Friday, 28 March 2014

Statfold Prep Day...

Hi guys. Today I went to Statfold again to help with the preparations for tomorrow's forthcoming Open Day. Upon my arrival at Midday two engines were already in steam: the big blue Jung Mallet and the large Fowler 0-4-2 "Saccharine". Both engines stood on shed, joined by Hudswell GP39, the Corpet, "Trangkil" and the massive new Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 tender engine. Inside the shed, "Sybil Mary" was also in sight. The first task was to get the big Hudswell onto the 'big engine railway'. This involved taking her down the line using the 2ft 6" gauge Hunslet diesel, known as "Badger". I rode aboard the Hudswell, riding the handbrake. This is a brand new restoration and, as the engine arrived in a horrific state from Fiji, it is mostly a brand new loco too. Her bogie tender rode like a coach as we continued down the line towards Oak Tree, and the overall appearance of the engine was beautiful (see above pic). Once at Oak Tree we stopped and then began shunting coaches. Two 2-coach sets would be required on the 'big engine railway' and so "Badger" and "Saccharine" got to work getting things ready. "Saccharine" would potter back & forth from Statfold Junction with the coaches before returning light engine, whilst myself & Phil continued to get more stock out using "Badger"...
"Fowler 0-4-2T Saccharine at Oak Tree"
"Badger" was then used to push the new Hudswell down to the Baloon Loop where a newly fitted cross-over allows trains from the 'big engine railway' to use the loop too. This is another first for the SBR. As the big engine railway is 2ft only, "Saccharine" was required at the loop to collect the 0-6-0 tender engine as "Badger" cannot travel on that line for obvious reasons! With the new Hudswell on the big railway, the Fowler took her off to "Statfold" whilst myself & Phil followed the pair along the double-track section, heading for Oak Tree. At Oak Tree, with the coaches for the big railway ready and the new Hudswell on the new line, we decided that it was time to begin collecting engines. For those who are reading this post and thinking that we had only been working for a few minutes...we hadn't...we were now at about 2:30pm! Safe shunting really does take time, particularly when moving stock over a 1.75 mile long railway. In the Grain Store at Oak Tree, there is now a beautiful roundhouse. The turntable is surrounded by the wonderful SBR fleet, both steam & diesel. The pride of the fleet: in my eyes anyway: is the Bagnall 4-4-0 "Isibutu". This beautiful green side tank engine is huge on 2ft gauge rails and is one of Bagnall's best. She's just lovely...
"Bagnall's Best: Isibutu"
Also in the Grain Store were spotted the two Peckett sisters: "Triassic" (formerly of Bala) and "Liassic". Neither of these Peckett's have been restored yet but maybe one day, ay. They are very attractive little engines...
"Peckett Pair: Triassic & Liassic"
Three of the 2ft 6" engines would not be taking part: the Pakis Baru pairing of No1 and the Mallet No5, and the Le Meuse tank. Certainly the former two are serviceable but I'm not sure on the latter. One by one, "Sragi No1", "Sragi No14", "Isibutu" and "Marchlyn" would have to be removed and taken to Statfold running shed. Luckily one engine had already been taken by the Fowler: No19...the 0-4-0 Hudswell, also from Fiji. This was the view in the half-emptied roundhouse at about 3pm...
"Half Empty Roundhouse"
Myself & Phil soon fired up the 'Plymouth' diesel locomotive and began shunting "Isibutu". She would be the next engine to head to Statfold Junction. The loco was turned by hand on the turntable (and she is heavy!) before the 'Plymouth' began with the shoving. I rode on the footplate of the big Bagnall as Phil pushed with the diesel from behind. The diesel certainly roared as the bulk of "Isibutu" was marched up the steep hill to the running shed. Once secured, the 'Plymouth' returned to Oak Tree with Phil & Tom whilst I stayed at Statfold and began cleaning out the Corpet's firebox. With the grate clean and the tubes, water level, fusible and smokebox checked, I laid a light covering of wood across the grate and mixed it with paraffin-soaked rags. A final layer of wood was thrown on top and then left ready for the morning. The strike of a single match will then get the Corpet straight into action at 6am tomorrow! The remainder of the day saw me cleaning the frames and Brown valve gear of our steed for tomorrow: the Corpet: whilst other locomotives slowly arrived on the shed frontage, pushed by the 'Plymouth'. I eventually left at 5:30pm after a tiring afternoon, but I am so looking forward to the morning: first steam of 2014! Best Regards, Sam...

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