Sunday, 30 September 2012

A Troublesome Day for Prairie 5521 and Shed Work...

Hi guys. I arrived at Shackerstone at 9am this morning, spotting 5521 in the car park straight away taking coal. I walked down to the shed and found a small group labouring away inside. Myself and Dave then cleared the inspection pit of ash ready for Jason and Pockets to bring a newly washed out Peckett "Sir Gomer" inside and put her over the pit. The green 0-6-0 was soon safely inside the shed so the door was brought down to keep in what little heat the two stoves were providing. The engine is now waiting for the boiler man to come in and do a dry check, before she is boxed up, filled and then steam tested. Hopefully she should pass these tests no problem and she'll then be ready for more work; wherever that may take her. Today she was having her mudlids cleaned up with a wirebrush by Jason, whilst the rest of us worked on other little tasks.
We now have two Pecketts in the shed; the other being little "Dunlop No7" who came in from outside on Wednesday. The chassis, tank and cab of the engine are now safely undercover on No2 road, sandwiched between "Blue Circle" and the delapidated chassis of "Richard III". Completion of the little Peckett is planned for August 2013, all being well. It will be nice to see a little engine in action at Shack again, now we've had all of these big main liners.
The GWR 2-8-0 No3803 has been slumbering away on No1 road in the storage section of the shed, whilst 5521 and "SG" have occupied the running shed area. The loco is next rostered for traffic over the weekend of October 13th/14th and will probably be the only steamer on service until next season.
Outside the shed the Prairie No5521 had been out on a late running "Foot Ex" before arriving back with an unhappy crew. The Prairie had blown a Hydrostatic Lubricator glass and had thus been failed. Though the Westerns have two glasses for the cylinders on their lubricators and you only use one at a time, you cannot of course risk losing both. The late running 11:15 public train therefore left behind the Class 08 shunter for Shenton, with 5521 stabled on the pit road in the south yard. Luckily, Fireman Phil is ex-Tyseley and so changing these glasses is in his blood and he whipped a replacement in straight away. The 08 was very late returning and so the 12:30 trip was cancelled in order to make sure that the 13:45 definately left on time, and with steam. 5521 took the 13:45 and returned on time.

All seemed to be going well until a water shortage on the water tower (for unknown reasons) caused the loco to be failed again. She had 400 gallons left in her tanks but this is not enough to do a round trip on safely. The 08 crew briskly started the old girl up again and left on time with the stock at 3pm. We managed to get the Prairie up to full tanks over the course of an hour and so the 4:15 would definately be steam. As the shed was cold and now getting quieter as people left for home, those of us left decided to join the train for a beer on "Jessie". The locomotive hauled us easily to Shenton but on the return run she just could not get the train started. The loco (as she did with us on gala Saturday) was having terrible trouble getting her steam brake completely off. At Market Bosworth (now running late again) the loco was inspected and after some messing around the brakes were off and away we went, arriving into Shack 20 minutes late. All in all the crew had had "a bit of a day of it" but my hat off to them for seeing the day through regardless of the circumstances!
Trouble Stricken 5521 On The Water Tower
After the "interesting" 4:15 trip I said my goodbyes before leaving the train and heading back to my car. I'm off home now. Next weekend I'm not at Shackerstone as my 5" gauge loco "Achilles" is booked to run on Saturday and I'm helping with 7.25" Romulus "James" at GEC on Sunday. Thanks for reading folks. Good evening...

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