Wednesday, 25 August 2010

"St Egwin" On The Evesham Vale...

Hello everyone. Today, even with the once again horrid weather forecast, we set off for another visit to the Evesham Vale Light Railway in Worcestershire. This would be our second visit of 2010 but, as with our last trip there in February, the weather wasn't on our side! "Oh well, can't help the weather". The EVLR was running it's daily 'summer' service; operating from 10:30am until 5pm. The locomotive in charge was the illusive Exmoor-built 0-4-0STT "St Egwin"; owned by EVLR Driver Steve Bell. I say 'illusive' as it's the first time I've actually managed to catch "Egwin" on film! (At last!). We arrived at the Evesham Country Park at just before 12 Midday, under dark skies threatening rain. (The drive from here to there is about an hour as long as the traffic isn't too bad in the Stratford area). After parking up, we enjoyed a cuppa' from our assembled flasks and a picnic; all undertaken from the safety of the dry, warm car of course! Soon, the train, hauled by "St Egwin", arrived back at Twyford Station and we purchased our tickets before climbing aboard. The chunky Exmoor engine took up her place at the head of the train and, right on time, we departed at 12:30pm. The hard working EVLR owners were on site as usual; one driving and one acting as Guard. We then enjoyed a 15-minute round trip through the Apple Orchards and around the Baloon Loop to Evesham Vale Station. The run also included the usual 5-minute or so break at Evesham Vale, overlooking the location of the same name! Below, today's video footage; filmed over a couple of trips; can be viewed...

Back at Twyford with the rain falling, I decided to look over the engine. "St Egwin" was ordered and constructed new in 2003 by Exmoor Steam Railway in Devon as Work's Number 312. She is a large 0-4-0 tendered side tank, wearing a green livery and the EVLR initials on the tender. The loco wears a large boiler with all the usual features from a regulator to a whistle. I particularly like the two large gauge glasses and the stylish cab front. The loco carries Walschaerts valve gear, employing outside-frames to give bigger width and overall stature. All bearings are 'Roller Bearings'; adding to the modernity of this now 7-year old locomotive. Gearing is on a Pole Reverser, with two notches in either direction. This allows for a little bit of 'notching up' but, as the EVLR is a fairly steep line, advanced steam exploitation isn't necessary. Stopping is provided by Air Brakes as well as a Handbrake. Furthermore, as her owner is a Driver on the famous Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, "St Egwin" has also been fitted with Vacuum Brakes. This has allowed her to visit Romney on a few occasions, taking part in gala's and hauling heavier trains. Of course, she is more a powerful machine than a fast one but I'm told that she performed well at RHDR regardless. She has also visited the Bure Valley Railway at Wroxham. Next month, she is even visiting the Kirklees Light Railway in Yorkshire for their gala (why not go and see her there?!). Below, the 3.5-tonne locomotive is seen from the rear, looking over the tender...
Here we can see the cab of the locomotive. There are two injectors which provide water for the boiler...
Below, the Walschaerts valve gear is seen, operating on Slide Valves...
"St Egwin"s worksplate, showing her youth as a steam locomotive...
After run's, the EVLR always turn their engines. "St Egwin" is seen being turned by George whilst Driver Helen Shackell keeps watch from the footplate...
One thing I always like about the EVLR is their keeness to talk to visitors and answer questions. This is a factor that is becoming increasing rare on steam railway's I believe; some people just don't want to know! The friendliness of the staff is then reflected in the morale of the visitors. Below, with rain not putting them off, visitors crowd around "St Egwin" as Driver Helen gives one of her routine demonstrations as to how a steam locomotive works, encouraging the youngsters to ask questions and enchance their knowledge of their beloved steam trains. How many other places do you know that are this informative and encouraging?...
"The Road Ahead": A quick snap through what would be the Drivers-side cab window if she was full size...
By 2pm, soaked through, cold and increasing unenthusiastic about continuing, I decided to call it a day. I had got my film and some pictures, and had had a chat to boot. The EVLR always proves an interesting few hours out; whatever the weather. I watched the 2pm departure leave, saying goodbye to Helen and Jim (the owners) as I did so. The line will continue to operate at weekends throughout the year. Click HERE for details. I will be visiting the wonderful EVLR again in a few months; possibly November time. Thank you to Jim, Helen and all of the EVLR staff for another nice, friendly visit. Also thanks to "St Egwin"s owner, Steve Bell; you have a lovely engine, Sir! Thank you for reading folks. Good Evening...

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