Monday, 10 June 2019

B1 to the Rescue

Cast your mind back to the Saturday after the gala, the DMLL group were in the final throes of preparing Dinmore Manor for her summer holiday on what used to be known as the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway, but which these days has been re-branded as the "Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat Company".  I ended up re-fitting the spark arrester in her smoke box:
Dinmore Manor's spark arrester fitted
 There was also the little job of lifting a selection of spare firebars onto Dinmore Manor's tender:
Neatly stashed alongside the replacement springs that had been there for a while.
 Dinmore Manor also had a booked leak past one of her clack valves, some brute force and ignorance was required to undo the clacks so that the valve could be ground in again.
It really didn't want to budge
Ralph got busy getting a shine on the brass work
Alex made the running plate clean enough to eat your dinner off
And Martin buffed up the safety valve bonnet until he could see his face in it...
...job done!
 Even new-starter, Emily, got roped in to clean Dinmore Manor's motion.
Emily cleaning a connecting rod
Dinmore Manor, ready to go to Paignton, all she needs now is her bucket & spade
By the end of the day, Dinmore Manor looked like she had just emerged from Swindon Works after a heavy general overhaul.

This was the first weekend after the gala, and we had two of our visiting locos out on the red timetable.  Train 1, the Cotswold Express, was hauled by Thompson B1, 1264, and train 2, was hauled by Collett King, 6023, King Edward II.  Yours truly was rostered as the relief fireman for 1264, meaning that I took over after the first round trip.
6023 & 1264 on the pits before starting work for the day
 1264 pulled into Toddington, bang on time at 1264 and I took over from Eleanor as the fireman.  I found not one, but two owner's reps on the footplate, Barney & Jane.
Jane & Barney.
A B1 is the LNER equivalent of a Hall or Black 5, a 4-6-0 mixed traffic engine built in volume.  In comparison with Foremarke Hall, there are a number of strking differences for the fireman.  The first one that you notice long before you get onto the footplate even is that it has a long parallel boiler with a round topped firebox.
Round topped firebox
The belpaire fireboxes and taper barrels on GWR locos are much more forgiving of high water levels and the water levels don't change quite so markedly on changes of gradients or when under heavy braking.  On the B1, keeping the water level nailed at around three quarters of a glass would be a bit more of a challenge.

Upon gaining entry to the cab, the next thing that strikes you is the famed LNER letterbox for firing through.
Letter box in the closed position...
...and latched open, ready for firing.

 I had at least once before fired through one of these things, and with the right kind of shovel it is easier than it looks, it took just a few shovels full to get the hang of it again.  The grate is long and narrrow and slopes from a knuckle about a third of the way in, rather like the Swindon number 1 boiler carried by Foremarke Hall.   I had fetched along my own Bulldog shovel forged in a midland pattern, which was ideal for the task. I'm not sure how other GWSR firemen who chose to use the GWR pattern shovels that had been put on the loco will have fared.

Other departures from GWR practice are of course the presence of 2 water gauges and the blower valve being tucked somewhere inaccessible behind the regulator.  Care had to be taken when using it as several rather hot items were placed nearby as a trap for the unwary.

Paul, hand on the handle and ready to set off.
A feature that I rather liked was the electric lighting, which meant that we had cab illumination for passing through the tunnel and changing the lights at each end of the loco was a case of simply flicking a few switches.
Illuminated water gauge
In Gotherington loop
A feature that 1264 had, that none of our home fleet come equipped with is a holder for a staff.
The staff, securely held and nicely on view
An anomaly common to most LNER locos that I have come across is that the cylinder drain cock lever is located on the fireman's side of the cab.  This is a bizarre state of affairs as only the driver will really want to operate them.  I imagine its a hangover from the days when the LNER switched from right hand drive to left hand drive, I'm sure that somebody out there rather more knowledgable in LNER practice will explain why this is.
Cylinder drain cock lever
The upshot is that the driver has to ask the fireman to operate them whenever he needs to use them.

Needless to say, I had a marvellous day on 1264, I'd certainly welcome her back again.  

The day turned out to be slightly longer than planned.  6023 at this point hadn't had spark guards fitted in her ash pan, the 1st of June was hot and dry and there were a number of small fires reported along the line.  When we arrived back at Toddington for what had been expected to be the last time, we were informed by Mark, the Duty Operations Officer, that 6023 had started a fire in the Broadway section, and once it arrived, we were to head off into section and put the fires out.
Before all that, Mark was curious about the letter box and gave it a try
As it turned out, there were 2 fires to deal with, neither of any real size and quickly dealt with.
Mark beating out a fire...
...then Aaron applied some water.
They'll have to repaint it in fire engine red now.
The local fire brigade will be pleased to know that Karl from the 6023 group turned up that evening to fit the spark guards in 6023's ash pan.  Hopefully there will be no more repeats.  The fitting of spark guards is rather like getting out the BBQ though, it pretty much guarantees that we will have a wet summer.

Last Wednesday, with only 2807 left on shed (419 and 1264 having been sent back to their respective home railways), the Wednesday gang got on with erecting the platforms and ladders for the new lamps in the yard.
Ladder erecting team in action (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
One lamp with platform at the top, awaiting its ladder (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
We don't have the lantern heads to place on the stands.  A pair of new ones will cost £3,000. Should you wish to contribute towards the cost, then please send an email to steam.chairman at  (just replace the " at " with the @ symbol)
Des has been re-wheeled and has trundled up and down the yard again (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
The ballast spreading machine has appeared once more. (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
Your humble scribe's day job took him to Reading all last week, commuting on the train (sadly no longer steam).  Friday was the launch of Didcot Railway Centre's back conversion of 4942 Maindy Hall into Saint class, 2999 Lady of Legend. As I was passing the door (literally) and escaped from work early on Friday, it would have been rude not to call in and support the event, especially as our very own Foremarke Hall was guest of honour.  The weather was far from conducive to a successful launch of a steam locomotive into traffic, in fact the launch threatened to become a sinking, but it all went well in the end.

One of the Churchward Saints (2925, Saint Martin) was converted by Collett to be the first Hall (4900, Saint Martin). Later, Hawksworth modified the Hall's to create the Modified Hall class.  It was appropriate therefore that Didcot lined up Lady of Legend outside their shed with 5900, Hinderton Hall and 6998, Burton Agnes Hall (Modified Hall) to display the lineage from start to finish.
L-R, 2999, 5900, 6998
Lady of Legend in steam
As 6023, King Edward II is with us at the moment, it's not a bad idea to remind ourselves of some of the obstacles that had to be overcome to return her to steam, this being the well known cut through wheel set butchered after a shunting accident in Barry Island scrap yard.
Beyond salvage
A certain prime minister of a few years ago famously once said of herself in a speech "The lady is not for turning".  Well, it appears that in this case at least she was wrong as as Lady of Legend took a few turns on the turntable at Didcot.
The Lady, being turned
A recent gala visitor for us, 1450 was in action too
Foremarke Hall on the demonstration line
7903 joins 5900 & 6998, 2999 passes by on the demonstration line
2999 on the demonstration line
For a while, they even double headed Lady of Legend and Foremarke Hall, which with a rake of just two carriages wasn't strictly necessary, but it looked good anyway.
2999 and 7903 double headed
The sun eventially came out at the end of the day, L-R, 7903, 2999, 5900 & 6998
A few photos came my way from Foremarke Hall's locomotive manager, taken in the even poorer weather in the morning:
L-R, 2999, 5900, 6998 & 7903, (photo courtesy of John Cruxon)
Foremarke Hall being turned (photo courtesy of John Cruxon)
7903 in front of the coal stage, wish we had one of those at Toddington (photo courtesy of John Cruxon)
Moving on from the launch of 2999, Lady of Legend, I have some good news from the 2874 Trust; Eccesiastical Insurance has awarded them £1,000 again as part of their "Movement for Good" campaign.  The 2874 Trust would like to thank everybody who voted for them.

And finally, Chris Eden-Green has released another you-tube video in his "Locomotives in Profile" series.  If you are not familiar with his work, he combines footage of various locomotive classes and gives his personal opinion on how effective they were at what they were designed to do along with historical information. It's all rather more informative than anything that the mainstream tv companies come up with when dealing with heritage railways, yet he still manages to make it interesting.  The reason that I am mentioning it is that this time he has profiled the Thompson B1 class and used some footage shot at Toddington the day before the "Northern Soul" gala started. 
Chris Eden-Green capturing some footage of 1264...
...and speaking to camera
 It's well worth 16 minutes of your time and having to skip over a couple of adverts at the beginning to watch it.  Click on this link to see for yourself.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Northern Soul

The Cotswold Festival of Steam gala has been and gone and all that remains is the tidying up afterwards.  Here's how it went:

Cast your mind back to the 15th of May, I had a turn out on 4270... and the wood store was bare.  It doesn't take much wood to get 4270's small grate covered in fire, which is just as well, because that's all there was.
The cupboard was bare
 Still, it was an interesting day out with Neil (driving instructor), Steve (trainee driver) and Peter who was 4270's owner's rep.
L-R, Neil in the cab, Steve & Peter.
 It was my first trip out on 4270 for about  year, it was lovely to be reacquainted with her.
4270 ready to depart with the Cotswold Express
The reason that this is interesting, is that on this day, it was announced that Stanway viaduct was closed due to an issue with some fallen masonry.  If you have a steam gala about to start a little over a week later, this isn't exactly the sort of news that you want.  The prospect of having to re-write timetables/signal box diagrams/RSF/crew notes etc was not an appealing one.  Mercifully after an inspection by external consultants on the Friday, it was declared to be cosmetic rather than structural and the viaduct was declared safe to use once more.  You might well have noticed an audible sigh of relief from the gala team.

Moving swiftly along to the 21st, I had been due to fire Foremarke Hall, however her valves had yet to be refitted, so I had 2807 instead.
John with one of Foremarke Hall's valves ready for refitting
This was also the day that 1264 arrived
One of the valves being lifted into position
Dinmore Manor (l) and 2807 ready to commence the day's services
It wasn't just my loco that was changed, the driver, John, is the loco manager for Foremarke Hall and decided to forego most of his turn (only going to Broadway and back) in order to assist with Foremarke Hall.  Clive and later Andy took over the driving.  Three drivers in one day on the same loco must be a record.   

On to Wednesday 22nd, and Mike plus a small team of people were busy erecting 2874's cab for display in the marquee.  The various sheets of steel had been ordered to the sizes specified in the original Swindon drawings and the salvaged brackets etc were offered up to them.  It appears that as far as cabs were concerned, the drawings were more of a suggested guideline rather than mandatory, and some fettling was required to assemble the kit of parts.  Nothing in the world of steam locomotive restoration is ever easy!
Trial fitting of the window plates
A useful thing in his favour was that if Mike wanted something to compare with, there was still the original very wasted cab plates of 2874 available to check with, along with both 2807 and 4270 (which has many similarities in spite of being a tank engine).
Taking measurements from the mortal remains of one of 2874's original cab side sheets
Mike, marking out where some of the new plates will need to be trimmed...
...and then trimming away the excess.
The last visiting engine to arrive, 419 was given a warming fire for a steam test
The recent plea for rags has borne fruit, we had enough for the gala.  Thank you for your donations
At the start of this article I mentioned that the wood store was depleted.  Roger and his band of helpers were on hand to remedy that.    It was also Roger's birthday, but pausing only for some celebratory cake, by the time that they had finished the wood store was jammed to the rafters and all was set for the gala again.
Pallet cutting in full swing
Of course having visiting engines on site meant that there was plenty for the cleaners to be getting on with.
..Richard isn't going anywhere until he's cleaned 1264's buffer beam.
Meanwhile Alex tackles our regal visitor.
Thursday arrived, and things had moved on.  For a start, 2874's cab was starting to look  like a cab, the roof was still missing, but it was definitely starting to take shape
2874's cab
Like all our visitors, 1264 was being weighed...
...and Foremarke Hall was now in steam and ready for a trial run
A gala isn't just about locos, there is much more to do besides that.  Ade, Graham, Paul & myself headed off into the field to the East of Toddington station to mark out the car parking spaces for our visitors to use
(L-r) Ade, Graham & Paul
After that, the trade stands marquee arrived, all we had to do was cone off the space where it was supposed to go, the hire company did the erecting of it.
Marquee starting to arrive.
At this point, everything was going pretty much to plan, we're not used to this.  It couldn't last of course and soon the word came round that 419 which had been rostered on the DMU's path for the day had failed with a hot big end bearing after just one round trip of the line.  I ended up second manning the class 26 diesel which took over the turn whilst 419 was taken back to the shed for examination.
D5343 standing in for 419 at Cheltenham Race Course
Crossing Dinmore Manor at Winchcombe
Neil driving D5343
Once the remainder of 419's shift had been completed, it was time to find out how 419 was.  It turned out that there was some serious scoring on at least one of the phosphor bronze big end bearings, steam oil had been poured in to try and help cool it down enough to get it back to Toddington.  New worsted trimmings were now needed as the originals were gummed up with the thicker grade steam oil.
Paul made some new trimmings
A run out big end bearing whilst away on a gala visit would normally be a show-stopper, but Mark, the owner's rep took the bearing out, measured it up and skimmed it on one of our lathes
Measuring the diameter...
...skimming away the scored bearing surface.
Friday, the last day before the gala starts, the big jobs for today was to get all locos in the right positions, cleaned if not done so already and get warming fires lit.
1264 needed a steam test as well
GWSR press officer, Ian, stopped taking photos and gave a hand cleaning the locos
Ben polishes 1264's smokebox door until he can see his face in it
419 of course needed it's big end bearing completing, in fact as it transpired, the other big end bearing was poorly and in need of attention as well.
Paul, easing down some of the high spots on the newly machined bearing face
Mark the owner's rep who came with 419 worked tirelessly throughout Thursday and Friday to fettle the big end bearings of 419 so that she would be fit for service at the gala.  He was ably assisted by Mike, who had planned to be working on constructing 2874's cab and a small team of other GWSR volunteers, Dan, Sam Paul, Harry and I'm sure others who I can only apologise for not having noted at the time.Without their heroic efforts, 419 wouldn't have run at all. Thanks to all concerned.
Mark (L) and Mike
An aspect of our day to day running that is easy to overlook is that every loco needs a pair of lamps and in most cases a gauge frame lamp as well.  Mike is our resident lamp restorer who undertakes all forms of maintenance on our collection of lamps as and when the need arises.  He was on site on Friday putting a new lens into one of our GWR lamps.
New lens put in its location
...and soldered in by Mike.
Master of the lamps!
In spite of all the time dedicated to getting 419 running, Mike still managed to get some rust inhibiting primer applied to 2874's new cab.
Looking good
With the motion over the indoor pit on road 7 and her chimney just poking out of the shed, 419 was finished off underneath and brought back into steam at the same time.
419 starting to come back to life
Towards the end of the afternoon, it was time for some test runs for 419 to make sure that everything was OK.  Mike, Dan & Mark took it down the line for a while and everything appeared to be OK,   Paul, Mark & myself took it for a further run to Winchcombe and back.
About to set off from Toddington...
...Checking that it's not too hot at Hayles Abbey Halt...
...Paul was clearly enjoying his time on this lovely machine.
Chuffing back to Toddington.
A few round trips had been done, and everything seemed OK.  For the Saturday it was proposed that she should cover light duties only to bed in, so she was put on the short demonstration freight train that would run within station limits at Winchcombe. 

By the time that we got her back to Toddington, the shunt had been finished, all locos were in their respective starting positions, coaled and watered, with warming fires lit. 
Three delightful 4-6-0's, (L-R), Foremarke Hall, King Edward II & 1264
The following morning, the sun was shining on them from the other side, so here they are again:
The different liveries are more obvious from this angle
We have enough crews so that pretty much everybody in the steam loco dept has two turns over the three day bank holiday weekend.  My spare day was the Saturday.  Not all the other departments in the GWSR are so blessed with volunteers (if you're thinking of volunteering, you'd be most welcome) and we had failed to find enough guards to man the brake van of the freight train at Winchcombe. Passed footplate crew were deemed to be suitable to act as guard on the freight train, and so it was that I found myself manning the brake van of the freight train all day.
Andy oiling up 1264
Neil oiling 4270
Ben oiling 2807
Mark taking a well earned cuppa after much cleaning of locos
My plan involved grabbing a line photos of all of the volunteers present in front of 1264 after it pulled off of the pits.  Uncharacteristically, the sun shone, however most people were either too busy to be distracted for a few minutes or just a bit camera shy.
1264 and just a few of those present
As you may know, 1264 is visiting us from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which is featuring in a TV series at the moment.  The owner's reps, Mark and Emma have only just got married and feature quite heavily in the TV series.
Mark & Emma, honeymooning at Toddington
All change, 35006 & 1264 head for siding 1, Dinmore Manor heads for a newly vacant pit
Chris looking relaxed on King Edward II
On galas, each day has an appointed Running Shed Foreman (RSF) whose task it is to make sure that the crews have arrived and are prepping their locos on time, that the cleaners have stacked up fresh lighting up wood by each loco and crucially that each loco has enough pressure at the right time to move from where it is onto a pit and from there onto siding 1 for eventual transfer onto the running lines under the control of the signal man.  Getting it wrong exposes you to the danger of locos leaving for siding 1 in the wrong order (that way chaos lies) or not leaving enough time for oiling up underneath for other locos if they hog a pit for too long and causing the timetable to slip.
Ben (L) conferring with John (RSF)
4270 coming round for a pit, exactly on time
Peter, cleaning 4270 now that it is on a pit
Of course, there has to be time in the busy schedule for that all important cuppa,
L-R, Mike, Mark, Andrew & Sean
After her test run the afternoon before, 419 had spent the night on her own on the old ash pit.  Needless to say, she wasn't overlooked by the cleaners.
David gives 419 some TLC.
There is only room on the footplate of 419 for three people at best, so I blagged a ride with Steve & Tom down to Winchcombe on the footplate of Dinmore Manor (which was now covering what had been 419's path on the 5 coach rake). Before we could set off, 35006 was due to make an empty coaching stock (ECS) move to Cheltenham Race Course and Alex (the same Alex that spends so long diligently cleaning our locos) was having a lesson in signalling.  She used to do this on the big railway, so should pick it up again quite quickly.
Alex in Toddington signal box
I hope she won't mind me saying this, but I hardly recognised her in her signal man  woman person outfit (I'm afraid I forgot to ask her what she would prefer to be known as).  I'm much more used to seeing her in grubby overalls like the rest of us in the steam loco dept.
...preparing to hand over the token to Dan on 35006...
Job done, token handed over.
At Winchcombe, a short rake including the recently restored LMS brake van, a couple of covered wagons and a china clay hood were waiting for us.  It was rather instructive to see the world from the guards point of view, to perform the brake test and inform the crew that they had 4 vehicles totalling 57 tons.  Note that we have a partially fitted freight head code on 419, the brake van in this case was through piped only whilst the rest were vacuum braked.
419 on the freight train
Alex isn't the only member of the steam loco dept to moonlight elsewhere, Andy also works in Carriage and Wagon, the wagon section of which had restored the freight train vehicles that we had.  Andy is well versed in the steam loco depts love of tea.
Thanks Andy
John was the driver of 419 on Saturday for the first shift, this brought back memories for him as 52 years ago he remembered seeing it waiting in the scrap line, not imagining for one moment that all these years later he'd be driving it in an immaculately restored condition.
Whilst the LMS brake van and covered wagon were quite appropriate for 419 (OK, give or take 419's pre-grouping livery), I'd be a bit surprised if it had ever worked a china clay wagon marked "Return to Fowey" during its pre-heritage era existence.  In fairness, the freight train had been expected to be worked by our home fleet ex-GWR locos up until the day before.
I doubt 419 got within 300 miles of Fowey in her working life
Clive chatting with one of our visitors
419 and the freight train in Winchcombe station
Dinmore Manor passes the brake van with the stock that 419 should have had
Later on, Ben and Steve took over as 419's crew
Mark (SRPS rep) and Ben found an unusual seat at Winchcombe
1264 passing 419, they quite possibly met in a previous existence.
The GWSR has a student volunteer capturing video footage of our various events.  I'm not entirely sure where they will appear on line, I dare say some kind soul will point me in the right direction once they read this.  He got some footage of 2807 from the brake van
The view from the veranda
...and Dinmore Manor too
The line side clearance team were once again hard at work on the approach to Chicken Curve, when they eventually stopped for lunch, they took a moment to admire 35006 as it went past.
35006 arriving at Winchcombe.
One of the highlights of the gala for me, was the double heading of Foremarke Hall and King Edward II.  I took along my long lens to obtain this photo from the brake van.
A marvellous site.
4270 is highly unlikely to have met 419 before
Sam obviously had a great first gala as a fireman
Back at Toddington, there was a good turn out of people to assist with disposal of the returning locos. Until the locos arrived of course, there was plenty of tea to be drunk.
The GWSR Olympic tea drinking team in a high altitude training session
The new cab for 2874 hadn't progressed as far as Mike would have liked, a top coat of paint and the roof fitted were in his plan, but the diversion onto getting 419 sorted had taken priority and so it remained in primer.  There are still many holes to be drilled and bolted, windows fitted etc, but it is still looking remarkably good.
It was even sporting an original cab side number plate...
...and 1909 caution notice.
Inside the marquee, amongst the loco owning groups was a new stand for 76077.  Their website is now up and running and shareholders are being sought.
Ian (L) and Richard, drumming up support for 76077
In a late change to the plan, 419 ended her day on her original stock.  Unfortunately, once back at Winchcombe with the ECS move at the end of the day, her big end bearings ran very hot again and it was decided that she would only work the freight train for the remainder of the gala.
419 setting off from Toddington with the ECS move to Winchcombe
Sunday was the second day of the gala, this was not a "rest day", but an actual firing day.  My start was to take Dinmore Manor (double headed with 4270) to Cheltenham Race Course for the "Driver for a tenner", until early afternoon, when the loco changed to 4270.  Later I would fire 35006 to Broadway, then get dragged back to Toddington where my day would end.
419 has a bit of extra bright work to keep polished that you don't find on GWR locos
We fetched our rake from the North siding.
The view over Dinmore Manor and 4270 towards Toddington station
Recent changes to the rule book now have the crew of the pilot loco carrying the token/staff rather than the train loco.  My job was merely to observe and make sure that it happened as it should have.
Token exchange at Gotherington
The driver for a tenner session went well, some of the participants had some previous experience and knew what to do, others didn't and needed to be shown.  Regardless, all went away with big grins on their faces.
A driver for a tenner participant
Whilst the regular service trains were occupying the platform, we had to hide ourselves a bit further down towards Hunting Butts tunnel than usual to allow them to run round.
1264 running round her train
Trains came and went, but there was no food available at Cheltenham Race Course station.  We hatched a cunning plan, wait for rake 1 with the griddle on it to appear and send Tom (the cleaner waiting on the platform to collect the participants money) off to buy bacon rolls.  What we had planned as being a late breakfast transpired to be lunch by the time that rake 1 eventually reappeared.
Tom with late breakfast lunch
Somewhere along the way, Mark & Mike appeared with 4270 and we switched locos  I was pleased to note that the fire that was handed over to me had been run down perfectly for the light work of running up and down in the platform.
Steve (R) supervises one of the participants...
...and finally, once no more participants were to be found, Tom had a go.
Eventually, 35006 hoved into view and we swapped locos once more for the run up to Broadway.  This time, we had a footplate passenger accompanied by Luke.
Luke (L) and footplate passenger
Bill had been the signal man at Cheltenham Race Course when we arrived, he spent the morning there and was relieved at lunch time.  I was a bit surprised to discover that he had moved up the line to Gotherington signal box for the afternoon shift.
Bill exchanges tokens with the crew of 2807 at Gotherington
Something else attached to the rear of our train at Toddington, we dragged it to Broadway, then it dragged us back to Toddington.
Nothing much to do, just keep the fire covering the grate and watch the world go by
Even back at Toddington, there was a keen disposal crew to tackle emptying the ash pan for us.

That brings us on to Monday, two round trips for me, the first on King Edward II and the second on Foremarke Hall.  There was a slight panic when I turned up, as a family crisis had left us without an RSF.  That didn't stop things happening, but locos were still on pits when they should have been moved etc.  I happened to have a set of RSF notes for the day and volunteered recently retired fireman Graham to cover the role, which left me free to light up King Edward II.  Not only did he make a good job of it, but he quite enjoyed it and asked to be rostered for it next year.
Graham making sense of the RSF notes
King Edward II hadn't been coaled or had its ash pan emptied on Sunday, so Tom very kindly got on with emptying the ash pan for me first thing. 
Tom ashing out King Edward II
I should also add, that one of the fire bars at the back had partially dropped into the grate, thanks too to my driver Ben, who quickly nipped into the firebox and replaced it.
Ben coals King Edward II
The timetable saw us being dragged on the tail of a train to Broadway before pulling it back to Toddington, whereupon Foremarke Hall attached to the front of us and we went double headed down to Cheltenham Race Course.  Back in the day, double heading would usually have been done with both locos running chimney first and the cab would protect the inside loco's crew from the worst of the pilot engine's exhaust. Not so on this occasion.
Foremarke Hall's exhaust came straight back st us.
At Cheltenham Race Course, we took Chris (guard) on the run round, then dropped him off on the platform just short of the train so that he could call us on.  Both locos ran round separately, so that Foremarke Hall remained the pilot loco.
L-R, Ben, Chris & Harry
Double headed and about to set off back up the line
For reasons that eluded me, John, Ben & Steve actually wanted their pictures taking to commemorate the occasion.  This came as something of a surprise to me as most people in the steam loco dept turn and run as soon as I get my camera out.  I feared some kind of trick was about to be played on me, but as it turned out they really did want their picture taking in front of Foremarke Hall and King Edward II
(L-R) John, Steve & Ben
The photo stop at Gotherington was accompanied by cake provide by Savita (who lives in the station building)
(L-R) Ben, Tom & Harry enjoying their cake
Foremarke Hall's crew had cake too of course. Unaccountably, Steve forgot about his for a while, I noticed him scoffing his a bit further down the line.
How could he possibly have forgotten his cake?
On arrival at Toddington, Phil was a bit concerned that we might run out of steam and very kindly fetched Steve and myself a water sample container full of steam obtained from the kettle in the mess coach. 
If only he'd fetched us a cup of tea instead!
At this point, we swapped locos with Foremarke Hall's crew and hid ourselves away in the North siding for a while.
Dinmore Manor passed by...
...with Eleanor & Callum on board
Then King Edward II set off to Broadway without us.
We then hung around in the parlour road at Toddington for a while, eventually tagging onto the tail of another train and being dragged back Broadway.  Once we were there, we picked up a footplate passenger, who is the father of Bryony, a trainee guard.
The obligatory pose for the camera
Eventually, back at Toddington, we found a disposal crew, poised to spring into action and empty Foremarke Hall's ash pan.
Ready for action
The "Cotswold Festival of Steam" gala, although it has steam in the name is patently a team effort in which every department in the railway plays its own part.  Without the contributions of so many people across the entire GWSR it could not have happened.  To those who volunteered or helped in any capacity thank you.  Thank you as well to the many visitors who paid to come, without you we couldn't have afforded to do it. I hope all of you, visitor or volunteer alike had an enjoyable time at the gala.

And finally, in the highly unlikely event that you managed to get this far down the blog, the Bristol Model Railway show took place in early May, both the GWSR and 2874 group had stands.  I thought I'd finish with this amusing photo of some of the people who largely help out behind the scenes, but without whom....
Martin getting the bunny rabbit ears treatment from both David & Keith on the 2874 stand