Friday, 21 February 2020

Full Steam Ahead!

Ask me on any given weekend if I wanted to wake up at 4am to travel to York for only three hours before returning, I’d look at you as if you were crazy. Throw in 10 Mk 1 carriages with the Duchess of Sutherland and Union of South Africa on the front for the respective north/south journeys, and suddenly it doesn’t seem such a ridiculous idea, so that’s where I spent this past Saturday.
6233 'Duchess of Sutherland'
60009 'Union of South Africa'

A chance to see the footplate? Don't mind if I do!

This of course means that this week’s reporting from Toddington all comes from other sources, so bear with me if my details are a little hazy. 

Storm Dennis tried its best, and between that and the various road closures seemingly surrounding Toddington at the moment, you wouldn’t blame people for hunkering down and staying in the dry (and warm!). However, I’m told plenty of people still braved the elements and made it to the shed regardless.
Storm Dennis over Toddington

I think the 2807 team must have shares in paint at the moment because they are going through a lot of it! Seemingly every piece that becomes exposed on the locomotive gets a run over with the primer and the heat resistant top coat. Progress continues to charge on however. The boiler has been given a date to be removed and taken off-site to be overhauled, so that will depart some time in the middle of March (no doubt it will feature here). Initial looks into the innards of the tender look promising, with only the ‘ceiling’ seeming to be a cause for concern at the moment.
2807's backhead, having been stripped and primed
7820 has been reunited with her rods, although not without a fight due to the wheels having rotated slightly since they were taken off. New bearings have been made and these were pressed in before the rods were reattached.
Pressing the bearings in
The firebox received some tlc last week with the grate being cleaned up and several firebars being replaced (is this going to be a theme of my blogs?). Heatproof paint was also applied to the foundation ring to add a layer of protection to the rivets in contact with the fire as and when.
Freshly painted
A "fire's eye view" of the cab

I understand 7903’s tender has been washed out, with at least a barrowful of silt being removed. As March isn’t too far away, one eye is now on getting everything ready for the new season.
7903's tender sat over the pit
As I’m writing this, we only have two Saturdays left until we start running again; where has the closed season gone? Race trains will soon be upon us, I myself will be wearing both my cleaner and guard’s hats that particular week, and then the full running season will be swinging into gear (or should I say steam?)! Until then, it’s back into the classroom for more theory training for me.

Signing off,


  1. I like the "fire's eye view" image; I don't think I've ever seen one of those before. Thanks for the effort to write up the goings-on; much appreciated.


  2. Thank Bryony for a fine blog. Think you enjoyed your early start.

  3. Another interesting post. Thank you!