Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Penalty for improper use £50

Last Sunday saw me back at Toddington to learn more of the theory of operation of steam locomotives.  Meanwhile, other members of the steam loco dept were having fun in the car park, being instructed in the dark arts of driving the various mechanical diggers/fork lifts etc that we have scattered around the place. Apparently we need all the drivers in the dept to be able to load coal onto the locos using these things.  Given that the alternative is to fill tenders/bunkers by hand, I'm all for this.  Shoveling coal from tender to grate, then the residue from the ashpan/smoke box to the ash pit is hard enough without having to shovel it from the coal dock into the tender as well.  Soon various drivers were to be seen performing graceful balletic manoeuvres in a fork lift truck around the car park.  Not being completely stupid, I manoeuvred my car well away from the scene of the crime before they started.
Ian Butler in the fork lift
Mike, Ian & Andy watch Rod shifting a blue crate
Students of fashion will doubtless be interested in this season's range of hi-viz clothing; Mike (fork lift instructor) has gone with lime green, Andy Beale has selected the more traditional for railways orange, whilst Ian Butler has chosen 'stealth black'.  Several blog entries ago, I reported on the new path from the wood store to the pits and that Ben, Clive & Sean had created it. As it turns out I was wrong, Ian Butler, Andy Webber & Neal Cooper had in fact made the path. My apologies to all concerned.  Ian as it turns out is not just our new dept head, path maker and fork lift driver (yes he passed), but also an advanced practitioner of the ancient Japanese art of origami. He was to be seen later on demonstrating his skills in the mess coach.  The absence of paper didn't deter him and he soon enthralled all present with his creation using some left over silver foil.  Sadly no cameras were on hand to record the event for this blog.

In the afternoon I thought I'd make myself useful with whatever was going on around the railway. As it happened, most of the steam loco dept members present were giving one of the DMU cars its equivalent of an MOT.  Why do various members of the steam loco dept own a DMU you might well ask?  Well the answer is to be found on the Cotswold Diesel Railway LTD's website.  Anyway, today was the day for car 51405 to receive its equivalent of an MOT.  There was plenty to be done. My first task was to take a grease gun to the grease nipples on each of the 3 hinges on every door.... there are hundreds of doors on these things.  I've decided that DMU stands for Door Moving Unit.
51405 and just one of its multitude of doors
Meanwhile Dan discovered that just like old cars, they're prone to leaking oil.  With old cars, you end up with a black patch on your drive or in your garage.  With a DMU, if you happen to be stood underneath it in the inspection pit, you end up with a black patch on your face.
Dan now knows not to loiter under DMUs
George was also underneath, I think at this point changing the oil filter, but I could be wrong.  Note he is wisely wearing oil drip proof headgear.
George can afford to smile as he is safe from oil drips
I asked Ian to pose alongside 51405 in a proprietorial manner however he decided that he'd prefer to be photographed doing something.
Ian at work
Andy was also on hand, again, I'm not entirely sure what he was doing here, but by the look of it he's having a little trouble undoing a bolt on one of the rocker covers.
Andy at work
Finally I spent a little while with Ian going through the checks in the cab on the controls, testing the emergency brake etc.  Best of all was getting to  pull the emergency chain (penalty for improper use £50).  I have always wanted to do that.

This was something of a coincidence as the class room instruction in the morning had made reference to footplate crew responsibilities in the case of alarm chains being pulled. Unfortunately there was no 'butterfly' outside the carriage to be reset, the reset mechanism was in the cab itself.

1 comment:

  1. For safety purposes, high visibility Safety vest and Reflective tape are going to make you far more visible.