Saturday, 18 April 2009

Sunny Steam up at Ryton

Following the Ryton Pool Railway's reopening to the public on Easter Sunday, there was a members Steam Up today. The usual procedure for these events is for members to bring their locomotives along for a run on the 2000ft long track. A BBQ is also available as well as seating areas. It was a lovely sunny day and by 12pm 0-4-0 Sweet Pea "John H Owen" was being brought into steam by myself and our trainee, Emma. A Sweet Pea is basically a 5" gauge version of a Bagnall 0-4-0 2ft Gauge Saddle Tank or 'Contractors Locomotive'. This particular model was completed in 1999 and is owned by the society. As I don't own my own loco, I mostly use "John Owen" on Steam Up Days. Meanwhile, Emma is training to be a passed driver on the railway so that she can drive steam hauled public trains on Sunday afternoons. (I already am a passed driver and have been since November 07').
By 12:30pm "John Owen" was in steam and on the track. Emma then drove the loco down to the carraige sheds where we collected 2 'coaches'. After a few laps with Emma on the regulator and, me giving my family a ride, it was time for the "Saturday Special". This was a one-off public opening of the railway during a Steam Up, held between 1:30pm and 3pm. Therefore, we collected an extra coach and made up a 3-coach rake for passengers. Other locomotives that were going round also collected a coach or two. At 1:30pm we pulled into Ryton Halt ready to go. 12 passengers boarded our train with me driving and Emma as Guard. We left Ryton Halt and got 1/2 way around before a handpump problem befell the Sweet Pea. I nursed the engine back to Ryton Halt as much as possible before failing her there. She was then removed from the track with the 3-coach train being dispersed between an 0-6-0 Simplex Side Tank & an 0-6-0 Pannier Tank.
"John Owen" was then blown down and put to bed. The day hadn't been totally dissapointing though as the railway had made money and also a good few locomotives had been seen on the track. These included the tiny 0-4-0 "Sweet Violet", seen above, which is the 3.5" gauge version of the Sweet Pea. (The 7.25" gauge version is known as the "Sweet William"). Behind the "Violet" can be seen an 0-6-0 "Butch" side tank loco. Other loco's on the track included a 5" gauge LNWR Precursor 4-4-0, a 3.5" gauge Southern 'Betty' 2-6-2, a 5" gauge 0-4-0 Battery electric and another Sweet Pea, as well as 3.5" gauge Molly 1F loco, to name but a few. I hope you've enjoyed reading this post and more will be coming soon....I will be at CMES next Sunday, driving the usual passenger trains, 1pm-4pm...

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