|John looking every inch the foreman|
|Ian in his bowler|
Bearing in mind the old saying, "precise and proper planning prevents poor performance (I'm sure that I missed a P in there somewhere), I had thought about what would need to be done in the pub the night before. As previously mentioned, the first fireman of the day was expected to light up two locos. Chris was that rostered fireman and he unsurprisingly welcomed the idea that Brian who is passed to do light ups should take on the task of bringing 2807 into steam for him. Brian is a 2807 group member and was delighted to be allocated the task of bringing his 'baby' into steam. Whilst he did that, I got on with labeling water sample containers (for the locos, not the crew) and leaving them on the footplates as well as fetching wood from the wood store for the first few locos to be lit up.
Cleaning the locos was presenting something of a problem, we'd run out of cleaning rags. We had plenty of oily rags in the shed for lighting up, but nothing that you could use to clean with. We resorted to pilfering a few of the towels from the mess coach to use as cleaning rags. The mess coach is Tina's domain, I don't think she'll be best pleased when she finds out.
Time marched on, and armed with the purloined towels, progress was being made:
|Having got 2807's fire going, Brian cleans the boiler whilst Ian oils up|
|Dan cleans Cheltenham, it's anybodies guess as to what is happening on the footplate|
|5542 is the last booked off shed and is still awaiting her crew's arrival|
|Tina is in the cab, Chris oils up and Jonathan cleans the smoke box of the 8F|
|The standard 4 basks in the early morning sun|
|Chris gratefully receives the ear plugs from Sean|
|LNER 8572, GWR 2807, SR 925 & LMS 8274|
|Here they are again, sans bucket|
|The big four and their crews/cleaners|
Shuffling the locos around in order to take this shot caused the plan to get slightly out of sequence and the standard 4 went off before the 8F. Not as it turned out a problem, but if other locos had gone out of sequence it could have been.
Once most of the locos were off, it was back to the mess coach for breakfast and a nice cup of tea. I even heard the 8F coming back up the line with the freight train in time to point my camera out of a window and capture the scene for posterity.
|The freight train arrives at Toddington|
Jonathan had wanted to swap his footplate chaperone slot for mine, which gave him time for a round trip behind the 8F, so I took over his 13:05 slot and he took my later one. I had a little time to look around the attractions in Toddington yard before getting changed into my footplate gear. I noticed that several of the loco owning groups were on hand trying to drum up support:
|The 44901 group's stand|
|The 35006 stand|
|The 2807 stand|
It was at about this time that the news came through that the steam brake on 80072 had failed and she was being fetched back to Toddington. Impressively we managed to recover 80072 with 2807 covering her services without missing a beat on the timetable. If only the mainline train operating companies could do the same.
Once I was changed, it was time to set off and pick up my first passenger for the footplate experience. I tried to keep him informed with what the crew (John was driving & Sean firing) were doing as the journey progressed whilst trying not to distract them. My passenger's name was also John and the locomotive that we found ourselves on was Foremarke Hall.
|John sat in the fireman's seat anticipating our departure|
|John driving Foremarke Hall|
|Sean checking ahead down the line as we approach the exit to Greet tunnel|
|Crossing 8572 at Gotherington|
|Cheltenham leaving Cheltenham|
|John & Sean waiting to change locos at Cheltenham Race Course station|
|Needless to say it didn't last long at all!|
|The gala committee, Paul, Ben, Jonathan, Mark & Andy. Ian was absent when this photo was taken|