Friday, 1 May 2015

Achilles Report No68: A Visit to Rugby...

Hi guys. With the prospect of some good weather and a free track, Eddie & I had made a plan to take the engines to Rugby MES' tracks today. The loco of choice from my end was "Achilles", and Eddie took along his 7.25" gauge Stafford saddle tank. We arrived at the site at 11am before duly unloading onto our relevant tracks. As "Achilles" was the only loco operating on the 5" gauge metals, I opted just to steam up on the track to save unlocking the various steaming bay areas. The loco is seen here steaming up with her usual smoke effects plain to see...
Meanwhile, over on the 7.25" gauge steaming bays, Ed's much larger Stafford type "Archie" was well on her way to steaming...
Having gone through the usual oiling procedure and with a good fire in the box (house coal always works!), "Achilles" was coupled to her riding truck before being readied to move...
For the next couple of hours myself, Eddie & special guest Mr Britt ran the engines at leisure around the separate tracks. The 5" gauge line is a nice easy run for the tank engine and short enough to probably do three or four continuous laps (perhaps more) without stopping for water. On her mixture of steam & house coal she certainly never runs short of steam! The 7.25" gauge line has always been much longer than the 5" contingent, but over the winter has also received a large extension to its metals. The ground level line is now most impressive and I was lucky enough to drive it aboard "Archie" later in the day whilst Mr Britt looked after "Achilles". Below is the footage I took from our running session today...

After a good few hours running and lots of whistling, the duo stopped for disposal at pretty much the same time. It had been a great afternoon filled with tea, chatting and steam: what more could you want? "Achilles" had run very well indeed though she is now getting some good expansion link slap. The wear has now found the remaining worn parts: the expansion links! You are always chasing knocks with steam engines. Each time you take up wear or replace bushes or pins, the wear finds the next available worn point. Oh well, apart from the knocking, she's perfectly well and steams and pulls perfectly fine. As long as her hydraulic test goes OK in June, I'm sure she'll find her way onto public running at CMES all being well. That's always a good chance to clean the tubes out! All the best everyone, Sam...

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