Saturday, 8 March 2014

On the starting blocks

Once again, my day job had me passing near to Toddington on my way home on Friday, I couldn't resist the urge to pop in and check up to see how the steam tests had gone for the 8F and for Dinmore Manor.   By the time I got to Toddington of course, the steam tests had both finished, but I'm pleased to be able to report that both had passed successfully.   It was nice to see some locos in steam again, the last time had been new year's day, which seems like an eternity ago now.

The 8F was merrily blowing off when I arrived:
It was a joy to see one of our locos in steam again
Kev was cleaning her a little later on.  I felt a bit guilty about not helping out, but I had no overalls with me and was wearing what I hoped to maintain as a clean white shirt. Helping clean the 8F didn't seem like a good way of keeping the shirt white.
Kev cleans the 8F's smoke box
A little while later, the 8F took a few test moves up and down the yard to stretch her legs again:
All steamed up
The main GWSR web site says that 5542 will be working the first weekend of the new season's trains, but in a late decision as the 8F is now already warm after her steam test, it was decided that she would get that honour instead.  5542 will now probably work some of the race trains to Cheltenham race course in the middle of the week.
5542 basks in the sun along with 2874
Inside the David Page shed, work continued on Foremarke Hall:
Tim and John removing paint from the smoke box
Tim had been informed by some wag that he looked like a tank commander with his head poking out of the chimney hole and wearing headphones etc.  I can see what he meant.

There was of course something of a flurry of activity around our newest arrival, Dinmore Manor:
Dinmore Manor in steam
The more observant readers of this blog might just have noticed that the tender doesn't look quite as it should.  Not only is it green, whereas Dinmore Manor is black, but it is also a Hawsworth 4000 gallon tender whereas manors are more usually associated with Churchward 3500 gallon tenders.  This tender is of course Foremarke Hall's and was borrowed for the steam test as Dinmore Manor's tender still requires some work before it is ready for use.  In the short term, I can now inform you that the Churchward 3500 gallon tender currently fitted to 9017, Earl of Berkeley on the Bluebell Railway will soon be making its way to Toddington for use with Dinmore Manor.  9017's tender is already in black, and will look perfect when attached to Dinmore Manor.
9017, Earl of Berkeley on the Llangollen Railway a few years ago.
As of a few days ago, the outstanding list of tasks required to get Dinmore Manor ready for service, apart from the steam test, included installing the cab floor, fitting the steam pipe cladding, damper door linkages, painting inside the cab and setting the valve timing.  Work was taking place on the valve timing and a few other odds and ends whilst I was there:
Apparently the steam pipe is hot.... who'd have thought it!
Valve covers off
Mike and Mark tightening up some of the vacuum brake pipe connections
Mark adjusting the valve timing
Mark seems to think that poking his tongue out will make the daft man with the camera go away.
Sorry to disappoint many of you, but even after disappearing off into the pit under Dinmore Manor, I somehow managed to keep my shirt clean.  I really must learn to keep a pair of overalls in the boot of the car at all times, for occasions such as this.

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