Saturday, 6 October 2012

Achilles Report No19: Pulling Public at GEC...

Hi guys. Well, after an unfortunate outing to RPMR in the morning for our ill-fated Efficiency Contest performance, I loaded "Achilles" back into the car and hit the road. The GEC miniature railway is only a few miles across town and we were on site there at around 1:15pm. The GEC was holding its final 5" gauge public running day of the season and three locomotives, including mine, graced the steaming bays. Having not blown the boiler down on "Achilles" she was still very warm and so steam up time was very much reduced. The loco was in steam within 10 minutes and she sat on the bay feathering at the safety valves whilst I had a cuppa': courtesy of the famous GEC Tea Room Ladies. The first engine onto the track was the Prairie Tank, followed by "Achilles". My blue 0-6-0 and the 45XX were both coupled up to 2-car rakes and we set off ready for public running to begin at 2:30pm. The chunky NER 0-6-0 was also steaming up ready for use, with the 08 as back-up.

"Achilles" took a casual test lap with an empty train to clear any condensate from the superheater before returning to the station for the first train load of passengers. The blue 0-6-0 was blowing off as we started away and she walked up the steep bank roaring her head off. The only way I could get the old engine to keep the pressure up throughout the run was to bank the fire right up before left the station. Two laps of the steep GEC track then cleared the fire right out, with chimney waste being forced to the side by the deflector fitted to the copper cap. Returning on the 2nd of the two laps of our first passenger run, we were halted at a red signal. Up ahead we could see the tail of the 45's train, engulfed in steam and whistling loudly, but stationary. The whistle valve had jammed open and all pressure had been lost. The 45 unfortunately had to retire; duly replaced by the NER tank. For the rest of the day the NER, "Achilles" and the 08 soldiered on and hauled many passengers on a busy service. Apart from alot of knocking and banging below running-board level "Achilles" ran, steamed and pulled well and I'm very pleased with her at the minute - for an old engine!

We retired from the track at 5pm and blew down. The loco had been worked hard and everything was red hot, not to mention the smokebox being very full with ash. The Saxo was then loaded up before we left at around 5:30pm for home. "Achilles" will be running for the final time before overhaul at CMES/RPMR on Wednesday October 31st for the Halloween night run. Thank you for reading folks - Goodnight. Sam.

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