Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Romance of Steam

Monday the 2nd January was the very last day of trains running on the line for the 2016 season and it occurred to me that I made a small error in my last post - I thought Dinmore Manor was out for the final day but in fact it was 2807. I knew that, honestly. My apologies to anyone who came expecting a 4-6-0 but actually got a 2-8-0. Still, 2807 is not be sniffed at of course, it's a very fine example of the breed and is the oldest GWR loco in service in private hands.

Ray was able to capture some beautiful photographs of 2807 in the winter sunshine during this final day.

Leaving the Shed

At Chicken Curve

Next to Toddington Signal Box

A Stunning Sunset Shot, at Gotherington
2807 silhouetted against the winter sunset. The crew, John, Clive and John are just visible.
Whilst Ray was busy capturing the Romance of Steam, something marvellous was playing out on the footplate during the last round trip. You know, one of those things in life that just work out so perfectly that it couldn't possibly have gone any better - such as having just enough milk for that one cup of tea, or, in this case, just the right amount of coal.

Now I assume that on the return from Trip 2, 2807 was running a little light on coal and required a bit of a top up. On any other ordinary day I imagine that the JCB would be used but on this occasion there was little point filling it up just to take it out again so a less traditional method was used:

To Me, To You: Trainee Fireman John passes up a bucket of coal to Tim.
Photo courtesy of Ray
The grand total of 6 bucket loads were passed up, and at the end of the day 2807 returned for disposal with an empty tender! Very well judged, John.

The big news this week, that can be found on the GWSR Boardroom Blog, is that the Railway has passed the 100,000 visitors mark for 2016. This is a fantastic achievement, 13% more than 2015 which was in itself a record-breaker. Long may this continue into 2017!

On Wednesday afternoon I popped in to see what the Wednesday Gang were doing. As soon as I stepped through the gate I could hear the sounds of tools and machinery being used in the shed and in the machine shop. A sure sign that Christmas is over and everything is getting back to normal - and that my job as the person with the camera to be avoided at all times blog writer is going to get a bit busier!

In the mess coach it was nice to see that someone had left some fizzy drinks, mince pies and a Christmas cake for all the volunteers of the Steam Dept. I failed to get a photo, but thank you to whoever brought them, I am sure they were very much enjoyed.

Tim on De-Rusting Duties
The first person to fall victim to my camera on a Wednesday was Tim B, who was busy de-rusting parts of the Broadway canopy. He'd nearly finished them when I arrived and they were looking pretty good.

Inside the shed I found Neal cutting steel for the intermediate rafters, and he can be seen measuring up in the background of the photo below.

Lengths of steel for Broadway canopy, some assembled, some awaiting the de-rusting treatment

Elsewhere in the 'shop I found Andrew M, who was working on these lovely brass electrical fittings for the lamps on 35006 P & O:

Throwing some light on the subject (eventually)
Personally I cannot wait to see them working, it's going to be a neat finishing touch to the project that has taken 30 years to complete. Andrew tells me that hopefully 35006 should be ready for the race trains in March.

I then went to see how things were progressing with Foremarke Hall's sliding ash pan doors but instead of seeing ash pan doors, there on the bench was one of the damper doors instead. I believe these were suffering with the same problems as the ash pan doors and they were in the process of being strengthened also.

One door closes and another one opens...  hopefully!
A quick trip underneath showed where the ash pan doors had got to - there they were, installed, and waiting for the operating mechanism to be finished, which Joe was working on. Perhaps we will see them operating in the next blog post?

The Starfish Wagon was also getting some attention - the noises I had heard while elsewhere in the shed confirmed that there was some riveting going on today. As riveting is quite an intensive process I didn't want to disturb anyone while they were working so I only managed to capture this shot. Maybe I'll be able to get a bit closer to the Starfish later in the week for a better look.  

Riveting on the Starfish Wagon continues
On the plus side I was able to capture this nice shot of a rivet being heated up, ready for insertion: 

...and also this shot of Dave A framed by the riveter. He spotted me and my camera but luckily for him I missed him posing - maybe next time!

Dave having an absolutely riveting time
(Sorry - couldn't resist)


  1. Muy bien! Started off very well. Enjoyed the blog enormously - and, of course, the humour. Regards, Paul.

  2. Those photos on the line are truly excellent; very atmospheric.