|A Good Fire in "James"|
Eddie then went off to do some route-learning on an ECS special hauled by a visiting Class 20 electric, leaving me to look after "Archie". The Class 20 failed at the terminus triangle and so "Luna" was quickly deploid to collect the stricken train. (Oh the drama that unfolds!). When Eddie eventually returned on the train I had brought "Archie" down onto the turntable with the regulator just cracked and the steam chest drains open to clear the condensate. The 0-4-2 and his driving truck then took water before steaming into the up-yard for stabling. With "Archie" being on test he would not be hauling any passenger trains so would have to slip in between the three service trains, whenever a path was available. The GEC 7.25" gauge track is capable of having 6 trains on the track at any one time, in safety. Public running began at 2:30pm, with "Luna" taking the first trip. "James" (driven by me) then took the next 2 trips whilst human James rode on the coaches with his children.
|A Happy Eddie with His Locomotive "Archie"|
As usual, "James" was a pleasure to drive. He is free steaming and smooth on the regulator, with the injectors picking up everytime. After my 2nd trip, James took over on his engine for 2 trips before we started alternating each trip. The trains seemed very busy for a normal running day but, hey, thats money in the pockets of the GEC, ay?! The red 0-4-0 was very clean, with brasswork shining and his yellow No5 on the tender looking nice and bright.
|James Blasting The Whistle As "James" Backs Off Shed|
The GEC Tea Room Ladies were on fine form as usual and served us cups of tea to our footplates on a regular basis - thanks ladies! A mate of mine from the GEC said I only go for the tea - "Well, that and the train driving!". Seriously, the GEC is a brilliant place with a friendly atmosphere - well worth a visit. Later in the afternoon Eddie offered me a go on "Archie" so, having received a path from the signalman, off I went. The little 0-4-2 went like a dream, blowing off most of the way with the firehole door cracked slightly open. Returning to the station I pulled up at the car park loop again, at the same red signal. "James" and James then appeared at the top of the the hill with a down passenger train, whistling loudly as it passed me by. Myself and Archie then steamed away back towards the station before reversing back into the yard for stabling.
|Passing "James" with "Archie"|
Cheers Guys - Sam