Saturday, 22 August 2015

Steamers of the Road at Moira...

Good day all. Today involved something different: a kind invitation from my friend Phil to come along and help with his steam roller at the 2015 Ashby & Willesley Vintage Festival. The gathering brought together road steamers, classic cars, stationary engines, trade stalls and the traditional beer tent, to name but a few attractions. I arrived at the event at around 9am in glorious sunshine and, having changed, met up with Phil and received my entry pass. Inside, various engines of the road steam variety were coming to life...
Phil's 1925-built Aveling & Porter F-Type steam roller "Louise" was stood alongside Andy's "Rosetta": a development of the R10 model from the same manufacturer. Phil duly set me to cleaning the various brasses on his very well kept engine and, as the sun shone, it was just all very pleasant to be involved with...
There were a nice selection of engines around. I think I counted around 12 examples varying through Aveling, Fowler, Allchin and Foden. One that always catches my eye is Arthur Henton's 1903-built Allchin General Purpose engine No1261. Its a very pretty machine in a lovely maroon livery...
The rally life is slightly different to a life on the railways. The main stress is getting the engine to the event rather than the actual steaming session once there. Engines just steam up at their leisure generally, before possibly trundling about the place at slow speed to take water now and again. Meanwhile the visiting public cautiously meanders between the exhibits, taking photographs and nattering with the owners and operating crews. It was all very leisurely this morning. "Louise" steamed up gently whilst we cleaned her brasses and shining green paintwork. The next job for the team was to collect coal for the engines. At rallies, coal is generally provided and this one was no exception. However, the coal provided here was absolutely huge as lumps go and had to be broken up with a chisel and a fairly hefty hammer in some cases. Here are Andy & Phil during the bagging process...
Not far from the Aveling rollers was Fowler General Purpose engine "Elsa"...
A quick view of just some of the engines attending the event...
With "Louise" now in steam and shining for all to see, I decided to take a walk around the site. The event is held at Moira Furnace which is a very pleasant place to see, particularly on a nice day like today. Over the way, a 5" gauge 'Speedy' tank was shuttling back & forth on Burton MES' portable track with steam to spare...
There were also a handful of miniature traction engines in action. Ian Bunn's immaculate 4" Garrett "Betty" is spotted here taking water before another jaunt around the site...
The day continued much the same throughout the day. The sun generally shone, the public were happy to chat and ask questions about the engines, and we all had a really nice time. Its a very nice event indeed and well worth a visit. One interesting factor was just how many Shackerstone regulars (well, of our old crew) were in attendance and it was lovely to be reunited with them all again. Here, "Rosetta" and "Louise" line up...
One thing that you can have at a rally which you can't have on a railway is a beer and, with this in mind, we duly enjoyed a cool pint. Nothing better sometimes than sitting there, beer in hand watching the engine tick over quietly...
All too soon it was time to head for home after a very enjoyable day. I must thank Phil for his invitation and for making sure I had a good time. Its a very different life with the steamers of the road. Its relaxed, its social, its pleasant but, allas, I'm afraid I may be a man of the railway. It was another quiet but grand day out. Next weekend?: well, we'll see! Best Regards, Sam...

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