Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last few days, lurid headlines regarding "The beast from the East" and the rather less aggressive sounding "Emma" (How did we get to storm Emma? We have already had storm Eleanor and even Georgina this year. Doesn't the Met office know the alphabet?). Regardless, it was certainly cold enough to have ensured that any self respecting brass monkeys had long since headed far south for the sun rather than face the certain emasculation that accompanies such low temperatures.
The beast from the East and Emma had conspired to deposit a lot of snow on the marquee that 76077 is hiding under, its temporary home looking rather like an igloo. Inside, snug and warm, 76077 is now looking rather smart, with pretty much everything that needs to be painted now in top coat
|Gloss black frames...|
|...red on the inside...|
|...and black driving wheels.|
The winter wonderland conditions looked rather delightful, but there were a few drawbacks. The first of these was that there was no running water in the mess coach, all the pipes were frozen. This is of course a calamitous state of affairs, it is well known that the steam loco dept is utterly incapacitated without tea. Disaster was averted by Andy M kindly delivering 6 large plastic bottles of water.
|Mike filling the kettle from a bottle of water|
In anticipation of the steam test, 35006 had been in steam on Wednesday with a view to setting her safety valves. Having been left overnight to cool down, and with still 20 PSI on the pressure gauge, it was a little surprising to discover that she was coated in a mass of icicles
|From her motion...|
|... to her steam heat pipes...|
|...and even her cylinder drain cocks.|
Not everything is best done cold though, the new spring hanger bolts for Dinmore Manor's bogie had been machined and once we found where they had been hidden, they wanted painting. Paint doesn't work very well when there is a wind chill of -11 (neither do I if I'm being honest), so a cunning plan was put into place. First, some of the precious water was boiled and poured into a bucket. The paint tin was then placed in the bucket, and after a few minutes, the paint had warmed up sufficiently to flow as it should.
|Green primer warming!|
|Pete applies primer|
|Soon be ready for a top coat|
|Snowing in the David Page shed|
|Piston valve in its bore...|
|...front cover fitted|
|...packing in place and lubrication fitted.|
|Valve spindle cross head fitted and ready for further service.|
|Pumping water into a connector attached to 35006's blow down valve|
|Foremarke Hall, warming up back in the shed|
|Dinmore Manor, just lit up out in the cold|
|(l-r) Dan, Mike and Mark trying to warm up.|
Apparently the boiler inspector braved the elements and made his way to Toddington on Friday, and now all of our home fleet with the exception of 4270 which is still at Crewe have successfully passed their annual assessments. The following selection of photos from Friday's boiler test are all courtesy of Mike Solloway.
|The home fleet (minus 4270) in steam|
|Dinmore Manor's bogie, with the broken spring hanger bolt that will soon be replaced|
|Foremarke Hall and 35006|
|35006's injectors needed warming through|
|Just getting into the signing off point was a challenge|
|L Shed nameplates|
|3850 and friends|