Saturday, 26 October 2013

The GEC Night Run 2013...

Hi guys. Today was yet another outing to the fantastic 'Night Run' at the GEC Miniature Railway, Binley. My friends there had been kind enough to invite me back yet again and I was happy to go along - as I always am. The plan for the evening was the standard: trains running from 3pm until 8pm on both tracks using as many locomotives as possible. When I arrived to help set-up at 1pm, the 7.25" track was already becoming occupied. 0-4-0 Sweet-Romulus ('William' boiler on 'Romulus' chassis) "Luna" was already on the steaming bays and this was duly followed by Eddie's well turned-out Wren Tank 0-4-0, now known as "Willy". With the two blue engines on the bays and the 5" fleet starting to appear over the way, James & his trusty Romulus arrived. Myself & James then unloaded the chunky piece of kit before she too headed to the steaming bays. There, all three engines began to raise steam. James did most of the preparation work whilst I set to with an oily rag and a lot of Brasso! I do enjoy cleaning the brass work on locomotives: its quite pleasing. Sure enough, 10 minutes before time, "James" and "Willy" were sat sparkling on the 'off shed' spur. "James" simmered away at full pressure quite happily, waiting for the passengers to arrive...
The two engines...
A portrait of "Willy the Wren"...
0-4-0 Kerr Stuart Wren Tank Engine "Willy"
Up on the bays "Luna" was having a steam test prior to coming into service. Sure enough she passed with flying colours and was soon in service. This is a very powerful and chunky locomotive with a large amount of adhesive weight, making the train loads hauled at GEC no effort at all!...
At 3pm the passengers  began to pour in and the locomotives got to work. "James" (with driving shared by myself & James) and "Luna" both took it in turns hauling a 2-car set. "Willy" had his own single coach which was hauled around the track by him & him alone. By 4pm the operations were in full swing and the platform was packed. Luckily the steamers were putting in faultless performances and were trying their best in an effort to keep the queues moving!...
James on "James" Bringing In The 3pm Train (Photo = K.Eyre)
Throughout the afternoon/evening myself & James shared the driving of his cracking locomotive. These Romulus' always impress me. They have ample reserves of power and are a simple design. "James" is very operator friendly and a casual oiling up now and again will keep her going without problem. The Daw Mill coal that was being burnt today; though very smoky; produced good steaming results as long as you kept the fire clean. "James" was, as usual, a pleasure to drive and it was great fun to be out on 7.25" rails again. The cleaning efforts were certainly noticeable and "James" looked fantastic...
A Shining "James"
The queues on the 7.25" platform did not subside until literally 10 minutes before the 8pm finish time. The steamers put in a fabulous overall performance and "Willy" did very well until leaving the track at 5pm as home was calling. The Y7 battery tram engine "Toby" joined us for an hour or so to ease the load on the steamers once the Wren had gone back on shed. The Y7 was later retired with low battery power as the increasingly oily rails pulling out of the triangle were just producing too much wheel-slip for her to achieve adhesion. "Luna" & "James" faultlessly flew the 7.25" flag as they chugged on into the night and hauled countless more passengers. I think I drove my last trip at about 7:40pm and I must admit, it was very dark indeed, particularly once you were out on the single line section. All you could really do was leave "James" to it and use the beat of the engine to judge the speed and 'feel' the brake. A gauge glass lamp was of course provided for safety reasons. There is something about driving at night though...its good fun! At about 8pm, as the rain began to fall, the engines retired to the shed after a long and extremely busy evening. The event had been a total success by all accounts and I must praise the GEC Miniature Railway and their fantastic staff for all of their efforts. The train numbers tonight were nothing short of astonishing for a little railway and I think 'credit where credit is due'. I must thank James and all of the other GEC guys for a cracking evening, not to mention the 'Tea Room Ladies' for, "you've guessed it", the TEA! Best Regards, Sam...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So when's Eddie's loco going to do a bit of proper work?
;-)
Emma-claire.