Sunday, 13 June 2010

Shackerstone Railway at Nuneaton Carnival!...

Hi all. Every year, Nuneaton Carnival performs a colourful procession through the bustling streets of Nuneaton, wowing crowds and collecting vast sum's of money for charitable purposes. Operating an average route of around 2.5 miles, at least 13 colourfully decorated full size floats, accompanied by various "walkers", traders, guides etc make their way around the town on an anti-clockwise basis. This year, for the first time, members (including myself!) of the Shackerstone Railway Society took along a full-size float to publicise the Battlefield Line Railway; which we operate. The float, provided by a local locomotive haulier, was made a real eye-catcher by the presence of the railway's smallest steam locomotive; 0-2-2 Aveiling & Porter Single-Expansion Rail-Loco No9449 "The Blue Circle", taking on her usual guise as the Thomas Character; "Fergus". Addorning banners, flags, leaflets and bunting, "Fergus" took up his place in the middle of the float. In front of 'him' was the rather unusual blow-up "Shackie-Saurus" (seen above); respesenting the well known Shackerstone Family Festival, held on the first weekend in September! (see website for details!). Today, after arriving at the compound (where the Float + No9449 had been kept all week, following it's appearence at Hinckley Carnival the week before) at around 10am, I began cleaning "Fergus" with owner; Mic. The fire was lit and No9449 began to warm up. The Float is seen around 4/5 of the way around the circuit in the bright sunshine...
However, there was one problem; the loco's tubes were blocked. This problem had come about after having used a different coal the week before and, without removing the loco from the Float, there was no solution. In the end, "Fergus" managed only 7psi or there abouts throughout the day though, surpisingly, he did manage to keep himself 'ticking-over' through the procession! That must be a testament to the freeness of his valve gear! Anyhow, I was allocated to the jobs of collecting money (in a bucket provided) and giving out Thomas stickers. The crowds were huge. In fact, I couldn't believe how many people there were! It was great! Though lengthy, the procession was very enjoyable and we collected a lot of money and gave out countless leaflets, stickers and flyers; this in itself making it worthwhile going, whatever the weather! We also had the Fat Controller and Thomas music playing over the PA! Below, "Fergus" is seen on the stationary Float during one of the 10-minute breaks that were provided...
Next outing to Shackerstone? Well, I'm rostered to crew B1 No1306 "Mayflower" on July 4th and, due to exam's and family commitments, I won't be there before that day unfortunately so I'll see what occurs then! Thank you for reading folks. Good Evening...

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