Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Thomas to the Rescue

The day after the first Thomas event on the 20th, I was off at stupid O'Clock in the morning to sample the delights of Tuscan wine and to be in turn sampled by Tuscan mosquitoes. So much for being at the top of the food chain. It turns out that I am as delicious to a mosquito as a bottle of Chianti Reserva is to me, if not more so. With no more interweb access than could be obtained on my phone, no blog post was possible until now.

Cliff and Ade were booked as the crew for the 20th on 2807, which was purportedly to be running as "Henry the big green engine".  The timetable for this diagram involved 5 round trips from Winchcombe to Cheltenham and back without any slack time to grab lunch.  Cliff and Ade were rather concerned at this and had invited me along to share the workload.   Getting me to light up 2807 also gave Ade a bit of time to get in some practice at oiling up the loco too.

We've had no end of toads in the pits at different times, but rodents have been rather less common. This one was looking rather the worse for the experience, but was still alive. Graham helped him in his quest to escape from the pit and scamper off into the undergrowth
A rather bedraggled timorous wee beastie
 Ade and I alternated at the firing
Ade perched on the tool box in the tunnel
 Daisy the DMU was out and about along the line.  Curiously she only had a face at one end this time, I'm sure that last time she had a face on each end.
The end without a face....
...and the end with a face
 At least you can't accuse Daisy of being two faced.
Ade (l) and Cliff at work in the office
Exiting Greet tunnel
 We crossed with Daisy in Gotherington loop all day, which meant that Gotherington signal box was open. Bill was the signal man on duty.
Ade & Bill exchange tokens
 Line maintenance has to continue regardless of whether or not the locos have faces on the front, the Permanent Way gang were out and about keeping the track fettled.  Rumours that they were only out here to avoid the hordes of screaming kids on the platforms are completely unfounded and it is merely a coincidence that they didn't return until after the last of the kids had gone home.
P Way at work
 2807 appeared to be having an identity crisis. I had always thought that 2807 took on the persona of Henry, the big green engine at these events however quite a few of the visitors seemed to think that she was Emily.  2807 is quite clearly a 2-8-0, Henry on the other hand was confused already according to the Thomas books, looking rather like a LNER A1/A3 though sometimes of 4-6-0 wheel arrangement, sometimes 4-6-2 in the early books, moving on to look like a Black 5 (back to 4-6-0 again) in the later books.  Leaving aside the issue of how can a Black 5 possibly be green (the clue is in the name), we have the question of how on earth anybody could have thought that 2807 looks like a Stirling single? 
Henry.... or is it Emily? no wonder 2807 looks confused
Cliff mulls over 2807's identity whilst grabbing a bite to eat.
In keeping with the Thomas books, there had to be some sort of a crisis in which Thomas came to the rescue.  In this case, it was a coal crisis.  When we'd set off, we'd had plenty of coal for the usual three round trips and didn't take on any more.  The timetable on this occasion however called for five round trips, so we used rather more than we would normally have done.  With two round trips left to go, we were getting rather concerned:
One lump or two?
 In the end, in best Thomas tradition, crisis was averted by borrowing some coal from Thomas during the run round at Winchcombe.  We had a bucket brigade chain in action, from John on Thomas, to Cliff, then Ade and finally me on 2807.  Meanwhile Andy hurled lumps of coal out of Thomas' bunker, some of which landed in our tender.
Thomas (plus John & Andy) to the rescue.
We had tried to be discrete and hoped that nobody would have noticed however a day or two later, the following photo arrived from Rod Wells of the Carriage and Wagon dept who had seen everything.
Caught in the act, photo courtesy of Rod Wells.
With a replenished tender of coal, we set off for the last two trips.
Ade looking pleased now that the coal crisis had been averted
By the end of the day, we still had a bit left over.
Ade rakes through the fire, the tender still has a little coal left.
Finally at disposal, Jamie fired up the digger and refilled 2807's tender with coal with just a few bucket loads.
Coaling up the easy way.
Move forward a week and there is much to do.  2807 has discarded her face and set off for a holiday on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway along with several of our volunteers who have gone along as "Owner's representatives".

My day started with a bit of helping out on Dinmore Manor.  She has had a few issues with her tender brakes and the vacuum cylinder was out for a spot of TLC.

Mike de-rusting the piston from the tender's vac brake.
A bit later, John and many others were underneath the tender fitting it again
John bolting the vac cylinder back together
Later on, John was to be found replacing a few rivets near Dinmore Manor's vacuum pump which weren't as secure as they might have been.
John gives the rivets a spot of therapy with the gas axe
Rivets removed
An ex-rivet.
Progress has been made by the team preparing the floor of the David Page shed for concreting, the south end of road 9 is getting nearer to seeing concrete poured.

Road nine.
You'll notice 35006 over there on road 8.  Her team of volunteers were at work on the cab glazing on Saturday.
Window surrounds about to be fitted.
There was a bit of musical chairs going on regarding who was crewing what, Ade wound up firing train 2, which was a bit of a problem for him as his presence was required elsewhere in the early evening.  I accepted his request to cover for him on the third trip so that he could get away on time.  It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

Ade's last job of the day, watering 4270.
One quick swap later and Cliff and I were off down the line for the last round trip of the day.
Cliff at the controls.
This time round there was no drama, we had plenty of coal for the journey.   The evening wasn't over as far as the railway was concerned though, there was a murder mystery fish and chip event taking place after we got back....  cod battered to death?  The 8F shunt released us after our last trip.
Released by the 8F
Needing an opportunity to check that the tender brakes were working as they should, Dinmore Manor was double headed with the 8F.  You'll be pleased to know that she passed with flying colours and has now been sent down to the West Somerset Railway to star in their upcoming gala where she will once again get to double head on just one occasion with fellow DMLL loco, 3850.
8F and Dinmore Manor preparing for the murder mystery evening.
Finally, it would be remiss of me to fail to include a few photos of 2807 on her holiday up on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR).  Brian, Phil and Andy were all in attendance as "Owner's representatives" however as far as I could make out, at least two of them were in dereliction of their duties, swanning off on a certain other loco that is based on the NYMR.  The following photos courtesy of Andy Beale.

Plenty of coal in 2807's firebox in anticipation
2807 and some other non-GWR loco
Andy filling in the back corners.... but that doesn't look like 2807 to me.
A beautiful evening study of 5029, Nunney Castle & 2807

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