Sunday, 5 September 2010

Another Day on 1306 At Shackerstone...

Hi all. Well, I was out at 6:30am again this morning to be at Shackerstone for 7am. I was again due to be the cleaner/trainee fireman for LNER B1 No1306 "Mayflower" who would again be sharing services with Prairie Tank No5542. Shackerstone Family Festival weekend was still in full swing and six services were again rostered on the railway. On my arrival, I discovered Driver Neil cleaning the loco and Fireman Pockets was in the firebox cleaning out some clinker. Meanwhile, 5542 was being prepared on the South pit by Driver John, Fireman Dave and Trainee Danny. First, I grabbed a bucket, a brush and a handful of rags before filling the bucket with the usual mixture of Parrafin & Oil. I then set about cleaning the Fireman's Side bottom end of 1306 whilst Andy lit the engine up and Neil cleaned the barrel and brasswork. Surprisingly, today, it didn't seem long before we were ready and we reversed off shed and into Platform 1 very early indeed. In fact, 5542 hadn't even left yet with the first train when we came off shed! Wow! We all then went off to get changed and rejoined 1306 in good time. Over in the field we could hear the commentators on the tanoy, busily giving demonstrations and notices to the listening public. After her round trip, 5542 duly returned and we were the given the road to take 1306 over the crossing to the Signalbox. "Got the Dolly"; and we dropped down onto the train. However, before we could 'hook up', the Guard had to 'pull the strings'; dumping the vacuum resevoir in the coaches so that 1306 could actually pull the brakes off. It's all about vacuum limits. 5542, being a Western, pulls 25 inches of vacuum whereas 1306 only pulls 21 inches. Therefore, when 1306 needs to take over a service, the 'strings' will have to be pulled so that she can release the brakes. It's a simple task, it just takes up more time! Below, 1306 drops down onto the second train (her first) of the day; the Drain taps are open to release any condensed water from her still relatively cool steam circuits...
1306 looks a real picture as she drops down onto the stock; that looks like me and Pockets looking out from the Fireman's side...
A lovely portrait of 1306...
For the first run, Pockets said I could fire. I said "yes" of course (it's better than sitting still!) but I was a bit apprenhensive. I hadn't fired 1306 since early July and even then I'd only done one trip! (We'll see how this goes...). The main difference with 1306, for example...against 5542, is that the firebox is that much bigger. "Mayflower" boasts a firebox that is about 10ft long x 4ft wide and, even then, she has an Eastern style 'Flap Door', meaning that you have about 1/2 of the usual 'swinging space'! I must admit, the Flap Door takes alot of practise to master, as does looking through a larger fire for holes or bright spots. However, once the fire was built up (particularly thick around the middle due to the angle down towards the tubeplate), 1306 held steam very well and we made Shenton with a good amount of steam on the clock and the injector running. Below, I'm captured in the Fireman's seat as we leave Shackerstone with our first train of the day...
On the return run, I fired again and 1306 blew off through Three Bridges making it a very loud trip back to Bosworth! However, with the Flap open and both injectors running, she soon quietened down again! Soon, we were back at Shackerstone with the Flap open and the Damper shut so that we could have a huge layover before our next trip, the 4th; 5542 would take out the 3rd. 1306 sat quietly at Shackerstone with many people visiting her footplate and standing in awe as they surveyed the length of a B1 Class firebox! On our 2nd trip, Pockets fired down and I fired back before yet another layover. 5542 then went out on her last trip; the 5th train of the day. When 5542 returned there was a special treat; a fantastic aerial display by the famous RAF Red Arrows. They were really great and their presence was a great finale to the 2010 Shackerstone Family Festival. As the Red's left in a cloud of red, white and blue smoke, 1306 was coupled up to the final train of the day; the 5:45pm. Our last run was great; very enjoyable indeed; and we returned to Shackerstone in good time, joined by 1306's owner on the footplate. Once back, it wasn't long before we had 1306 inside the loco shed and disposed of. Thanks to Gerald, Neil and Andy for a great day out on the footplate once again. And, once again, thank you very much to steam department regular, Mr D.Hanks, for providing all of the fantastic photographs used in this post. Good Evening folks, Thanks for Reading...

No comments: