Saturday, 14 September 2013

A Brilliant Day at Statfold...

Hi all. Today my day started at 4:30am, so that I would be ready to leave the house at 5am. The Saxo was rudely awoken from its slumber and we headed off for the delights of the Statfold Barn Railway, via McDonalds of course! I arrived at Statfold at just before 6am and continued into the dark car park. In the empty running shed I found Phil (SBR Staff) and he instructed me to light our engine asap so that she would be ready for the day. Using a pile of dry wood and a paraffin-soaked rag, I lit the fire promptly and little red "Statfold" was soon crackling away...
With the embryo fire lit I continued to add a few more bits of wood before allowing it to properly 'take hold'. Once we had a strong wood fire with some high heat there, it was time to add the very smoky coal. Smoky coal generally has a high Carbon content and this makes it ideal for lighting up. I tend to find that smokeless fuels are harder to get lit...but that's just me. Driver John arrived at just after 7am and discovered me oiling up the locomotive. All around us the rest of the Statfold fleet was coming to life on this damp morning...the atmosphere on shed is brilliant...
A Busy Shed Frontage!
I am not going to bore you all with the histories of each locomotive that was in action but I can give you a list of what/who they were! In no particular order:
  • 0-4-0 Port Quarry "Sybil Mary" of 1906
  • 0-4-0 New Built Quarry Hunslet "Statfold" of 2005
  • 0-4-0 O & K "Pakis Baru No1" of 1900
  • 0-4-4-0 O & K Mallet "Pakis Baru No5" of 1905
  • 0-6-0 Hudswell Clarke "GP39" of 1930
  • 4-4-0 Bagnall Side Tank "Isibutu" (known as "Isibeauty"!) of 1945
  • 0-4-4-0 SF Djatibarang No9, Jung Mallet of 1930
  • 0-6-0 Corpet Side Tank "Minas de Aller 2" of 1884
  • 0-4-2 Large Hunslet "Josephine" of 1936
  • 0-4-2 Large Hunslet "Trangkil No4" of 1971 ("Yes"...that late!)
  • 0-4-2 Krauss "Sragi No1" of 1899
  • 0-6-0 O & K "Sragi No14 - Max" of 1923
  • 0-4-0 Avonside "Marchlyn" of 1933
  • 0-4-2 Fowler Side Tank "Saccharine" of 1914
  • 0-4-0 Hudswell Clarke No19 - Saddle Tank of 1908
As well as the fantastic roster above, as I say, there must have been at least 10 full size steam rollers/traction engines in the field next to the railway. On the garden railway there were also two 2ft gauge diesel locomotives in action, making an active roster of 17 narrow gauge engines in total: 15 of which were steam! If I was a member of the public visiting this event it is anything but quiet...its awe inspiring. Anyway, back to us. With steam raising nicely and the locomotive oiled up, myself & John set to cleaning our powerful little steed. The Quarry Hunslets are an attractive engine and, being only 8 years old and very well looked after, "Statfold" shines up well. With the engine clean we headed off for our complimentary breakfast bap and a hot cuppa' which we enjoyed whilst watching the engine raise steam (spot on!). Just before 9am we got the call to leave shed and proceeded down into the freight siding to collect our first train: a mixed. The two Hunslets then moved onto the main before being stopped at the 'Stop Board' so that we could head off to the running shed for the Safety Briefing...
"Engines Ready"
Following the Safety Briefing we returned to "Statfold" who was simmering away with 140psi on the clock and 1/2 a glass of water. With the Guard on board it was time to depart on the first move of the day: a positioning run. "Statfold" and "Sybil Mary": both running backwards: led a Mixed Train tailed by "Pakis Baru No1" & "Marchlyn". With a loud blast on "Statfold"s whistle, away we went. The little red engine and her elder sister got the train underway easily and puffed out of Statfold past the Home Signal on the tight curve. The two engines rattled along nicely, through Oak Tree Halt, and then down the bank towards the Balloon Loop. The 'Big Engine Railway' now extends past Oak Tree, almost to the Balloon Loop, creating double-track running. Its practically a narrow gauge GCR! Having arrived at the loop the two Hunslets were uncoupled and all four locomotives screwed-down. We then had to wait until the next train arrived into the other 'leg' of the loop, hauled by "Max" and No19. As soon as the Maroon pair were in the loop, the two black engines disappeared with the Mixed train on the now free Single Line Token for the Loop - Oak Tree section. By now we had been here about 30 minutes!...
A Sunny Shot of "Statfold"
With "Marchlyn" and No1 clear, "Sybil Mary" & "Statfold" moved over and coupled up to the maroon pair's train. This is the system we worked to throughout the day, involving trains changing engines at both Statfold and the Balloon Loop. The 'Big Engine Railway' was worked by "Isibutu", the big Fowler and the blue Mallet No9 alternately, with a 3-coach top & tailed train. The next train soon arrived, hauled by Mallet No5 and so we were duly given the Right Away to head off back to Statfold, this time with a heavier passenger train. Having returned to Statfold the locomotives are blocked in and have to be uncoupled and shunt released by the next departing service from that platform. With the road behind us clear we could then back down to the Signalbox before climbing upgrade onto the shed for a break of about 20 minutes or so. I feel a coffee coming on!...
A Beautiful Shot by Geoff (www.geoffspages.co.uk)
I think we performed 4 runs with the two Hunslets during the day and once all of the engines got on the move it was really intensive. There must have been over 1000 members of the public in attendance too. I heard that pre-booked tickets for this event had been a record for all Statfold Open Days since the railway began...a great achievement! Below, we are waiting in the Balloon Loop again after our 2nd run. The difference between "Sybil" & "Statfold" is clear, with the former being a member of the Port Class, and the latter an Alice Class...
Below is a video taken from Youtube. It gives a good idea of the intensity and enjoyment of the Open Day. The first two shots (rather aptly) show "Sybil Mary" & "Statfold" chugging along. In the first shot, John is driving on the fairly flat section of line away from the Balloon Loop. In the 2nd shot I am driving and have to give "Statfold" a fair bit of steam to help "Sybil Mary" up the steep bank when the Driver doesn't give her quite enough steam...

The trip I drove was our 4th run and by now we were starting to tire. "Statfold" was running beautifully and seemed a very powerful little tool. The Hunslets returned to the shed just before 4pm and then those of us on the shed were told to keep the engines quiet and their fires low so that they could go to bed quickly after the 5pm Cavalcade. Another coffee then beckoned! At 5pm I drove "Statfold" down off the shed and around into the main field for the Cavalcade. Following the huge line up we gave a massive chorus of whistles to the admiring crowd. Unfortunately Mallet No9 and Sragi No1 had both failed and so could not take part, but the other 13 engines were there...and in fine form too. Following the cavalcade I drove the engine back up and onto the shed ready for disposal, seen below approaching the Garden Railway crossing...
Me Driving "Statfold" onto the Shed (D.Hone)
Once on the shed I raked "Statfold"s fire thoroughly and then filled up her boiler before driving her into the running shed where she anchored up nicely behind "Sybil Mary". If I remember rightly all of the engines except Mallet No9 and the Corpet were put to bed inside the running shed...13 engines in one shed isn't bad! All in all it had been an absolutely cracking day and I must heartily thank the owners of the Statfold Barn Railway (and Phil) for inviting us again - we had a lovely time. I must also thank John for his company and ready wit throughout the day! I know I say it every time we do anything but, I do consider myself very lucky to do these things at the different places I do it at. I really am, some would say, 'living the dream' when I'm driving these engines (as sad as it sounds). I love it, I really do, and I thank everyone who supports me and allows me to keep doing so. Thanks very much for reading guys. Cheers, Sam....

1 comment:

Phil said...

Sounds superb, as a fellow engineman I am very jealous! Keep up the good work and keep writing about it. What you have here is a fantastic log that will amuse you much in later life.
Cheers
Phil