Friday, 23 May 2014

King of the woodpile

The preparations for the Back to Black gala are in full swing now, here is a quick update regarding where things are:

We'll have seven locos in steam on each of three days, that requires a lot of things to have been sorted out, cleaning rags and lighting up wood are just two of those things.  The appeal for lighting up rags has been well supported, on Wednesday, the cleaning rag collection bin was full to overflowing:
Well stuffed rag collection bin
Thank you very much to all donors, it is much appreciated.  We could still use more, so if you have anything suitable, then please do bring it along.

The wood store had been a little empty. Wood is another of the essentials for getting our locos into steam.  After a monster session on Wednesday by Roger Burrows (AKA the King of the wood store) and his merry band of helpers, the wood store is now jam packed in readiness for the gala.  Wednesday, turned out to be Roger's 75th birthday, he got a rousing chorus of 'happy birthday to you' in the mess coach.  
Roger, making do with biscuits rather than birthday cake
Some of the broken up pallets, destined for the wood store
I noticed in my travels that the concreting of the first section of the floor of the David Page shed has started:
Some sections of concrete now in place
Shunting locos and other items of stock around has been a prominent feature of the last two days, 35006 has traded her place in the shed with a few of the wagons that were out in the yard.  The dust from the yet to be concreted parts of the shed floor gets everywhere:
Very much in need of a clean
 Ian bravely tackled the job of cleaning 35006.  It's rather a lot for one person to take on, as I remember only too well from last year.
Ian at work washing 35006's boiler cladding
 It had been noted that 5542's tilting grate left the foundation ring rivets exposed to the fire, which wouldn't do them any good.  The tilting grate has now been locked in the shut position by creating a support for the firebars at the front, which keeps the grate above the height of the foundation ring rivets:
The cleaned and tilted grate, ready for inspection
The lump of steel destined to become the support....
...with it's ends cleaned up...
.... and extra sections welded on by Mark
The support, fitted in place, just before new fire bars were installed
 Phil, Ben and Andy have transformed the 8F from LMS to BR livery, for the duration of the gala:
48274 smoke box numberplate
Ben cleans up the areas to be changed
Andy with the stuff to cover the LMS logo with
One of the cycling lion logos applied to the tender
The finished article, a good looking job
I believe that the transfers will be removed as soon as the gala is over, so if you want to see her like this, then the Back to Black gala will be your only opportunity in the near future.

Dinmore Manor had been out on a service train on Wednesday and was failed with a broken spring on the tender she has been paired with, borrowed from the Bluebell Railway.  Thursday morning it was swapped out for a spring borrowed from 2807's pile of  spares:
The broken spring
George at work on replacing the broken spring
The last of our visiting locos for the gala, ex-GWR pannier tank, 1501 arrived on Thursday afternoon:
1501 arriving in the car park
After some shunting, filling the bunker with coal and the pannier tanks with water, plus an inspection, Brian got on with the task of putting a warming fire in her.  
Not much doubt that something has caught alight in there
 And finally, 4270 has been fetched up from the paint shop at Winchcombe after her paint job.  She looks as good as the day she rolled off the production line in 1919:
God's Wonderful Railway!
Pete and Brian filling 4270's side tanks
Purely from the working standard gauge steam loco point of view, for this gala, you'll get the Planet's Favourite Prairie, 5542, shortly to be leaving us for a while. We'll have the 8F running for the first time ever with a BR number, Dinmore Manor will be at her first gala in this boiler ticket and her first gala anywhere in unlined black. After what can only be described as a miraculous sequence of events to get her repaired on time (see last blog for details) we'll have 3850 in unlined black.  We'll have the mighty Hawksworth 15XX pannier tank, 1501. We'll have Black 5, 45379 in lined black, the first time that a Black 5 has visited the GWSR and very fitting as the last steam hauled train to run along the line in BR days was a Black 5.  Finally, we offer you 4270, working her very first revenue earning train in preservation on the first day of the gala.  Whatever else your better half may have in mind for you this weekend, clearly it's not going to be half as good as this.  Miss it at your peril

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