Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Atlantic Report No14: Under Cover of Darkness...

Evening all. Tonight, despite being "all train-ed out" from the weekend, I decided to take my LBSC Maisie up to the club track at Ryton Pools. The engine has only been out the once this year and even that was for a steam test and so, with the rain just about holding off, I went for it. This evening was scheduled to be the last Wednesday evening Members Run of the 2016 season so I expected a few engines to be out. No such luck! Alongside my Atlantic the other engines in action added up to...Nil. Nevertheless the engine was unloaded by 6pm and stood proudly on the steaming bay. The tender was filled up with all the coal I had left at home; a mixture of steam and house coal; in preparation for the outing and looked well stacked aboard the low tender...
"LBSC Maisie At Ryton Pools Railway"
The engine has been cleaned prior to running a couple of times this season before rain put pay to going out. Before being lit up this evening she looked pretty smart...
I'd stacked the firebox high with paraffin-wood before I left home and the boiler was showing 3/4 of a glass so I lit up and started the electric blower. The engine always comes round pretty quickly due to having LBSC's Combustion Chamber boiler and so it wasn't long before we were coupled up to the truck and on our way round. Having only driven the engine the once this year I was poised and ready for the unthinkable to happen but, to my surprise, she actually ran fairly well. I did have to stop at Ryton Halt on the first lap to reattach the return-pipe to the tender mind as that has a tendency to pop off on the first trip of any run. Meanwhile, making steam was no problem...
Autumn is certainly here now and we're losing the light so much quicker. Therefore, by just gone 7pm, the track was quickly plunging into darkness and 4436 was running on the bright signal lights. Even small engines look pretty at night. The lamps of the signals and the light of the fire was worth a quick snap during another stop at Ryton Halt...
A close up of the glowing fire in the 4-4-2's sizeable firebox...
"An Autumn Fire In GNR Atlantic No4436"
I did a few more laps under the cover of darkness and in the end it was so dark you couldn't really see anything. The only thing to keep you running confidently was the knowledge that nobody else had been mad enough to run this evening! The engine meanwhile was running fairly well, with the fire burning brightly and the pumps working as they should. This engine has always had a good axlepump which, on a track as long as Ryton, works very efficiently. My final lap was just before 8pm and the flash was certainly required as the GNR C1 chipped away at the foot of Ryton Bank...
"An Evening With The Atlantic"
The engine had gone well for most of the evening, though I had ended up down the nick on one of the trips due to forgetting about the bypass: a rookie error! Dropping down onto the steaming bay with 40psi on the clock and 1/2 a glass in the boiler, 4436 was transferred back onto her steaming bay ready for disposal. No drop grate on this engine and so the fire is manually raked, grate rocked and ashpan duly raked too...just like the real thing! The engine was then blown down before being loaded into the car. I'd like to get the back truck boxes out of it soon to check them. Being so close to the ashpan they have the tendency to fill with grit and grime so a good clean up with fresh oil won't go a miss. I thought on the way home what a pleasant evening I'd had...that is until an unruly speed bump caused the engine to tip over in the boot, chipping the cab roof in the process. Ahh...the beauty of the expletive word! That's another trip out for my ever growing collection of touch-up brushes. Cheers all and Best Regards, Sam...

2 comments:

Philip Lockett said...

Cracking stuff. Night time operation is always very different and good fun.

Sam Brandist said...

Cheers Phil for the comment. Trouble is I always end up down the nick because I watch more the dramatic evening steam/glowing effects and forget the bypass! :D