When the C&W blog writer takes a week off to sun himself in the South of France, that's all fine and dandy. If yours truly takes time off
for good behaviour, then it causes a near riot. Many were the people who reprimanded me for my dereliction of duty last week. Far from sunning myself in tropical climes, I was out in the fells of the Lake District, enjoying some unseasonably good weather (by which I mean that it didn't rain, and the cloud base was above the fell tops). I returned home via the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway to enjoy their gala, and discovered an unexpected connection or two with our railway. For one thing, there were three other members of the steam loco dept up there (who all hid from my camera upon being spotted) and a fourth person, who is not noted for being camera shy:
|The S160 approaches Ingrow... the fireman is peering out of the cab...|
|Cropping in a bit closer... that face looks familiar...|
|...yes, it was Ben.|
It turns out that Ben had been expecting to attend as an owner's rep for Kinlet Hall, until it was deemed out of gauge to make the journey up there. Ben went along anyway and played with a few toys on the K&WVR. He was quite taken by the S160.
Friday at Toddington, saw Dinmore Manor taking her annual boiler exam:
|Boiler inspector Terry, doing the gauge frame accumulation test. (Photo courtesy of Mike Solloway)|
|Later on checking inside the smoke box. (Photo courtesy of Mike Solloway)|
|The weather varied from pleasant sunshine... (Photo courtesy of Mike Solloway)|
|...to snowing.(Photo courtesy of Mike Solloway)|
|On the way back from Laverton, photo courtesy of Mark Harding|
|Photo courtesy of Mike Solloway|
On Saturday morning, I had a meeting to attend (well it's better than working), but being the first day of the season, I thought that I should delegate the task of taking a few photos of the first train departing. The question was who could I trust with my camera... most people would 'accidentally' drop it in the pit, or tie it to the tracks and run over it with the heaviest loco that was in steam. Eleanor was the only person around who looked even remotely trustworthy, so my thanks to her for taking the following couple of pictures and most importantly for returning my camera to me (in one piece) later.
Apparently it was Donna's first official cleaning turn. As luck would have it, she had 5542 for that, which is our smallest and therefore easiest to clean loco... being the first turn out after winter maintenance, it wasn't exactly too grubby in the first place, so a nice easy start for Donna.
|Donna, and 5542|
|5542 gets the season underway in style.|
|Graham buffs 4270's safety valve bonnet up to a high shine|
|Neil cleaned the wheels and motion.|
|Donna starting to paint the frames of the starfish|
|Refurbished lifting jacks.|
|A new deflector plate has arrived|
|One of the vacuum brake pipes being boiled alive...|
|...the location on the brake cylinder that it will connect to...|
|...and the pipe in location.|
The steam test successfully completed the day before, Dinmore Manor was coming in for a bit more TLC:
|David paints the inside of the safety valve bonnet|
|Tim polished the shiny bits|
|Roger cleaned the wheels.|
|Sam (l) and Chris cleaning the outside of the smokebox.|
|Chris refitting the safety valve bonnet (photo courtesy of Mark Harding)|
|Vacuum pump piston and spindle|
|Just because she took photos for me earlier, doesn't make her exempt from appearing on the blog|
|John underneath 2807|
Whilst we are on the subject of 2807, you may remember that shortly before Christmas, I discovered one of her cabside number plates on the wall of the Steam museum in Swindon. Brian (who owns the other one) followed up by contacting Steam and reported the following:
"In 2011 they were left a very large donation of GWR "stuff" in a Will. Part of this donation was 70 cab side number plates (inc. 2807) and 6 names plates including three Castles and a Grange. The donation had over 50,000 photos as well as various Swindon works and stock ledgers. This was all privately owned by a gentleman local to Swindon. They do not believe he worked at Swindon but something he had collect for personal interest. They have valued the total donation at over £1/2 million in value. "
I wish somebody would leave me a lagacy like that.
With Dinmore Manor now largely at the end of its winter maintenance, attention turned to 3850, and removing the damper door linkages and a few bits of the vacuum brake pipework that would still prevent her boiler from being lifted. I got to remove some of the vacuum brake pipework, including the bit with the pepper pot which limits the amount of vacuum that the ejector can create.
|The pepper pot, once I'd removed it and it's pipework from 3850|
|Fully disassembled and about to be cleaned.|
Meanwhile, David got on with cleaning various brackets etc that came off of 3850 before giving them a coat of rust inhibiting primer.
|David cleans off old flaky paint...|
|...and primes various small items.|
|Sean (l) and Steve.|
|The crack runs vertically for much of the height of the casting|
|A closer view of the crack in the cylinder casting|