Saturday, 25 August 2012

Achilles Report No17: Rugby MES Visit...

Hi all. This morning, as the rain threatened to fall, "Achilles" was being prepared for a trip out to Rugby Model Engineering Society's track at Onley Lane. The newly-ticketed engine had been throughly cleaned the night before when she suffered an unfortunate failure...
"Oh Dear"
I was cleaning the engine when I noticed that the return crank was movable. When I grabbed a 5BA spanner with which to tighten the clasp onto the crank again the bolt inside it sheered. Luckily it had sheered at the nutted end rather than inside the clasp so it was simple enough to remove it. However I did not have a spare so rushed over to Kens to collect one; luckily he had plenty! I then rushed home and fitted the 5BA before tightening, which was successful. The clasp was tight on the crank and the valve position was correctly set. The loco was now again ready for loading. We left home at 10am, arriving at Onley Lane around 35 minutes later. It was sunny there: thank goodness: as it had not been at home. "Achilles" was duly unloaded, filled with water and lit; using a combination of firelighters, parrafin and charcoal. Coal was duly added and the loco came round relatively quickly. At 30psi we switched to the steam blower and the blue 0-6-0 brought herself round as she pleased.
With the full working pressure of 90psi achieved the safety valves lifted on shed. This was a simple test (as is done everytime I run the loco) before slowly pulling forward with the regulator cracked. I then shut the regulator to allow the automatic drain cocks to release any water that has collected in the cylinders and superheater. As usual the loco released alot of water before starting away. The engine pulled down off shed and was traversed across the gap onto the main track, which at Rugby is 1100ft long. A Rugby MES driving truck was coupled up and the engine started away. At 900ft shorter than Ryton Pools the Rugby track is hardly a challenge for "Achilles" but it was certainly scenic, running around a wooded area before opening up with views over the countryside. Following alongside is the much longer 7.25" gauge ground level track, upon which Pete (who's Shay loco I drove last weekend) was driving his Class 08 shunter. "Achilles" steamed well, keeping 60-80psi all day and running sweetly.
"Achilles" at the Station
"Achilles" was joined on the track by Dave's 'Simplex', Derek's LNWR 'Jumbo' and other Dave's Polly III. Later in the day Pete's 0-4-0 electric shunter also joined in the fun. As the hours passed we continued circulating, enjoying the warm bursts of sun and cooler breezes. "Achilles" continued to run well, jogging around lap after lap.
Following The 7.25" Track
 I was glad to finally attend a Rugby outing as we have been on holiday every year since the club (CMES) has been going. I was also pleased that "Achilles" had run so well and not let me down, showing what she can do even after 25 years or so of continuous operation.
As the day wore on we decided to see just how far we could go on "Achilles"; without getting bored that is. In the end, as the last loco on the track, we had completed 40 laps, which is equivalent to 8 miles! I hate to think how much that is in scale miles!
Basking In The Sun With Valves Lifting
After a good few hours running (and 8 miles) we retired from the track and blew "Achilles" down. We could have kept going and going, but 8 miles seemed enough for one day! "Achilles" was drained before being cleaned and loaded back into the Saxo.
All in all a very enjoyable day. Thank you for reading folks - we certainly had a good day today. "Achilles" is next planned to run on Saturday October 6th at RPMR, unless anything else crops up in the meantime! Cheers guys. Sam...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great photos, and a beauty of an engine that Achilles is.
Haven't got a steamer myself just yet, but I have got my steam certificate and I do still drive them from time to time. Well, back to window shopping I go!

Cheers!