Saturday, 8 September 2012

A Quiet Day with 3803...

Hi everyone. This morning at 6am I arrived at Shackerstone for another day firing 3803. I lit the loco at 6:30am having checked the water, firebox and mudlids. Soon she was 'singing' away in the shed whilst I watched her, with a hot cuppa' in my hand. Outside it was getting light and it looked like we were going to get some good weather for a change. At 7:30am, as usual, I trotted across to the signalbox with my breakfast: usually a tin of soup these days. Unlocking the signalbox door I stumbled inside to use the microwave. Looking down from the box you could clearly see the 5-coach set sitting peacefully in the platform as the birds sang in the trees above the cutting. With my now hot breakfast in hand, I locked up the box and continued back to the shed. At 7:45am trainee fireman Will arrived and at 8am driver Eddie arrived. We then set to cleaning the large, green locomotive; built in 1939.
"Quiet in the Box"
Around the side of the shed, little Dunlop No7 (a Peckett 0-4-0) is still making overhaul progress. Today I noticed that the wheels had come back from their turning and had quite a nice profile on them again. Well, thats another small step towards getting her going again.
"Thank Goodness - I've Got My Wheels Back!"
We left shed at around 10:30am before getting coal. We then headed over onto Platform 2 road and coupled up to the 5-coach train. Eddie then cooked breakfast for us on the shovel of 3803. With our tasty breakfast wolfed down I began making up the fire; using the shovel for its arguably correct purpose! Grey smoke soon started to evacuate the chimney as 3803s fire began to roar. With 200psi on the clock and 4/5 of a glass, off we set on the first train of the day at 11:15, with Eddie driving and me firing. 3803 steamed very well as normal and it was very pleasant out on the line. We returned on time and were soon ready to leave on the 12:30, with myself & Eddie having now swapped roles.
For the 1:45 trip I took a back seat, letting Will fire and of course Eddie drive. For the 3pm I was on the regulator again whilst Will continued on the shovel. 3803 was in her usual fine form and the weather really was on our side.
3803 at Sunny Shenton with a Good Fire in the Firebox
For the 4:15 trip I was on the shovel again as Will enjoyed the ride and Eddie did the driving. It had been a very enjoyable and worthwhile day. Sharing the jobs is always the best way as, not only does everybody get a go, but also you don't get too tired doing one particular thing. It was a very nice day today. When we got back on shed at 5:30 we noticed the result of the efforts made by the steam department guys that attended the shed today: a shining Lamport No3, freshly cleaned from top to bottom and freed of her 1/2" thick layer of dust!
All in all a very enjoyable day. Cheers guys. Sam...

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