Saturday, 29 April 2017

A Castle To The Seaside: The Llandudno Adventure...

"Under The Wires, Returning Home" (Pic - T.Massey)
Hi there everyone. Today involved another Tyseley outing. This time our destination was the Welsh seaside resort of Llandudno, up on the north-west coast. I arrived at the former 84E at around 5:30am, having collected the now traditional McDonalds breakfast on route. Stomach replenished and having changed into my overalls, I wandered down the yard to find 5043 crackling away at the back door. Preparations for movement were taking place on and about the locomotive and so I continued with my cleaning tasks from yesterday. A dust and polish of the running boards resulted in a very clean looking 5043 and at 6am sharp we rolled her over onto the waiting stock. The morning air was filled with damp as the 1936-built 4-6-0 edged carefully forwards, expelling reams of condensate from the steam circuit. Its amazing just how much condensation can collect in a lengthy circuit containing many yards of superheater elements. 5043 dropped down gradually to couple up to the GUV (water carrier) in readiness for our 6:30am departure for Wales. The Castle would be tailed by the Class 47 to aid turning at Chester...
These steam days out on the main line really are adventures in their own right and its always a pleasure to be involved in them. Departing Tyseley on time, the Castle strode easily towards St Andrews junction, no doubt being aided in the climb from the yard by the Class 47. You couldn't help but notice how smooth the Castle was in operation at speed when not having to work overly hard. However, starting at the climb up onto the Sutton Park line, the Castle got the bit between its teeth and from then on was working very hard. After a sprint along the usually freight only Sutton Park line, the Castle was held briefly outside Walsall before sneaking through the station...
"5043 Creeps Through Walsall" (Pic - J.Whitehouse)
Leaving Walsall behind, the Castle joined the route to Wolverhampton. The engine was under the wires from here until Crewe and put in a superb performance. It was amusing to watch several Wolverhampton residents running to the windows in awe to find out what was making such a row before 8am on a Saturday morning...
"Flying Along" (Pic - D.Chandler)
Leaving Wolverhampton, the Castle got back into her stride as she steamed towards Stafford. After Stafford came Searchlight Lane junction. This is part of a new formation designed to ease congestion at the crossing of the Crewe and Manchester main lines. The engine was certainly tearing along. At a good pace, the Castle continued towards an operational stop at Crewe...
"Searchlight Lane Junction" (Pic - J.Whitehouse)
Leaving Crewe, the engine then rushed towards Chester, free of the overhead wires until the return run later in the afternoon. Its hard to shake the thought of instant death (25kv) hanging only inches from the top of the cab! At Chester there was another operational move before the 47' took over the train. By traversing a triangle of running lines the Castle became the tail engine and the diesel took over the haulage tasks. The 47' would haul the train along the North Wales Coast line to Llandudno, with 5043 taking it easy at the rear of the stock. The reason for this operation was that usually the steamer would have to run further in the Holyhead direction in order to be turned and then return later on. Using the diesel allows the steamer to be the right way around in preparation for the return trip straight away. It was quite nice, if breezy, to be out today, waving at the countless individuals at the lineside who were not only surprised to see the 47' but then the valiant steam locomotive hanging off the back! We even enjoyed a whistle salute from a Barnes Atlantic standing proudly on the adjacent 15" gauge line at Rhyl...
"Diesel In Charge" (Pic - C.P.Hobson)
The diesel hauled the train easily to Llandudno Junction before crossing over onto the line to the town station - a further two or three miles from the junction. Our arrival at the seaside town was welcomed by a crowd of camera bearing onlookers. The Castle was photographed to within an inch of her life, whilst we amongst the Support Crew attempted to coal the tender with the various bags stored aboard the GUV. The coaling procedure is always hot & sweaty work as the dust finds its way to literally everywhere! With the coaling job complete, the engine continued to be admired before we departed back towards the junction. The engine would be watered here...
With the tender replenished with both coal and water we had the opportunity to explore the Victorian Festival around Llandudno. The town is pretty much overtaken by stalls, fairground rides, vintage vehicles and folks in period costume during this event. There were some lovely steam road locomotives around...
Standing in the hub of activity, next to its shed-mate steam carousel, was the Fowler Showmans Engine "Renown", built in 1920. This is an absolutely beautiful engine and it was a pleasure to see her generating quietly in front of crowds of excited onlookers. The engine is immaculately kept and is owned by the Howard family...
We had a bag of chips and then an ice cream. It was very pleasant to see the show and stroll on the promenade. I must admit, it really completed a great day out. I shouldn't wonder that our passengers found plenty to see & do...
Returning to the station, 5043 was still simmering away under the control of her main line crew. The engine would work the entire return journey back to Tyseley...
For the return journey I enjoyed the usual activities aboard the Support Coach: supping tea, joking around and generally putting the world to rights! One thing you always notice however is an underlying watchfulness amongst each and every member of the crew. If something is heard that is out of the ordinary, everyone seems to pick up on it all at once. The general welfare of the locomotive at the head of the train (in this case 5043) is never far from the forefront of everyone's mind...
"Through The Support Coach Window"
The return journey took the same route as the outward apart from adding an additional stop at Birmingham New Street. A steam engine emerging from the numbing gloom of the tunnels there always seems to stir up excitement amongst the waiting passengers of 'normal' trains. At 9:17pm we pulled right on time safely back into Tyseley...
The usual process then took place. The passengers alighted, the diesel (in this case the 47' and not the 08') shunt released the engine and then the Castle was turned on the table prior to disposal. Thus, once again, we came to the end of another fantastic day out. Its always an adventure with Tyseley and its a pleasure to be involved, helping on & around marvellous machines like 5043. The sight & sound of a main line express engine working hard with a real train on a real railway is something to behold. It was my dream to experience it and I'm proud to say its done. I must thank Tyseley for another great experience and of course the various photographers who have kindly sent in images for use in this seaside post. All the best, Sam...

Friday, 28 April 2017

Tyseley: A Castle Is For Cleaning...

Hi all. Only a short post from today. After leaving work on the half day Friday shift I headed over to Tyseley Loco Works to help with preparations on and about 5043. The Castle Class 4-6-0 was being readied for tomorrows sprint to Llandudno for the towns Victorian Festival. The engine was warming through nicely with a trail of smoke drifting steadily skyward from her double chimney. As usual with the full-day excursions, the majority of the preparation was carried out today. I spent my time cleaning the engine, helping Paul buff up the huge Hawksworth tender. Its high sides stretch even the longest arm! Tomorrow the engine will head into Wales via Walsall, Wolverhampton, Stafford and Crewe, tailed by the Duff (47 773) which will later aid the turning of the locomotive at Chester. It should be another great day out and the weather men are promising fine conditions for our jaunt to the seaside. Cheers all, Sam...

Sunday, 23 April 2017

"Sir Gomer" Brings Back Memories...

Hi all. Today, over at Shackerstone, an old friend was returning to steam. Regular readers will know that Battlefield Line steam services have recently been in the hands of the NRM's LSWR T9 No30120. The Greyhound left Shackerstone during the week and as the long term visitor "Cumbria" is still out of action for some 'fine tuning' on the bottom end, the railway was effectively left without a steam engine. Enter the railways own Peckett saddle tank which has languished almost forgotten at the back of the shed since October 2015. After a spruce up and two successful visits from the boiler man (cold test & steam test) the Peckett was rostered for service today for the first time in ages. According to my blog the last time "Sir Gomer" was rostered for service on a Shenton passenger working was during the Christmas period of 2013 when it ran hot and was failed and forgotten. It was repaired in 2014 and did a short stint of station pilot workings but didn't see regular passenger use. Today, happily, 18 months since her last moves and straight out of the box, "Sir Gomer" did the unimaginable and operated a full day in passenger service. 

I had decided during the week that if the tests on the Peckett were successful, I would have a run over to Shack and ride behind her. Passenger outings for "Gomer" are these days rarer than a dog who speaks Norwegian so I couldn't miss it. After Sunday lunch I jumped into the car and set off for the Fen Lanes of Leicestershire. The 1:45pm trip would just be returning from Shenton and so I donned my hi-viz vest and waited on Carlton bridge. Unfortunately, after a series of test shots, my camera had a wobbly just as the Peckett drifted into view and the resulting shot was not really what I wanted. Anything was a bit of luck under the circumstances...
"1859 'Sir Gomer' On The Move"
The old industrial trotted past me, ticking along at probably little more than 15mph. The four coaches sauntered along behind her as she continued towards the slack at Hedleys. I dropped back down the embankment to the car before heading to Shackerstone where the engine had just run round and reached the water column. I've never been a fan of the blue but I must admit it looked better than normal in the Spring sunshine...
"Sir Gomer" was built by the Bristol firm of Peckett & Sons in June 1932 as Works Number 1859. Classified as an 'OX1' 0-6-0, the engine was a powerful beast, designed with short bursts of brute strength in mind. She spent her entire working life at NCB Mountain Ash in South Wales from which she was retired in 1981. Many photographers snapped her there, working countless rakes of grumbling wagons back and forth along almost appalling track. She found her way to Shackerstone in 2001 after a preservation rebirth at the Vale of Glamorgan Railway. Unfortunately, "Sir Gomer"s near 50-year stint of hard work at the pit had resulted in a very worn out locomotive. Shack has spent large sums on the old Peckett over the years and it is only now that she is anywhere near in good health. The large sums of money involved in keeping her active is however by no means unheard of when you consider the amount of work she did with very little maintenance. Old colliery engines were by no means kept to main line standard. Happily, she is much better these days, although a return to full lined green would be more typical...
Bang on time, "Sir Gomer" left Shack with the 3pm departure for Shenton. I was immediately surprised at the fairly smooth ride as "Gomer" is often remembered for having all the subtlety of tapping a glass with a sledgehammer to begin a toast. Some of the lads have been making modifications to the rear drawbar which has improved matters no end. The typical Peckett waddle is still in evidence, made worse by the short wheelbase and outside cylinders but the ride aboard the coaches has been dramatically improved. At Market Bosworth I left the train briefly to grab a snap of "Gomer"...
"Peckett Power at Market Bosworth"
At this point Driver Jason kindly invited me up onto the footplate: a once familiar haunt for all of us involved at Shackerstone. I gratefully accepted the invitation and "Sir Gomer" strode happily towards Shenton. The ride on the footplate was just like old times: the clanking handbrake, the rattling firedoors and the vibration of the copper pipes bowing enthusiastically on every rail joint...it was great!...
Rolling easily into Shenton, Craig uncoupled "Sir Gomer" ready for the run round. She was shining as she stood waiting patiently at the crossing...
"Peckett & Sons 1859 of 1932"
I wandered down to the point to pull the road for 1859 once she'd drew forward. It was lovely to see her down at Shenton once more...
"Sir Gomer" then ran round the stock, still running right time...
Soon she was awaiting departure with the 3:35pm to Shackerstone...
Carl had a good fire in the box ready for the return trip...
"Fire In The Hole"
Jason had fitted an attractive pressure gauge to the gauge board for the steam test. I must admit it was much nicer than the old thing 1859 used to carry...
The "Right Away" came bang on time and "Sir Gomer" was soon on the move once again with her four coach train. The pull up Shenton Bank involved a little more effort but nothing that could provide any real exertion...
Waddling along back to Market Bosworth, I couldn't help but think how capable "Gomer" actually is. I've thought it for years, as I'm sure many a Shackerstone engineman has. She isn't perfect by any stretch. She's a lumbering ignorant industrial but she offers bags of power and she'll steam for England if you ask her to. Don't get me wrong, you're never going to take eight up to Goathland on the NYMR or anything like that but on a rural Leicestershire branch line set-up like Shack she'll plod along quite happily. She is rough and ready but considering she is operating in situations far outside her original design capabilities she copes wonderfully. Some drivers take kindly to her, others hate her and won't ruin their good name by crewing her. I've always liked her...
"Waiting The Off From Market Bosworth"
I think my fondness for "Sir Gomer" grew during my younger years. When I'd just started at Shackerstone each week would be a constant battle of begging Mum to get up on her days off to take me over there to empty pits, scrub wheels and generally ruin my clothes. Her washing machines took several beatings from oil stained overalls and one or two met their end attempting to clean them! Throughout all those first years, the one engine available for use - when she felt up to it - was "Sir Gomer" and she was the first big engine I ever had any real involvement with. In the years since I've fired and driven her many times and been to four other preserved railways aboard her footplate. For all of the reasons above, she'll always be special to me.

After a good run back to Shackerstone showing off her fair turn of speed for an old industrial, "Sir Gomer" rolled neatly back into Platform 2. The run round for the final train of the day (the 4:15pm) was carried out swiftly and she was soon watering for the final time at the column. She'd done really well so far...
"Driver Jason Supervises The Watering Process"
I decided to watch "Sir Gomer" go out on the final trip to Shenton. The video clip below was taken as she pulled up the slight gradient towards the signalbox. A train of around 120 tons is nothing compared to the 900 tons or so she was designed for...

It was a pleasure to see industrial steam out at Shackerstone again. Seeing "Sir Gomer" takes me back to my younger years and all those days of both total elation and complete disappointment that surrounded them. Back then, "Sir Gomer" was all there was and I did my first day on the footplate at Shackerstone with her on Easter Sunday 2008. Well done old gal'. I must thank Jason for the footplate ride on my old favourite and of course note the efforts of all at Shackerstone who have returned the old engine to steam. Its a pleasure to see her again. Cheers all, Sam...

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Tyseley: A Burst Of "Braunton"...

Hi all. Today I was over at the Birmingham-based Tyseley Loco Works for their Saturday volunteer working party. The sun was shining as I pulled up at the former 84E on this clear Spring day. I'd managed to stop off for the traditional breakfast on route, this week supplied by the Tyseley Corner Cafe. Well recommended is all I can say...
Having changed into my overalls and plodded down to the engine shed, I found some of the team working away on Pannier Tank No9600. The next trip for the 1945-built 0-6-0 is the May 13th outing with larger Hawksworth cousin No9466. I believe we're off for another ramble around the Midlands with the two tank engines...
"At The Foot of a Pannier"
We worked on 9600 until lunch break arrived. Following a session putting the world to rights over a bottle of pop, the team turned its attentions to an imminent arrival. The West Country Pacific "Braunton": a Bulleid product of 1946: was on its way from Stratford for servicing. The 4-6-2 had hauled an excursion up from London to Shakespeare's town and needed to steam light engine to Tyseley for turning, watering and coaling. A Bulleid whistle soon echoed on the wind, heralding the arrival of the pacific. Sure enough, in she strode light engine and rolled casually down into the yard...
Groaning through the point work, the pacific soon reached the turntable...
If memory serves me right I've never crossed paths with "Braunton" before. Built as a West Country 'light' pacific, the class were designed to operate over routes where the larger Merchant Navy's were too heavy to roam. These 7P classified engines were actually for mixed traffic, though some argue this was Bulleid's excuse for acquiring permission for their build during World War II when glamorous express passenger engines were less in demand! A total of 110 of this type were built, receiving either West Country names or Battle of Britain alternatives. They were built with air smoothed casings and chain driven valve gear, contained within an oil bath. The design worked well enough but BR decided to rebuild most of the pacifics after nationalisation. "Braunton" was rebuilt in January 1959 with the casing being removed and the more maintenance friendly Walschaerts valve gear fitted. Sixty of the class were rebuilt in this way, though the Modernisation Plan put pay to the same happening to the remaining fifty. The remaining unrebuilt engines continued in revenue earning service, with some lasting until the end of Southern steam in 1967. "Braunton" was finally withdrawn in 1965...
The immaculate "Braunton" is however currently running as scrapped sister engine No34052 "Lord Dowding" of the Battle of Britain class...
"34046 as Scrapped Sister 34052"
"Braunton" has been on the main line for a few years now in her preservation life. She is owned by Jeremy Hosking and operates under his "Icons of Steam" banner. Today she was working the "Cathedrals Express" which would leave Stratford in the early evening for a sprint back to the capital. During her brief stay at Tyseley her own support crew busied themselves on and about the engine: oiling her up, cleaning the fire, trimming the coal and so on - just as we do on a trip with 5043. Soon enough, with the tender replenished and the fire remade, it was time for "Braunton" to leave. She departed the yard upgrade to the signalbox before dropping back through the adjacent loop...
"A Final View of The Bulleid Pacific"
The pacific sauntered carefully past us before chugging upgrade back onto the main line. She would run tender first to Stratford before taking the Hatton route towards Oxford later in the evening. It was really nice to see the pacific up close and personal. By now the time was gone 5pm and so I decided to head for home...
"4965 'Rood Ashton Hall' Awaits Her Next Turn"
I'll next be at Tyseley next weekend but only briefly as we're off on another trip. This time the immaculate 5043 is off to Llandudno for the Victorian Festival. That should be another good run - fingers crossed! Cheers all, Sam...

Saturday, 15 April 2017

The "Easter Eggspress" With A Glorious Greyhound...

"A Leicestershire Greyhound" (Pic - C.Yapp)
Hi all. During the sunny yet blustery weather of today, there was little that could disturb the rural charm of the Leicestershire countryside but the roar of the LSWR T9 stomping back & forth along the Battlefield Line. Today myself and David were rostered to crew the 1899-built 4-4-0 and the weather men had promised clear but chilly conditions for our outing. Originally JB was to be my fellow engineman but unfortunately he had to call in sick at the last moment and T9 fan David kindly stepped into the breach. We arrived at the gates of Shackerstone at 6:30am before making our way along the oh so familiar dust ridden driveway to reach the station. Having signed in and read the notices, we stumbled down to the engine shed, discovering "Sir Gomer" standing right behind the door. The T9 was at the front of the shed again, ready for preparations to begin. Opening the gauge glasses revealed a "full pot" and, having cleaned the grate and checked the firebox, it was time to light the embryo fire using a well soaked pile of old rags...
With a bed of coal 1-lump thick across the grate, the blazing rags were soon covered with some good, dry pallet wood. The telltale crackling that follows is always a good sign. I allowed the flames to take hold around the freshly added wood before opening the firehole door to check progress. The tender was full to bursting with a new delivery of coal which looked like 'good stuff' from a distance. However, adding a mere half a dozen shovelfuls to the back of the box near enough choked the flames down to a pathetic orange glow. More damper would give the required primary air but with no steam to provide to the blower this would be a bit of a waiting game. The coal had no trouble lighting but was very smoky stuff of almost house coal consistency, providing an almost green smoke. Meanwhile, David had started oiling the Greyhound...
With the fire providing all the heat of a tealight on the mantle, I decided to head off in search of a diesel shunter to drag the T9 outside. The 04 was discovered in the North End and as Jason had just pulled up, we travelled to the shed together aboard the diesel. The T9 was soon outside, simmering away in the chilly morning air on her first breaths of steam. The engine had been well warmed yesterday as usual but the new coal was proving less than ideal. It had no trouble burning but without the correct draft it pretty much refused to provide the necessary temperatures required for adequate steam raising. Once the needle had reluctantly shifted to register some pressure, the blower was cracked and the coal began to do its work. The screams of local farmers wives running to their washing lines to save their crisp linen from coal smuts could be heard from miles around as the chimney provided an emission of carbon black...
As the engine neared the realms of working pressure, Jason had restarted the 04 ready to effect a shunt. He wanted to take "Sir Gomer" and "Cumbria" down for coal and so the T9 was duly shunted over onto Platform 1 road to clear the way. From here, David could complete his oiling tasks within the belly of the Greyhound...
"Pots & Spindles"
With the 04 having disappeared with its two industrial forefathers in tow, David instructed me to take the T9 back over into the shed. Vac created, the T9 slipped backwards behind No11 point. Road set, we chugged up into the shed with the drain cocks hissing away and firing reams of condensation into the air. The wall of fog cleared to reveal the pit just in front of the Southern machine and she was duly stopped over the top of it. It was then my pleasure to empty the ash pan. This is a real "romance of steam" job. The glistening oils from the motion above gently drop down all over you, providing a welcome surface to attract the clouds of dust which engulf the area no matter how much hosepipe you give it! Some people would pay good money for such rare skin treatments! Pan done, the engine steamed back out of the shed and over onto Platform 2 road via the signalbox. The large tender was then replenished to full water capacity before dropping back down onto the waiting 4-coach stock.

We then decided it was time to get changed in readiness for our imminent 11:15am departure to Shenton. Departing 2 minutes down, the T9 was now happy with her pressure needle nudging the red line and water well up the glass - but not too high! The "Easter Eggspress" was well on its way. We had an easy run to Shenton. By now I was learning the new coal. The engine needed more of it than the last stuff we had and the smoke effects were ghastly to say the least. However, with the regulator open to provide the draft through the bed the needle would sit at full working pressure without any issue. Interestingly, as soon as you shut off steam the needle would either stick like a limpet or drop like a stone, depending on the application of the injector(s). Then, once again, with the regulator open the pressure would rise, nudging full pressure once more. It was strange stuff but it did the job, of sorts...
"Preparing To Depart Shenton With The 11:50 to Shackerstone"
Returning to Shackerstone with ease, myself & David were happy in our work. The run-round at Shackerstone allowed us to claw back a little bit of time lost by the many passengers joining us at Market Bosworth. A fifth coach was definitely needed for today's numbers and Jason duly summoned the 04 once more for another shunting task. Meanwhile, we were off again with 30120. This time I was on the regulator with David flinging the shovel around. Once again, the T9 is beautiful to drive. Its just lovely. The phrase "the old un's are the best un's" is so apt with this engine...
"Driving Into Market Bosworth" (Pic - S.Sterland)
The Dreadnought vacuum ejector is fantastic in operation and is a pleasure to use. A gent came up to us today and said that he recorded a BR working behind a Greyhound in the 50's and it topped out at 82mph...I can well believe it!...
"In The Sun At Shenton - 13:05 Trip"
David had kindly ordered us breakfast from the Shenton Cafe on the previous trip. This was kindly delivered to the footplate and was just what the doctor ordered. My mouth is watering just looking at this picture...
Steaming back to Shackerstone, David had the old gal' singing to him. After another brisk run-round, the T9 had the road for the 13:45 departure...
Steaming out of Shackerstone with a dark grey tint to the exhaust, the T9 barked out into the fields. The Spring weather was glorious as the old engine steamed southward past the rapeseed fields of Hedleys, just after Congerstone...
The sun was shining as the T9 prepared to accelerate away from the slack currently imposed on the section through Hedleys...
Driver David prepares to open the regulator of the T9 to accelerate back up to the permitted line-speed of 25mph for the remaining section to Market Bosworth. Cut-off is currently full-forward (or 75%) for coasting...
The T9 runs gracefully through the fields and if you shut off steam at the woods on the approach to Bosworth she'll coast in easily. As JB would say "she rolls for England". Here we are approaching Market Bosworth International Airport...
"Airport Bridge" (Pic - C.Yapp)
During the short stop at MB I hopped down quickly to grab a shot of the T9 under the blue skies. Unfortunately we had ended up carrying the incorrect headlamp code - "a parcels, newspaper or perishables train made up of coaching stock". Upon reflection, I'm unsure why we carried the headboard on that bracket...maybe because it was there when we came in early this morning. We lose a point for that...
Leaving Market Bosworth over the "Dead Slow" slack across the new point, the T9 was soon on the move again bound for Shenton. Its a bit rough down the extension now but the Greyhound copes admirably with her 6ft 7" wheels rolling steadily around beneath her. Soon enough we were uncoupled from the train at Shenton and David was backing the 4-4-0 back into the loop so I could set the road back ready for the next run. The headlamp code was back to normal now - "light engine"...
The T9 was soon hooked up and ready for the 14:20 departure...
There certainly were plenty of people about today. The strengthened five coach rake was still well loaded even on the 15:00 working from Shackerstone. I drove this trip whilst David continued piling the coal in...
"A Greyhound Leaving Shackerstone" (Pic - S.Sterland)
The engine was running very nicely and proving no trouble. The steaming capability was still a bit odd on the new coal but we had learnt to live with it by now. The engine is captured ready to go back again...
Rolling into Shackerstone, we surrendered the token before running round...
"Running Round at Shackerstone" (Pic - A.Williamson)
We decided to check the water in the tender ready for the final train of the day: the 16:15. There was still plenty in there, more than enough to do the rest of today with a lot to spare but we decided to fill it ready for tomorrow. The final train of the day left Shack with myself on the handle once again. You can't help but sit on the Drivers side of this engine leaning out and just listening to the square beats as she accelerates away. Its just a lovely thing to be on and I've really enjoyed these last 4 turns with her...
"Last Drive of the T9" (Pic - A.Williamson)
At Shenton, we ran round one last time before coupling up ready for the final homeward run. David was now on the handle once again whilst I tended to the fire. The engine was happily steaming homeward as we dawdled through Hedleys...
Arriving back at Shack with the last train of the day, 30120 was uncoupled and taken onto Platform 1 road. The fire was pretty dead by now and wouldn't take too much bashing with the irons to thin it nicely ready for overnight stabling. Up at the loco shed, "Sir Gomer" and "Cumbria" were blocking the road and so the T9 was disposed alongside them. "Cumbria" was being warmed ready for a test steaming...
The big end brasses for "Cumbria" are currently away at Tyseley for machining as they have been knocking since the engine arrived in 2015. Hopefully this maintenance work will improve matters. Whilst "Cumbria" is out of action, the railways own Peckett "Sir Gomer" will hopefully be filling the void as the T9 finishes at Shack after Easter Mondays services. The Peckett hasn't moved since October 2015 and so it will be interesting to see how she performs. The old gal' is an old friend and it was certainly a pleasure to see her out in the fresh air once again after so long out of use. Aside from being an 'ignorant industrial', she is a powerful old thing and quite handsome in her lines. Hopefully she'll be OK. The T9 meanwhile is off on holiday again to Quainton before returning to her Cornish residence at Bodmin. Its been a pleasure to crew this national treasure again...
After another great day out myself & David left the railway at around 6:30pm. I must thank David for a most enjoyable outing once again and thank Jason for his help today shunting the coaching stock. Finally I need to thank the various photographers who have once again sent in images for use in this post - they wouldn't be possible without you! Many thanks all, until the next time, Sam...