As you are probably well aware the public opening of the line extension to Broadway is fast approaching. The Easter weekend, 30th March - 2nd April should be in your diaries as the time for joining us for this special event. For shareholders and volunteers of the GWSR however there was something of a sneak preview on last Wednesday and Thursday with a number of special trains running up to Broadway for them. I was fireman on the Thursday and my trusty steed for the day was Merchant Navy 35006. Equipped with a headboard commemorating the event we left the shed in good time to start warming up the carriages.
|No doubt as to where we're going|
|35006 becoming a film star|
|A spy in the cab|
Running up to Broadway is of course a new experience for our drivers and for the new section of track each one (Chris, Paul and Mark took one round trip each) had to be accompanied by a route conductor (Neil) who would describe the features of the route, such as crossings, which we were to meet on the line ahead.
The line extension also takes us over the border into Worcestershire, the location of the transition being marked appropriately.
|Crossing the boarder - passports at the ready please!|
|Signal box at Broadway - very suitably GWR|
On one of the trips, with the loco repositioned and coupled onto the train, I returned to the cab to find a rather unusual footplate visitor. The gentleman in question was a piece of asparagus.
|Asparagus Man, one of Marvel's lesser known super heroes!|
|We've arrived - the running-in board tells no lies!|
The day started well, upon examining Foremarke Hall's tender, I discovered that there was enough coal, not just for the day, but another week's worth of running. I've never seen one of our tenders with so much coal in it. No having to send a cleaner scuttling to the back of the tender to bring coal forward today.
|The fireman's dream!|
|A flooded and inaccessible ash pit|
Jeremy was the rostered cleaner:
|Jeremy attending to one of Foremarke Hall's nameplates|
|Towards the end, there was quite a gang of people assisting him|
|It's out there somewhere....|
|...appearing through the mist...|
|...there it is!|
|On 35006, you get even less room to play with.|
|The permanent Way team at work|
|Disappearing through Greet tunnel|
|Very happy with his birthday present.|
|Still more accurate than the weather forecast|
|Setting off double headed|
|Apparently the double heading warranted an audience.|
|Here they are at work near Didbrook|
|No BBQ for us|
|Red shade in the lamp|
Unlike when it was done for real on heavy trains on the big railway, when we run double headed, or topping and tailing, it's the lead locomotive that is supposed to do all the work, the train or trailing loco should do nothing. This, when coupled with lengthy layovers at Toddington, meant that some skill was called for to keep the fire alive and across the whole grate, whilst at the same time neither blowing off, nor letting the water level get too high. I cunningly let Jeremy fire this trip, so that he would get the blame when it all went wrong. Needless to say, he managed extremely well, maintaining a clean sheet throughout. The carriages must have been remarkably warm by the end of that trip though.
|Jeremy used the shovel sparingly|
|Ian, watching the world pass by|
|2807 pulls us towards Toddington on the way back|
|Two passengers alighting at Hayles Abbey Halt|
|This chap just wanted to take photos|
|Ben, on 9466 (Photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)|