Sunday, 28 March 2010

One Week To Go Until Steam Returns to Shack...

Hi all. Today, again, we were back at Shackerstone for more work regarding our standard gauge hobby. Signing on at 10:30am, myself and Joe headed off down to the shed where we met with many of the regulars including Pockets, Britt, the two Dave's and Grahem. Also on site today was fellow-CMES member, Eddie, giving us a hadn with various jobs. Myself and Eddie have been members of both CMES and Shackerstone Railway for a few years now, though Eddie has for somewhat longer! Eddie is a passed Driver/Fireman on the railway whilst I still remain a continually-improving (I hope!) Trainee Fireman. Outside the shed today was 2-2-0 Aveiling & Porter Rail-Loco No9449 "The Blue Circle" which was undergoing an unofficial Steam Test ready for her official Steam Test next Saturday. These tests are carried out to work out any little bugs before the real, important, yearly steam examination, carried out by a bonafided Boiler Inspector. Whilst No9449 raised steam, myself and Eddie were working away in the Machine Shop, cutting and shaping four gaskets for "Sir Gomer"s main Steam Pipes. The Pipes will be refitted to the Peckett in due course. Outside, "The Blue Circle" is seen raising steam...
No9449 was bubbling away outside the shed and, meanwhile, bits and bobs on "Sir Gomer" were being done. Dave was busy checking nut & bolt fittings on the boiler (to the running plate/frames) whilst Grahem went about his usual business of generally making good for the engine! Mick and his team were busy cleaning the Aveiling whilst others discussed plans for the near future of the shed and certain stock. With the gaskets done, thanks to Eddie's experience (I find gasket's hard not to split!), I was assigned another job; painting Gomer's lower blast pipe...otherwise known as the exhaust-outlet. A few minutes later, having painted the entire casting a shiney black, I left it to dry. It was, by now, lunch time and we all headed up to the Platform (and the Cafe!) for our break and refreshments. 20 minutes later, returning to the shed, I was assigned the job of painting inside "Sir Gomer"s frames. Alot of the engine has been internally painted, including the frames, stretchers and corner plates, but the weigh-shaft had not. Therefore, I went inside and began painting the weights. However, some dirt/grease remained underneath the Fireman's-side weight and so painting ceased. I collected the Needle-Gun equipment and began working away. (Thats a job to finish next Monday!). Back outside, No9449 was reaching pressure ready for a Safety Valve test...
The little 2-2-0 is due to be in service next weekend at Easter, subject to boiler test, and the Safety Valve's were being adjusted regularly today to make sure they did what they were supposed to do. "The Blue Circle" performed well and her owner, and Support Crew, were happy with the end result of the day. Later on, with equipment packed up and No9449 safely back in her 'box' (or the shed if you like!), we decided to call it a day...this was about 5:45pm. The Aveiling was left to cool down in the Work's whilst "Sir Gomer" simply stood awaiting her tank and cab! Have I missed something? Oh yes...Throughout the day, a certain, shall we say, "Eastern Lady", was waiting in the wings...
Yes! "Mayflower" is rebuilt, following her boiler-washout the other week, and is simply awaiting her first chance of the 2010 season to make the Leicestershire-countryside echo with her distinctive voice! The beautiful B1 4-6-0 will be in steam at Easter, on Sunday and Monday, hopefully operating 5 services from Shackerstone to Shenton...and back. Alongside the B1 will be, subject to boiler test, the diminutive 2-2-0 "The Blue Circle", offering a display of both "little", and "large"! I will be crewing "Mayflower" on Easter Sunday, signing on about 5:30am...look out for the post on that as it happens! Next outing? I'll hopefully be at my 5" gauge concern, Coventry Model Engineering Society, next Saturday, April 3rd. Thanks for reading folks, Evening All...

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