Sunday, 15 April 2012

Driving & Firing A Great Western Heavy Freight...

 Hi everyone. This morning I was at Shackerstone at 5:30am, driving in under dark skies. Up in the loco works I found Pockets; having just arrived himself. He was busy lighting 3803: the locomotive for the day. The engine was due off-shed at 9am for another of the railway's popular "Footplate Experience" courses. Andy (Poc) would be teaching the driving, and I would be firing. With the loco lit, we had a cuppa' as she boiled away in the background. The Foot-Ex people arrived on time at 8am and were given the usual Safety Brief and a description of both the railway and 3803. We left shed at 9am, watered up and then continued down the line for the light engine run. We then returned to Shack, collected the train and away we went. By now the skies had changed their tune and white clouds hung effortlessly above us against the blue backdrop
On The Run Towards Market Bosworth
 Out on the line the weather was lovely. It was a little breezy on the cab of the big 38' but the views were fab as normal. The Battlefield Line is a real country railway and the heart of its rural surroundings
Tender First Towards Hedleys
Below, 3803 climbs out of Shenton towards Far Coton...

Following the Foot-Ex we returned to Shack and handed over the certificates and various souvenir paperwork. The first public train (the 11:15) left on time and 3803 performed well with John driving and me firing. On return to Shackerstone again, we had to take coal
 The coaling is always done with a JCB at Shackerstone, as there is no coal hopper or working conveyer
 Whilst John and Pockets coaled the tender, I watched the water and the fire from the cab. As I had a few minutes spare I got my Chicken & Mushroom pasty out and got cooking
 The rest of our trips were very enjoyable with myself, John, Pockets and Dave sharing duties on the footplate. I drove a trip, and fired a few. 3803 went well all day, pulling the 4 coach train effortlessly
Backhead Controls On 3803
 Trainee Dave was on fine form with the firing during the afternoon and took the 3rd & 4th trips

Another Couple Of Rounds On
We returned to shed on time at around 5:20ish as usual. The loco had performed very well indeed and we had had a good laugh and another good day on 3803. Thanks to everyone involved. I really enjoy doing the Foot-Ex's; they are just a bit different! :) Cheers guys. Sam

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