Sunday, 12 July 2015

Return to "Monty" at Evesham...

Hi all. Today was another pleasant outing to the Evesham Vale Light Railway and another day driving "Monty". I arrived at Twyford at just before 8:30 and immediately signed in before being sent, keys in hand, to unlock the loco shed. The shining red 0-4-2 was duly pushed outside; a move which is greatly aided by her roller bearings. The engine had already been cleaned out since her last run and so a general check over was all that was required before lighting up. With 1/2 a glass of water in the boiler, it wasn't long before I had a bright fire burning away in the box...
As soon as the fire was lit it was time to attach the air-line. This basically provides an artificial draft, taking the place of the steam blower and aiding initial combustion. Only the slightest draw was required today as "Monty" was in use yesterday and was still very warm. In fact, it wasn't long before she was singing away to herself whilst I started cleaning. A good buff up of the brasses was followed by the application of polish to the paintwork. Oiling is the last job on "Monty"s agenda, this being completed in a matter of minutes with the help of the grease-gun and trimming pots. Leaving shed at just after 10am, "Monty" proceeded out onto the running line for blowing down. A few minutes later and 1/4 of a glass of water lighter, the loco is pictured at the head of the first train of the day...
A few passengers had joined us for the first outing of the day and "Monty" was soon chuffing merrily through the green fields of the country park. Despite this being the first run of the day she was already steaming very well and proving no trouble. Three coaches was the order of the day and thus hardly a murmur was heard from No300s chimney. The first trip was completed in good time and with ease, with the day continuing pretty much that way. The engine is seen on a later run, stationed at Evesham Vale being photographed...
Passenger numbers today were steady but worthwhile. As usual, many visitors commented on the immaculate nature of "Monty" and the coaching stock: the EVLR team sure do look after their beloved fleet. Adrian, who was guarding today, is always more than happy to enthuse about his engine, which has been a labour of love during her latest rebuild. The smart footplate of No300 is spotted during a layover...
Ready for departure from Evesham Vale, upgrade for Twyford...
Overall the day went very well with "Monty" being her usual good self. If anything, she's almost too good and could do with a good heavy train behind her to make her work a bit! The day was very enjoyable on my part although one, erm, incident did occur. Upon leaving Evesham Vale the driver is to look back and acknowledge the guard's signal, given after clearing the trailing point. On board "Monty" however, I have to turn and lean out to see from the driving side and, at one point, I kicked the bearing oil can clean out of the door! It was like a slow motion picture as it fell cleanly through the air and landed neatly on the ballast. Don't forget, you can't stop here as the sprung trailing points may take you off the road so we had no choice but to collect it later on. No real problem was caused by this but the embarrassment of it is quite a factor!...
Apart from the oil can incident it was a great day and, with "Monty" disposed and put to bed, I left the EVLR site for home at around 5:30pm. The EVLR is, as I've said before, great fun and a pleasure to be involved with. Best Regards, Sam...

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