Sunday, 15 March 2015

Shackerstone: The Sunday Report...

Hi all. Here is todays report from my visit to Shackerstone. Today was only brief for me as its Mothers Day and getting out at all sometimes proves an issue on this annual event. I was at the railway from 10am until 1pm before returning home for dinner. Upon my arrival, the Prairie was stood outside the shed. The Epping Ongar's 4141 was being readied to take up her place at the head of the first Battlefield Line steam service of 2015. The engine looked smart as she stood on the dock road showing off her BR lined green livery...
4141 left the shed on time, though departed slightly late with the 11am train. With the dock road clear, the Class 02 shunter was drafted in for a spot of shunting. The old Shell tank wagon was dragged from the side of the shed and prepared for steam cleaning. This is the next project for the team who've just done up the 02, to return the wagon to its Shell colours. It always used to be used on Thomas days: back when we used to do them: but now its Tidmouth Milk colours are redundant. Here, the team chew the fat whilst milking (get it?!) the task of washing the wagon...
My job today involved further work on 3803, whilst 4141 steamed up and down the line outside. 3803 is now nearing her deadline so it won't be long before she is out & about. Further down the shed stood "Sir Gomer". "Gomer" is now waiting for the boiler man to come and do her dry exam before she is reboxed and steam tested for him...
A few paces down from "Gomer" stands another Peckett: Dunlop No7. At the minute, No7 is progressing well and changes by the week. I doubt it'll be long before this little W7 is moving under her own steam again...
The boiler for No7 is really coming along. The tubes are here for her and the 300-odd stays are almost all done. I was told that only 10 need to be done now...
The stays on the firebox are now being calked. The calking process involves basically jack hammering the head of the stay down using a curved tool. The tool turns the remaining threaded end of the stay into a rivet-style head, thus forming a seal against the outer firebox. On many boilers, this process is used inside the box as well, but on some engines nuts are used. The area around the stay near the inner firebox side-sheet is secured and sealed, whilst the nut is used to prevent the stay burning away. Here we see the calked stays of the outer firebox on the fireman's side...
Finally and, unusually in this report, we see "Richard III". "Richard III" hasn't really progressed in the last few years due to time and the work on the other engines. The boiler sits off the frames in a semi-dismantled condition away from the engine, whilst the frames are in the shed just behind No7. The bits are there to sort the engine out, though she does require a lot of work. A powerful RSH 0-6-0 and former shedmate to Nechells No4: which we saw the other week at Chasewater: "Richard" was the engine that worked the first passenger train to Shenton two decades ago. For now, she lies in wait...
Well, that's it for the report guys. I left the railway at 1pm and started the 15-mile run home for dinner. Unfortunately, we have to end this post with some sad news. On Thursday evening the former Shed Cat come Railway Cat passed away after a short illness. She had more alias' than 007 but was commonly known as 'Morris' by all of us at the shed. 'Morris' I hear you say? Well, to be honest, nobody really knew why...
'Morris' came to the railway at least 5 years ago after moving home from a local farm. She became a familiar sight around the railway and befriended the late former owner of the B1 "Mayflower": Gerald. Wherever there was Gerald, there was often the cat. The cat even had a bed on "Mayflower"s cab steps, just above the heaters which would work through the night to protect her expensive injectors through the winter. The cat later took up residence on top of the hot-cupboard in the workshop. 1306 departed for good not long after Gerald's passing, though the cat remained a fixture at the shed and we even installed a cat flap. During the running season she would be fed by probably three or four locations during the day, and would meander around the railway attempting to avoid the public, though she was always friendly and calm when she did come into contact with them.
 
In a strange sort of a way, it was company to know that the cat was there when you arrived at the dark railway gates at 5:30am in the morning. Leaving your car, you wouldn't make it many paces before a dark whimpering figure made every attempt to knock you over! She would then wolf down a good packet of food before looking at you expectantly for another! She was no stranger to locomotives and managed to keep herself safe around the railway for over half a decade. On one occasion she fell asleep in the visiting Beavertail Saloon and enjoyed an impromptu return trip to Shenton and back behind 1306, much to her bewilderment! Allas, now unfortunately the time has come to say goodbye to another of the railways regular fixtures; such a shame. Goodbye cat: I'll miss you on those winter mornings, Sam...

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