Monday, 22 August 2016

Real Ale and Football

Yours truly was down to fire 35006 on Saturday, but upon my arrival on Friday evening to put in a warming fire, all was still not well with the front injector.  Dan was investigating the problem when I arrived.
Dan, investigating the injector issue.
 Unfortunately, the issue remained unresolved on Friday evening, and I wound up being assigned Foremarke Hall for the turn on Saturday instead.  Given the recent dry spell, and the danger of lineside fires, I was tasked with fitting Foremarke Hall's spark arrester before lighting it up (fitting anything in the smoke box is better off done before lighting up in my experience).
Foremarke Hall's spark arrester, prior to installation.
 That was of course the kiss of death on the weather, no sooner was the spark arrester fitted, than the heat wave of the last week or so came to an abrupt end.

It wasn't just rain falling from the sky that got people wet.  Safely cleaning the upper reaches of a steam loco can be a challenge, and one technique is to use a hose pipe and a long handled brush.  This is all well and good, as long as the person with the hose pipe is accurate.  The protestations from Eleanor (cleaner) and Phil (driver) whilst John operated the hose pipe suggested that his aim left something to be desired.
John operating the hose pipe
 A little later, when all had switched sides:
Phil notices that he is suddenly getting rather damp...
...and ducks for cover.
 There is only one way to dry out after being accidentally dampened, and that is to warm yourself off in front of a good fire (I knew where one could be found) whilst frying up a hearty breakfast.
Phil dry's off as he attends to cooking breakfast
 We don't usually cook breakfast on the shovel, but when we do, it's always a very welcome event.
A pile of bacon and sausages on the plate, a few eggs to finish off with on the shovel
 I cunningly waited until he had cooked ample for three hungry people, before mentioning that Eleanor was largely vegetarian... all the more for me.
Grub up!
Bacon, sausage & egg sarnies... what better way to start the day!  Thanks Phil.
Aaron sneaked over from 4270 and grabbed a spare sausage
 The day progressed in the usual way, uneventfully shuffling our way to Cheltenham Race Course and back.
Crossing 4270 on the way back.
Phil checks for hot bearings
 Well there was something a little out of the ordinary, for the last few weeks, a football has been beside the track just south of Bishop's Cleeve crossing.  There was a danger that it might lure children to stray onto the line to retrieve it, so Phil arranged with the guard that he would stop on the second trip and remove the temptation. 
Phil fetches the football up onto the footplate...
...ball safely stowed away, we set off again.
 The football was in a fairly sorry and deflated state, I offered to put it out of its misery by putting it on the fire, but Phil seemed confident that he could resurrect it once more.  I'm not sure why he'd bother though, last time I heard, his team lost 12:0.

The weekend was another of the successful Real Ale events, with beer available at both Winchcombe & Toddington.  This is something of a torture for the crews, as we have to remain sober throughout, in fact as most of us drive to and from the railway, we can't even visit the beer tent after we've finished our shifts.
There seemed to be a healthy turnout for the beer tent (other side of the waiting room)
Entering Greet tunnel...
...and leaving it again.
Eleanor firing Foremarke Hall.
The third round trip involves a ten minute layover at Winchcombe, before we can cross train 2 (by this time diesel hauled).  It's not uncommon for one of the crew to head on over to the signal box and speed up the process a little by collecting the token directly from the signal man, rather than getting him to come across to platform 2.
Foremarke Hall looked very nice from the signal box

 I've managed not to ash out Foremarke Hall since she came back into traffic.  Getting the ash out of the various nooks and crannies is something of an art, and there are now a variety of hosepipe attachments to facilitate getting water into all the necessary places.  John kindly volunteered to demonstrate how it should be done.
John washing out the front of the ash pan
...and later on the rear.
 The hot tip, was that I needed to have got Foremarke Hall positioned slightly further forward on the pit, to reduce the likelihood of getting wet.
Decidedly damp trousers
 It's fairly common to encounter birds of one sort or another sat on the track as we're going along, they usually fly out of the way in good time... usually.  Evidence under the tender suggested that a pigeon had not been quite quick enough in taking to its wings.
The tender had been tarred & feathered.
Phil leaving at the end of the day with the football
For what was probably the first time in very many years, 2874 found itself indoors and receiving a little TLC.  2874 has the later Collett version of driving wheels, whereas 3850 has the earlier Churchward ones (Don't ask, I believe the difference between them is minimal).  The opportunity to swap them over is to be taken, so each loco will ultimately have the correct type.  To that end, the brake rigging from 2874 has been removed, which is necessary to lift it off its wheels.
Ian heating up a retaining pin, before removal.
2874, in a nice warm shed for the first time in a very long time.
Brake linkages, removed, cleaned & primed...
...whilst some were still awaiting attention
And finally, 2874's last fire (from, or shortly before her withdrawal date of 31st May 1963) has been rather belatedly cleaned out of the grate by Roger.  What little was left of the ash pan, grate & brick arch came out with it, along with a couple of the pipes from the exhaust steam injector.
Remains of the fire/brick arch/exhaust steam injector pipes (photo courtesy of Roger Tipton)

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