Saturday, 9 June 2012

Achilles Report No14 - Fish, Chips and Success...

Hi everyone. Today we attended the 3rd annual Fish 'n' Chip Steam-Up at Ryton; home of Coventry Model Engineering Society and their 3.5"/5" raised track. CMES is of course the home club of my 5" gauge locomotive "Achilles" which was, naturally, in attendance. This event had been brilliant the last two times it was held and it was equally good this year. We arrived at 4pm (the official start time) and immediately saw many locomotives already there: either on the track or on the steaming bays. The turn-out already seemed pretty good. Using the hydraulic lift we unloaded "Achilles" before rolling her onto the traverser spur. As there were no other cars queuing up to unload engines we decided that we would steam up where we were. Thus, "Achilles" was filled, oiled and lit where she stood. After around 25 minutes she was in steam and feathering lightly at just under the 90psi blow-off pressure. The new blower arrangement (1 hole of larger diameter instead of 3 holes at a tiny diameter) seemed to be working fine and so, after connecting the riding truck, we continued onto the track. The weather was lovely: the sun was shining and the skies were blue. Saying that, we always seem to be 'lucky' (dare I say it) with this event. "Achilles" had a successful first lap of the 2000ft-long track and so we duly connected one of the railways passenger trucks too. With this consist the maximum load we can carry is about 4 adults which; considering the lenghty 1 in 70 climb; is about right for the loco. She pulls 4 adults relatively easily, at line-speed without struggling, which is fine by me.
"Achilles" & Train With Ryton Pool In The Distance
We ran for about an hour before my family arrived and began taking their various rides. During the first hour my brother drove the engine and she seemed in good form. The family took their turns on the RPMR passenger car, whilst I drove from my truck. "Achilles" pulled well on each of her return journeys around the track and steamed surprisingly well with the deflector in the chimney. This deflector is worth its weight in gold when it comes to carrying the family. (Why do mum's always think pure white clothing is appropriate for steam locomotive travel?!). Having given each family member a couple of rides it was almost time for tea - served at 6:30pm. Emma (the event organiser) turned up with a huge pile of Fish 'n' Chips...YUM! By this time only "Achilles" and Paul's Sweet Pea were left on the track and both sat simmering away with relatively full boilers whilst members and guests enjoyed their dinner. The sun was just beginning to set and the weather could not have been better - once again. The chips this year were particularly good - I really enjoyed them.
Eventually "Achilles" started to feather again so, rather than pump furiously with the handpump, I decided to take her round the track and use the axlepump to do the job, whilst also quietening the fire. It must have looked pretty odd with me driving whilst trying not to drop a battered fish!
Me Driving - Chips In Hand (by E.Furminger)
After the chips we probably completed another 3 or 4 laps with the loco before retiring
This time, even when we were coming off the track the blower was still very powerful if you wanted it to be. It seems that the repairs have been successful - thank goodness. Once on No1 Bay we dropped the fire, blew-down the boiler and drained the tanks.
"Achilles" Blows Down
All in all, another successful day at RPMR and another good run for "Achilles". According to my records this is the 14th steaming that I've done with the loco since acquiring it in mid-July last year (not bad going in my eyes!). I'm very pleased with her today. Cheers guys. Sam...

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