Saturday, 15 December 2012

Stewarding the Santa's & A Gift...

Hi all. A very short post from today: I stewarded 'Coach 3' (a BR Mk1 TSO) on Shackerstone's 'Santa Trains' for the day. All four of the days departures saw good loadings on Coach 3 and so I was kept busy. The usual jobs took place, including seating the passengers, serving drinks, giving out cartons, mince pies and sweets as well as clearing the tables and seeing everyone off the train after their 90-minute journey. Of course we then had to clean our coaches in a swift 10-minute slot before the next passengers boarded! Even though it was a hard day, I do really enjoy it, but only 2-3 times a year! As well as the stewarding I got a very nice gift from my friend Dave, who I helped with his training when he was a trainee fireman...he having passed out on the Black 5 No45379 at the September gala. Dave presented me with a large print of a photograph that has appeared many times on this blog; that of the poorly Prairie 5521 and the beautiful 5MT 45379 leaving Shackerstone on the 9am freight on Gala Saturday. The photo is significant in the respect of the effects displayed: the black smoke, the ejection of the steam from the '5', the sunlight coming through the trees, the leaking steam from the piston glands and the shine on the paintwork. If I remember, I recall that 5521's brake shoes were rubbing slightly, making her work harder, and 45379 was having terrible trouble getting her feet down on the greasy morning rails...still covered in dew. All of that exertion by both loco's was multiplied by the heavy freight train behind them and, courtesy of Mr Norman Bates who took the brilliant image, they have created a fabulous picture. Thank you Dave...
You may well ask, why me? Well, if you look closely, thats me leaning from the cab on 5521...watching the train out of the platform. And, yes, I can be blamed for all that black smoke coming from the Prairie but in my defence there was a very deep fire in there, most of which was taken up out of the chimney once we began shoving the Black 5 up the bank, and pulling the freight train! Once the old Prairie got hot she steamed relatively well, though the run was a very loud and smokey drag. You can read more about that day in my post from September 15th. Cheers guys. Sam.

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