Friday, 1 June 2012

Hunslet Week Day 1: Preparations at Statfold...

Hi everyone. This morning at 9am I pulled up at the gates of the modern day Hunslet Engine Company, at Statfold near Tamworth. This now huge concern has a mixture of 7.25", 10.25", 2ft, 2ft 6" and standard gauge tracks as well as road vehicles, traction engines and...you name it (its there!). I had been invited over to help prepare for tomorrow's open day; one of three held every year at Statfold. Upon my arrival I could hear one of the Hunslet diesels ticking over and upon entering the running shed I spotted the engines outside: all TWELVE of them. After helping tidy up, move stock and clean some of the locos I was asked to steam up the collections newest restoration job (more on that later). Tomorrow I'm firing one of the new build Quarry Hunslets: "Jack Lane" of 2005. The cabless 0-4-0 was on shed, coupled to sister new build "Statfold". To be honest, they do look remarkably like the original Quarry's, just a little newer!
Behind the two Hunslets was the pretty Corpet 0-6-0. Restored from a rusting wreck in a little over 8 months, the Corpet has only just been finished. Employing outside frames and Brown valve gear, the loco looks similar to the Snowdon mountain engines. Anyway, having steamed the loco, myself and Paul (a Welsh Highland driver) were taken out for a run on it by site owner Grahem Lee. The engine ran like a charm; not a single bang, rattle, knock or groan. Mr Lee in particular seemed very pleased with his latest loco as we steamed down the line. Returning to the yard at Statfold, Grahem alighted before myself and Paul continued with the running. I was familiarising myself with the route whilst Paul was learning the controls on the Corpet, as he will be driving her tomorrow too. It was a very pleasant afternoon, steaming back and forth along the dual gauge track through the Staffordshire fields. A very nice locomotive.
By the time we got the Corpet back on shed, disposed and cleaned it was 4:30pm and I had to get home. However, before I went I managed to grab a few quick snaps of some of the loco's that will be performing tomorrow. O & K 0-6-0 "Max" was another fabulous Statfold restoration, from a rusting hulk...
Bagnall's always seem to be fantastic runners and are often very attractive. This one is "Isibutu" and, if I had the money, I would probably buy her. She is beautiful. The 4-4-0 tank worked out in South Africa and was previously based at the North Gloucestershire railway at Toddington. The Marine boilered beauty is now owned by Mr Lee and is a regular performer at Statfold.
Recently returned from a successful visit to the Ffestiniog Railway, Peckett 0-6-0ST "Harrogate" had been cleaned up and prepped early. She is another star of the collection, in my eyes anyway. What a beautiful machine.
This 0-6-0 well tank was once based at Bressingham and in her earlier life owned by the Surrey County Council.
One of the first full restorations at Statfold was "Pakis Baru No1". This O & K 0-4-0, now with tender, is a regular and reliable performer on the 2ft 6" rails.
On another note, I also got a go on this remarkable pump-truck! What a laugh!
All in all, a brilliant little day at the Statfold Barn Railway. I am very much looking forward to firing "Jack Lane" tomorrow. Look out for that post as it happens. Cheers: Sam...

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