|Great Western Heavy Freight 2-8-0 No3803 (by M.Heseltine)|
6:05am: With a good wood fire burning in the box you can begin adding coal when you feel the fire is strong enough to get it alight. Adding coal before the wood has properly taken can either put the fire out or reduce it to a small glow with the result releasing very little heat. In the case of today, 3803 began singing almost straight away and stuck at 40psi rather than dropping down.
|3803's Fire Is Alight|
|The View Over Your Cuppa' - Impressive, Ay?!|
|A Western On Midland Rails - 3803|
10:25am: The Footplate Experience Driver certainly seemed to enjoy himself. Eddie offered continuous instruction and encouragement; as is the usual practise; throughout the journey.
10:45am: Arrival back at Shackerstone's Platform 2. The locomotive was in her usual fine form and was steaming brilliantly on minimal fire. The engine was then pulled into Platform 1 for photographs and the usual handing over of the Certificate and other paperwork. This is where we bid goodbye to our Footex Participants as they join the train for a bite to eat.
|Creeping Through The Points at Shackerstone's North End|
|Away From Far Coton, Towards Shenton|
11:42am: 3803 has been uncoupled and driven into the headshunt. The points have then be switched to allow her access into the run-round loop. We will now run-round onto the front of the train ready for the returning 11:50 journey to Shackerstone.
|3803 at Sunny Shenton (by M.Heseltine)|
1:03pm: The fire is now burning brightly again and, for some reason, the back damper was operating much better than normal so we decided to use that rather than the centre one on the way back. This would theoretically allow much more air through the back end of the fire (which is often thicker than the rest) than is possible with the centre damper only, thus hopefully giving better draft and reducing the risk of more clinker.
|Driver Eddie Larking About On 3803|
|3803 at Shenton With The 1:45pm From Shack|
2:55pm: The engine needed water after her 4th return trip to Shenton and back. So, having buffered up to the train and coupled on, we decided to take a thousand gallons.
|3803 Waits Inpatiently At Bosworth|
3:55pm: By now, though still late, we were romping along the line away from Hedleys and up towards the top of the bank before descending into Shackerstone.
|Chugging Away from Hedleys|
4:00pm: Arrival at Shackerstone
|Driver Eddie Bringing 3803 Into Shackerstone|
5:30pm: The locomotive is back in the shed safe & sound. Her fire is almost dead, her boiler is full and she has around 120psi of steam on the clock. She is handbraked and scotched with the drain taps open, the regulator closed and the mid-gear position assumed. That'll do for today. 12 hours and 66 miles or so after it began, the day is done. 3803 had performed very well indeed and I think myself, Eddie and James all had an enjoyable day on her footplate.
|Trainee James, Driver Eddie and Fireman Me on 3803 (by M.Heseltine)|