Saturday, 9 March 2013

"Sir Gomer" On Steam Test...

Hi everyone. Today at 7:30am I arrived at Shackerstone in order to help Jason & Andy steam "Sir Gomer". After a cuppa' I lit the locomotive up and she sat singing away happily in the shed following a good warming fire the night before. The Class 08 diesel was then fired up in order to drag Beattie No30585 and "Sir Gomer" out of the shed so as to let out the smoke. With the loco's outside we decided to clean up the shed a bit: the pit was swept, the bins emptied, the rags collected up and the area generally tidied. Outside the shed the two steamers looked chilly, even though "Gomer" was showing signs of steam as the cold wind blew. 'Beattie' was soon shunted out of the way in order for the Peckett to edge slowly up and down before heading back into the shed under her own steam for ashing out...
"Sir Gomer" & 30585 Sit With The 08 On The Shed Road
I love ashing out...not! Ashing out you can probably imagine was THE job that everyone involved with steam locomotives in their working days simply hated. You stand in a pit with a hose pipe in one hand spitting casually over the ash in the pan whilst the rest of the water falls onto your boots and then begins to fill the pit up slowly. Above your head you have a hissing, red hot steam brake cylinder and you are being dripped on by oil and soot from above, with the ashpan being right under the cab floor. With the grime covered rake in your other hand you begin sweeping the dust-clad ash from the pan and create clouds of white, speckly dust which covers your overalls and the back of the loco's wheels no matter how much you try to wet it down. Eventually the water will hit the rake and will make its way down until it enters your sleeve through your cuffs which rounds the entire experience off beautifully. Mind you, in the words of a good engineman..."it has to be done". With the pan ashed out we backed "Sir Gomer" out of the shed and she sat simmering happily in the winter air as the DMU casually passed on its way to Market Bosworth.
A Fire In Gomer's Box
Today we couldn't get a path on the main line due to the running DMU service and so "Sir Gomer" simply moved back and forth on the shed dock road before being disposed of. She will be line-tested with a load on Friday. With the 0-6-0ST back in bed we decided to fire up the 08 again before shunting 30585 back into the shed. What a beautiful engine she is. I wonder how she'll go...
I will next be at Shackerstone on Thursday, to begin the gala prepation. Please join us for the gala if you get the chance - I'm sure it will be cracking. Cheers guys - Sam.

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