Saturday, 17 September 2016

Tyseley: Two Panniers, A Peckett and a Pacific...

Evening all. This morning it was Day 2 of "Flying Scotsman"s weekend at Tyseley. I arose blurry eyed at just gone 5am ready to start my day. After a good run into Birmingham, the now traditional McDonalds breakfast was enjoyed upon arrival at a still dimly-lit Tyseley. People may joke about my steam day eating habits but it is the only way I can start my day: don't judge me...
Having changed into my overalls, I wandered down the alley and into the site before heading to the Mess Room. A few more blurry eyed volunteers were discovered before we headed out into the yard to find the engines. Once again I was asked to light up and oil the Pannier Tank 7752 and so, having raked through the last of yesterdays fire, it was time to light a fresh one. A bed of coal was laid on the grate before a pile of rags was lit up on the shovel. It wouldn't take long to wake up 7752 as she still had 20psi on the clock...
"A Saturday Wake-Up For 7752"
With some blazing rags on the grate, wood was added on top as well as more coal. 52' was then left to get on with it and I headed off to the oil store to refill the big oil bottle. Motion oil comes in the form of 220-grade (cylinder oil is 680 to 1000 depending on your super-heating applications) and the large bottle is used to fill the smaller feeders. Going around 52' I started with the axleboxes, which include a variety of wick-feed boxes, keep pots and horn feeds. Meanwhile, whilst you're oiling, the engine is coming around slowly. Sister engine 9600 was just across the way, steadily coming to the boil...
Oiling the anatomy of a Pannier without a pit can require the skills of a contortionist. With the RH big end at its lowest position I did manage to slide between the balance pipe and the running boards, ending up straddling the crank. In this position I could access everything but trying to get in 'over the top' is hard work and you need arms like Mr Tickle to competently reach everything without the need for movement. There is a lot of motion carefully squashed into these frames but the set-up creates a very powerful engine. Once you've been around the eccentrics, big ends, expansion links and die blocks its time to squeeze out and move to the front end. The front end includes the slippers, packings, spindles, slides etc...
"Anatomy of a Pannier Tank"
The vacuum pumps on Great Western engines often take a paraffin-oil mix whilst the hydrostatic lubricator for the cylinders and regulator will need filling with cylinder oil. With everything on 52' oiled, I drove her down and onto the turntable. After turning, the engine steamed gently back up the middle road to wait at No20 disc signal. 9600 was just taking water and, following that, would collect the ECS for the shuttle train and draw it clear of the points. I find Pannier Tanks quite handsome in their lines, as seen on 7752...
By now my embryo fire from earlier had turned into a blaze. I believe the current coal is Scottish and you only have to show it the fire and its burning away...
When the disc went to the off position, I reversed 52' (with drain cocks hissing loudly) out of the middle road and onto the demo line. After buffering up, I coupled on to the train before creating vacuum to the required 25 inches. With the Platform 1 home signal pulled off, I pulled forward after acknowledgement from 9600. We then stopped to water 7752 before continuing on into Platform 1. "Flying Scotsman" then steamed away for her Saturday morning turntable session, leaving an open view of the LT Pannier... 
Once again I was asked to go on 9600 and duly gratefully accepted. Before I headed off to change into my smart overalls (prep overalls are filthy!) I got the camera out to grab a shot of 60103 on the Tyseley turntable. Who says steam doesn't draw punters?...
Gresley's famous A3 Pacific "Flying Scotsman" stands on Tyseley's turntable...
Having washed and changed, I returned to the demo line to find 9600 simmering away at the head of the stock. Fireman Andrew had things well in hand and the needle was hugging the red line ready for the off...
"9600 Ready For A Saturday Of Shuttle Trains"
For the rest of the morning and into the early afternoon we steamed back and forth on 9600. Passenger numbers were strong on this busy day and the two Panniers seemed to be putting the miles in up & down the yard...
"Myself & Andrew On 9600 Between Trips" (Pic - E.Brown)
We did three trips per outing, stopping at the box before steaming back up to the yard extremity. 9600 is certainly in good voice and steams very well indeed. It was a most pleasant morning driving her. Our relief came at around 2pm and I was asked to go on the little works shunter: Peckett No2004 of 1941. I tell you what...what a lovely little engine this is...
"Peckett 2004 Stands Alongside The Castle"
The Peckett was built by the Bristol firm in February 1941 as a W7 type and is kept in operational condition at Tyseley as the works shunter. I believe that the 14" cylinder 0-4-0 spent some of her working life with the GEC. I hadn't driven the Peckett and so it would be nice to tick it off. Like most industrials the Peckett is fairly simple to drive. Everything is done on a steam brake or handbrake with basic controls. 2004 is in pretty much original condition, unlike most Pecketts which have been given vacuum and steam heat. Its just lovely: so responsive. You can hear the valves seat when the regulator opens, you can hear the steam heading down the steam pipes to the valve chest. Its just a very pleasant little thing to be on. Some industrials are changed beyond recognition to give them passenger hauling abilities but 'No1' is the opposite. Its a lovely thing. After a few runs up and down the yard with the match truck and the Toad, we were asked to pull onto the turntable for a demo...
"Driving Peckett 2004 of 1941" (Pic - A.Williamson)
After a few spins on the turntable to the commentary, we buffered back up to the Toad and steamed back through the shed and into the yard. Pannier Tank No9600 is seen here approaching the yard extremity as we watch from the footplate of the Peckett...
After a few more runs back and forth with the punchy Peckett, we steamed back onto the turntable in order to drop the short freight onto a pit road. The Peckett was then returned to the yard ready for disposal after a most pleasant little afternoon with her...
"Bedtime For The Peckett"
The Peckett just goes to show that it doesn't have to be a big engine...this little engine made me smile. What a lovely little machine. I've been on plenty of industrials over the years, most of which are fairly horrid as someone has tried to change them into something they aren't. 'No1' on the other hand is the exact opposite: original and wonderful. This was a brilliant day on two Panniers and a Peckett: thanks to all at Tyseley for a great day. Cheers all, Sam...

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