Caroline had built a strong fire in "Sybil Mary"s firebox and the loco came round easily with the blower slightly cracked. When asked, I drove "Sybil" off shed with "Marchlyn" coupled up behind: the pair would double-head for the day due to their matching Penrhyn liveries. The pair were coupled up to a two coach train and, when ready, away we went. Phil & Caroline took the train to the baloon loop via Oak Tree Halt, with myself stood in the middle of the footplate against the back panel. As the first train, we steamed around the baloon loop and changed the points before continuing through the now trailing point, back onto the main line. The two Penrhyn loco's then took the train smartly back to Statfold before the Corpet was coupled to the rear of the train.
In order to promote safety in these blizzard conditions, the railway had decided to run two trains on the field railway, and one on the new 'Big Engine Railway' only. All three trains were top & tailed so as to remove the need for constant coupling/uncoupling. This system seemed much safer than having 17 engines out on a variety of moves in the arguably poor visibility levels. Depsite the terrible weather, some of the punters still turned up and seemed to enjoy themselves. We certainly enjoyed ourselves on "Sybil Mary". The "Port" class were slightly larger than the "Alice" class, and this was certainly evident when she was tearing along. "Sybil Mary" is about as close as we'll get to getting an idea of what "Winifred" will be like when shes done! After our first two trips, Phil allowed me to drive a run. In terms of driving, I cannot say that the "Port" is much different to the "Alice", though the former does seem to ride alot better and sits a little more stable on the rails with its longer wheelbase. A trip for us today involved being dragged down to the baloon loop by the Corpet, carrying the staff on the rear-most engine, before exhanging it at the terminus and heading back. Below, "Sybil Mary" is being pulled through the loop at Oak Tree Halt bound for the terminus...
|Us Tailing The Corpet With "Marchlyn" & "Sybil Mary" (Photo - J.Shadbolt)|
|Port Quarry "Sybil Mary" (Photo - David Ward)|
|Me Driving "Sybil Mary" With "Marchlyn" (Photo - J.Shadbolt)|
|"Sybil Mary" & "Marchlyn" (Photo - J.Shadbolt)|
|"The Great Statfold Train Race" (Photo - J.Shadbolt)|
|"Freezing Cold" (Photo - D.Hone)|
|"Cuppa" (Photo - D.Hone)|
|"Last Train Home - Sybil & Marchlyn" (Photo - D.Hone)|
"Sybil Mary" herself had done Statfold proud and apart from one bush running slightly warm was completely trouble free throughout the day. I must also thank Statfold, and Mr Graham Lee, for allowing me to be part of another Open Day on this magnificent railway: thank you. It really is a stunning place. Cheers guys. Sam.