening after a very pleasant day. But, for us, it wasn't over yet! The lads were busy shunting stock with the 0-4-2 "Howard" in preparation for the 6pm Exhibitor Special, bound for Oak Tree and of course our private exhibitor/staff party with steam rally favourite Dr Busker. I quickly got washed and changed, although the new outfit did still include my overalls, in preparation for driving my favourite SBR engine: Bagnall 4-4-0 "Isibutu". This huge Bagnall has featured on the blog before, see here, and she was chosen for tonight's duty due to the heavy train weight. "Isibutu" and "Howard" would double-head the well loaded train out, around the railway and back to Oak Tree where the set would be split and half the train returned to Statfold Jnc as ECS to dispose the Bagnall, with "Howard" remaining on for the evening return trains. I drove "Isibutu" off shed and down into the yard before backing her onto the train in the fading light ready for departure...
Needless to say, we had a storming run around the railway. The train was full to standing room only on all 5 coaches and so "Isibutu" bore the brunt of the weight. She sounded like a dream as we attacked the various climbs on the SBR and I was grinning from ear to ear. Arrival at Oak Tree came all too soon and I was relieved there in order to head into the roundhouse to check on proceedings with food & entertainment etc (it never stops!). Then it was time for a well-deserved beer whilst the now fed exhibitors enjoyed the wonders of the SBR roundhouse and, from 8pm onwards, the performance by Dr Busker. I retired not long before midnight after an absolutely fantastic but hugely draining day. Well done SBR - well done to my great team Nick, Leanne and Phil. Many thanks to everyone who helped with this event - whether you crewed an engine, brought an exhibit, worked the box, helped in the field, put up signs or made the tea - it all helped. Many thanks also to Ken Eyre, Malcolm Ranieri, Stuart Carrier (Traction Time) and Mr Hanks for allowing their images to be used to illustrate this rambling-on post. My many thanks to all who supported this event, I hope we did Statfold proud. All the best everyone, Sam...

Friday, 22 April 2016

Statfold Barn Miniature Steam Rally: The Set-Up...

Hi all. Well, after months and months of planning, organising, emailing, calling and begging the brand new Statfold Barn Miniature Steam Rally has finally arrived. Set-up began yesterday with narrow gauge engines being prepared, sheds being emptied ready for stands to go in, the field camping being planned and the first 6 engines arriving! Today was just total madness, beginning at 7am and not ending until well after 11pm! I arrived at the SBR site at just after 07:00 and immediately set to work marking out the floor in the various stand display sheds. The running shed in particular looked very clean & tidy with the floor having been swept and mopped. A shining "Harrogate" was now the centrepiece...
Elsewhere, the 5 SBR engines were being made ready for their weekend in service whilst the already arrived half a dozen miniatures were making themselves at home in the rally field. Despite this April's very wet weather, this week has seen some good dry and sunny spells and thus the field had managed to dry out enough to allow good access (thank goodness!). The first of todays miniatures arrived at just before 10am and then it was just none stop! Engines were piling in one after the other with barely a moment between them to get back from the rally field to the foot of the entrance ramp to greet them. Thankfully Tony was on the gate and was in constant radio contact with myself in order to make sure nobody got sent to the wrong place before bumping into me first - a great help. Whilst I was taking care of the madness in and around the field, the rest of the team were readying the railway and its rolling stock, taking care of site matters, putting up signs and laying out IBC's for water, amongst many other jobs. There was something for everyone to do! My accommodation for the weekend was also brought up from storage, in the form of the beautifully restored Fowler Ploughing Van, which stood alongside the SBR's big Ploughing Engine in the top car park near the New Road platform...
By the evening we had got around 50 miniatures on the site as well as the five full size engines all in place and of course the SBR Foden was out on display too. Stands were being set up, engines were simmering away on the shed and, during the afternoon, half a dozen or so of the miniatures had even been in steam...desperate to try out the wonders of the concrete road! The last bits and bobs came in at around 8pm and it was time to start bedding the site down for the evening whilst volunteers and exhibitors warmed themselves around our evening bonfire. The atmosphere was just great, both during the day and the evening. Tomorrow I'm expecting a further twenty or so miniatures to arrive as well as a few more stand holders and traders too. Its just none stop and everyone is already tired beyond belief but this event has now grown to such a size where this fact is simply unavoidable. We're all looking forward to tomorrow and after all these months of waiting lets see what the SBR's brand new Miniature Steam Rally can offer! All the best all, Sam...

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Statfold Surprise With Sugar Loco Sragi No1...

"Sragi Sisters" (Pic - G.Cryer)
Evening all. Today was just fantastic: another day on the footplate at Statfold Barn. Having prepped our engine: Sragi No1: yesterday, I arrived at a very wet Statfold at about 5:45am. The weather could only be described as "completely foul" and a hot cuppa' seemed like the best option before getting on with the job in hand. With a steaming cup of tea sat on the driver's side, preparation could begin. In the dim light, the grate was cleaned and the boiler water level checked. The fireman aboard Sragi No14; sat right behind us; kindly gave me a well soaked paraffin rag to light up with and the heat of a good flame was soon felt on the footplate before being dropped into the firebox... 
With the accelerant-soaked rag raging away on the grate, some good dry wood was added with coal gingerly placed on top. The coal in the bunker was a horrendously smoky variety that needed a lot of air through it to get the desired results. Nevertheless, No1 was soon crackling away to herself as the rain slowly began to ease and the levels of light gradually improved to reveal the two engines...
By now, booked Fireman and everyone's favourite late arrival "Eddie the Late" had turned up and another cuppa' was enjoyed whilst catching up on the week's gossip. It was then time to set to with the brass cleaner and the oil cans. "Sragi No1" employs outside Stephenson's motion to provide her valve events, which gives good access to most components with the feeder. The axleboxes were a little tricky to get at mind, and required the smaller No14 to give her elder shed-mate a slight nudge in order to allow access to the box tops. Whilst all this was going on, No1 was brewing up; though perhaps a little slower than we imagined she would. Some blocked tubes were soon remedied with the quick insertion of a trusty tube-brush and matters gradually improved.

As usual with SBR volunteer days, we were kindly provided with a bite to eat and a bacon & sausage cob accompanied by yet another hot cuppa' was the order of the day...
After the 8:25am Safety Briefing, the crews returned to their varying steeds in preparation for the days first moves. The two Sragi's: No's 1 & 14: had brewed up on the turntable and thus had to be moved to allow "The Goose" (the rail-bus) to use it for turning. Coupled together for the day, the two sisters hissed cautiously down through the station and into the yard for stabling. The engines are pictured on the recently laid headshunt...
Our first call to service came not long after and the two engines steamed up into the station with their drain cocks ejecting the condensate from their cylinders. Once coupled to the train, we awaited the right away whilst surveying "Fiji" through the cab window. Notice the small gearbox for the regulator linkage on the spectacle plate...
Shortly, an earlier working returned and this would allow us a path into the single line section to Oak Tree Halt. With a "Right Away" from the Guard and the road ahead set, the two Sragi's whistled up and rolled out of Statfold's Platform 2. The second engine: No14, now named "Max": collected the train staff and we duly acknowledged this action. Passing the shunt limit, Sragi No1 steamed easily out into the fields. Taking things easy at first, I was soon surprised at the power contained within this elderly engine. For a locomotive born in 1899, she certainly had some poke. She got the train away easily, with the help of her smaller shed-mate, and both regulators were soon closed for the descent towards Oak Tree. Having exchanged staffs and passed another working at the half-way stop, the engines chugged easily to the balloon loop where they were held briefly in order to let the High Level train depart, hauled by the big Fowler 0-4-2...
The two Sragi's then had a good blast around the loop, with both engines feathering gently as they did so. The run back to Statfold was most enjoyable and I was most impressed, even at this stage, with Sragi No1. The Krauss made light work of the run and we steamed triumphantly back into Platform 2 with an ear to ear grin adorning my face. Having been shunt released back into the headshunt, the next run would see "Max" leading. "Max" is a smaller engine than the Krauss and thus the elder 0-4-2 aided the run where necessary. At the balloon loop, "Max"s crew of Driver John and Fireman Max were certainly enjoying their day aboard the immaculate 0-6-0 O & K...
"Fireman Max (left) and Driver John On Sragi No14"
Eddie was swinging the shovel and making up the fire...
"Max" left the recently opened Cogan Halt: the new balloon loop station: with the Krauss simply holding her own and the pair are captured slowing for the flag check...
"Max (formerly Sragi No14) Rounds The Balloon Loop" (Pic - G.Cryer)
The run back to Statfold was once again most enjoyable and, whilst we awaited another shunt release, the opportunity was taken to get a crew shot with the coal shovelling late comer that is of course "Eddie the Late"...
"A Happy Crew On Sragi No1"
The intensity of today's SBR service was plain to see: there was always something going on. There was a time when a day on the footplate at Statfold was a fairly leisurely affair but now its got to a point where you are always on the go: its just fantastic! Our third outing saw the Krauss leading again and we had a good run to the balloon loop on the heavier passenger rake with newly-restored "Alpha" also tailing as dead weight...
The newly-extended balloon loop spur allows High Level trains to take over Low Level services, with the former being given preference as per the running notes. Here, "Isibutu" is in charge of a High Level service as it 'loops' us...
The heavier passenger rake was certainly that: heavy! Even so, Sragi No1: still eager to impress: got the train away smartly, with help from the younger "Max". The Krauss was impressing me to no end and was in good voice as she barked around the balloon loop with her pressure needle seemingly nailed to the red line...
"Sragi No1 Takes The Strain" (Pic - G.Cryer)
Once the gradient around the balloon loop is conquered, the engines gently descend towards the small signalbox. Having received a green flag, you collect the token before accelerating into the single line section, bound for Oak Tree...
"The Two Sragi Sister's Well On Their Way" (Pic - M.Waldron)
During the embryo beginnings of the SBR, the team went off in search of engines to operate on the new railway. Once the return of Britain's last steam export: SBR's "Trangkil No4": proved just what could be done, the team visited Indonesia; with its sugar mills that were still worked by steam on a daily basis; in 2004. Mallet No5 and O & K No614 were rescued from Pakis Baru whilst at Sragi, No1 & No14 caught the team's eye. I think that it was very lucky that the team visited Sragi when they did. Steam operations are forever curtailing and an elderly survivor like the Krauss is something that was desperate to be saved. I also love how two engines like No's 1 & 14 can work together day in, day out throughout their lives and now also spend their preservation lives together miles from their original stomping ground. Well done to Statfold for saving such a lovely machine

I think it would be worth taking this opportunity to discuss the importance of other SBR kit. Statfold must have one of the most well travelled locomotive fleets anywhere as our engine and her sister came all the way from Central Java, Indonesia. Other examples running today were resident in India, Spain, Fiji, America and South Africa! If you haven't yet visited SBR - you need to...you'll be blown away by it. Sragi No1 is just one example of what you'll find. The shining engine proudly displays her large headlamp...
"Sragi No1 Rests After Our Third Return Trip"
After our third outing of the day, Three Course Challenge lover and instigator Eddie was desperate for some nourishment. Thankfully the passing tea crew could oblige and he was soon chowing down on a chocolate cake, without fear of any cab floor crumbs...
We tailed the same train we had just hauled in straight back out again, meaning that we were back on the front for our fourth haulage outing: much to John's dismay! Before the fourth run we were taken off our current passenger set and put briefly on the shed: our only visit to the shed frontage today!...
"Sragi No1 On Shed" (Pic - M.Waldron)
The next working consisted of the interestingly varied freight train. We hauled it down to the balloon loop with ease before accelerating back facing the other way...
"Sragi's On Freight" (Pic - J.Whitfield)
Here we are watering at Oak Tree on the return of the freight...
The other engines were also busy and the railway was putting on a great show...
Having received the road and a green flag from the Guard, the two Sragi's got the weighty freight wagons underway before enjoying a storming run back up to Statfold. The engines were certainly looking the part when Geoff Cryer captured them...
"Sugar Mill Loco's On A Short Freight" (Pic - G.Cryer)
Having returned the freight with me still on the handle, Eddie finally agreed to swap sides on "Max"s outing in the lead: our fifth trip of the day. After another good run, we were placed at the head of some ECS, bound for Oak Tree as events began to wrap up after a great day. The weather was taking a turn for the worse as the engines set out...
Having left the stock at Oak Tree and returned to Statfold tailing the Peckett, the two engines were immediately sent back out light engine. There is always method in the madness as, quite obviously, engines will be trapped at the balloon loop if they don't have possession of the appropriate token. The two Sragi's therefore steamed down to the balloon loop to release the top & tailed 4-loco train. The now 6-loco configuration is captured here leaving the balloon loop: the Krauss was the second engine...
Following this move, and a little shunting, it was time for the obligatory Cavalcade and Whistle Up before the 15-strong line-up began to go its separate ways again. Some of the engines went into the sheds at Statfold Jnc: namely the ones planned for use at the upcoming Miniature Do: whilst others went down to Oak Tree. The Krauss was sent to Oak Tree, along with "Max" and the two Brazil's. Having being turned and shunted into place on her remaining breaths of steam, the Krauss was soon resting in the cosy atmosphere of the roundhouse after an absolutely brilliant day out...
The 117-year old lady was soon disposed and secured for the night and we gathered our belongings from her footplate before the damp walk along the track back up to Statfold. It really was a fantastic day and what a lovely engine this is. For something built in 1899 that spent her working life toiling away on a sugar mill system, Sragi No1 is a special machine. She's pleasant to drive, she's strong, she's sure-footed and she rides the track well. I must thank Eddie for a most enjoyable and humorous day and of course thank the SBR for their continued putting up with us. Also thank you to the photographers such as Geoff Cryer, Jordan Whitfield and Max Waldron for sending in images for use in this post: it is appreciated. It was a lovely day out with the Sugar Mill Surprise: Sragi No1. To see a cracking video of the days events, click here or to read more of the fantastic tropical setting of Sragi Sugar Mill, click here. Finally, perhaps something a little poetic...
"When the signals were green
Did you sit by the line
And watch, for the fire in the sky
And a scream and a roar and the shivering ground
Old 'Oliver Cromwell' goes by
Did you fancy your hand at the throttle and brake
With steam driven into your soul
Or to stand with the driving wheels under your feet
And shovel a mountain of coal"
Requiem for Steam - Dave Goulder

Cheers all, Sam