Nobody had signed up as a cleaner for either of the day's locos, so it was a case of once the fire was going and a cup of tea had been quaffed (priorities are important), it was a case of getting cracking on the worst bits myself. I say that nobody had signed up to clean the locos, for some time the online rostering web page had me down as both the cleaner for train 2 as well as the fireman for train 1. Eventually Ben decided that was probably asking a bit too much and he removed the entry for cleaning train 2.
|Washing over the boiler barrel|
Some weeks ago, I recollect seeing one of this year's crop of new firemen looking sheepish as he set off for his first solo trip on 2807 which if the racket coming from the safety valves was anything to go by had enough fire to get all the way to Penzance without needing to put any more coal on. I was determined not to make the same mistake. Dinmore Manor had other ideas though and even though I had been what I thought was extremely frugal with the coal, she was soon up on the red line. I'd had just about enough water space to test the injectors and that was it. Oops!
There was a classic vehicle event on in the car park at Toddington, which is always nice. The only draw back is that the crews with non-classic cars are expected to hide their more humble modes of transport behind the Flag & whistle. Being off on the first train, I missed seeing all bar the earliest arrivals. I'm not sure what kind of car this is, but I got Chris (Finance Director), Neil (Operations Manager) and Ian (Trainee Duty Operations Officer) in front of it.
|(L-R), Chris, Neil & Ian with the unidentified classic car|
|1960 BSA A10 & owner|
|"It was this big!"|
Once underway and we'd used up the surplus steam, everything was good. The fact that I'd brought my little tea spoon sized shovel that I usually reserve for use on tank engines rather than the larger one didn't seem to matter much, I could still get enough coal to where it was needed fairly easily.
|Crossing 4270 at Winchcombe|
|Steve in the office|
|Steve moving coal forward in the tender|
|No wet boots this time|
|Chris looking dapper|
When he arrived, Sir John insisted on shaking my hand even though it was coated in a think layer of grime & coal dust by then.
|Sir John in the cockpit of Dinmore Manor|
All in all, it was an excellent day out, Dinmore Manor is a delightful loco to fire and she sounds magnificent pulling seven coaches. Aside from the bit of excess steam at the start of the day, the worst thing that happened was that I got distracted and left the injector on for too long just before we departed from Cheltenham on the last run. We set off with just 180 PSI on the clock and a full glass of water. Not to matter, she soon came round again.
Back at Toddington whilst putting Dinmore Manor to bed, I was informed that there had been awards handed out to some of the cars on show in the classic car event. Derek who was firing 4270 had managed to leave his car in the car park amongst the classic cars rather than hide it away behind the Flag and Whistle. Ian decided that Derek's car was worthy of an award too, and so when Derek returned to it, he will have found a notice proclaiming that his car was "Best in Show, Banger Class".
|"Banger Class", photo courtesy of Ian Carpenter|
|Not quite a classic yet, photo courtesy of Ian Carpenter|