Sunday, 5 December 2010

Freezing & Steamy at Shackerstone...

Hi all. Today, again in freezing conditions, I made my way over to Shackerstone. The plan was to do a day in the shed; obviously with as many stoves as possible lit for warmth! On my arrival at 10:15am, the day's engine (1306 "Mayflower") had just left with the first train of the day (the 10am). With a quiet, frosty station in front of me as I walked from the car, I headed off into the cafe for a bacon baguette and a cuppa'. After my lovely breakfast, I signed in and then headed off down to the shed. Inside, it was even colder. Trails of ice lined the walls and you could easily see your breath in the air. Dear me, even writing this makes me feel cold! The running area of the shed was rather quiet, with no engines to see. Pannier No5786 was resting in the storage area, along with "Lamport No3", "Blue Circle", "Sir Gomer" and the Bubblecar. The Pannier will be out next weekend, and "Mayflower" again the weekend after that. 5786 will then see us up to Christmas with a special steaming on Christmas Eve. Today's jobs included the cleaning of 5786's smokebox and firebox. However, though we got the smokebox done to a high standard, as well as the tubeplate and steam pipes, the firebox proved far too hot to bare. The Pannier had been on a warming fire the day before when 1306 had experienced frost problems, but it turned out that she wasn't needed in the end. Having been brought to almost full heat, 5786's firebox was by no means a hospitable place. I opened the door, felt the heat, and shut them again; I wasn't going in there; and if I had I probably wouldn't have come back out! Below, the clean smokebox and tubeplate of 5786...
The rest of the day included a tidy up of the shed, a complete clean out of the pit (done by myself), movement of pallets, the making of a new stove, the lighting of the current stoves, cleaning out "Blue Circle", cleaning 5786, wripping up new rags, breaking up wood, moving loco parts, drinking tea, defrosting the water tower etc. A good day all told. We even had a visit from some of the owners of 5542, who were also custodians of 5786 (no pressure!). They were of course impressed with the condition that their engine was being kept in; cold or not! 5786 had had her injectors wrapped up, as well as her hydrostatic lubricator; no harm in protecting them from the bad frost. Below, myself at the door, stands in the clean shed...
Later on, a quick trainee photo on a still warm 5786. From the left, Danny, myself and Joe. The cold winter light creeps in on the right...
Meanwhile, 1306 was in and out throughout the day. She worked all four 'Santa' departures with distinction and ease. I must admit, its always nice to pop out from the shed to see her leave! Us trainees, Grahem E and the two Mic's had a good time in the shed today, and got alot of work done. It was certainly worth going. Thanks alot to Mr M.Jones for providing all four of the images featured in this post. I left the railway at 5:30pm, through the freezing fog and back to Bedworth..."Come on Saxo"! Thanks everyone; Evening All...

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