Saturday, 5 January 2013

A hard day’s shunt

In my last post you may have noticed that Austerity, Earl David had a warming fire in her.  I neglected to say why, for the simple reason that I had no idea why.  The following message and photos that I received from Jonathan Perks explains all:

"January 2nd was a busy day at Toddington with large numbers of volunteers starting the winter maintenance regimes for 2807, 7903 and 8274 (AKA 45160).  At the same time three of us were preparing Wemyss Private Railway No 15 Earl David for a day’s work.  The loco, a Hunslet designed War Department ‘Austerity’ 0.6.0ST has recently been returned to traffic at Wishaw and was on test prior to a visit to the Avon Valley Railway later in the year.  This tied in with a need to do a bit of shunting and rather than use a diesel, Earl David was to earn its keep for the day.

Firstly we tripped a parcels coach to Winchcombe and placed it in Carriage & Wagon’s yard, then doing a bit of shunting in the permanent way yard on the far side of the line, extracting a mermaid wagon from the depths of the back siding. Earl David then pushed the mermaid back through Toddington and all the way to Laverton, right into the headshunt.  Whilst steam has been to Laverton Loop in the last few months, this is the furthest (by a few yards at least) that steam has been since the line closed.  After well over an hours shunting in order to release some wagons for further track work, Earl David proceeded to work a rake of flat and ballast trucks back up the hill to Stanton where the wagons were left for the benefit of S&T. 
Earl David with the ballast train
A number of the road and footbridges enjoyed the noise of our engine digging into the climb.  Having uncoupled from the wagons which will be filled with ballast before being returned to Laverton by a diesel, Earl David returned to Toddington light engine for disposal.  
Disposal at the end of the day
 The end of a busy day which saw an Austerity doing exactly the sort of work it was built for."

The Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway has many unsung heroes amongst its volunteers, who do large amounts of work for little credit yet without whom the railway couldn't possibly function. The Permanent Way gang are high on that list of unsung heroes, and I personally find Nigel Black's pages on the flickr photo site to be an invaluable resource.  It was here that I first found out about the track work on Chicken Curve having been completed and the work on the run round loop at Laverton.  Nigel has kindly allowed me to include a couple of his photos of Earl David at Winchcombe with the mermaid wagon as mentioned above by Jonathan Perks.
Earl David with mermaid and 2 milk wagons
Steve Oddy on the footplate of Earl David with the mermaid. Jonathan Perks (trainee fireman) and George Forrest (driver) are out of view on the other side of the footplate.

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