Sunday, 2 September 2012

A Busy Day at Shack Loco...

Hi guys. Today I got to Shackerstone at around 8am, finding Dave, Jan and John prepping the GWR 2-8-0 No3803 inside the shed. The engine was rostered for 5 round trips of the line as usual, taking passengers to Shenton for the Bosworth Battlefield; five miles away. A sizeable team was forming in the shed ready for the day and with the quick passing of time 3803 was off shed and off down the track at 11:15. The objective of today was to do some shunting and generally tidy up the shed and the so-called yards at either end. The 02 diesel shunter was in action for most of the day, busying itself with various movements. Occassionally the 38xx would come and go, making smokey departures with her 4-coach train.
The 38' Gets Away With The 12:30 Train
At the side of the shed the overhaul of Peckett Dunlop No7 is slowly continuing. The frames of the loco have been paint-stripped and primed throughout with the wheels having gone away for tyre-turning. The boiler is currently under assessment but is apparantly not in too bad a condition. The cylinder ends and steam chest covers have been removed to reveal healthy looking slide valves; suprising really after 30 odd years out of service! The engine is hoped to be finished in a years time, returning to steam on the line she served in the 1970s. 
Having a little session driving the 02 around, I took the little diesel out of the north yard and into Platform 1. I then continued under the caution of the signals up to the south yard before backing into the shed's little-used No2 road. With the rear doors of the shed open I brought the 02 inside and coupled up to the very poorly-looking chassis of RSH 0-6-0 "Richard III". "Blue Circle" was not in the way today as she was in steam and offering Brakevan Rides along Platform 1 (normally she would be stationed in front of the RSH). With No3 coupled up we pulled her and the out-of-ticket Bagnall "Lamport No3" out of the shed. "Lamport" was then placed on the pit road which leads down to Platform 1 before we put "Richard" back inside again, in "Lamport"s place. The Bagnall is planned to be cleaned up and left out on static display at the gala. Poor old "Richard" is still awaiting restoration as we simply do not have the time at present, what with "Sir Gomer" and several visiting engines popping in and out.
"Blue Circle" seemed quite happy (as usual) chortling about with Pockets' 25T Brakevan in tow. Passengers seem to enjoy this unique little loco, especially when they can take a short ride behind her around the site!
Though an avid steam fan, I do find it good fun driving the little 02 around. Its fun because its so small and can ride over any track quite comfortably; perhaps throwing you around somewhat in the process. It is a simple diesel mechanical operation. The Rolls-Royce diesel engine powers the 0-4-0 wheel arrangement via air operated levers in the cab. If air pressure falls below 70psi then braking is affected, as are the direction changes and drive applications. However, at 110psi the world is your lobster and the 02 will perform almost any shunting task, hauling loads far out-doing her small stature.
With alot of the shunting done the attention turned to tidying the shed. However, at about 3:30pm we got the dreaded call: "the 38' has failed at Shenton". In this rescue situation the Single Line staff must be brought back from Shenton and then carried into the section on the rescue loco. Without the staff no train can go into the section, regardless of whether the other train has failed in a stationary position or not. Danny took up the challenge of a brisk drive to Shenton to collect the staff and Adrian; our diesel driver. A small group of us then headed off down to the North End where we attempted to fire up Class 47 "Jimmy Milne". Luckily the 47 did not give much hastle and we took her into Platform 1 before awaiting Adrian. With the staff and driver on board we were given both of the signals required to get us into the section and, with haste, off we went. The 47 took us light engine to Shenton where the 38' would be waiting.
Driver Adrian Checks The Speed
It was very unusual arriving at Shenton to find a loco and train in our way but obviously this is a rare situation! 3803 had failed with a broken fire bar. The bar had snapped and fallen into the ashpan with the gap it left behind causing other bars to part before also falling into the pan. In total 4 or 5 bars had dropped and so continuing back to Shackerstone under her own steam was out of the question. "Jimmy Milne" was quickly coupled up and off we went, about an hour late.
"Jimmy Milne" & The Stricken 38' at Shenton
We made a good run back to Shackerstone and called at Market Bosworth as normal. The 47 was decoupled at Shackerstone and, as she was running low on diesel owing to her not being 'penned' for traffic for a while, the 08 shunter was called upon, leaving Shackerstone 90 minutes down with the last departure of the day. It is very rare to see the 08 on the service train but needs must as people: no matter how late: need to get home.
After a stressful but rewarding day we all retired to the Bar for a pint before heading home. I will next be at Shackerstone on Thursday night after work, to see if we can do anything about the failed Class 38. Cheers guys. Sam.

No comments: