Friday, 15 March 2013

Twas The Day Before Gala...

Hi everyone. Today I arrived at Shackerstone at 7:30am in order to participate in the final day of preparation for the 2013 Steam Gala weekend. Yesterday, the three line-going engines had their warming fires put in and today, all three would be in full steam. Upon my arrival I lit up Beattie No30585 ready for her steam test following road transport a week or two ago...
In front of the Beattie, "Sir Gomer" was also lit and was coming around nicely. We then enjoyed a cuppa' or two before "Sir Gomer" pushed Beattie out of the shed at around 9am, and down to the north end for coaling. In order to ensure that Beattie's water filler was not covered by the coal, we sent two of the cleaners up on top of the cab with shovels to clear the JCB's bucket by hand...
30585 Takes Coal
"Sir Gomer" patiently waited whilst Beattie was filled, before shunting down the loading ramp and coming forward again for coal herself...
Aren't You Handsome "Sir Gomer"...
With both engines coaled we steamed across the cross-over to the signalbox, hauled by "Sir Gomer". Both engines then dropped back & took water. We had reps on site for both 30585 and the NRM's T9 today, so everyone was on their best behaviour in order to give the best impression. I was shown around the T9 by two lovely gents who had come up all the way from the Bodmin & Wenford in order to look after the 4-4-0 for the weekend. We had a good chat & a laugh as we looked around the T9 and oiled her up for her test run later today.

Once the T9 was oiled, I was shouted outside to see "Sir Gomer" in my way and feathering at the valves. I was asked to fire the locomotive to Shenton & back on her loaded test run with Andy on the regulator, in order to free up Fireman Carl & Trainee Jason to help adjust the T9's brakes. Naturally, I took on the task and away we went. I fired "Sir Gomer" as I normally do with a full, flat fire with a stronger back-end. Filling holes as they appeared along the way, the loco romped along with 140-160psi on the gauge and a strong water level...brilliant. I am very fond of this old Peckett.
At Shenton we ran round the 5-coach test train swiftly and prepared to depart straight away...
"Sir Gomer" at the Battlefield Site
We had a fantastic run back and "Sir Gomer" romped along with 5 coaches seeming no effort whatsoever. Just the job! On arrival at Shackerstone we were halted at the Home Signal (No2), whilst the T9 watered in Platform 2. The Peckett simmered away whilst she was checked over by myself & Andy with the end result showing a favourable run and a big green tick against her name. She is now ready for her weekend's gala duties.
Andy Doing Some Kind of Celebration Dance Next To 1859
Following the test run we anchored the stock down in Platform 2 and took "Sir Gomer" to the pit road where she waited with a dead fire and a full boiler, simmering away nicely...
With line clear, 30585 took the milk tanker to Shenton for the weekend, as part of her test run. On her return, 30120 was ready to go and I acted as Pilotman on the footplate. We had a brilliant run on the 4-4-0 to Shenton & back and steamed back into Shackerstone in good time. After the run, the two Southern locomotives simmered quietly in Platform 1, right behind "Sir Gomer". It looks like its going to be a brilliant weekend...
I finally left Shackerstone at 7:30pm following a very long, tiring but extremely enjoyable day. Tomorrow, its the gala! Wohoo! Cheers guys. Sam.

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