Monday, 25 April 2016

Is Your Journey Really Necessary?

This weekend saw the "Wartime in the Cotswolds" event taking place.   At first sight, it seemed like any other day when we are running steam services:
4270 setting off from Toddington as usual...
 What was rather less usual, was that this was done under the gaze of a Sherman Tank which just happened to be parked in the car park:
It would be a brave traffic warden that put a ticket on that.
Odd name for a tank... "Lily Marlene"
 Elsewhere in the car park were a variety of other military vehicles.  I rather liked the half track with the anti-aircraft machine guns on the back.
I bet it would clear the road of "Sunday drivers" too.
In fact there were rather a lot of military vehicles on display...
...Very nice, though I dread to think what the fuel consumption figures are like.
 Also, on the edge of the car park, I couldn't help but notice this tent with a stove pipe emanating from one of the door flaps.  A running joke in the steam loco dept is that a certain fireman will get relegated to firing the waiting room fire during the gala... it will be the tent stove from now on.
It must get pretty smokey in there.
Dinmore Manor and 2807 were the other two locos running (in fact outside of the gala, the wartime weekend is the only occasion that we have three locos in steam this year). Tina has recently been promoted to the rank of firing instructor and was training Graham on this occasion.
(L-r), James, Jamie, Graham & Tina)
 I'm not sure why, but the local constabulary was paying close attention to Dinmore Manor, perhaps it was suspected that there were fifth columnists on the footplate.
Dinmore Manor and the long arm of the law.
 I think that Dinmore Manor managed to get under way before anybody was arrested.  I somehow doubt that wartime railway stations had young ladies singing songs into microphones on the platform, but the fact that Toddington did, added to the general (and indeed other ranks) ambiance of the occasion.
Chanteuse on platform 1
 There were plenty of suitable wartime signs to be found scattered about the place:
It seems that the RAAF were a little short staffed.
 On a slightly more serious note, so is the GWSR in certain departments. I understand that the station shops need a few more volunteers. 
If you like meeting people and have a bit of time to spare...
 This next sign met with my approval
Julie Andrews for me please!
 There were plenty of vendors of beverages, food and militaria in the car park.  Most were charging their customers in 21st Century currency and prices, but ostensibly at least, not all...
Cue Monty Python
 Another sign that caught my eye was this one:
How tidy is your kitchen?
 My favourite though had to be the following one, there is a touch of irony to the one on the left.
Is your journey really necessary?
 Hopefully none of our passengers saw that and thought twice about getting on our trains.
They'd have had a few problems if they'd wanted to travel anyway
 Many people got into the spirit of things and wore 1940's era clothing (no I didn't, I have nothing quite that modern in my wardrobe).  The 21st century popped up every now and again though.
Caught on his mobile phone... probably texting Herman Goering
 The rather excellent RAF control room re-enactment team were at it again in the diesel shed.  None of our diesels can quite claim to be of 1940's vintage (it's a fair cop, neither can Dinmore Manor... nor our three rakes of BR Mk 1 coaches), so one left in the shed was concealed with camouflage netting.
RAF Control Room
OK, perhaps the camouflage netting wasn't quite large enough to completely conceal the class 37
 Back to the signs again, we now have a few banners scattered about in a variety of locations advertising the Cotswold Festival of Steam gala on May 28th -30th
You really don't want to miss it!
 Bulleid pacific, Merchant Navy class, 35006 will make its first public trips during the gala, including heading a 14 coach train on the evening of Saturday 28th May.  Guest locos, BR standard 9F, 92214 and Ivatt, 2MT, 46521, both courtesy of the Great Central Railway will be in attendance, plus a third guest loco shortly to be announced.

Footplate rides as well as  advance tickets are now on sale.

Andy is one of the gala committee, he was caught round behind the David Page shed about to pass on details of the third guest loco to a Nazi spy.  Fortunately the army was on hand to detain him before he could leak any state secrets.
Andy, for you the war is over!
 Various battles were being fought during the day in and around the David Page shed, as well as out along the line.  I'm not sure why, but 35006's injectors were the location of one of those battles:
Steve (l) and Dave grapple with 35006's injectors
Chris was on hand to supervise.
 One of the automatic brake tensioners under 35006's tender needed to be machined slightly to stop it fouling on something when it was operating.  Steve and Dave later refitted that after the machining had been done.
Dave (l) and Steve fitting the automagic brake tensioner.
 The track work in the yard was coming in for some attention too, the Permanent Way team lifted a section of track on road seven and replaced the life expired wooden sleepers with concrete ones. 
Permanent Way team at work in the yard.
 Dinmore Manor's own tender is now in the latter stages of restoration, one of the remaining tasks being to straighten out the steps on the driver's side which were bent slightly down.
Mark demonstrating how to change a tyre?
 The trolley jack was there to apply pressure under the step, Ian then applied plenty of heat, and the jack was pumped enough to correct the angle of the step.
Ian applying heat to the step
The finished job, it will need a bit of a touch up to the paint of course, but it's level
The information that I provided last week about that tender appears to not have been entirely factually correct, and several people have pointed this out to me.  Here is a fairly comprehensive explanation from Mark Harding:

"It seems you have fallen into the minefield that is GWR tenders! The tender that is being built for Dinmore is indeed a Collett 3500 gallon tender, however the chassis is from a Collett 4000 gallon tender (identical chassis) that either came out of Barry with 3850 or came from Gloucester or Swindon I forget which. The tank is a new build to the original design, so not original per se. The Collett 3500 gallon tenders were originally designed to be used behind Manors and Granges etc but in the event only one Manor, 7814 Fringford Manor is known to have had one. The tenders Peto refers to are what were termed 'Churchward Intermediate tenders', which were a batch of 10 (plus another 2 later) Churchward 3500 gallon tenders (like Dinmore currently has) rebuilt by Collett to have a greater water and coal capacity. These have higher sides, a full length fender, a capacity of probably 4000 gallons and a weld line about 2/3rds the way up. 6 of these were fitted to the Manors and pictures of them are common. I'm pretty sure there aren't any originals left but I think 7325 has a replica one built on a Churchward 3500 chassis. Hope that clears things up. Dinmore will be unique in having a proper Collett 3500 gallon tender, it won't be totally original, but is anatomically correct."

My skills at tip-toeing through minefields appear to be somewhat lacking.  Thanks for the correction to Mark and others who wrote/commented.

And finally, the evening saw a 1940's dance with a live big band in one of the marquees in the car park.  Dancing is strictly a spectator sport in your humble scribes view, something to do with having two left feet.  On this occasion, Ed and Laura were present along with their families and friends from the GWSR to celebrate their impending marriage.
Ed (r) with his brother Tim.
Guarding their truck as 4270 makes good its escape down the line
Fear not, those rifles whilst of a similar vintage to 4270, have, unlike 4270,  been deactivated.

The truck behind them is owned by Ed, and they drove it many miles to get it to Toddington.  His new vehicle is not exactly frugal when it comes to fuel consumption though, the headline figure of 6 MPG would deter many.
Ed demonstrates the calibrated fuel depth measuring stick
Amongst Ed & Laura's guests last night, was George, who lacking any suitable 1940's attire wore a suit.  I'm rather more used to seeing members of the steam loco dept, wearing either their blues, or more usually grubby overalls.  It's easy to forget that we all have lives outside the GWSR at times.
George, he scrubs up well.
George, with Ed and Laura in their Home Guard uniforms
 Best wishes to Ed & Laura for a long, healthy and happy life together.

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