Saturday, 27 June 2015

An Afternoon with "Fiji"...

Hello everyone. Today was an outing to the wonderful Statfold Barn Railway: I always look forward to a day out at the SBR! This event was the special 'Family Day', allowing family members and friends of volunteers to come along and see just what this cracking railway has to offer. Two engines were in steam and catering was provided as well as an access all areas look around the Grain Store at Oak Tree. We arrived at just after 11am and immediately joined the train for a run around the field railway and back to Oak Tree. At Oak Tree we alighted and proceeded into the Grain Store. The family were, quite rightly, in awe of all of the stuff now housed at Statfold. The collection is just, well, fabulous...
Having enjoyed some lunch and another train ride, the family departed whilst I remained at the SBR. During the week I had been called up and asked to come in my overalls in case I was required to drive. Sure enough, I was soon on the regulator of "Fiji"...
"Fiji" is Lautoka No11, a Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 tender engine built in 1912. The engine was built for use at the Lautoka Mill in the country of her namesake. When the line was dieselised in the 1950s, most of the steam fleet were scrapped. No11 survived and eventually found her way to a tourist railway where she was ripped apart and a diesel engine installed! Click here to see a pic of her there. Eventually, the horribly modified No11 returned to the UK for restoration at the SBR back to original condition. It made its debut in early 2014 and now looks lovely. Click here for a pic of her during her WHR visit. From a driving perspective she is strong, sure-footed and handles well. The handy steam brake is very useful and the chime whistle is good for a play. I drove "Fiji" for a couple of trips during the afternoon, happily top & tailing with Lautoka sister No19, a smaller HC 0-4-0. I think its lovely that the two engines are now together again; just one of the many pairings at Statfold. All in all, a very pleasant day and I can't wait until my next SBR turn! Best Regards, Sam...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, that Fiji Hudswell Clarke number 11 looks like a fine locomotive. I'm glad it got to restoration safety at Statfold. I know a diesel conversion sounds terrible, but that could be one reason why it survived. A number of Fowler ploughing engines survived into preservation in the same way. By the way, those links to photos of number 11 don't work, they just take you to the main page for the International Steam website.
Great blog, please keep writing, I really enjoy it.
Will you be driving the "Golden Slipper" at the Midlands show this year? I'm down to drive on Friday afternoon, Kind regards, Emma-claire.

Anonymous said...

The links work now, so thanks for fixing them. Emma-claire.