Saturday, 1 June 2013

Achilles Report No33: Pulling Alot Of Passengers at GEC...

Hi people. I can't believe that it is the first day of June...but here we are! Today I had planned to take "Achilles" for its first visit to the GEC since returning to work. This would be her 4th time out since the new bearings and crossheads were fitted, though I was hopeful that it would do OK. This afternoon was the GEC's 5" gauge June public running day and trains would run 2:30pm - 5pm. Four loco's adorned the steaming bays, though two were adequate for the work required as long as they kept going. "Achilles" was steamed, as was the bright yellow Peckett 0-6-0, which very much resembles "Sir Gomer". 0-6-0 'NER' and Speedy "Cyril" were left to bask in the sun as the two engines made their way onto the track with drain cocks open. Each loco hauled a 2-car rake and, after a test circuit, we started taking passengers at 50p per fare.

Throughout the afternoon the two locomotives ran well and neither seemed to have another bother. "Achilles" would romp along quite happily, sounding much better than she did last time she was on this steep track. Two problems stuck out to me...nothing serious, but worth looking at. A) The springing on the loco is not right and requires tightening where it has aged and, B) the deflector for the chimney rests on too sharp an angle and hinders steaming unless working very hard. Though "Achilles" was steaming well, it struggled to creep along with little regulator with the deflector in as the draft up the chimney was impaired. I'll have to make a new deflector for it but that's no real worry. Apart from these two minor things, the engine performed very well and I'm very pleased with it. We seemed to pull some pretty considerable weights up that bank without stalling or struggling for steam and you can't really ask for anymore than that. It must also be remembered that "Achilles" is not really a big engine. Though she has a Simplex-style chassis and outline, the boiler is smaller and so she is literally an 0-6-0 Ajax. At 5pm we had retired from the track with the loco still feathering at the valves before the fire was dropped...
"Achilles" Basks In The Sun with "Cyril" Behind
Having disposed and blown down, I reversed the Saxo up and put "Achilles" in the back ready for home. A job well done I think and I must thank GEC for having us again. There were many kind comments about how well both locomotives had performed during the day which is always nice. The loco will be out next Saturday at CMES for the annual 'Fish n Chip Steam Up' and will double-head the public service up there too on June 16th (subject to fitness to run - "you never know!"). Cheers guys, Sam...

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