Saturday, 10 August 2013

Sunny Day with a 38'...

Hi guys. Today I was on the Great Western 2-8-0 No3803 again...this time with Phil as Driver. I arrived at 6:30am and started, as normal, by checking around the engine and lighting the fire. The big engine was a bit sluggish to get going this morning, for one reason or another, but we managed to get off shed for coal before 10:15am so all was well. Myself, Phil and trainee Dennis prepped and cleaned the loco before heading down to the North End where the JCB filled the tender...
The JCB must have put about 5 or 6 bucket-loads into the tender during our filling as it was quite empty...
"One Lump or Two?"
With the tender replenished heartily with the smoky Russian Coal, 3803 steamed through Platform 1 and then ran round the 11:15 departure. We were on the train with about 20 minutes to spare and the loco simmered happily with about 200psi on the gauge. After changing into my good overalls there was time for a quick snap before building up the fire for departure...
3803 steamed very well on the first journey, and on the way back in particular I felt like I had it nailed. Being on more often does certainly help your firing technique as you get more practise in, especially as I've been on the last three weekends and with three different drivers! With a thin fire the loco steamed well, as long as you regularly checked the 'hump' in the grate where it begins to slope. The hump is where 3803 seems to eat away the coal the most. If you have coal there, she'll steam like mad and you can just fill the holes in elsewhere when required. This technique is obviously very different to that experienced if you were on the main line with this engine as you would need a much deeper fire to keep the pressure up if working very hard and at about 45mph. The preserved railway life is much easier on these ex-GWR 2-8-0s as their raw power allows them to simply saunter along with 4 or 5 coaches as its no effort for them at all. Less effort = less wear in my book and so not taxing her too much may be a good thing, ay?

It was a very pleasant day and I enjoyed 4 trips firing (2 of which was shadowing Dennis) and a trip driving to boot...very pleasant. The day seemed to fly by and it wasn't long before we were awaiting the 'right away' on the final northbound departure of the day from Shenton...
"Sunny 38"
After a good run back on the last trip, 3803 retired to the shed and was disposed of as appropriate. The only problem we'd had during the day was a trip where the pressure gauge needle decided it didn't like us anymore and dropped off the shaft and thus the gauge read 0psi!! We managed to get back by keeping the safety valves close to blowing off most of the way to highlight the fact we were still at full pressure. The gauge was quickly repaired at Shackerstone and after about 30 minutes fiddling it was back in its rightful place and reading properly once again...things that happen, ay?! Cheers guys...a very pleasant day, Sam...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good job the gauge syphon had a shut-off cock then!
Glad you were able to take it in your stride.
Great blog BTW, Emma-claire.