Saturday, 30 May 2009

Another Evesham Vale Light Railway Visit...

As mentioned in an earlier post, the Evesham Vale Light Railway is a 15" gauge steam railway based at Evesham Country Park. The line runs for around 1.25 miles through the tranquil scenary of the park's apple orchards & open fields. We tend to visit the line at least once, maybe twice, per year and it is always worth it. Today, following a discussion earlier in the week, myself & my family paid another visit to this friendly little line. We all took a ride on the train for the very reasonable fare before my family left me at the railway and headed off to the garden centre which lies only a few yards away from the line's main station, Twyford. I remained at the railway to take photographs, video, and of course enjoy the atmosphere! Today, the line was due to be busy and so the owners had laid on two steam locomotives:-"John" (mentioned in earlier post) & "Count Louis". The use of the two locomotives allowed the running of two trains using a token system. Trains ran to an intensive 20 minute timetable from Twyford Station with the two little Atlantics taking the strain admirably.
"John", which we took a ride behind on our last visit, is a 1921 built ex-Rhyl Miniature Railway Barne's 4-4-2 Atlantic locomotive. Utilising a 120psi boiler, the engine wears the RMR's smart Red livery. Bought by the EVLR in the year 2000, the locomotive has received a full restoration which was completed around 3 years ago. "Count Louis", is an ex-Fairbourne Railway locomotive, designed by Henry Greenly and built in 1924. Following her full restoration, including the fitment of a new steel boiler, the engine is painted in a green livery and display's the FR's logo on her lengthy bogie tender. The image above show's "Count Louis"s cab and controls. The regulator can be seen in the centre of the fittings, as can the two water gauge glasses. The handle to the bottom left controls the air braking. The locomotive also features two injectors, a pole reverser and a large mechanical lubricator situated on her right-hand running boards. The locomotive has been restored to a fantastic standard and looks very much at home running alongside "John". The driver did comment however that the engine was working 'to capacity' and as was "John", due to the heavy loads and the line's gradients, which can be as steep as 1 in 65 at some points.
Looking at the two Atlantic's closely, it is hard to see any big differences between them. The main difference is that "John" carries a 3-axle "rigid" tender whereas "Count Louis" carries a larger bogie tender which is obviously a little more comfortable in its riding. Another difference is that "Count Louis" carries her mechanical lubricator on the right-hand running boards whereas "John" carries her's hidden under her front bufferbeam. "Count Louis" also carries her air brake pump very noticeably on the left-hand side of her smokebox, as can be seen in the images. However, internally, a major difference is that "Count Louis"' boiler runs at a higher pressure of 150psi, compared to "John"s 120psi. Though the boiler pressure is higher, the driver commented that the extra 30psi is simply "a reserve" as it simply cannot properly be used due to adhesion factors. Also, the driver commented that the engine isn't really generating major power until around 8mph and seeing as the train often doesn't exceed this speed then certain amounts of power remain unused. However, all in all, the two locomotive's are absolutely fantastic sights to see running on the line and both wear their shining liveries proudly.
Though the two Atlantic's were out today, 0-4-0 Tendered locomotive "St Egwin" remained resting in the shed after working throughout the "half term" holiday week. Meanwhile, the railway's ex-Longleat 0-6-0 Tendered locomotive "Dougal" was away for fitment of a new boiler off site. The locomotive will be returning in the next few weeks ready for a return to service soon. Also, 1946-built 4-6-2 LMS Pacific 5751 "Prince William" is still undergoing a full overhaul which is taking place, as far as I know, off site. Finally, 0-4-0 American loco "R H Morse" is in store awaiting an overhaul. However, it is unlikely that this engine will be overhauled any time soon as she is simply too small for the capacity of the line's ever increasing train weights. I was very priviliged to see the two Atlantic's working together and it was certainly a sight to remember! The EVLR is open at weekends and during school holiday's throughout the year and is well worth a visit for any steam enthusiast or family alike! You can visit their website for more information at www.evlr.co.uk
Finally, the video above is my footage from the day. The two shots taken of the Atlantic's on the 1 in 65 bank running back towards Twyford are very audible indeed! It is no doubt that the locomotives were working at full regulator on this climb! I hope you have enjoyed this post and will hopefully visit the very friendly EVLR one day...More posts coming soon....Thanks for reading!

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