Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Great Dorset Steam Fair (4 of 6): The Playpen!!...

Hi guys. The Great Dorset Steam Fair's largest 'arena' is the Heavy Haulage Arena, otherwise known as the "Play Pen". The arena advertises Heavy Haulage displays throughout each day of the show and the rest of the time it provides a commentated 'free for all' for the countless engines on site. In the centre of the hilly landscape stand a variety of trailers upon which various loads are carried. The largest trailer weighed 80 tons(!) on its own and it was loaded too! Other loads included 12 tons of chain, a large concrete block and a few more. As people sit on the various benches which surround the huge arena, an engine or two seem to come past every couple of seconds. All the time, the commentary continues in the background and allows you to learn more about both the concept and uses of the engines and some individual engine histories as well. We must have sat for about 30 minutes (twice) on the benches so that we could: A) take a load off!, and B) watch the displays! It was fascinating watching the engines slowly making their way around, plus the fact that they were pulling various loads throughout the day. Both ends of the pen include large gradients and the engines sound well going up them. Below, a large McClaren is on duty for the Charity Trailer Rides...
An Advanced Steam Roller...
An ex-Wirksworth Quarries chain-driven Dual-Roller...
There are not just steamers in the 'Play Pen'...the trucks get in on it too!...
Logging!...
Another huge road engine takes another trailer around the 'Play Pen'...
Next, a rare Breda-built Roller. This Italian engine was brought to the UK and I believe it is the only one of its type over here...
Below, Will & Kirsty (our friends) take the Statfold-based Fowler Tar Sprayer around the 'Play Pen'...looking smart...
Engine race!...
A very pretty Burrell Steam Roller, looking immaculate...
As well as the road and agricultural engines, there were of course Crane Engines! These are huge...
Engines getting ready...
Road engines are just huge!...
This years railway engine that was to be hauled around the pen was the Mid Hants Railway's BR Standard Class 5MT 4-6-0 No73096. This engine is currently out of ticket but was once a MHR flagship on the main line as, in her green livery, she inspired the "Green Train" which operated main line specials around the South of England. She certainly looked impressive stuffed and mounted...
A Garrett Single trots along with another trailer run as a larger road engine over-takes...
An ex-Leicester County Council Roller...
Below, a Fowler Road Engine watches the Roller's go by...
Roller's galore!...
Here we see an almighty display of power as a Crane Engine, a Foden Road Engine and a Burrell Showmans take the strain, with a banking engine for assistance!...
"Fantastic!" (you should have heard the noise!)...
Banking...road engine style!...
Roller Heavy Haulage...
At the top of the steep climb the three engines and their load (with banker) took a breather. Naturally the injectors were heard gurgling away in order to raise the water levels prior to the descent...
The engine below was one that I found hard to understand. There are 4 bolt-holes in the bottom of the smokebox so that the front forks can be bolted up onto it. However this engine has had its forks brought forward so that only two bolts (the rear two) are fastened in. This makes for an odd-looking engine but it almost looks as if the wheels would foul the engine when on full-lock if in their design position? Maybe that's why? Beats me...
Engines at rest...the left-hand one is a HUGE McClaren...
Engines Everywhere!...
"Cor": an Aveling Roller...
Miniature Heavy Haulage! A pair of Burrell's join forces with a Fowler as a banker as they tackle the outside lane (specifically for Miniatures) and slog upgrade. The little Burrell at the front was, shall we say, struggling...
Well, as you can see guys there was plenty to see. You could have sat next to the pen for most of the day and always had something to look at. There were engines everywhere! Cheers guys - Sam...

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