Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Loco Works and P-Way at Shackerstone...

Hi all. Today I was off over to Shackerstone again. The main objective today was to aid some P-Way (track) work that was taking place in the Shenton Lane area of the line, just around the corner from the terminus at Bosworth Battlefield. However, knowing that there had been some changes in the loco shed, I couldn't resist popping over to Shack to have a look first! Arriving at around 10:15am, I parked up and took a quick walk down the track to the shed. The site was pretty much desolate apart from one or two strong-willed members. The P-Way train was already out down the line so silence was in abundance; just right! Inside the works, on the Pit, the returning Western intruder stood cold but proud; GWR 2-6-2 55xx Small Prairie No5542 (The 'Planets Favourite Prairie'). Seen above, 5542 was tucked up nicely inside the works. This is a beautiful little engine, perfect for us in every way. I must admit, I'm very glad to see her back for a while! 5542 will be working during March. Click HERE or HERE for more details. Behind the Prairie, looking very odd and somewhat misplaced, was the tender of the beautiful B1 No1306 "Mayflower". The loco has been taken to Washward Heath for an intermediate Bottom-End overhaul. Whether she will return to Shackerstone or leave for another railway is unknown at the time of writing. I must admit though, its been a pleasure to have her with us for the last 4 years! Below, the tender holds its own in the works...
Behind the B1's tender were the industrial loco's, our Peckett "Sir Gomer" and Mic Smith's Aveiling & Porter "The Blue Circle". Both loco's are currently out of service and undergoing work, though "Sir Gomer"s has taken much, much longer than anticipated. The Peckett does however now sport Injector Clacks, Vacuum Equipment, Steam Pipes and many more fittings; progress at least! Plans are afoot to have the ex-Mountain Ash beast ready for service just as 5542 leaves us; here's hoping. If not, no doubt something else will be brought in to fill the gap in the ranks, particularly as now we only possess a B1 tender which, without the front, is a little pricarious to drive/fire, let alone haul a train with! I believe "Blue Circle" to be undergoing gearing work, allowing her to return to service as "Fergus" for the Thomas events of April. With one more look at 5542, I left the shed, shut the door and proceeded back down to my car. I then drove through the quiet yet muddy Fen Lane's, through Market Bosworth, Far Coton and on to Shenton. There, in the distance, I could see the P-Way train (the Class 04 Shunter & 3 wagons) sitting on the bank in the Shenton Lane area, as predicted. Below, here is the stretch of track we worked today, between four of us, rails all freshly cut, moved and ready for drilling...
This section runs from Market Bosworth to Shenton; a distance of around 1.75 miles. Though the line here was laid only 20 years ago, its make-up is a bit odd. Most of the track panels here came from an Oil Refinery system. Therefore, they are mostly short lengths of track, meaning alot more joints for the same distance travelled. Afterall, they were once only sidings! Over the last few years, the joints have been slowly getting worse and, though none were dangerous, improvement is always welcome. Therefore, this winter, the rails are being sawn to eradicate the 'impact section' (the end of the rail where the train wheels always strike and flatten). Then, the rails are moved down by man power alone, still in the Chair's and rather heavy! Next, the rails are drilled, re-fishplated and greased, before being settled and given clearance to use. This should eradicate alot of drop joints, giving a smoother run over better track. "See", P-Way has its uses (even if it is back-breaking!). Today, four of us managed to undo, saw and move 6 or 7 rails; no mean fete I tell you! "Phew"! Even so, a very worthwhile little day and I left at 3:30pm before collapsing on the sofa at home and dropping off for a few hours...that was a tiring day! Thanks all. Good Evening...

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