Sunday, 14 December 2014

"Sir Gomer" Does The Blues...

Hi everyone. Today I was rostered to drive the Station Pilot: "Sir Gomer": during the Battlefield Line's on-going 'Santa Special's. "Sir Gomer" was on only her second day of service, having returned to work following axle repairs. Regular readers will remember that the engine ran a hot box on Christmas Eve last year, and was stripped during January and February as part of the repair work. Due to a very busy summer season for the railway, the engine saw out the last few months in the shed but was taken to Burton in autumn for repair. There she had very heavy and useful equipment at her disposal and was lifted almost immediately. The damaged lead axle went away to Tyseley for journal repairs and both of the front brasses have had white metal pockets fitted. All six of the axleboxes have had new pads fitted and underkeeps with fillers, which she didn't have before. She used to run on steam oil for her axleboxes, now she is on typical bearing oil with the correct pads. The team have also repainted the engine into a new livery (which is close to Coal Board Blue) and fitted her new nameplates. The engine returned to Shackerstone on Wednesday following successful testing. "Sir Gomer"s work on the Santa's is the Shackerstone pilot, with duties including carriage warming, shunting and dragging trains in from the box to speed up departures behind 3803. I arrived at Shackerstone in the chilly dark of the morn at around 6:30am. Fireman Danny arrived at around 7am and after the usual checks had lit a good, strong fire...
We spent the first few hours of the day, as normal, prepping the engine. It was very nice to have "Sir Gomer" back; now a beast in blue. Once I'd finished crawling all over and under the engine doing the oiling: as 3803 was over the pit steaming up in the hands of the Dudley Moore Trio: myself & Danny polished the engine up. The new paint was shining nicely when we left the shed at the booked time of 9:30am. First job: carriage warming for the 11:30 Deluxe train, in Platform 1...
Below is a portrait of the new livery and nameplates. Those nameplates have been waiting in the wings for some years now, but now that she has a new livery that will be kept, the plates have been fitted to add to her new look...
One thing Danny is especially good at is cooking on the shovel; a trait that he often proclaims that I am not good at! Anyone who has ever got in early to prep a steam locomotive will know what I'm saying when I say that a bacon cob is longed for on these winter mornings. Danny's special bacon, egg, sausage cobs were more than welcome...
Whilst myself & Danny stuffed our faces on the footplate, "Sir Gomer" was simmering away, heating the 11:30 stock. Just after us, 3803 had left shed too. The Dudley Moore Trio were in for a hard day at the head of all five of the Santa departures, but they were smiling before they left on the 10am trip...
The days engines: a festively decorated 3803 in GWR Green and 1859 in Coal Board Blue...
Once the 10am train had left, we heated the train until just gone 11am. The Peckett was then uncoupled and steamed up and over the cross-over to the signalbox. We then backed down into the Platform 2 road to await 3803 under the protection of the signals. When the 38' arrived she uncoupled before steaming into Platform 1 road to couple up to the waiting Deluxe stock. We then took "Sir Gomer" up onto the Classic stock, coupled up and pulled the train in...
"Sir Gomer Pulls In, by R.Mathieson"
"Passing 3803, by R.Mathieson"
Once 3803 had left with the 11:30am train, we moved the Classic stock down slightly before uncoupling and heading down for coal...
The reflection of a Peckett...
Following coaling the day went on much the same as it began: shunting & heating, heating & shunting. "Sir Gomer" is seen here heating the 1pm Classic departure, on the south end of the train...
The last move for "Sir Gomer" yesterday was to drag in the returning 2:30pm Deluxe after heating the 4pm Classic. The engine is seen here waiting in Platform 1 for the 38' to reach the signalbox...
After her last move, "Sir Gomer" ran round the Deluxe stock before pulling into the shed road via junction No11. The Peckett is seen here outside the loco shed whilst Danny cleans the fire. The engine was taken into the shed for final disposal soon after...
"A Final Picture"
With the engine secure she was then bedded down for the night. Handbrake on, boiler full, fire dead and pressure lowered, the Peckett was left for the night in a safe & stable condition. Myself & Danny had had a long and tiring day on "Sir Gomer" but it was a lot less stressful than life out on the line. The blue livery is growing on me: she looks handsome. Thanks to Danny for a great day. All the best guys, Sam...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, 'Gomer looks grand in her new livery. How does she run with the new 'box mods? Did Eddie The Late and chums have problems out on the line?
Enjoyable post by the way, Emma-claire.

Sam Brandist said...

Hi Emma. It rolls for England on its new pads. Eddie the Late and team had a good day out the line, if a very long one - fair play to them! All the best, Sam