Sunday, 22 April 2012

Achilles Report No12: Double-Heading...

Hello everyone. This afternoon I was rostered on as a Driver at RPMR; the miniature railway operated by the Coventry Model Engineering Society. Though the weather forecast had been a bit depressing, the sun was shining as we pulled up to the railway gates at around Midday. The plan today was to double-head my engine ("Achilles") with the clubs own "John H Owen": a Sweet Pea. After unloading the loco we put her onto one of the bays and began prepping her. Gary, Gerry and Ben took the Class 37 electric away with the train and began running the railway (around 45 minutes early) at 12:15. Myself and Driver Emma meanwhile prepped our engines. "John H Owen" was prepared on the loading line ready for action
Emma Raises Steam on "JHO"
My electric blower failed again today so I had to revert to using the clubs blower. As Emma was still making up her wood fire I quickly borrowed it and shoved it onto "Achilles". Once I had enough steam to use a tiny bit of steam blower, I gave her the electric one back asap so that she could steam "John Owen". "Achilles" doesn't take very long to steam up at all, particularly with a good blower, so simmered away happily at around 60psi with the blower just cracked whilst the Pea warmed up
Once the two engines were ready to go, we steamed off shed. "Achilles" + driving truck was pulled onto the traverser and across onto the run-up-rail. We then descended this line a little so as to allow "JHO" to use the traverser. Soon enough, across she came, feathering at the safety valves. "JHO" was then coupled up to the rear of my driving truck before the Pea dragged "Achilles" back up the incline and onto the main. The 37 had just arrived with the ECS from the station so we shunted around and then got coupled up. The 37 headed off down to the traverser for storage. With the two engines on the head of the train, we steamed around the track to the station. "Achilles" led the way, with "JHO" as Train Engine, followed by 4 full size cars and a Guards truck at the back. The ECS was easy to pull and we were soon at the station and raring to go with our first passenger run at 1pm: right on time!
We believe that this is the very first time that two loco's have double-headed a train (in the correct manner) on the RPMR since it opened. The train did look rather odd, with an industrial tank engine on the front and a narrow gauge Bagnall look-a-like behind but, nevertheless, it was fun! On the front, "Achilles" pulled well though steaming was at times inpaired. I don't know if the push of "JHO" from behind was causing bad running but when we got a good head and were working hard the 0-6-0T steamed very well, feathering at the valves most of the way. Some of the loads we pulled were pretty heavy. Indeed I remember two particularly heavy trains when both "Achilles" and "JHO" had to work quite hard on the bank. Emma (driver of "JHO") reported that you could really feel the difference when "Achilles" was on the front, meaning that it was definately doing some of the work. Naturally, the Pea is more powerful but then again it has a much bigger boiler!
4/5 of The Way Around The Track (by E.Furminger)

"Achilles" & "JHO" Pass By (by E.Furminger)
I must admit I was impressed with the running and it certainly was unusual. I always enjoy pulling people with "Achilles". When she goes well, she goes very well. The beauty about having "JHO" behind also meant that I could theoretically work the 0-6-0 as hard as I wanted. If I was struggling then I could just crack the regulator and let the Pea take most of the load but if I wanted a bit of a chuff then I could open the tank right up and take some more of the weight.
Arriving Back (by E.Furminger)
The photograph below is probably the best (yes, the best) photograph I have ever seen of RPMR
Steaming Away As Light Fades (by E.Furminger)
The loco did develop a blower problem later in the afternoon and had to be removed from the track briefly. The blower head was blocked so I cleared it asap and relit the fire. The loco then steamed back onto the track and rejoined "JHO". After a few more runs the rain and hail set in, beating down hard on the railway. The locomotives simmered in the station before being sent away for disposal. We reversed "JHO" back to her bay before "Achilles" took all of the ECS back to the run-up-rail and steaming bays. "Achilles" was then disposed before being cleaned and readied for loading
Once loaded we headed home at around 4:45pm after another successful day. Thank you for reading and thanks to everyone involved on the day for making it so enjoyable. The loco will next run in early June, unless a new date crops up before: in which case it will appear on here! Cheers guys. Sam...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you're so u have a gf?