Saturday, 20 June 2015

EVLR: A Day on "Monty"...

Hi everyone. Today was another booked turn at the Evesham Vale Light Railway. I left home at around 7:15am, making my way along the A46 and into Worcestershire. There was of course the traditional McDonalds stop on route; a must for any loco turn. I've lost count of the amount of times I've been given a funny look at the drive-through for sitting there in a neckerchief or BR tie! Breakfast eaten, it took the usual 5 or 10 minutes to reach the EVLR site. Having signed in, myself & Adrian opened up the shed to find the days steed: "Monty". I was on "Monty" last time I was here. For those not in the know, she is a 1996-built Exmoor Steam Railway 0-4-2 that was formerly named "Markeaton Lady". Once out in the morning gloom, the engine was duly lit up and crackled away quietly whilst the cleaning implements began to appear. Slowly but surely, "Monty" was buffed and polished until she shone. At around 10:15am, I took "Monty" slowly off Twyford shed with drain cocks hissing. The boiler was then blown down to the usual 1/4 of a glass before creeping back into the platform to couple up. The first train left on time at 10:30am and steamed around the balloon loop before coming to rest at a quiet Evesham Vale Station...
Even on the first trip, "Monty" was in good form. Adrian has put a lot of time & effort into making the engine good again after 10-years work at Markeaton Park took its toll. The EVLR engines are all fired on Welsh coal which, although we've had trouble with it on our big ones, seems to do well in these. The fire didn't really need touching throughout the trip, as long as the holes were filled. "Monty" steams very well...
Upon returning to Twyford Station, "Monty" was turned before running around the 3-coach train via Platform 2 road as normal. The trips today would take their usual format, with departures from the base at half hourly intervals until 4:30pm. "Monty" is spotted here, feathering outside the mess room whilst I grab some lunch...
The road ahead, ready for an afternoon departure...
"Monty" continued to steam well throughout the day and proved no trouble. Its very relaxed here at the EVLR: you just keep the engine clean, keep her oiled, keep her watered and fill in the holes and she does the job with ease. The engine is most enjoyable to be on and the cab is a particular treat on unsettled days such as today...
Later in the day, "Monty" is spotted taking water at Twyford...
The weather remained mainly dry for most of the day, apart from a good shower just after lunch. Judging by what was forecast we'd been really lucky...
"A Final View of Monty"
However, as per, our luck soon ran out. The 4pm departure was absolutely battered with rain. Myself & Adrian stood under the station roof, looking out at the bleak storm. The passengers sat happily, cosy & dry in the covered coaches, waiting for us to make our move and get soaked. Eventually, having decided that the storm wasn't going to let up, we went for it. Adrian retired to the sanctuary of his Guards van whilst I boarded "Monty". Even with the cab, you had to drive it pretty much standing up! The rain was coming in faster than I could bail it out and the visibility wasn't great either: it was quite a storm. Having reached Evesham Vale with no drama, "Monty" swiftly departed again as, unsurprisingly, no passengers wished to alight in that down-pour! The Exmoor 0-4-2 duly returned to Twyford and, back under the station roof, the passengers alighted to see the loco. Then, as if by magic, the rain stopped and the sun shone: completely typical. The 4:30pm had no passengers so didn't run, much to our relief really as we were pretty soaked at this point. The red 0-4-2 then steamed happily back on shed for disposal after an enjoyable and weather varied day. Another great EVLR experience: such fun. Best Regards, Sam...

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