Unfortunately my allocated loco for Saturday, 35006 wasn't in use the day before, so I had to go to Toddington to put in a warming fire in preparation on Friday. The tender was rather low on coal, and the water was higher than I wanted it to be. I bumped into Andy of the owning group, who was present on Friday to check out some work that had taken place on the tender brakes. He was keen that the boiler should be drained out through the blow down valve to the point that there was only half a glass of water left... I needed no second bidding. According to the instruction manual for 35006, a warming fire should be lit on the back of the grate, so that is what I did. As I was about to leave when I had finished the job, Ian asked how many shovels full of coal I had used, fifty being the preferred amount. That useful piece of information was missing from the instruction manual that had been issued to crews, and in its absence I had not bothered counting, but kept building the fire up until the point where I couldn't hold the back of my hand against the washout plug above the firehole door. The evidence of the following day was that I had probably used a few more than fifty shovels full of coal.
Saturday morning dawned bright and early, and I set to raising steam on my nice warm loco. The quantity of coal in the tender was by now pitifully low, just about enough to cover the grate without having to resort to using any of the slack. Once the fire was lit, I tried sprinkling some of the slack around the grate to keep it going, but that just introduced a large dead spot in the centre of the fire. In desperation, I sent the cleaner (Donna) off to fetch a wheel barrow load of coal, Paul (cleaner on Foremarke Hall) kindly fetched a second wheel barrow load a little later.
|Driver/Inspector, Chris, oils up 35006. Emergency wheel barrow load of coal in the foreground|
|One of the yard hosepipes appears to have come to grief at some point recently|
|Andy (from the 35006 group) and Donna (cleaner) on the way back on the first trip|
|C&W inspect the vac connections between carriages|
The trick with firing slack, is that it's best to get it damp, then get it along the sides of the firebox, leaving the lumps of coal to go in the middle of the grate. That's all well and good in theory, but as 35006 didn't have a working pep pipe, or tender spray, it was difficult to put into practice, most of the slack ended being burnt up above the firebed, to little useful effect. The good news is that as soon as we arrived back on shed, Andy & Steve appeared with the relevant items to complete the installation of the pep pipe. Sunday's crew should have had the benefit of nicely damped down coal and a nice clean cab floor.
|Chris seemed to be fairly happy with the way it all went in the end.|
|Checking inside the smoke box at the end of the day, all ok in here.|
|During disposal, Chris loads up three buckets worth of coal of the benefit of the Sunday crew|
|Pit hose pipe with a sharp bend attachment on it|
Following on from the recent lifting of the boiler from the frames, more work has continued on the rebuild of 3850, the following four pictures came my way courtesy of Mike Solloway:
|Removal of the vacuum pump|
|Removal of the front buffers|
|Extraction of the left hand valve...|
|...and the right hand one.|
And finally, photos on this blog of me are a scarce commodity, which is exactly how I like it. I bumped into Nick at Cheltenham Race Course during the day on Saturday, who in times past was a cleaner on the GWSR before moving away. Nick posted this on a well known social media website over the weekend, and I'll make a rare exception for this.
|Yours truly having worked out which end of the shovel to hold (photo courtesy of Nick Frechter)|