Saturday, 3 January 2015

Achilles Report No66: Bringing In The New Year...

Good evening all. Today saw the first Members Running Day of 2015 take place at my home club of Coventry Model Engineering Society. The club's RPMR track plays host to members engines on the first Saturday of each month but for some reason it always rains every time I even think about taking a loco. The fickle finger of fate?...perhaps. As 'Maisie' the C1 is still in dispose, not to mention the tank engines requirement for a steam test, "Achilles" was the loco of choice today. Naturally, as "Achilles" was already clean and ready to go, I awoke this morning to the clattering of rain on the window. The wind was howling and the garden was saturated but, allas, the steam test was still required! The Met Office's chief of Coventry weather 'Eddie the Late' had already predicted a clearance of rain by 2pm and so, with that in mind, "Achilles" was loaded into the BMW. Upon arrival at Ryton at just before 1:30pm, the heavy rain of the morning had been reduced to light spitting. So, with no time like the present, "Achilles" was unloaded, filled with water and duly lit up...
Comments were made about the engines tendency to create smoke, much to my surprise. However, later inspection revealed that I'd accidently mixed some old Daw Mill coal into my new smokeless bag, thus creating a green tinge at the chimney top. I mentioned that the engine needed a steam test, usually undertaken every 14 months. However, the blue tank only has 5 months left on her hydraulic test. Therefore, she can only have a steam test for 5 months. In honesty, if the steam ticket had run out in July rather than December, I'd have probably done both at the same time 5 months early but at this time of year the wet procedure of doing a hydraulic did not take my fancy. Having passed her steam test today, the locomotive is now certified until early June, at which time she'll have to have her 4-yearly hydraulic test and another 14-month steam test straight after. For now though, if she is required at least she's all certified and insured if we fancy a run out. The end of the hydraulic ticket in June will also signal four years of ownership of the tank engine: how time flies! Having completed her steam test I did about 7 or 8 laps with the engine just to blow away a few cobwebs. The loco is spotted here on nothing more than a photo stop!...
Owing to the weather, yes you've guessed it, "Achilles" was the only locomotive brave enough (or is it mad enough?) to come out and play. She is seen here at a very quiet Ryton Halt, simmering away...
Here is a small capture of the loco's first fire of 2015: hopefully there will be many more...
During the run "Achilles" steamed very well with her Ron-inspired spark arrestor chimney cap and the water pumps gave no trouble. We steamed round and round without hindrance and 3 laps none stop proved no trouble. To be fair, if it wasn't for stopping to fill the water tanks up again you could have just gone and gone. We've just about got her to the point now where, with 1/2 a glass of water, she'll steam around the track filling the boiler happily, and killing the pressure to 50psi. Knock the feed off at that and she'll do about 1/2 a lap before she's blowing off again by which time you've already put the feed back on, thus constantly refilling the boiler against the steam used: brilliant. After about the 8th lap I could no longer feel my feet for cold so I decided to give up after an enjoyable run. A project for this winter is the driving truck if I get time to mess with it: it creeks and knocks and drags and generally looks tired now so it'll have to get the "Achilles" treatment in the near future. The thinking at the minute is to paint it blue like the loco...
"Days End After A Successful Run"
Thank you all very much for reading and continuing to support this blog and the locomotives featured within it. At present, only 3 days into 2015, I don't have many plans for the two engines, other than to try and run them as much as possible. The next RPMR outing will probably be the next first Saturday do, and will probably feature "Maisie" rather than "Achilles" if all goes to plan. I do hope though that "Achilles" will be able to show her might in the summer when RPMR operates their very successful 'Steam Days', with the quieter days spent with the Atlantic. We'll see. It would be nice to get out to a few different clubs this year but its all time! Best wishes to everyone, Sam...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the RPMR Steam Days too! Hopefully they'll become more established as time goes by, and we'll get more passengers. Hope to see you at one or two with Achilles, eh Sam? Kind regards, Emma-claire.

Anonymous said...

Glad you braved the weather,and good news loco passing steam test.

Happy New Year!

Regards
Simon

Simon's Miniature Railway
(Ivor The Engine Operating)

Sam Brandist said...

Cheers Simon and Emma, without a doubt!