After a bit of a marathon session last week, (4 turns in 6 days), it was something of a relief to only have one turn this week, on Saturday. It was down for a driver training turn for Chris with Jamie as his instructor. I received a text on Friday evening from Chris, saying that Jamie was standing down & that inspector Irving would be taking his place. He didn't say as much, but obviously that meant he was to be assessed as a driver.
I checked the weather forecast for Saturday, which turned out to be extremely grim. I wasn't sure if I should go to Toddington and light up 2807, or stay at home and build an ark. Wet rails increase the chances of wheel slips, which is not something that you would want to have to contend with on your driving exam. Incidentally, this would be my fifth time on 2807 in the last six turns. At 113 years old, she is the oldest running GWR built steam locomotive. You can't help but admire her, she's a testimony to the soundness of Churchward's original design and of course to Cotswold Steam Preservation LTD who restored her from scrapyard condition to the gleaming machine that she is now. She has a little over a year left on her boiler ticket now, so will have to stop for a heavy general overhaul late next year. If you haven't yet managed to visit our railway and ride behind the wonderful 2807, you only have a year or so to do it before she will have to come to what will hopefully be a relatively brief outage from service.
Come Saturday morning, there was some rain as I drove in, but by the time I arrived at Toddington, it had cleared up, the only evidence of precipitation being a rainbow starting somewhere in the general direction of Winchcombe (did anybody in Carriage & Wagon find the pot of gold?)
|Rainbow shining out of Foremarke Hall's safety valve bonnet|
|Foremarke Hall's crew taking a tea break|
It takes rather more of the Scottish coal to do a round trip, than it does the Welsh, so we arranged for a top up before we set off. Jamie, who had been Chris' driving instructor was around, and he volunteered to drive the digger for us.
|Jamie tops up our coal|
|Just as well the wind was taking the smoke away from us|
|Chris (l) & inspector Irving tucking into breakfast|
|Wrong kind of wedge!|
|Taking water at Cheltenham Race Course|
|Angela operating the ground frame at Broadway...|
|...coupling 2807 up to the maroon rake...|
|...and feeding the fire for a bit...|
|...and dropping off tokens|
I noticed that the Permanent Way gang were working on the recently installed set of points in Toddington yard's south headshunt. Hopefully they will become operational soon.
|Permanent Way at work|
|D5343 at Winchcombe|
The star of the show of course was Chris, who was thoroughly enjoying being our most recently qualified driver.
|Chris in his element|
|Shunt releasing the class 26|
|Inspector Irving congratulating Chris at the end of the day|
|Chris' driving instructor, Jamie, joined in the congratulations as well|
|Jamie & Angela empty the pit of ash|