Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Carols and Steam

Once again, thanks to the good offices of Chris, I have something to report from the activities of the Wednesday gang:

4270 had experienced a badly clinkered fire at the end of last week, and the Wednesday gang leaped into action to get the grate and ash pan fit for further service:
An unidentified person cleaning 4270's grate.
Some of the clinker that emerged from the grate
 As reported last week, 2807 had one of its brake compensating beams the wrong way round (see last week's blog for more details).  The pivot pin had been removed last thing on Saturday, the job was completed on Wednesday.
Ben (l) & Roger, about to switch the compensating beam round...
...Job done, John (l) and Gilbert sign off the paperwork
All previous photos by kind courtesy of Chris Blake

The training of drivers for the new (well to us) telehandler is progressing, Clive getting to grips with the beast, whilst raising Foremarke Hall's safety valves into position.
Clive in the telehandler
Tim picks up where Neal left off as chairman of the escape committee
Now on to Saturday, a few photos came my way from an anonymous source, who was present for the light up of the locos for the Santa turns:

Not having had a winter turn on 4270, our anonymous correspondent took a look under 4270 to find out where the weights for the injector drains are supposed to hang.  They were still in situ...  he overlooked informing 4270's fireman that they were still in place.
Drain weights in place.
4270, in steam, decorated and ready to take nice children to the North Pole
 As noted last week, Dinmore Manor had rather Cinderella like been overlooked when it came to seasonal decorations.  Ben had noted this and remedied matters by fetching along no small amount of tinsel.
Ben and Eleanor starting to decorate Dinmore Manor...
...Ben let the Christmas decorating go to his head a bit
Job done, Dinmore too looked ready for her appointment with the jovial white bearded chap in the red suit
The guilty parties, (l-r), Ian, Tina, Ben & Eleanor
Off with some empty coaches to fill with screaming kids
 The steam hauled Santa specials run from Cheltenham Race Course (CRC) to Winchcombe The North Pole and back, so once they were off, they didn't return for the rest of the day.  This was just as well, because, by the use of some of the magic involved in the Harry Potter movies, Santa was in two places at once, not only was he at the North Pole, but he was also riding up and down the northern section of our line on the DMU.  Toddington was suitably blinged for the occasion:

Danger, Elves at work!
 Meanwhile, back in the yard, after I had arrived, there was plenty of work to do.  The recalcitrant stud on top of 3850's boiler merited further attention.  A nut was re welded onto the stud, and considerable leverage, brute force & ignorance was brought to bear, all to no avail.  Some heat will be applied at a future date to assist, but on Saturday, the onset of heavy rain stopped play on outdoor jobs.
Mark welds a nut on the stud
In the nice warm dry David Page shed, a small team continued welding parts of the roof canopy for Broadway station
Pete holds a cherry red rivet in place...
...Ian applies pressure to finish the job
The tunnelling committee are at it again.
One of the more interesting jobs was salvaging a white metal bearing from one of the cut off coupling rods from 2874.  The rest of the coupling rod is apparently destined for some modern art installation in somebody's home.  I should point out that the cutting of the coupling rod occurred sometime after withdrawal by BR and before removal from the legendary Barry Island Scrap Yard.
The savaged coupling rod
No doubting its heritage
David after pressing out the bearing
Speaking of David, he suggested that I should help him with a nice warm dry job in the new Dinmore Manor container, putting in the brackets that would hold the light fittings.  This was an important point, as the weather had turned and was now raining not just cats and dogs, but a whole menagerie of domestic pets as well.   Unfortunately, I soon discovered that I had been led astray.  David's idea was that after suitable holes had been drilled in the container walls, that some fool kind soul would venture up onto the top of the containers in the pouring rain to put nuts onto the end of the bolts securing the brackets to the walls as they were poked through.  Guess who drew the short straw!
The view from the top of the containers
You will note that the adjustable spanner (an imperial one of course) is attached to me by a piece of string, as retrieving it if I dropped it between the containers would have been highly unlikely.
Back in the dry, the brackets looked like this...
Sam securing one of the brackets in place
 Once proper lighting has been installed, it will be possible to audit the collection of bits that go together to make 3850 at last.

Dinmore Manor's new tender is still in need of having its first top coat of paint rubbing down and a second coat applying, Andy started the rubbing down, a task not made any easier by the myriad rivets involved.
Andy preparing the new tender for a second top coat of paint
My excuse reason for arriving late, was that I had an evening firing turn.  The carol service train departed Toddington at 7pm, yours truly taking over Dinmore Manor from the daytime crew.
The weather left something to be desired
Still, there was a nice warm fire to try to dry off by.
 Mercifully, the rain stopped by the time that we set off, and stayed off for the rest of the evening.
Setting off from Toddington
Phil was the driver, and recent starter, Angela, tagged along for the ride.
 The timetable said that we should ferry the carol singers to Winchcombe, where a brass band would greet them and carols would be sung.  At some unspecified time after that (every fireman's joy, a guess when the train will be leaving event), we were to progress down to CRC and then return to Toddington.  All good fun, it's a very different experience firing in the dark.

Whilst carols were sung at Winchcombe, Phil took the opportunity to dry his jacket, which had become more than slightly damp earlier. 
You could see steam rising off of it.
 I suspect that this distraction was the reason why I didn't hear any changed lyrics to any of the carols... no shepherds washed their socks that night.

Another distraction, was a mince pie that the daytime crew had manage to wedge into an inaccessible location behind the injector manifold.  I was feeling a bit peckish by this point, so I opted to rescue it from it's precarious position.  You'll be disappointed to learn that I managed not to burn myself in the process.
The rescued mince pie, cooling down on the warming tray
The assembled throng singing under the canopy at Winchcombe
Dinmore Manor, enjoying listening to the carols
Angela earned her passage, by uncoupling at Toddington and helping with filling the tender
And finally, a few more photos by yet another Chris of his day on Sunday:

Apparently the dinky wheels of the accommodation bogies that 3850 is currently perched on amused Chris
I note that the weather was much kinder on Sunday.
Students of this blog will be well aware by now that Santa season whilst meaning rampant commercialism to everybody else, means time for a fry-up on the shovel to the crews at the GWSR
Chris H does his best celebrity chef impression
Andy and James enjoying the festive feast
 It wasn't all fun and games on the footplate though, one of the rubbers on the gauge frame was past its best, and steam was misting up the protector glass, Chris had to change the rubbers to get it to behave.
In need of some therapy
The above four photos by kind permission of Chris Chewter.

Next week, yours truly has a turn on the Santa Specials... plans are afoot for yet more cooking on the shovel.


  1. Glad you retrieved the mince pie. Well, it is the festive season!! Regards, Paul.

  2. As always, a fun, informative, lighthearted blog and the highlight of my week. Thank you!

    Southern Man in Exile