Monday, 30 April 2018

Keep Calm and Carry On

The last few weeks of this blog have focused solely on the various visiting loco announcements for the gala, and you could be forgiven for thinking that nothing else has been happening in the steam loco dept.  That is of course not true, we've been beavering away at all sorts of things, so here is a bit of a potted history of the last few weeks:


Well, it seems a bit too obvious, but we have of course been putting out locos onto the trains as required by the timetable
Dinmore Manor about to head off for a day's work
 Work has continued on 3850
Keith was one of many people who have wire brushed and painted 3850's frames
 Joe has done the machining on 3850's new ejector/blower ring
Joe, centring the ejector ring on a lathe
 He was also doing another one for Foremarke Hall.  3850's chimney was inverted to allow him to accurately mark out the mounting holes for the ejector ring that he would need to drill
Upside down chimney
 A small area of the apron that had recently missed out on being concreted because the concrete in the concrete mixer lorry ran out was attended to the old fashioned way
Tim roughs up the surface for the new concrete to key into...
...Eleanor measures out the ingredients... rather like baking a cake..
...not exactly gas mark 4 though...
Job done... and protected from people accidentally walking on it too.
 The temptation to etch out my initials before it set was strong, however I was lured away with tea and biscuits before I could do so.
Road 7 is next in line for an extended apron area.
 Speaking of concrete, the floor of the shed is starting to get a bit grubby, Ben decided to give it some therapy with the jet washer:
I think he's starting to get excited about the gala.
Dinmore Manor's old tender is now back on the jacks and awaiting finishing off.
Ready to be hoisted aloft once more
 Moving on to Saturday the 21st, Joe has machined 3850's ejector ring and had now moved on to Foremarke Hall's.
Joe machining Foremarke Hall's ejector ring...
...and here's one he prepared earlier, 3850's.
 More wire brushing and painting on 3850's frames
Seb was one of many working inside the frames of 3850
 Meanwhile, now that both halves of the new cylinder block have been cast, work is commencing on removing 3850's old cracked one.  First off, the pivot for the pony truck which is attached to the underside of the cylinder block had to be removed.
Pony truck pivot, loosened, but not yet removed
 As you might have guessed, it had probably been in place since 1942 and was quite happy where it was thank you very much.  It took a great deal of persuading, not all of it gentle, to part company with the cylinder block.
Pony truck pivot finally removed
 Interestingly, it appeared to have the year 1940 cast into it, which possibly suggests that the GWR cast quite a few of them early in the process of building the lot that 3850 was part of and had only just got round to using this one when they assembled her in June 1942.

One of the 24 bolts holding the cylinder block in place was loosened off too, that took a great deal of effort as well.

I have received a few photos in the week of activities on both Sunday and Wednesday.  The following two photos are both from Matthew Harris showing further work on 3850:
More primer applied, this time to the running plate...
...Sam removing some of the cylinder block mounting bolts.
On Wednesday, Peter Gutteridge sent me the following seven photos, which mostly relate to the relocation of the air compressor to make room behind the goods shed for the new mess facilities.
Air compressor shed on the move
Neal unplumbed the reservoir tank
Space for the mess facilities to be erected
 There is still more to be moved that is out of shot, such as 2874's boiler and the training cabin and the toilet block, but it's a good start.

We've also taken in some deliveries, for cutting up the pallets in the wood pile for lighting up the locos with, some black stuff for keeping the fires burning once lit and some items for moving the aforementioned black stuff about.  I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to work out which is which.
Exhibit A, These are black, but will they burn?
Exhibit B, being suffocated in plastic bags
Exhibit C, Credit card required before firemen can use this stuff
Nigel has installed the last of the LED lights in the ceiling of the David Page shed.  They come on as soon as you flick the switch, provide stronger light and cost less to run, perfect.
Illumination without financial ruination!
Moving on to this weekend, we staged our annual 1940's event.  There was no space allotted in the car park for footplate crew and a missive had been sent suggesting that we parked in the first field to unload our cars, then shift our cars to the second field.  With overalls, blues, 2 sets of boots, footplate bags and for the firemen at least, shovels, this was deemed more than a little impractical and we all sneaked into the car park whilst the sentries were still asleep to unload our cars before shifting them to the second field.  The second field owed more to the battle of the Somme than any military campaign in WWII, but we decided that it was a better choice than the suggestion in a follow up missive that we should park at Cheltenham Race Course given the ground conditions.

Unfortunately Foremarke Hall was out of action for the wartime weekend, and I think the diesel shunters were not working, which ended up meaning that my steed for the day, 2807, which was rostered to be the first off shed, wasn't parked over a pit.  That makes no difference to the fireman of course, but the driver, Ian in this case, finds oiling the loco to be more than a little tricky, requiring acts of contortionism that are rarely found in a circus full of acrobats, never mind middle aged men.
2807, not on a pit
 Curiously, the timetable only sent the DMU up to our new station at Broadway, and not any of the three steam locos in action.  The nice "Return to Broadway" headboards that we are supposed to use for the rest of the season, seemed rather inappropriate, so we removed them.
Not returning to Broadway until hostilities have ceased!
 I had no real time to investigate the many varied attractions in the car park, but it was hard to miss the replica Spitfire parked up alongside the coal dock as we were taking coal.
It even has a real engine that got run up occasionally
 Even though it was camouflaged, it was hard to ignore the tank parked up nearby as well
It would take a brave traffic warden to put a parking ticket on this!
The nearest field contained a number of military vehicles too, including this rather nice half track, which would be ideal when it came to driving out of the boggy field at the end of the day.
I bet this one didn't get stuck
 There was a pall of smoke in the distance by Didbrook, clearly visible from Toddington station, which suggested that either the lineside clearance were hard at work, or the Indians were on the war path.  It's not easy to get a steam train to run round in circles like a wagon train when under attack from Red Indians, so I was pleased to discover that it was the lineside clearance gang doing what they do best. 
It's not hard to tell how far they have got.
 2807 is a lovely loco to fire, you never have a bad day on her, however I suspect that she may have caused a little confusion to her owning group at some point if the scribings on one of the lubrication feeds is anything to go by.
 It seems that we have a new signal man in training for Gotherington signal box, Bill was busy showing him the ropes of token exchanges on the platform.
Bill (r) explaining the mystical art of the token exchange
35006, now has the token and is on her way to CRC
 Gotherington comes alive during the 1940's weekend, with the pump trolley seeing use on the short isolated section of line there.
They weren't quick enough to catch us
 There was also a military encampment in the field
I don't know why he needed a gas mask, we weren't making that much smoke
There was even a chanteuse serenading the passing trains.
We'll meet again...
 Back at Toddington, it transpired that the Luftwaffe had paid us a visit.
A present from Adolf
 We had a footplate passenger for a while on the second trip, presumably seeking shelter from the falling bombs.
Looking out for Messersmits Messysmidts Heinkels
 We passed 35006 again at Gotherington loop, this time, I suspect that the token exchange didn't quite go as planned as 35006 ground to a halt just passed the token exchange platform.
35006 through 2807's cab window.
Hitherto I had been unaware that turning up in military uniform entitled you to step out of the carriages as the train is pulling away.  Fortunately I noticed and got Ian to bring the train quickly to a halt. It should come under the heading of "needless to say", but I'll say it anyway, opening the doors on a moving train presents a very real hazard to people on the platform, never mind the enhanced risk of slipping and falling, possibly even falling into the gap between the platform and train. I have seen videos of what happens when people fall into the gap between platform and train, trust me, you really don't want it happening to you. That should all come under the heading of common sense really, but commons sense, in spite of its name, seems to be a remarkably scarce commodity at times! 
Gotherington platform
Ian, getting us moving for the second time
 This time, there was a new arrival in the car park at Toddington, Gigantic in both name and nature.
Andy photo bombs on the right hand side
 And finally, the bad news is that Foremarke Hall chewed up and spat out a fireman's side piston ring during the week.  The very good news is that aside from the damage to the piston ring, the piston and the cylinder wall remains undamaged.  The driver's side piston and rings has been examined just in case and found to be OK. A new piston ring will be fitted in the near future and we expect that she will be back up and running in a couple of weeks, which will allow for a little running in prior to the gala.
Disconnecting the cross head
The empty cylinder

Monday, 23 April 2018

The Fourth and Final Gala Visitor

In all of our recent series of Cotswold Festival of Steam galas, the aim has been to obtain three guest engines to supplement our home fleet of five locos.  This year, we have a slight problem which is that one of our home fleet locos, 4270 is now not expected back from repairs at Crewe in time for the gala. We have therefore on this occasion obtained a fourth guest engine, Collett 0-6-0PT, 6430, with kind permission of Hugh Shipton and the Llangollen Railway.
6430, seen here at Bishops Lydeard on the West Somerset Railway
6430 was built in 1937, one of a class of just 40 locomotives designed with small 4'7.5" wheels for working steeply graded branch lines and fitted with auto equipment.
6430 on the Dean Forest Railway
 We have no autocoach to pair with 6430 alas, but we do need a fourth rake of coaches now that we have opened to Broadway.  The only way to make that happen this year, is to press the three car DMU set into service as passenger stock hauled by 6430.  The DMU is green for at least two of the carriages (and we're hoping by the time of the gala for all three), so it will look not entirely unlike a three coach suburban rake.   Fear not, this is a steam gala, the DMU's engines will not be turned on.
6430 at Berwyn on the Llangollen Railway
 The views from the front few seats of the DMU will give an unusually good view of 6430 as it toils away up an down our line.
6430 at Llangollen
 6430 was finally withdrawn from Yeovil in 1964 and sold to Cashmore's for scrapping, however she was then promptly re-sold to the Dart Valley Railway and entered service there until 1996 when she was transferred to Llangollen
6430 working down the Llangollen line at Horseshoe Falls
To recap, the full line up for the Cotswold Festival of Steam "Give My Regards to Broadway" gala is:

Guest locos (in order of age):
Collett 4-6-0, 6023, King Edward II

Collett 0-6-0PT, 6430

USATC S160, 5197

Riddles 4-6-2, 70013, Oliver Cromwell

Home fleet locos (again in order of age):

Churchward 2-8-0, 2807

Bulleid 4-6-2, 35006, Peninsular & Oriental S.N.Co

Hawksworth 4-6-0, 7903, Foremarke Hall

Collett 4-6-0, 7820 Dinmore Manor

Don't miss out on this remarkable event, advance tickets are still available and can be obtained by clicking on this link.