Saturday, 30 October 2010

Night Driving at the GEC...

Hi all. Today I was invited for the second year running to drive at the GEC Miniature Railway's "Night Run". The run, themed around "Halloween", took place between 3pm and 9pm, with setting up beginning around midday. I arrived at about 12:30pm and immediately found 0-4-0 Sweet William "Luna" on the 7.25" gauge steaming bays. Also present were the Warship battery electric and "Sammy" the Diesel Hydraulic. My charge for the day, Romulus No5 "James", would arrive at about 1:30pm. Above and below, we see the powerful little "Luna" on the steaming bays...
Trains began running at 3pm, with "Sammy" taking charge of the first trains...
Meanwhile, myself and owner James had been preparing his Romulus. On the other bay, "Luna" was ready to go and headed off to take her first run. "James" slowly came off shed as "Luna" departed. However, "Luna" became stranded half way down the line when a Crosshead seized to a Slide bar. Therefore, Malcom took "Sammy" to the rescue and soon returned with the passenger train. "James", sporting a large toolbox on the tender, was then sent to rescue "Luna". With connecting rods taken off, "Luna" was dragged back to the steaming bays for repair. Meanwhile, "James" and "Sammy" operated services. However, within 20 minutes "Luna" was repaired and back in action. Therefore, three loco's on two sets of service coaches gave us an intense service. Over on the raised track, many loco's were in action; both steam and diesel; providing another intensive service. As the evening drew in, passenger numbers got greater and greater, with myself and James taking turns on his loco. "James" runs a treat and is a pleasure to drive. I must admit, I do like 7.25". My particular favourite is the 'clickity-clack' of the wheels on the joints...just like the real thing! Below, see a video, taken by a GEC member of staff I believe, showing trains in operation. You can spot me in there a few times with the bright red engine!...

When the darkness came down, a Bonfire was lit and many illuminations came on; both electric and candle powered! "Luna", "James" and "Sammy" all sported headlights and tail-lamps, with the track decorated with Pumpkins and Ghosts! However, once you were out onto the single line section, the darkness engulfed the track and you couldn't see anything. I personally drive by sound on occasions like this. Obviously a big obstacle will stick out to your vision but anything tiny will not. Also, the sound of the engine and the wheels on the joints gives you a rough guide to your speed. Its a great experience. Of course, any good driver carries a footplate lamp for the water level and pressure gauge. The 'Tea Room Ladies' were again fantastic, serving countless visitors, as well as staff, amazing hot-dog's, cups of tea/coffee and even pumpkin soup! The hot-dogs were fantastic but the tea brought to the footplate was even more fantastic! Well done again ladies, you always make my night! My last run departed at around 8:15pm, with my family as well as a few more passengers on board the train. "James" ran beautifully all night; what a machine. After helping dispose, tidy up and load loco's, I departed GEC at around 9:30pm after a great evening. Thanks very much to everyone at GEC and of course James; the owner of "James"! Special thanks also to the Tea Room Ladies; as always, keep up the good work! Thank you all; I had a great time. Thanks for reading folks. Goodnight...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi loco the loco Sweet William i have have too great locos they are