As Monday was the only gala day forecast not to start off with rain, I thought that it would be a nice idea to see what could be done by way of interesting photo line ups. My starting point was that both the LMS locos were facing north, whilst all the GWSR ones were facing south, so separate grouping line ups were possible. I had made a note of what the starting positions were going to be, and on Sunday night I came up with a cunning plan. The two LMS locos were left overnight on the pit roads (8 & 9). Sean even brought along his 'Irish Mail' head board, so once that was placed on the Black 5, so we had a bit of a start:
|LMS Line up.|
|DMLL members/directors, Mike, Mark & Neil with their locos (l-r) 7820, 3850 & 2874|
|The GWR line up (l-r) 4270, 5542, 1501, 7820, 3850, 2874 and the people who were prepping them for service|
Not all of the gala committee was on hand for a team photo:
|Andy, Ben and 1501|
|Exiting Greet tunnel|
|Passing the double headed Black 5 & 8F at Gotherington|
After a brief wait at Cheltenham, it was time to collect the next passenger, Claire, for the return journey hauled by 3850:
|Phil hung his hat on the pressure gauge at one point|
|Crossing 5542 at Gotherington|
|Steve, lying down on the job|
Taking over Dinmore Manor from the previous crew, I found that the fire was big, the water in the top nut and the pressure gauge on the red line. Not much could be done with it, I just let it blow off long enough to get some water space back, then got on with preparing the fire for the return journey.
One of the signals at Gotherington was slightly askew and needed adjusting when we arrived there, Neil had been summoned fix it. There was quite a cheer from both our footplate and the signal box when he dropped a spanner. He smiled and calmly carried on using a second one which he had taken up with him. Needless to say, he promptly dropped that too, to an even bigger cheer and had to descend the ladder to retrieve it.
|Neil adjusting the signal|
|Double headed and ready to depart Winchcombe|
One of the golden rules of being a trainee, is not to let your instructor, or worse still driver do the hooking on and hooking off.
|Steve empties the smoke box, Ed and Aaron wait to remove the ash.|
As for the rain that the 'sacrificial cleaner' was supposed to shelter the rostered fireman from, that didn't start until I had got in my car and was about to drive home. Owing to a slight accident with a hose pipe in the pit (Aaron's hopes of becoming a fireman are now severely diminished), Sean was rather soggy when he left.
And finally, it would be impossible to name all the individuals involved, so a big thank you to everybody who contributed in whatever capacity towards making the Back to Black gala such a resounding success, in spite of indifferent weather. Thank you too, to all the customers who turned up for it, I very much hope that you had an excellent time and will join us again next year