Monday, 14 August 2017

Andy Cap

Something that I omitted to mention in my last post, was that Donna's timing for retiring from the blog was impeccable. My distinctly better half & I were just about to disappear off on holiday for a fortnight... rather like the sun as it happens, as that disappeared off to the Mediterranean for a fortnight, leaving nothing but rain at our holiday destination up north.  Once again, I was walking the Coast to Coast, with our itinerary timed to coincide with steam on the Settle to Carlisle line:
5 minutes after arriving at Kirkby Stephen, Scots Guardsman passes through
 The route of the Coast to Coast also passes through Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, no surprise that we found more steam there.  What might come as a bit of a surprise is that we also found Paul.   Normally to be found driving steam or the DMU on the GWSR, Paul also moonlights in a number of other places, including as a fireman on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.  As if that wasn't enough, Paul also finds time to take an active part in the GWSR's gala team, in particular dealing with the finances and making sure that we don't go over budget.  Many people are given to wonder how he manages to find time for it all and hold down a full time job.
Paul, happy aboard the "Pocket Rocket"
 On our return from Robin Hood's bay the following day, we elected to go via Whitby and take the steam train back to Grosmont where we were staying again.  Once again, we discovered that we would be transported by the Pocket Rocket, with Paul firing it.

The "Pocket Rocket" at Whitby
The day after we had finished the Coast to Coast, we stayed on in Grosmont for a further day to ride the trains, and found Paul was rather dischuffed at having discovered that the B1 which he had been rostered to fire had been withdrawn with a weeping fusible plug and he was now relegated to a diesel:
Where do you put the coal?
  Returning back late on Wednesday, I was only back at the day job on Thursday, before taking a day off to fire on Friday.  Unfortunately, the day job came back to bite me all weekend, so I have no update from whatever might have happened in the department from then I am afraid.

What I can say though is that I had an excellent day on Friday, on 35006, in the company of Andy & Nick, and what transpired to be a rather extensive breakfast:
One extra large mobile BBQ
Nick gets going with the shovel & bacon...
...second course... black pudding
 Curiously, neither Andy nor Nick like black pudding... fortunately, Alex was around by this point, and with a cry of "Ecky thump" helped me demolish this lot. 
Andy scoffing his breakfast... note he's wearing a cap
 Hardly had we set off on the first trip, when Andy suddenly noticed that his head was not as warm as it had been.
Oh no... he's lost his hat overboard
 Nick and I surreptitiously whistled "Ilkley Moor bar t'at".

Something worthy of mentioning on this blog took place on 35006 over her last winter maintenance period, which I don't think has been mentioned before, is that the tender spray system has been completed.  Run the rear injector, turn on the correct tap, and presto, the coal dust is suppressed extremely well... all tenders should have something like this.
Difficult to tell from this, but this is the tender spray hard at work
 To be honest, it is incredibly good, as witnessed by the small flood of water making it's way onto the footplate from the tender.
No nasty coal dust here!
 On the second trip, we stopped at the relevant spot, and Nick was sent off to retrieve the missing cap.
Nick, cap in hand
Andy... reunited with his cap
 Having brought far too much food for breakfast, the sensible thing to do was to save some for lunch, the timetabled break between trips at Toddington is just about long enough to do it if you're quick.
Sausage rolls, warming, whilst trying not to melt the plastic wrapper
Separating linked sausages on the footplate isn't easy
Finally... separated sausages sizzling on the shovel
 To facilitate the on board cuisine, I had purchased at my own expense a new cooking implement for turning sausages/bacon etc on the shovel.  As my good deed for the day, after the last trip was finished and 35006 disposed, I washed it and left it in the mess coach for other crews to use.
The essential additional fireman's tool in use on the footplate.
Nick taking a photo of his lunch
A feast fit for a footplate crew!
 Even on a Friday, there is still plenty of extra-curricular activity on the line side, the line side drainage team were hard at work again:
Line side drainage team in action
There was also some form of carriage repairs/cleaning taking place on the maroon rake which had temporarily taken up residence on siding 1.
On some other blog, there will be a photo of me taking a photo of them, taking a photo....
Whilst on holiday, I received the following missive from Trevor:

"The Water Group has acquired an authentic GWR lamp hut, found rusting away on a Moreton in Marsh allotment. Getting it to Toddington was no easy matter, but finally it has been refurbished and erected next to the Toddington water hut as a salt, chemical and paint store. It replaces the Southern Railway concrete hut, which will be going to Cheltenham Racecourse station as a garden tools store."

Lamp hut, in as found condition...
...and after some GWSR TLC.  Both photos courtesy of Trevor Hobday
Finally, 3850's wheels are back from being turned at the South Devon Railway.
3850's wheels in the David Page shed
You may of course remember that these are the Collett pattern wheels that until recently were fitted to 2874, but which were recently swapped in a mutually beneficial exercise for both locos.  The lorry that fetched them up from the South Devon Railway also took back the wheels from Dinmore Manor's old tender (T1761), thereby saving on transport costs.  What you probably haven't noticed though, is that the wheels are arranged in the shed for 3850 as if she was facing towards Cheltenham, whereas the frames are on accommodation bogies and facing towards Broadway.  Those who are thinking that the cock-up fairy has paid us a visit, need not fear.   By the time that you read this, a series of operations involving a large crane should have taken place, by the end of which; the boiler that was on 3850 will be temporarily accommodated in 2874's frames, 3845's boiler will have been lifted, fetched to Toddington and placed on the sleeper stack that previously held 3850's boiler, and 3850's frames will have been turned to face Cheltenham.   Apparently the frame turning exercise will facilitate the removal of the cracked cylinder block from 3850.  All will be revealed in a future blog post.


  1. Thought you were going to write ' A breakfast fit for a KING'. Didn't think you were getting one of those anytime soon?? Q:What is the route availability on the GWsR?, as in double red restrictions? Regards, Paul.

    1. Getting a King here would be a dream come true for me, however I don't recommend holding your breath. As for route restriction, I have no idea what it was in GWR/BR days I'm afraid. I haven't heard of any axle load restrictions on any of our bridges/viaduct that would prevent us getting a King though.

    2. I *think* the Honeybourne line was an ordinary red route, so anything was allowed except for kings.

      However, likewise I've heard no physical reason why a king couldn't visit - surely it wouldn't do too much harm just over a gala weekend?....

      We can but dream anyway.

  2. The microwave in our 'new' transit wouldn't serve up a breakfast as good as the shovel. Perhaps a properly cooked breakfast could be 'delivered' in passing off the footplate?
    Andy P - Lineside Drainage

    1. Cooking on the shovel whilst moving would be something of an achievement, the draw on the fire would pull the food off of the shovel and into the fire. Your best bet is to come to some arrangement with OTC.

    2. The real skill would be to deliver it by exhausting it through the chimney... :D

  3. And you passed my door in Kirkby Stephen without calling for a brew. I think I might even have been under the footbridge from where your shot was taken.

    1. Crikey, it's a small world at times. I had no idea that this humble blog's readership was scattered so far afield. Had we known that there was a brew available, we would have gladly called in. As it turned out, we ended up in the "Jolly Farmers B&B" that night and were greeted with a complimentary cream tea :-)

    2. And me ex Loco Dept driver as well,ask NBH

  4. It's the Carriage Maintenance Gang working on the maroon rake, normally to found on Friday's in Toddington platform keeping the rakes in running order. We have to camp out in August with Friday running hence siding 1 being taken over. The cleaning team work every Monday and are always on the lookout for helpers