Saturday, 16 July 2016

Tyseley: Prepping The "Shakespeare"...

Hi all. Today at 10:30am I arrived at the former 84E shed: home of Tyseley Loco Works. The signature train of Tyseley's main line operating arm Vintage Trains Ltd is the "Shakespeare Express". The "Shakespeare"s run on summer Sunday's between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon and will be celebrating their 17th year of operation this season. Tomorrow will be the first outing of the year for the train and so 'old faithful' - 4965 "Rood Ashton Hall" - was today being prepped for service. 4965 was built at Swindon in 1929 and was "fresh out of the box" in preservation when the first Shakespeare's ran. The service has since become very popular and 4965 has been a regular and reliable performer. She is THE "Shakespeare" engine.

Our jobs today included shunting and marshalling the stock for tomorrow's main line jaunt. The Hall meanwhile, having been dragged out of the shed by the trusty Gronk, stood crackling away to herself in the sun. The shunting was also done with the Class 08, moving back and forth up and down the yard to achieve the required consist and order. I also did some Signalbox training today. Tyseley Signalbox has a sizeable lever frame providing the control for a number of points and locks as well as an array of signals. There are track circuits too - a new one for me! It was most interesting to help work the box today, watching the 08 move about through the various windows. By early afternoon we had the 8-coach rake for tomorrow's outing ready for action and waiting on No1 platform road. The Hall meanwhile was simmering nicely as we set to oiling the axleboxes.

Its very surprising how different oiling is for main line operations. Naturally the engine gets oiled up as normal but a great deal of care is taken as, when motoring along at 60mph as is the case with the Hall, if you shed a cork then you lose the oil. For example, a big end will quite happily spread its oil all over the place, emptying the chamber and probably running the brass hot - if it were to go at speed that is. Therefore, the corks are carefully replaced, ensuring a good fit. The threads on the corks look like they've had a die down them! No risks are taken in this game, and quite right. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's outing aboard the "Shakespeare Express". All being well 4965 will put in yet another great performance. Cheers all and thanks for reading Post No50 of 2016. All the best, Sam...

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