Saturday, 6 October 2012

Achilles Report No18: A Quick Sprint Around Ryton...

Hi guys. Today I left home at 9:45am with my loco "Achilles" in the boot of the Saxo. Our first destination was Ryton Pools, and the 2000ft-long raised track owned by Coventry Model Engineering: the locos home track. It was the Efficiency Competition; a social do with a little bit of gambling thrown in. There were 8 locomotives in the contest, drawn from a hat into their running orders, with "Achilles" going on second. My 0-6-0T was one of the oldest engines to take part and, as she hasn't been rebushed yet during her 28-year life, I didn't have the highest of hopes. The idea of the contest is to travel as far as you can, hauling the biggest load you can, using the least coal you can in a 20-minute slot. As expected, "Achilles" came last. Due to the age of the locomotive she needs a little bit more coal and a little bit more hard driving to get the best results. The reverser for example isn't much use unless in full-forward gear. However, this winter I'm planning to completely rebush the engine and overhaul all other necessary parts. In short, she should be a brand new engine.
Fire In The Hole
The first engine onto the track was "John Owen"; the Sweet Pea owned by CMES. The train was made up of a Dynamometer Car: which the driver rode on: and then a wagon loaded with the load asked for. The load was made up of very heavy slabs. We took 2 slabs on the wagon and that proved more than heavy enough! "Achilles" was in steam at 10:30am but didn't make it onto the track until after 11am, all the time having simmered on the bay, alongside Colin's 4-4-0 and Jim's 'Butch'.
The weather was very nice and it was pleasant to be on the track. I am a little dissapointed that "Achilles" came last but it wasn't much less than I expected for such an old engine. Lets hope that in 2013 she can compete again and do a little better!
After our 20-minute slot we retired to the bays and dropped the fire. I did however, unusually, not blow the boiler down. My plan was to get the loco back into the car by 1pm and continue down the road to the GEC, where the loco would hopefully take part in their final 5" gauge public running day of 2012. Although she didn't do well at Ryton, she was on the least possible coal rashions. With alot of coal in the firebox she can still do a good job when she wants to. The engine eventually left at just gone 1pm and, after a trip to McDonalds, was off to the GEC. Cheers guys - Sam...

2 comments:

Clive said...

She ran very well indeed and all afternoon hauling happy passengers at the GEC track. It was great to have you with us, thank you! We're looking forward to you joining us again on the Halloween run on Saturday 27th - spooktacular fun awaits, lol!

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