Saturday, 28 February 2009

60007 "Sir Nigel Gresley" Visits Nuneaton

Today, February 28th, ex-LNER 4-6-2 Gresley A4 Pacific No60007 "Sir Nigel Gresley" visited Nuneaton Station whilst hauling the return of Vintage Trains Ltd's "York Excursion". The railtour, which began at Birmingham, was hauled to York by Tyseley's Class 47 (773). At York, once passengers had had a look around, 60007 & her support coach took up the front of the train. At around 1pm the train started back towards Birmingham. At around 5:40pm-ish the BR Blue Pacific approached Nuneaton...where I was waiting with other fellow enthusiasts to capture her on film! The engine rolled into Nuneaton's Platform 6 to set down passengers who had boarded there in the morning. 60007 then set off upgrade to pass over the Nuneaton flyover, cautiously starting her 10-coach (+ diesel) load). Once over the Flyover, off she went towards Birmingham. The A4 was to move from York to Bescot Yard, from which the Class 47 would haul the train for the remainder of its journey back into Birmingham.

The A4, now hauling just her support coach, would then continue to Kidderminster before crossing over onto Severn Valley Railway metals, where she will remain for now (on a visit). Named "Sir Nigel Gresley", after her designer (who also designed the A3s, V2s, N2s etc), 60007 was the 100th Gresley Pacific to be built, part of a 35-strong class of A4s. Wearing BR Blue livery with no 'skirts', the engine still retains its Corridor Tender, enabling a crew change on the move. Formerly No4498, the Pacific is normally based at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway but, as mentioned earlier, this trip was part of a "positioning movement" for the engine to the SVR.This was very necessary on the non-stop Kings Cross to Edinburgh journeys.60007 looked in fine form and this was the first time I had ever seen her. She looked at home on the 10-coach load and easily barked up and over the Flyover with no need for assistance from the '47' at the rear of the train! Glad we made the effort to go out and see her! I've included the video that I took of her above for your enjoyment! Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

"Sir Gomer" Awaits Boiler Movement

Today, Peckett 0-6-0ST No1859 of 1932 "Sir Gomer" was awaiting the movement of her boiler. As can be seen above, the boiler and firebox were sitting above the frames, resting on a selection of sleepers. The saddle tank, cab & bunker is of course removed and the locomotive looks generally stripped! Tomorrow, "Sir G"s boiler will leave the railway, by low loader, for the Llangollen Railway's boiler shop, leaving only the locomotive's frames, wheels & rods on site. No P-way was being undertaken today, leaving the Class 04 & 33 diesel locomotives standing dormant in the stations Platform 1. B1 "Mayflower" has now departed for the NNR at Sheringham where she will remain until the Llangollen Railway's Gala in April...afterwards returning to Shackerstone. Anyway, "Sir Gomer"s overhaul is now well under the way and we are on track for a hopeful late Spring steaming! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Wilesco Steam Up...A Video

Just a quick video taken today of my Wilesco D405 Traction Engine in steam with its Forest Classics Living Van in tow. Thanks for reading!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Steaming The Wilesco...

Most people who enjoy steam engines will own a "Steam Toy", as I do. My engine is a Wilesco D405 Class Traction Engine. However, one of Britain's best known steam toy manufactures is Mamod. They offer small locomotives using miniature boilers and basic valve gear. Power to drive the locomotive is then transferred from the flywheel to the road wheels using a metal band. However, Wilesco, a German make, offers engines with drive via cogs, positioned on back axle, the firebox side and the flywheel rod. Mine is one such engine. Modelled on the traditional road locomotive, the loco offers:-A solid fuel-fired boiler, cog-driven drive, working whistle, chain steering and a working safety valve. The valve gear is quite conventional, offering forward and reverse gear down to quite a slow speed. The cylinder includes a removal screw-cap for oiling purposes. Firing wise...Wilesco recommends "Esbit" tablets, however, I use "MSS" (Mamod) fuel as you seem to get twice as much for your money (as they are a bit thicker), and the smell isn't as strong for indoor use. You can get 3 in the burner tray and they last for 20 minutes or so, depending on the conditions which you are running in. Today, I used my Wilesco locomotive for the first time since Christmas. It was steamed with its new living van and road tyres, both specially manufactured by Forest Classics. The engine happily ticks over with the safety valve feathering, as the full boiler pressure (15psi) can be maintained quite easily with a "good fire". With the drive engaged, the engine can happily move along the ground with its living van towed behind. At Christmas, the engine did a "miniature road run" when it took 25 minutes to run 60 metres! It also took 8 tablets and 2 oilings, whilst still moving(!), to keep it running homeward. There was no need to refill the boiler however. After its 25 minute "epic journey", the engine had just a little bit of water left in the glass, and ticked over until the pressure had completely diminished. To dispose of the engine, I remove the safety valve, open the whistle, and then turn the engine upside down. As long as it is still relatively hot, most of the water will easily drain out. This reduces the limescale risk. The burner tray is left to cool and the safety valve replaced. The whistle can then be shut and the cylinder oiled.

Once oiled, the flywheel can be turned 3 or 4 times to make sure the oil is "worked" into the various parts. The engine is then cleaned a little and placed back on my shelf with its wooden living van behind! "Steam Toy"s are good fun and, Wilesco's especially, look quite realistic. I'm sure it'll be out steaming again soon!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

"Yvonne" Leaves Shackerstone (Another Working Day!)

Hello everyone. Today I spent another working day at Shackerstone, mainly cleaning the bottom half of LNER 4-6-0 B1 Class No1306 "Mayflower". I signed on at 10:45am and the shed was already in full swing. Work was continuing on Peckett "Sir Gomer", Aveiling & Porter "Blue Circle", B1 "Mayflower", Cockerill "Yvonne" and the Riding Van at the back of the shed. The Southern Railway Brake Van (under restoration) was also having some needle-gunning work carried out. B1 "Mayflower" was being prepared for her departure (this Thursday) to the North Norfolk Railway at Sheringham for their February Gala whilst "Blue Circle"s winter maintainance was being slowly finished off. The Peckett's boiler was having its final preparations for departure (to a boiler repair shop) carried out. Meanwhile, Cockerill "Yvonne" was being prepared for a final departure from Shackerstone to a potential new home. The whistle was removed as 02 Shunter "Diane" prepared to shunt her out of the shed.

After shifting the Lowmac Wagon, the 2-car DMU, 0-4-0 "Hercules", 0-6-0 "Richard III" & the 04 Shunter, "Yvonne" was carefully dragged into the outdoors after her winter slumber. She was then shunted down to the 'Loading Ramp' ready for her transport (tomorrow) to another home. She has been a good engine whilst at Shackerstone and I've enjoyed two "trainee" turns on her footplate over the last 10 months. Maybe we'll see her there again one day?? Who knows. I finished my day cleaning "Mayflower"s connecting rods before signing off at 4:20pm. Thanks for reading.