|Angela trims the cab side to allow a side rail to fit|
|Rear roof support temporarily clamped in place|
|That's not going to work!|
|Confirmation that we had the roof support in the right place|
|Angela & David take measurements whilst Andy (2807's driver) watches on.|
It turns out that it's not just the side sheets that are a bit adrift, the hand rails on the side don't fit in the holes drilled as per the drawing.
|David offers up a hand rail, the holes are to narrow by about an inch|
|Kerosene dispenser being installed in the new oil store (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)|
|A stock take of our fire bar spares was also carried out. (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)|
|4270 in the shed|
|7903 on the unloading road on Friday|
I had a firing turn on Friday on 2807, an email the night before had suggested that oil/kerosene/lighting up wood might have been relocated and suggested places to look. The existing wood store is falling to pieces and the area to the south of the goods shed is about to be cleared to allow the foundations of the new mess facilities to be built, hence the current upheaval.
|Inside the new oil store|
|A nice tidy bench for prepping the lamps|
|Won't get far on that|
|The King needed coal too|
|It's not just the locos that need fuel either ;-)|
|Neil attended to the signal cables for Broadway|
|We acquired a couple of footplate passengers... here's one.|
|Graham grapples with a large elephant's trunk...|
|...and then, Graham (top) and David (somewhere underneath) grapple with smaller, but no less recalcitrant elephant's trunks.|
|Our second footplate passenger.|
|Beer tent at Winchcombe.|
|David scoffing cake.|
|Crossing 6023 at Winchcombe.|
|Keith inside the tender, waging war on the scale & rust|
|Keith being molested by the now freed up float.|
|The view from my side|
|The other end of the float arm.|
|The removed float arm, highlighting the worn bit|
|Roger in his prime!|
|Roger pumping up the trolley's tyres.|
|One of the cranes...|
|...and the other one|
And finally, last week, on one of the days that I was out on 2807, Mike was out driving 6023. In Mike's own words: "Weird day today, finally managed to organise taking my late grandfather's good friend Dennis Herbert for a trip on 6023. This was the first time he had been on the footplate of a King since 1962 and the first time back on a full size steam loco since he drove Union of South Africa in 1973 on a farewell to the Gresley's rail tour; a career railway man until his retirement in 1994, around the time I first met him. Felt somewhat odd to be under the watchful eye of a man of such experience but he seemed to really enjoy himself. Though now 85 he had a little go with the shovel and certainly didn't seem to have forgotten anything...! Grateful thanks to my fellow crew members Tom and Harry for making Dennis feel so welcome and to Reece for bringing Dennis down to the GWSR, himself also enjoying a ride out on the King."
|Dennis on the footplate of 6023 (photo courtesy of Mike Solloway)|
|Mike & Dennis with King Edward II (photo courtesy of Mike Solloway)|
|Dennis and 6018, King Henry VI in 1962|
"This locomotive came on to Tyseley shed when I was on shed duties and had to put in readiness to go into the factory for repairs. The photograph was taken by Dick Potts , a lifelong friend. When I signed on duty a while after at 08:00am, the shed foreman instructed me to prepare the ‘King’ and take it to Birmingham Snow Hill to work the 1.00pm departure Pullman train, as the blue diesel train was out of service. Whilst I had ample time to oil the engine, when I saw the work that had been done in the factory, I did question the wisdom of rostering the engine on such a prestige train without a lighter running in turn first. The Pullman stopped only at Leamington Spa and Paddington; in addition, the ‘Wells Fargo’ coaches make a very heavy train. The work done in the factory had involved all the valve gear being re-metalled, along with connecting rods and crossheads. These were now bone dry and every cork was missing. The foreman shrugged his shoulders, saying, it would have to go.
The foreman had also paired me with a young fireman who was well known for his contrary attitude, nevertheless, I asked him not to make a big fire up in the engine too early; we did not want this big boiler blowing off in the shed. However, within forty minutes the safety valves lifted at 250lbs per square inch and the engine blew off for the next two hours inside the shed. The ear shattering noise continued whilst I walked to and fro to the stores to refill the oil bottles. I had to be absolutely certain every working part on the four cylinders was lubricated. I finally got the engine outside to finish off and left the shed just after mid-day. Just before we left the shed however, my mate decided he needed to replace the coal watering pipe, something he had four hours to get right!
Whilst I was really concerned that the engine may develop a problem, I had no repercussions. This was little doubt, down to the wonderful skills of the artisans in the Tyseley factory. A factory that was shortly to be demolished."
Dennis sent a very nice thank you note to Mike afterwards, which I have included here:
Thanks for the great photos and a lovely day out. I was really impressed with how you all coped and the professionalism everyone acted upon. I was amazed too at the quality of the coal that you were burning, I am certain that the National Coal Board unloaded all it’s rubbish on British Railways knowing no one ever checked. The last time I got off a ‘King’ my wrists were so painful I had to wrap my arms around the handrail and fall onto my feet on to Snow Hill platform. I then had six weeks off work ! We had worked the ‘Up’ Inter City 5.pm from Snow Hill to Paddington, returning with the 8.10pm to Birkenhead for the previous three evenings. Stafford Road Shed was earmarked for closure and in their wisdom management decided to clear the coal stack from the ground, which I fear had been there since the nineteenth century. The coal was a dirty brown and looked like you would have seen in the’ Merry-go-round’ trains to Didcot Power Station in later times. There was not a lump to be seen and the digger had picked up with it clinker, ash, ballast and discarded baked bean tins. The final trip was a nightmare, much of the brick arch was missing, it appears they had none of the correct bricks in the stores, there was no long fire-irons on the engine and the shovel had a cracked blade. The G.P. I saw next day had recently done a spell in a hospital in Kings Cross and knew when he saw my swollen arms exactly what my problem was. He had often seen it occur on footplate men of the Eastern Region. However, he sent me to hospital where my arms were put in plaster. Whilst we were never paid for being off work, I did get Industrial Injuries Benefit which was rarely paid to anyone. We had 6026 King John on the’ Inter City for three evenings, which was in super condition, but it had worked up from London on an earlier turn and had been coaled with this awful coal, obviously the fire was getting clinkered when we took over. The 8.10pm engine had also worked an earlier turn to Paddington and also had the same coal with a very dirty fire. So we couldn’t win."