Sunday, 18 September 2016

Tyseley: On 9600 Whilst "Scotsman" Meets The "Earl"...

Hi all. This morning when the alarm went off at the hideous hour of 5am I felt like sleeping in. Its been a while since I've done three days in a row of early-start steam days but it was worth it for Tyseley's "Flying Scotsman" weekend. I have to admit I had yet another McDonalds breakfast this morning, though my growing waistline will not thank me for that. I arrived at the Birmingham base of Vintage Trains for the third and final time this weekend at just gone 6:30am. Down at the Mess Room I found some ghostly characters; resembling some of yesterdays volunteers; who had spent their night in the signalbox before we headed off in search of the locomotives. Day 3 of a long weekend such as this sees the morning light up energies almost completely depleted and it was certainly quieter this morning! As the light began to come up on this calm Sunday morning, the beautiful "Earl" and the Pannier's stood alongside the works...
"The Calm Before Light Up - 6:45am"
All three of the engines were still simmering away happily with plenty of steam on the clock. The "Earl" in particular was well up the gauge and yet still as silent as can be. Once again I was put to work firing up and oiling 7752 (L94). This morning she was a little sluggish to start but before long was showing signs of summoning some more steam. Meanwhile the huge Castle class 4-6-0 stood gracefully alongside...
After an hour or so bending myself into all sorts of positions oiling up the red Pannier, I went off to get changed in readiness for the shunt with 9600 to arrange the ECS for the shuttle train. Once in place we steamed downgrade just a little, to the watering point. Whilst there we noticed some shunting going on with the W7 Peckett. My, my...what power that little engine harbours! Her impressive efforts with the cold Class 47 were great to see as she stormed up the yard...
With the brake created after watering, we steamed gently down into Platform 1 with me driving 'L94'. Having stopped just shy of the buffer stops, 60103 "Flying Scotsman" was taken away for her Sunday morning appearance at the turntable. A strong queue had already formed outside the gate and was growing continuously across the car park. As soon as the time turned 10am, the gates were opened and in marched "Scotsman"s adoring public. Meanwhile the two Pannier's simmered away happily in the platform whilst us crews enjoyed a hot cuppa' nearby. Following the tea I decided to walk down through the loco shed to grab a shot of "Scotsman" during her shunt move back to Platform 2 road. Here she is seen alongside the little Peckett 0-4-0 No2004...
"David & Goliath - No1 and No60103"
A non-platform view of the NRM's Gresley A3 Pacific No60103 "Flying Scotsman"...
Having snapped the A3 I wandered back down to my steed for the day 9600, who was simmering patiently in the hazy sunshine. The crowds were now floating back towards Platform 2 as "Scotsman"s return was imminent...
9600's elder sister L94 (GWR 7752) stood simmering on the rear of the shuttle train...
"Flying Scotsman" soon came rolling back down the yard with the BSO and Pullman's in tow. The A3 was captured rolling past the Drivers Side of 9600...
As we prepared for our first shuttle of the day, I couldn't help thinking how pleasant 9600's cab is. Being slightly taller than 52's and with larger windows, the lighting is so much better. Its a well restored example indeed...
"Footplate of 9600"
Myself and Stuart were aboard 9600 today and spent most of the day; apart from 30 minutes or so on relief; trundling back and forward on the shuttle train. I think today was the busiest of the three and many passengers continued to board the train for their short train ride behind the Panniers. These tanks are very pleasant things to be on and you can see why 863 examples of the 5700 Class were built. They are strong, free steaming and very workable. Joining us on the footplate for the first half of the day was cleaner Ron...
I lost count of the amount of trips we did today but we did trundle back and forth many times, I know that! It was a most pleasant and trouble free experience...
"Black & White Pannier" (Pic - J.Waldron)
Towards the end of the day we began to run the fire down, just keeping the holes filled in places with the odd lumps of coal. There is no sense in returning to the shed with a mountain of fire...
"Running Down The Fire"
We took our final shuttle train at 4pm before dragging the ECS to the yard extremity. 52' then brought us back into the middle road and she then went off for disposal. Meanwhile, 9600 would be required to put the stock away once Platform 1 was free. For now however, 5043 (the Castle) would go over to have photographs next to "Flying Scotsman" and so 9600 simmered quietly in the shade, probably glad to give her wheels a rest. It is interesting to note that both 7752 and 9600 are certified for use on Network Rail and still haul VT excursions on a sort of annual basis. They are the smallest steam engines still operating on the national network and this must be a testament to their power and reliability...
With 9600 stabled for a while and sitting pretty, we wandered down to the platform to see the "Earl" line up alongside "Scotsman". The rival engines from rival companies stood begrudgingly alongside each other with their respective headboards. I must admit, I think I know who would win in a race of first one to Plymouth but then again the A3 was designed with different purposes in mind. They are both very impressive machines...
"The 'Flying Scotsman' Meets Tyseley's Awe Inspiring Castle"
The Castle hung about having snaps taken for quite a while before returning to the shed after a few runs up and down the demo line. I then took 9600 back over onto Platform 1 road with the ECS before stabling it near the crossing. 9600 was then taken light engine back to the shed before backing down on top of 5043. With the road changed, we took the Pannier over onto the next road for disposal in front of sister 7752. With the fire deadened, boiler full, all appropriate fittings isolated and regulator well closed (not passing), the ensemble was pushed backwards into the gloom of the engine shed by the little Peckett 'No1'. What a brilliant weekend we've had on the Pannier Tanks of Tyseley Loco Works. I was certainly glad of a good wash once again though I can tell you that. Any footplate staff will tell you of the endless pains at the end of a long weekend. There is soot everywhere soot can go, I've burnt my arm, bruised myself oiling up and I'm thick with grease and grime but, as always...it was worth it! Having washed up and got ready for the off I wandered back through the yard towards the car park and came across "Scotsman" about to be turned ready for her departure early in the week...
A final view of the world's most famous steam locomotive: Gresley's A3 Pacific No60103 "Flying Scotsman", built at Doncaster Works in 1923...
Many people have their own opinions on "Flying Scotsman". It has cost a lot, I'll admit, perhaps other engines could have been done up in her place but I feel that it is quite nice that the general public have such affection for something that is historically important to our steam hobby. I've never seen public interest in the sector thrive anywhere near so much as with this ageing A3 pacific. I doubt anything related will ever gain interest like this again and so perhaps we should embrace it this time. Its been a pleasure to spend a weekend working alongside Gresley's most famous East Coast Racehorse and to see what a lovely job has been done of her this time around. I must thank the lads at Tyseley for a great weekend crewing their engines and I look forward to the next one. As always you can book Vintage Trains excursions by clicking here. The "Earl" is off to Oxford on October 8th and the Panniers are out in force in November so why not join us. Thank you all for reading and double thanks if you've read all of the trio of Tyseley posts from this weekend. Cheers all, Sam...

2 comments:

David Chandler said...

Some great photos there Sam, especially the one of 60103 from the cab of the Pannier Tank. Also, a steam loco hauling a diesel?! A rare sight indeed!

Sam Brandist said...

Thanks David. Great to see you're still reading. It was a good weekend indeed at Tyseley, working in close proximity to the famous 60103. Cheers :)