Sunday, 21 September 2014

3803 Day...

Hi all. This morning started like others at the Battlefield Line: early! Today I signed on at 5:45am in preparation for a Footplate Experience course aboard GWR 3803. The locomotive was checked over thoroughly and then lit up. Driver Jan arrived at around 6:30am to find the loco already simmering away and with 20psi on the clock. The Foot-Ex took place on time between 9am and 11am as standard, followed by the usual 5-train timetable. It was a fairly easy and uneventful day, with 3803 performing well and the weather being fairly kind. As the day drew on, a cooler breeze sprung up and we found ourselves reaching increasingly for the driving jackets! Unfortunately, 3803 ended the day as a failure. The cause?: one very broken spring. The GWR Class 38's are well known as regular spring breakers. Their spring breaking ability is known far and wide but is mainly a product of their design. The earlier variant of the 28xx was fitted with compensated springing, making spring changes less frequent. However, the later class 38xx, built under Collett rather than Churchward, did not incorporate this feature. The later 2-8-0s therefore, with their long wheelbase and eight driving wheels, give a lot of stress to their springing gear. The locomotive managed to make it home as the spring failed on the last returning trip. The spring will be changed in due course to allow 3803 to get back out again onto Battlefield Line metals. All in all a grand day out that would have been better without the poorly spring! All the best guys, Sam...

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