Friday, 4 December 2015

Tyseley: Cleaning The Castle...

Hi everyone. Today I left work as normal on our half day Friday before threading my way through the various roadworks of Coventry to reach Tyseley Loco Works just before Noon. Having changed into my prep overalls and wandered down through the engine shed, I found the beautiful Castle Class 4-6-0 No5043 standing elegantly on the shed frontage. The double chimney beauty was built by the Great Western in 1936 as "Barbury Castle", though in 1937 she was renamed "Earl of Mount Edgcumbe"; the name she still carries today. 5043 received her double chimney in 1958, being withdrawn only 5 years later in December 1963. Tyseley took on the painstaking restoration of the Castle in the mid 1990s, with the engine eventually returning to steam in 2008. Since then 5043 has gone on to become one of main line steam's most impeccable performers and has shown her might on various routes across the country, from the West Country to Scotland. I spent this afternoon cleaning around the frames and wheels of the Castle, in preparation for tomorrows run along the main line to Lincoln. The Castle buffs up beautifully, having been immaculately kept since her triumphant return. Later in the day, 5043 moved gracefully down for coal, filling the yard of the former 84E with clouds of drifting smoke and steam. The engine would also receive her full FTR: a 'Fitness to Run' exam which is carried out on all locomotives prior to operation. No stone can be left unturned now with main line steam: all engines have to be on top of their game. I left Tyseley at around 5pm, heading home to prepare my things for tomorrows trip. All the best everyone, Sam...

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