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|
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...