Sunday, 5 January 2014

First Day at Shackerstone in 2014...

Hi guys. On this cold winter morning I decided that I would head over to Shackerstone for the first time in 2014. There was a fairly good crew in the engine shed of about 6 or 7 people, but nobody else on the entire railway...anywhere. With no trains running and the weather not up to much, the Battlefield Line can be quite a desolate place at this time of the year. However, despite the weather and the time of year, the engine shed calls. Inside the shed were the various locomotives, cold and silent. The engines currently in the shed include RSH 0-6-0 "Richard III", Peckett 0-4-0 "Dunlop No7" and "Blue Circle" in the 2-road, South end, whilst in the running shed area sit "Sir Gomer" and 3803. 3803 stood quiet and complete, though winterisation has begun. "Sir Gomer", also winterised, stands blocked up over the pit and is awaiting axlebox repairs. With not much on the horizon for the morning stint, I decided to clamber in between the chilly frames of 3803 and begin the heavy task of cleaning the inside motion. Inside motion is part of a locomotive that can often be forgotten whilst cleaning all of the 'on show' bits outside. However, cleaning inside valve gear is in fact an important part of locomotive house-keeping and not only allows the Driver to leave the frames with clean overalls, but also protects the valve gear from excess wear and grime, whilst also allowing any faults or loose nuts to be spotted more easily. I had about an hour inside the frames of 3803 cleaning the eccentrics, expansion links and weighshaft. These were the results...
"Cleaning The Important Bits"
Following this I was called out to help with a busy shunt that was occurring at the South end of the shed. However, this is not the end of cleaning for 3803's frames. Over the winter I hope to complete the cleaning of the entire inside of the frames, ready for the new season which begins in March. Despite being well into her ticket, 3803 is still well worth looking after as the paint still shines up lovely. Anyway, back to today. After dragging myself out of 3803's frames, I headed up to the South yard where the shunt was well underway. Out in the yard, a little old engine was seeing the light of day again: Dunlop No7. "Dunlop" has been in the shed after being rescued from the North end a while back. She has since been enjoying a casual restoration inside the loco shed and is coming along very well. The boiler is away for repairs but will be back soon. It will be very interesting to see this chunky little loco in steam at last: she's quite handsome. I look forward to seeing it...
"Dunlop No7 Well On Her Way"
After an enjoyable little day in the engine shed, I headed home for dinner and some warmth! I tell you, its warmer outside than it is in the shed! I'll be back next Sunday guys for more shed work. Cheers, Sam...

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