Saturday, 24 October 2015

Tyseley Open Day: Out with a Pannier...

Evening all. Today was an early one, beginning as always with the traditional McDonalds breakfast: a must before a day on the footplate. On this gloomy Autumn morning my destination was Tyseley Loco Works, in the heart of industrial Birmingham. The Tyseley of today was built upon what was part of the old 84E shed. 1968 saw the finale of BR steam but also saw the continued presence of engines at Tyseley, with "Clun Castle" and Jubilee "Kolhapur" by then based in the leased Coaling Stage, securing the future of steam locomotives on the site of the former 84E. Today was the first day of the works' Autumn open weekend and six locomotives were rostered for service. I arrived at the site at around 6am, blurry eyed but ready to go. Having dragged Phil from his living van and meandered through the loco shed, we found L94 patiently waiting on the shed frontage. A small warming fire had been burning overnight and the Pannier was sitting pretty under the yard lights with 40psi on the clock: lovely...
Having checked the engine over to make sure all was well, more coal was added to the orange blaze in order to continue the production of steam. All around, other engines were coming to life. Soon enough, the elegant 4965 "Rood Ashton Hall" hissed out of her home shed into the damp morning air ready for cleaning. She made for an impressive sight I can tell you! Throughout the morning myself & Driver Phil prepared 7752 (L94) for action; oiling and cleaning as the hours went by. By 10am, the engine was down on the coaling stage with a nice fire burning away in the box...
After coaling, L94 is seen rubbing shoulders with another maroon engine: LMS 5XP No5593 "Kolhapur", which became part of the Tyseley Collection in 1968...
The weather this morning was quite hideous: wet, windy and cold. However, once I'd completed the most dreaded of tasks: ashing out: it was nice to return to the sanctuary of 7752's cosy footplate. This Pannier is very original, having passed from LT hands into preservation without so much as a sniff of the scrapyard. A lot of the original fittings remain in place and the cab is very pleasant to be in...
Washed and changed, our job for the first half of the day was to haul the 2-coach passenger shuttle up and down the demo line. On the rear of the train would be the veteran LNWR Coal Tank No1054; a wonderful 0-6-2 dating from 1888. A cab spectacle view from L94 is seen below, ready to perform the first run along the demo line...
It was a very easy and pleasant morning, trundling back and forth with the passenger train. Due to the adverse weather, loadings were strong as many tried to escape the rain. The engine is seen here ready to depart with another trip...
"Ready to Depart" (Pic - Michael Brace)
During a brief break, Phil kindly collected a bacon cob and a hot cuppa' for us both; a welcome treat I can tell you on a day like this!...
A footplate view through the rain whilst chugging along the demo line...
And later on steaming past the front of the engine shed...
"7752 Chugging Along" (Pic - D.Chandler)
After dinner, L94 and 1054 were shunted off the demo line and stabled in the middle road whilst a cavalcade featuring 4965, 9600 and the Princess took place. I felt sorry for the lads out on the engines as the rain really came down during their brief stint on the demo line!...
For the afternoon, L94 would be relieved from passenger duties by slightly younger sister No9600. The engine is seen here ready to shunt back towards the turntable...
Now for another sent-in shot. This was captured during our turn on the turntable in the rain, ready for stabling. Its definitely me, but it doesn't look like me: I've put some timber on!...
"Crewing L94" (Pic - Graham Jones)
Once stabled around the turntable I had the chance to take a quick snap or two. A real LMS pairing is seen below as Princess class No6201 "Princess Elizabeth" sizes up to slightly smaller Jubilee No5593...
A fabulous line up of City, Hall, King, Castle and Duke!...
Pannier No9600 makes some great steam effects on the passenger...
Veteran Coal Tank No1054 on the rear of the passenger train...
Having sat around the turntable drinking tea and people watching, it was soon time to take L94 to bed for disposal. She'll be out tomorrow of course, along with the other five steamers in action (hopefully in better weather!). The old girl is spotted outside the shed after a very good day in service...
It was a very enjoyable day indeed, firing and driving a lovely Pannier like 7752. I must thank Tyseley for the opportunity and Phil for his company. I've always been fond of these Panniers and, despite the short demo line, it must be remembered that these engines are merely passing the day here. Most of the locomotives based here, including 7752, are registered for and see active use on the main line where they can earn their keep doing what they were designed to do. A quiet life on preserved railway metals is not for them, they get to do a real job keeping steam alive on the very network on which they began their careers. Its amazing to think that steam can still earn a living on a twenty-first century rail network but Tyseley is proof of that. To see a very nice video of the wet & windy Saturday, click here. All the best guys, Sam...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's quite an impressive lineup at Tyseley. The last time I went to Tyseley was 25 years ago, there's a lot more steam engines there now!
But here's a question, if you were doing that open day again, and could choose which engine to crew, which would you pick?
I'm not sure I could decide!
Kind regards,
Emma-claire.

Sam Brandist said...

Hi there Emma. Yes there's quite a line up there at the moment. I did get to drive the Hall in the evening which was, I'll admit, probably the nicest thing I've ever driven :) All the best, Sam