Sunday, 15 March 2009

"Sir Gomer" & "Blue Circle" Are On Their Way Back

Today once again saw the frames of 0-6-0ST "Sir Gomer" (1859 of 1932) emerge from Shackerstone Shed behind 0-4-0 Class 02 Shunter "Diane". The inner frames were to be cleaned with a wirebrush tool, followed by the application of primer. This, after another coat or two, would then allow for a final coat, finishing the inside framing off quite nicely. The engine is seen just after emerging from the shed, basking in the late-morning sunlight. The reverser "reach-rod" was also fitted during the day, allowing the checking of the valve gear in both forward, reverse and mid-gear settings. With the fresh primer slowly beginning to dry, "Sir Gomer" was pushed back into the shed at around 5pm. Next time more primer will be applied as we get ever closer to the return of the engine's boiler. It will then be a job of refitting the tank & cab before "piping up" commences. The engine should then be ready for test steaming. When will that be?...We'll see.
Elsewhere in the shed, "Blue Circle" is also slowly coming back together, following essential winter maintainance. The engine is seen jacked up off its front axle to allow for the repaiting of the horn guides. The little 2-2-0 Aveiling & Porter will be outshopped around late April, resplendant in her shining Blue & Red livery, complimented by brass & copper. The locomotive is a very welcome member of the steam locomotive fleet and can be seen many times a year chugging around the site, mostly with a Brake Van in tow, giving rides to the public. It is also the only full size replica of the Thomas character, "Fergus". The Southern Railway Brake Van, seen behind "Blue Circle", is also under restoration and will also be outshopped this year, in a livery comparitively similar to "Blue Circle"s!

Outside the confines of Shackerstone shed, B1 4-6-0 "Mayflower" is still off on her spring jollies! She starred at the North Norfolk Railway's steam gala and there is still a chance to see the eye catching engine at the Llangollen Railway's "Steel, Steam & Stars" gala in April. She will then be returning to her home at Shackerstone shed. Next post coming soon folks, and I'll be back at Shack hopefully on the 28th. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Its Funny What You Find...

Today, whilst visiting Coventry Transport Museum, I found this very nice 1938 Aveiling Barford Roller hiding between two of the double-decker buses. I've never seen a "steamer" in the museum (besides the 3" Showmans Engine in the display case on the top floor) so this came as a spot of interest. The engine is No151 and apparently worked on Coventry's roads right from its delivery (as new) until its retirement. She is now in proud private ownership (and working retirement!) and is steamed at least 12 times a year, according to the information standing next to her. The fact that the engine has a boiler ticket surprised me as it was just so clean! The brass whistle, valves & boiler bands were all shining, as was the green paintwork. I was actually lucky to find the engine when I did as it was advertised as "leaving in Spring". Its leaving was due to it needing to fulfil its 2009 rally list! She is always transported by lorry (except when in steam of course), according to the info, and I was very pleased to see her hiding away behind the more modern vehicles.

On another note, Coventry Transport Museum is well worth a visit with a massive collection of cars, buses, models, motorcycles, petrol engines and bicycles as well as plenty of memoribilia, and, its FREE entry! That should be more than enough to persuade you! More posts coming soon, Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Another Day In The Garden...

Today's weather started sunny but even though it went a little unsettled later on, I decided to go and "play" in the garden for a while. The imagine above shows our 2-road engine shed, which we have just extended with a 2nd Hornby "loco shed" kit. The locomotives seen are Black 5 No45156 "Ayrshire Yeomanry", King No6009 "King Charles II" & 4-4-0 City Class "Mauritus". The tender is from our Streamlined Duchess Pacific. The shed is mainly for display as it can only fit 3 or 4 locomotives (or 5/6 small ones!) in at once. However, it is afterall an piece of extra interest. The line in the far background is the main line from Chilvers as it returns to the Main Shed to complete the circuit. The line on which the tender stands allows trains to complete a very very small circuit, calling at Sutherland Station only. (That section is mostly used for storage now however). Anyway, today I ran a few trains up and down the garden, with 2 train rakes out. (There seemed no need to shunt the 30 or so freight wagons to make a managable train so I just used coaches).
I just thought that I would include the above shot to give you an idea of our railway's general layout. The main shed can be clearly seen and Sutherland Station is just to the right of the Windmill on the top wall. Trains then continue down the left hand side of the side-wall, passing Grantham & Ashford Halt's, before rounding the turntable in the bottom-left hand corner of the image. The trains then make their way up the other side of the side wall, passing Chilvers Coton Station and the passing loop. Trains then continue into the shed completing the circuit. Inside the shed we have 3 passing roads (for stabling trains) as well as a short siding which includes a Goods Shed. This allows for wagons to be stored or single locomotives respectively. Thanks for reading! More posts coming soon!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

"Sir Gomer" Sees The Light...And The Pressure Washer!

Shackerstone's 0-6-0 Saddle Tank No1859 of 1932 "Sir Gomer" stepped another place forward in her overhaul today. The locomotive's boiler was taken away to the Llangollen Railway's boiler shop on Monday, leaving only the wheels and frames at Shackerstone. The bottom end work will be left to us (the steam department) and will be carried out at Shackerstone. Today, was our first chance at gaining full access to the bottom end, now that the boiler was removed. When I arrived "Sir G" was over the indoor pit and we soon began cleaning the frames with de-greasing fluid. However, as it was a nice sunny day we decided to drag the frames outside and work on them in the outdoors. Therefore, the 02 Shunter "Diane" was soon brought to life and beginning to make air.
Once air pressure was made, "Diane" dragged "Sir Gomer" outside. Mic soon had the pressure washer connected up and ready to go. He then began washing down the frames. Once he'd removed as much grime as possible, we set to cleaning the frames with the fluid once again. We also used scrapers to remove trapped oil and ash from such places as the "axleboxes". The fluid helped immensely in removing any stains of dirt and oil from the frames. Once we'd done this job, Mic set to with the pressure washer again to wash away the grime that we had removed. The frames were then left to dry. It was now 3pm and "Diane" was restarted to move "Sir Gomer" on "half a wheel revolution". This would allow us to the clean the bottom sides of the eccentrics as well as the opposite halves of the axles. Myself, Jamie & Carl then got to work once again with the scrapers, brushes and the fluid for once last go at removing more grime.
Once this process had been completed for a 3rd time, Carl turned the pressure back on for a final time and set to cleaning away the final areas of grime. The result was quite impressive. (Carl is seen above pressure washing the frames on the 3rd stint. The full length of the frames can be appreciated from the photograph). Once Carl had finished pressure washing, it was time to clear away the bits and pieces. "Diane" was then restarted before pushing 1859's frames back into the shed. We positioned her directly over the indoor pit before I "screwed her down". She was also chocked around the centre axles for safety reasons. "Diane" was then uncoupled before dropping back towards the shed doors. The 0-4-0 was then switched off after its short but useful operations of the day. Meanwhile, Pockets had been working away on his SR Brake Van, which he is gradually restoring to its former glory.
The above picture once again shows Carl washing the frames for the final time. The image shows that only the sandboxes, reverser, vacuum brake & handbrake remain of the engine's upper half. Meanwhile, the bottom half remains completely in tact! The result following the cleaning of the inner frames was very impressive. The axles, axleboxes, di-blocks, rods, spindles, stretchers and frame sides were all an awful lot cleaner! This process will probably need to be carried a couple more times before we have finished the "full cleaning". However, for now, we have made good progress. Meanwhile, the locomotive's Saddle Tank & Cab/Bunker still remain in the car park awaiting refitment once general piping up is completed, following the return of the boiler. "Sir Gomer" then lay dormant in the shed until next week when checks to the valve gear will be carried out, mainly revolving around the working of the reverser & "reach-rod".
I think it will unfortunately be a few weeks before I head to Shackerstone again now but hopefully not too long! My next job is to find a locker(!)...a handy place to keep all my bits and bobs that I have to keep fetching and carrying to and from the railway each time I go! I seem to have found one but we still have to salvage it from behind "Lamport No3"! Oh well, until next time. Thank you for reading. We hope to have "Sir Gomer" back in steam, and "almost as good as new", for late Spring time, so why not come down and have a ride behind her?