The only blog post that I wanted to do, but never actually got round to was a comparison of all of our home fleet locos from a fireman's point of view. They all have features that are infuriating and they all have features that are so good that you wish the others had them too. My ideal loco would have a centre section drop grate and one piece ash pan like Dinmore Manor (makes it a dream to dispose), a Swindon number one boiler like 2807 & Foremarke Hall, two water gauges (you won't often hear me say that Churchward got something wrong, but...) and dual handled blower like 35006. It would have the all round visibility of 4270 & 9466, yet a capacious tender with tender coal spray like 35006. The injectors would be from 4270 (always work perfectly first time) and I am quite fond of the combined steam/vacuum brake on 9466 (it speeds up the uncoupling process considerably). A roomy cab like 35006 along with its infinitely adjustable dampers would also be good. I'll spare you from a description of the worst bits of our home fleet.
The big advantages of writing this blog by myself is that I have enjoyed the luxury of keeping any of my own shortcomings from being broadcast to the world, along with keeping pictures of me out of public view. I expect that will change... you can't have everything.
The gallant team who will be keeping you up to date with all the latest occurrences in the steam loco dept are:
Luke passed out as a fireman late last year. My first impressions of Luke were favourable, he always turned up for cleaning turns with enough bacon & rolls to feed the crew and he was a dab hand at brewing tea. These are unsurprisingly the ideal attributes for any cleaner who aspires to becoming passed out as a fireman. Luke has the dubious distinction of being the only person to pass out as a driver or fireman whilst this blog has been going to have missed out on having a picture taken for posterity. I shall make up for that now by posting this picture of him:
|Luke, on King Edward II (photo courtesy of Ian Crowder)|
Tom has just started fireman training and had his first official training turn in December. My most vivid recollection of Tom, is that although he is right handed, he fires naturally left handed and did much better when that way round. Still, he's moved on from being a problem for the blog writer, to being a problem for the training manager now.
|Tom, on Foremarke Hall, firing the wrong way round for him|
|Tom, with a bacon buttie... quite possibly cooked on the shovel by Luke.|
Last, but not least, Bryony is starting to learn the fireman theory and will have sat through a lesson or two on Rules & Signals by now. She has a distinct advantage in that she is already qualified as a guard on the GWSR and will have covered a lot of the footplate rules and signals already. It will be refreshing to have a lady's view of the steam loco dept, I'm sure that she will notice and report on no end of things that I wouldn't have spotted. Unfortunately photos of Bryony on this blog at least are a very scarce commodity indeed. I can find one of her dad who she organised a footplate ride for during the last gala:
|Bryony's dad posing on Foremarke Hall|
|Bryony, fourth from the left sat on the platform|
Thank you for reading this far. Thank you too to the band of people who regularly sent me photos for inclusion in this blog, it always helped when I couldn't make it along to interesing events if somebody else was there to take pictures for me. For now, it's over to the dynamic trio, please be gentle with them.