Monday, 18 August 2008

Ivor The Engine Weekend At The Battlefield Line 2008

Over the weekends of August 16th/17th and 23rd-25th 2008,the Battlefield Line hosted an "Ivor The Engine" event.This event of course featured the 0-4-0 Peckett that was converted to replicate "Ivor".The event also featured characters from the original programs such as Dai Station,Mrs Porty,Owen The Signal and Idris The Dragon to name but a few!Shackerstone Station was changed into Grumbly Town (a very apt name for any station in my opinion!).I staffed the first weekend but was not available for the 2nd weekend so I didn't attend unfortunately! I was also at Shackerstone on the Friday Night (15th) as we were preparing our home-based 0-6-0 Peckett Saddle Tank of June 1932 "Sir Gomer" (No1859). On Saturday (16th) I was rostered as trainee fireman for "Sir Gomer" with Dave as the driver. I reported for duty at around 6:20am and after all of the regular checks had been carried out, "Sir G" was lit up and cleaning began,with the help of our collegue Danny. Unusually, the engine was steamed up outside the engine shed in the 'Dock Road' as apposed to the outside preparation pit.

Dave Sits With "Sir Gomer" In The Yard With 30psi On The Clock

We would be pottering around Shackerstone for the day trying to keep the engine quiet. Meanwhile, "Ivor" wasn't over the pit either! She was down in the North End in No2 Road being prepared by Adrian and Chris. The main trains to the Battlefield (of which their were 5 sheduled) were handled by Class 73, 73114. We came off shed when the first train,the 10:55am,had left for Shenton.We then sat in the platform simmering quietly with around 140 on the clock! Meanwhile, "Ivor" was doing alot of shunting around the North End so as to retrieve a Brake Van and the 'Lowmac' Wagon which were to form his short freight.After the 2nd train had left we chugged around Shackerstone,mainly up and down Platform 2 between the footbridge and the signalbox."Sir Gomer" behaved herself throughout the day as movements continued in much the same way.Once the last train had left we took her up to the shed and "screwed her down" just on the south side of the outside pit.

Another View of "Sir Gomer" Steaming Up,Looking Quite Smart!

A good day was had by all,thanks to Dave and "Sir Gomer"!.On Sunday (17th) I signed on for duty at 6:30am to find that "Ivor" had a driver,Jan,but no fireman! So I accepted the chance to fire the engine so joined Jan as her trainee.Meanwhile,"Sir Gomer" was behind "Ivor" being prepared by John and Adrian.Jan lit "Ivor" up and I then continued to build the fire after the first 'bed' had burnt through.Jan then began the important task of 'oiling round' whilst I began to collect rags for cleaning the underside.After 2 hours or so steam was almost raised and by 9am we were ready to go! Better early than late! All that remained was to clear the preparation tools away and clean the upper-side of the engine.This has cleaned with a form of 'Truckwash' and a Brush.I must admit that this cleaner did give the engine a shine! As soon as this job was finished and with 150psi on the clock we decided to head down to the station for breakfast.

"Ivor" The Engine In Platform 2 Just After Coming Off Shed

Once the first train had left then we had to head to the South End to help shunt the 2-car DMU. One of the cars had been declared 'out of service' to we could only use the Shenton-facing half of the set! Owen the Signal (Danny) was getting a little worried as the main train was growing ever closer to Shackerstone and we were still not ready! But we made just in time! We carried out four shuttles from Shackerstone to Hedleys Crossing and back. During these, the DMU Car hauled "Ivor" in the Hedleys direction and we hauled it in the return direction. For the shuttles we had the company of Andy (a passed fireman) but I was still left to fire. We made it back the first two times "OK" but the 3rd trip went better and the last trip was by far the best with the safety valves feathering all the way back to Shackerstone! For this trip, Dai Station accompained us on the footplate and here is a video which he took!

At the end of the day we carried out all of the neccesary disposal jobs on "Ivor" before leaving him in the yard after an enjoyable day indeed."Sir Gomer" had been on main train services all day and she shunted "Ivor" back into the shed when she herself went to bed."Ivor" also ran successfully the following weekend alongside LNER 4-6-0 B1 No1306 "Mayflower".I look forward to having another go on "Ivor" during his next visit as he is a very well behaved engine!

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