Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Swindon Built - Fifty Shades of Green (Part 2)

Come the Sunday of the gala, I was down as fireman for the first train to leave Toddington, the early morning empty coaching stock movement to Cheltenham which then became the first passenger train to start from there.  My steed for the day was the rather enchanting BR Standard 9F, 2-10-0, 92214.  I haven't volunteered at the GWSR for long enough to have crewed Black Prince, so this was my first day out on a 9F.

Once again an 04:30 start was required:
There had still been plenty of pressure when I arrived, so I was in no hurry to get her lit up
 There are precious few advantages to clocking in at 04:30 (yes, I must be mad), but a decent sunrise can be a reward if you're lucky.
The sun rises behind Toddington signal box.
 92214 came with an owner's rep, Steve, who clocked in at 05:30 every day.
Steve (l) and Jamie (driver)
 We were a little concerned about the water level in the tender and gave it a fair top up from the parachute tank recently commissioned in the yard.
Topping up in the yard...
 Our crew instructions told us to take more water when we got to Cheltenham, so we topped up again from the water tower there:
Though I'm not at all sure that most of it didn't end up on the platform

The return journey saw us cross Erlestoke Manor at Gotherington.  This should have been double headed with Foremarke Hall, however that had been failed at the end of the previous day.
Crossing Erlestoke Manor at Gotherington
 We spent a short while waiting in the station at Winchcombe for the next service to arrive.  I bumped into Mike, who is not only a volunteer at Broadway, but was also, once upon a time,  my physics teacher.  Fearing that extra homework and a detention might be coming my way, I offered him a footplate ride up to Toddington.  
Mike tries out the driver's seat for size before we set off.
 We continued through to Laverton, with 35006 attached to the rear from Toddington, and then we were dragged back. 
I had no doubt that 35006 was back there, I could hear it very clearly once we stopped at Laverton
Mark tries out Erlestoke Manor for a change
 I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that by the time we had detached from the back of our train and run up to siding number one, that Foremarke Hall was in steam on the old pit and was being prepped ready to rejoin the gala.  In the end, she only missed the Sunday morning.
Foremarke Hall, gleaming in the morning sun
 Once more down to Cheltenham Race Course, from where we would hand over to the afternoon crew.
Setting off from Toddington once more
Jamie looking happy in his side of the office
Crossing 35006 (sporting an Orianna headboard) at Gotherington
 The handover to the afternoon crew was a bit special.  The fireman Chris, used to fire for BR and the entry in his log book dated exactly 51 years before to the day, showed that he had fired 92214 then as well.
Jamie (l) and Chris
 Just because we could, we'd run it with a Pines Express headboard.  9F's certainly used to haul the Pines Express (92220, Evening Star famously hauling the very last one).
Pining for the S&DJR.
 There was nothing left to do after that, but ride back on the cushions, clock off and enjoy the gala as a visitor.  Having thus far managed to miss both breakfast and lunch, I made a bee line back down to Winchcombe to sample the wares of the pasty van and the beer tent.  Watching the trains rumble by at Winchcombe is a very pleasant way to while away the last hour or two of a gala.
The two Manors, together again
 A few photos have come my way from the Sunday from other people, but this one from Mark shows Dinmore Manor on a rare piece of track, down as far towards Hunting Butts tunnel as you can get without shifting rolling sock out of the way:
Rare track indeed, photo courtesy of Mark Young.
Roger also sent through a couple of photos, one was of me, so you're spared that, but the other was of Chris, reunited with 92214:
Chris with 92214, photo courtesy of Roger Tipton
Chris was around a few days later after the gala had finished, to help Ben and myself get 92214 ready for onward shipment to the Epping & Ongar Railway.  He brought along something that he had had made for him, many years ago:
O gauge 92214, perched on the real 92214...
...complete with crew
Life imitating art
 Chris also gave me a list of the locos that he had been privileged to fire during his BR days, which threw up a number of interesting entries, including 7029, Clun Castle, which he managed to get from Gloucester to Honeybourne with, before Gloucester demanded their loco back. Also of note was 92203, which was later to be bought direct from BR by David Shepherd and named Black Prince.  It spent a number of years as a resident loco on our railway of course.

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