Friday, 6 May 2016

Achilles Report No73: Steaming In The Sun...

Hi all. Today, after leaving work at 11am, the sunshine on the short drive to Ryton Pools was a welcome addition to proceedings. Myself and everyone's favourite alarm clock snoozer 'Eddie the Late' had arranged to have a quiet steam up this afternoon at the club track and, I'm pleased to say, it went off very well. Eddie had arrived just before me and had performed the gallant task of firing up the kettle in preparation for a most welcome cuppa'...he calls it a "brew" - must be a mill owners term! The two engines were duly unloaded and stood proudly on their respective steaming bays. My offering was "Achilles" whilst Eddie brought along his very nice Don Young 'Midland' - his take on the Midland 2P 4-4-0s. Tea's in hand, we decided to have the obligatory "look at us with our engines" shot...
Both engines were soon lit up and "Achilles" was doing her usual job of smoking up a storm. Ed was most unimpressed by the smoke drifting his way and didn't seem at all amused by me blaming the wind and not my assortment of wood accelerants!...
Its a very leisurely affair at CMES on a Friday. There isn't the normal mad rush that there is on steam-up days or public days - you can just do it all in your own time. "Achilles" was first to hit the red line and duly hissed onto the traverser before backing onto the run up rail. The old engine hasn't been out since New Years Day, though we did make an attempt earlier in the Spring but even Noah's Ark would have protested at the level of rain that fell that day!...
Having not used the engine for five months, the main worry was that something would be wrong. I shouldn't have worried though, she was just fine. The engine chugged easily around the railway and up to Ryton Halt where she is captured at the column...
"Achilles" still carries proudly her brass cab plaque, dedicated to her loving builder Ken who we sadly lost early this year. I'm sure he was looking down today and would have been glad to see the old engine steaming merrily around the track at Ryton...
The engine was steaming very well today, being fired on a mixture of house coal and steam coal. I don't rate steam coal at the moment, not for miniatures anyway. If you've got a good strong draft, the steam coal is no problem but when running on your own with a loco the size of "Achilles", the draw simply isn't there due to the lessened blast being ejected up the chimney. Mixing in a little house coal creates a smoky but workable fire and I had no problems with pressure today. I did manage to take a short video clip too...
Ed's 2P was also going very well, although his eye-wear was much more Toad of Toad Hall than Midland Railway Driver...
Ed disposed a couple of laps before I did and "Achilles" is spotted blowing down on the steaming bay after a pleasant little outing...
The engines had both done very well and I can always see the attraction in these Friday afternoon runs. Its quiet, simple, easy and stress-free and with only two of you running there is no issue if you have to stop for whatever reason away from the station. I must thank bringer of lateness 'Eddie the Late' for his welcome company at the track today and, as always, for being such a good sport after his usual pulling apart on the blog! Thanks for reading all, Sam...

No comments: