Saturday, 15 August 2015

Quiet Times at Shackerstone...

Hi all. HURRAH the blog is alive again! My absence has been due to an unexpected business trip to Germany. Two weeks were spent there and thus, two weekends of steam action were lost! I think the most gutting thing of all was missing the August Statfold event and believe me I was curled up in my hotel room sobbing into a gone off pretzel..."wunderbar!". Jokes aside, apart from missing Statfold it was a very pleasant trip and it was very nice to say I'd visited Germany for the first time.

Flying home yesterday, having been stuck in for two weeks I was happy to rise early today and drive over to Shackerstone having dusted off the BM. Arrival was at 10am and I immediately proceeded to the shed where Jason had already opened up. The Class 47 could be heard running in the distance but, allas, just 30 minutes before the first train of the day it gave a spluttering cough and died a death. The trusty DMU set was quickly summoned and departed on time driven by Mr Hudman. The 47 duly regained consciousness and was ready to take over from the 12:30 trip onwards. Todays job at the shed would see the beginning of a simple clean up of neglected 0-6-0 "Sir Gomer". You may wonder why the words Class 47, DMU and "Gomer" are appearing in the same post written about the same day. Well, allas, it is my sad duty to report that we have now lost 3803.

The big Great Western engine has now been removed from service and is currently out of action for the foreseeable future. The trusty old eight-legger has been the mainstay of Shack steam since early 2011 but, with only months left on her 10-year ticket, her deteriorating condition has led to a removal from use. It must be remembered that 3803 has covered many, many miles since her initial restoration and has been a powerful and reliable performer up until now. Naturally, just like anything, steam locomotives begin to wear out as soon as they start putting in miles following overhaul. The time had simply come for 3803. Though she looked the business, her boiler is now ageing and a cracked flue finally finished her. I think I speak for everyone at Shackerstone when I say that the engine has been great fun and a trusty performer over the last 4 years. She's done us proud and so, allas, its goodbye 3803. I'll certainly remember her: I passed out as both a Fireman and a Driver aboard her footplate. Bye bye old gal...
Anyway, back to today. We spent a few hours washing "Sir Gomer" and watching the 47 come in and out before heading for home. The old Peckett should be back within the next few weeks, taking her rightful place once again at the head of Battlefield Line steam services. Cheers all, Sam...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Sam, good to see you back. I bet missing things like Statfold must have been painful. Still, work's work I suppose. Did you get chance to visit any German railways or hunt down some Deutsch Steam while you were there? Also, I noticed you aren't driving the "Golden Slipper" this year at the MMEEx, that's a pity, as I always enjoy our crewing at the "big show".
Eddie told me about the sad demise of 3803, that's a real shame, but maybe it will force the upper echelons at Shack to get Gomer back into action? One can only hope.
Take care, Emma-claire.

Sam Brandist said...

Hiya Emma. Yes missing SBR was hard but looking forward to driving there in September! The "Golden Slipper", after however many years, is having a break from me this time. We are actually going away that weekend instead and, having been up and down the track on that engine more times than I can remember, I thought a bit of a change was in order - I have informed Brian like. Its a good do, sad to miss the show in truth. Mind you, I spent most of it gassing! 3803's demise is indeed sad, it will be missed, but I'd love a good old industrial that you could work a bit harder to get the best results. :) Cheers then, take care