Friday, 7 November 2014

Atlantic Report No3: Only The Mad...

Hi there everyone. Today, after work at Midday, we had planned a steam up at Ryton Pools. Last week the Atlantic had had its first run and, during the week, I had made some adjustments to the springing gear in an attempt to stop the slipping. Lighter springing is apparently the key for the best traction, particularly when you have more unpowered axles than powered ones. 'Eddie the Late' was planning to run but unfortunately a spell of 'scared of the rain-itus' took over. He did however manage to come up to the track with me. I must admit, to set the scene, the outlook was not good: it was cold, wet and windy. However, I had hoped that the spate of 'intermittent showers' would give over for a few hours. "Err, no!". As soon as the 'Maisie' touched the rails, the rain was in for the day! It was absolutely horrible but, dogged by a sheer determination to get around the track without slipping, I carried on and the very wet 4-4-2 was put into steam. You'd have to be madder than Mad Mac McMad of the Madmans Madness Association to do this today...
With a strong fire in the box and a good head of steam, we attempted a run around the track. The climb of the bank was poor, she wouldn't get up there. The track was sodden though, with rain still pouring heavily. If it hadn't have been a test run then we definitely wouldn't have been running! Anyway, topping the bank, the engine ran freely back around and to the steaming bays again. Steam back at 80psi, we attacked the bank again...a bit better but still not good. I think it should race up there, 1 in 70 or not. The third run, with shoes soaking through and cap dripping with rain, I gave up half way up the bank. Reversing to the foot of the bank again near the old station, I got off and watched the engine gently chug around with the truck, walking alongside. The tender was going tight, and the engine would find it hard, but wouldn't slip without me on of course. The lack of draw then killed the steam so the blower was used to raise more with the aid of a deeper fire. I then noticed the problem...the tender! The typical C1 tender includes low guard-irons but, with the truck connected, the tender drops slightly with the weight and the draw-bar drag, thus pushing the guard-irons hard against the top of the rails. So, basically, in a way, the loco may as well be trying to drag a row of bricks up the bank along the railhead. To attempt a change, I moved the link from inside the clasp to above it, thus raising the level of the weight ever so slightly. The result was great, with the guard irons missing, the loco was much more sure-footed. Without me resting on the tender and the truck link readjusted, the tender ran so freely and the engine attacked the bank...
"Atlantic In Flight" (E.Jones)
This time we stopped for a quick photo stop at a very wet Ryton Halt...
GNR C1 Atlantic 4-4-2 (LBSC Maisie) No4436 stands at Ryton Halt with safety valve blowing...
Here is a short video of No4436 leaving Ryton Halt and continuing down to the carriage shed in order to meet up with 'Eddie the Late' again. The loco is running very well and steaming perfectly, though the weather is still atrocious and couldn't be further from the appropriate operating weather for a 3.5" gauge engine... 

After the video and with steam at 80psi again, I attempted one more lap whilst Eddie set the road to come off. The engine had a full fire and the boiler water level was fine and so, with pretty much all the regulator, we attacked the bank at about 50% cut-off. The engine romped up there despite the soaking rails and we had to slow down at the top for the bend to drop some speed off. The engine is definitely getting there and handles very well. The tender will need to be adjusted in order to ascertain why it touches the rails and probably have the guard irons raised and the coupling dropped too. This should give a very free running engine and, on a dry day, I don't see why two adults should be a probably up the bank, possibly even three at a push. Well, despite the rain and a no doubt oncoming cold thanks to todays weather, at least we got the engine running properly or, more to the point, found out why it wasn't. All the best guys, Sam...

7 comments:

Jeff said...

One of the best afternoons I had on a live steamer was on a friends Sweet Pea in the rain as nobody else was mad enough to go out! but it was great having the track to myself and only stopping every few laps to get water :)

Sam Brandist said...

Hiya Jeff. Nice to hear from you via the comments. Yes, we must have been mad, I feel worse for wear now! The loco did well though, and the rain being pushed off the rail did show up the guard-iron trouble. Maybe the rain helped? Haha ;) All the Best, Sam

Anonymous said...

Well done Sam for your perseverance. I look forward to seeing your Atlantic running, but not in the rain. You mad?
:-D

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add my name, it's Emma-claire.

Anonymous said...

Well done Sam for your perseverance! I look forward to seeing the Atlantic in action, but not in the rain! You mad?
Kind regards, Emma-claire.

Sam Brandist said...

Hi Emma. Cheers - yes, mad, but at least it goes and we know why it didn't! Next out with Achilles in a week or two for steam test at CMES. ATB Sam

David Chandler said...

Wow, thanks a stunning little locomotive! Nice video too. I have been to Ryton pools on a few occasions for orienteering (my main non-railway interest) and have seen people running their locos around the track.