Saturday, 31 August 2013

Achilles Report No37: Rugby MES Visit...

 
Hi there guys. To say I was drowsy this morning was an understatement! Last night consisted of a 3-hour drive back from Bournemouth, following our visit to the fabulous GDSF on Thursday. This arduous journey, coupled with a lack of sleep, made me a little 'slow to start' this morning but nevertheless "Achilles" made it to the Rugby MES track at Onley Lane by 10am. Would you believe that after all my worrying about sleeping in that we got there before most others?..."Sods law"! Today was the annual CMES pilgrimage to Onley Lane and its raised 3.5"/5" gauge track. "Achilles" was making her 2nd visit to the track where she performed so well last year, despite being in poor mechanical condition. This morning we were on hand to try it out once again and the locomotive steamed up alongside Jeremy's "Princess Marina", with smoky results...
In the morning sunshine, the blue tank engine warmed up fairly well on her electric blower. There have never been any 'power points' on Rugby's 5" gauge track and therefore the locomotives have to be connected up to 12V batteries for blower supply. I don't own a battery but Derek was kindly on hand to lend me a spare one of his. We must be spoilt at CMES as I've never needed a battery anywhere else!...
Before long; having oiled up and filled the water tanks; "Achilles" was in steam and hissing off her steaming bay onto the traverser...
"Achilles On The Traverser" (K.Eyre)
From the traverser the loco hissed down onto the transfer device. The locomotives are pushed on a large trolley until they are directly over the track. A connecting section of rail then allows the locomotives to steam down onto the actual track before passenger cars are connected behind. This seems an unusual system but definitely works well. With the locomotive on the track safely, away we went. She steamed perfectly and happily hauled myself and a few others around the track for a good few hours...
The turnout across other locomotives was also good and I must have counted at least 8 other locomotives in action as well as my own...most of which were steamers...
"Achilles In The Woods" (M.Sweatman)
After a successful few hours running I decided to dispose of the locomotive, which was still blowing off at every given opportunity. She had done very well and I was very pleased with the way everything had worked...
Having dropped the fire and blown the boiler down as well as drained the tanks, "Achilles" was lifted back into the faithful Saxo before we headed off for home. Rugby MES must be thanked for their kind hospitality and I'm sure that everyone who attended enjoyed themselves. Its a very pleasant little track. Best Regards, Sam...

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