Monday, 13 July 2015

Tick Tock

If like me, you read all of the GWSR's blogs, then you'll have been missing your regular fix of the Broadway Station blog.  The good news is that its resurrection is imminent.  On Wednesday evening, I met up with John and David from the Broadway Area Group and helped them set up a new blog.  I even told them all I know about running one (obviously that didn't take long).  The bonus for me was a quick tour of their lovely new signal box.
No levers installed yet, but the frame for the interlocking mechanism down below is in place
One of the windows has been fitted
The roof is done, one level of scaffolding has been removed
 The Braodway Station blog, like the station itself is in good hands, I'm looking forward to hearing more news of their progress.

Leaping forward to Saturday, I was rostered to fire 2807 as train 1 on the red timetable.  Eleanor was rostered as cleaner and I had arranged beforehand for her to do the light up.  The draw back to that is that the poor old fireman ends up doing half of the loco cleaning as well.  Apparently I've been passed out as a fireman too long and forgotten how to clean locos properly if the comments from some of the others who were around are to be believed.
The "not shiny enough" safety valve bonnet
 The driver for the day was Ian, who judging by the hi-viz attire was keen to make sure that he wasn't overlooked by this blog's photographer.
Ian oiling up 2807.
Eleanor sorting out the smoke box after getting the fire lit.
 Meanwhile, over on 5542, rostered as train 2, its crew are preparing for the day ahead:
Driver Steve oils up.....
.... Firing instrutcor Clive cleaned 5542.....
.... and trainee fireman Ed scoffed mini apple pies
 Ed did rather more than scoff apple pies, he drank tea too for instance:
Ed drinking tea.
 Ok, alright, Ed did do some proper work too, he even took my bin load of smoke box ash to the ash dock along with his own.
Ed shifting 2 bins of smoke box ash.
 I have no idea how Ed got on during the day, but at least he had everything under control each time we passed him at Winchcombe.  One of the golden rules of firing, is that if you're going to have the loco blowing off at all, for heaven's sake, don't do it where anybody else in the steam loco dept will see you.  Pulling out of Toddington or at Winchcombe are the two places that you really need to avoid.
2807 & 5542 getting ready for the day's duties.
 It's a while now since the gala, but 34092, Wells has only just left.  She has just gone to the East Lancs Railway for an event there before returning on the mainline to her home on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.
34092, Wells at Toddington on Saturday.
I've already mentioned the Broadway blog and the fact that it is soon to return, but there are many other means of disseminating information in the digital age than a blog.  Andy Protherough of the lineside drainage management team uses the photo sharing site Flickr to keep us informed of their activities.
Andy at work in culvert 33A at Dixton on Saturday
 Before you ask, no, I had no idea that it was culvert 33A that Andy was in when I passed him on Saturday, I found that out from his Flickr site.
Ian in the office
 It was a fabulously warm day on Saturday, perfect for a spending on 2807.  5542 of course, with its small and fully enclosed cab would have been unbearably hot,  I defintely had the better choice of loco for the day.
Crossing 5542 at Winchcombe
 I have no idea who the crews were on Sunday, but given that it was raining heavily pretty much all day, I can probably say without too much fear of contradiction that the crew of 5542 were more than a little grateful that they were aboard the PFP, whilst 2807's crew would have gladly swapped.

Not unusually, there was a slight water overflow issue when we stopped to fill up the tender for the first time.  Curiously this always seems to happen when I have my camera handy,  you'd be forgiven for thinking that there was some kind of conspiracy going on.
Eleanor tries to keep her feet dry.
 One of our carriages had a fairly new vac bag on it, the connectors being set about 90 degrees apart from the ones on 2807  Not the easiest of things to couple them up at all, definitely like wrestling with a couple of elephant trunks.
Eleanor doing battle with the pugnacious pachyderm proboscises
Eleanor had a go at firing a round trip and made a pretty good job of it.  She managed to keep the pressure and water levels where I wanted them to be, though I was amused to note that she after firing, she would watch the pressure gauge like a hawk, to see if what she had done had achieved the desired effect.  Certain people used to complain that I did that when I first started.
Eleanor feeding the fire.
 I noticed that platform 2 at CRC was receiving some attention
"Quick lads, run away, he's got his camera out"
As I write this, no news of their activities has appeared on their blog, but I'm sure it will in the fullness of time.

It seems like we're struggling to find enough crews for the DMU, not for the first time I received a message from Jeff during the week asking if I was free to help out as second man.  Already being rostered to fire during the day, I couldn't assist, but Tina stepped in to cover at least some of the trips.  Clearly she's not a second man and as there were no other women crewing the DMU, I suppose that made her the first woman.
Jeff & Tina relax on a bench at Toddington before setting off to Winchcombe on the DMU.
 At one point during the proceedings, whilst waiting to depart Toddington platform1, a lady on platform 2 pointed at 2807 and said "You're on fire".  Fearing another burning lamp incident like the one that one of our crews experienced last week, I glanced along the running board at the spare lamp, but there was nothing amiss with it.  The lady pointed underneath the loco, so I got down to investigate.  Sure enough, some tar on one of the wooden sleepers had been ignited by a bit of hot ash falling out of the ash pan. 
Fire on the tracks
 I threw the contents of the water bucket from the footplate over it, which did the trick. 

Whilst we had experienced no difficulty at all in setting fire to a sleeper, the gauge frame lamp on the other hand kept going out and needed relighting several times.
Ian relighting the gauge frame lamp.
 Last trip saw the 47 take over train 2 from 5542.
Crossing 47376 at Winchcombe
There are three items of news.  First, it has been agreed that Collett, 2884 class, 2-8-0, number 3850, owned by Dinmore Manor Locomotve LTD (DMLL) will come to Toddington for her 10 year overhual.  3850 has spent the last 10 years based on the West Somerset Railway, with few excursions elsewhere, though as you may remember, she was one of our guest locos for the 2014 "Back to Black" steam gala.
3850 at work on the West Somerset Railway
As a bonus, the West Somerset Railway have very kindly agreed to allow her to move to the GWSR in mid September so that she can see out the last couple of weeks of her boiler ticket running here.  Aside from a DMLL owners group evening and running some of our scheduled timetable services, she will also star in a 30742 charters photo charter on Monday 28th September using our freight train.  For the photo charter only, she will be specially weathered to look as she would have done at the end of steam on the western region of British Railways.  At this point in time, it is believed that the photo charter will be her last day in service.

The second piece of news that I can bring you is that another milestone in the return of 35006 to steam has taken place, one of her con rods has been trial fitted for the first time. 
Fireman's side con rod in place.
35006 sat in the David Page shed, one down, two to go
Finally, the third piece of news is that 35006 successfully passed her steam test today.  She has had a few trial steamings of her boiler over the last few months, enabling a number of minor niggles to be identified and corrected.  I'm afraid that the cosmetic restoratoin for display at Winchcombe during the "Speed to the West" steam gala at the end of May caused some delay in the process, but she has finally got there, her 10 year boiler ticket is now ticking away.  I have been hoarding photos from a number of sources of the trial steamings, which the 35006 group didn't want publishing until the official steam test had been passed.  Here are just a few of them:

The first warming fire was on 19th April and light steam on the 20th, these photos all courtesy of Steve Parker:
Ian putting in the first fire since BR
Evidence of combustion at the chimney
The cylinder drain cocks appear to be working ok
A bit of oresssure on the gauge
The following few came to me from Ian Chilton at a later date:
Getting pressure up
Ok, perhaps a lot of pressure now
Dan Wigg provided the following from other steam tests in June:
Getting the fire going
Off the mark
Evidence of steam
At the red line
 And finally, from today's official steam test, all photos courtesy of Dan Wigg:
Hitting the red line
Blowing off
Being inspected by the boiler inspector
Smiles all round, she's passed
Thank you to Steve, Ian and Dan for providing photos of 35006 during her various steam tests.  There are still a number of things that will need to be finished off before 35006 can enter traffic, not least of which are the remiining two con rods, and these things may take a while yet to complete however the owning group and the volunteers who work on her are to be congratulated on achieving this significant milestone in the resurection of their magnificent steam locomotive.

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