Sunday, 13 November 2016

A Cuppa' At A Private Garden Railway...

Hi all. This morning, after a great day out with Tyseley yesterday, I was on my way over towards Twycross to visit a private garden railway. Regular readers will probably know of 'Pockets' - a former Shackerstone driver - who had kindly invited me out to see his 5" gauge 9F in steam. I've been to this railway a couple of times now, most recently last Summer for their annual garden party. I arrived at around 11:30am and couldn't help but think what a lovely morning it had turned out to be: cold but sunny under bright blue skies. Pockets was already there getting his engine ready. He's had the 2-10-0 for a while now but, being a Modelworks product, he's had to do a fair bit to it. With steam raised, it wasn't long before the green 9F was steaming slowly off the shed road towards the track...
The railway here is 7.25" with a 5" third rail added. The route takes the line up and over itself on a figure of eight section with the larger engines, but the smaller engines only use the bottom half of the line as the upper level isn't dual gauge. Its a pleasant run over well laid track and the 9F had no trouble steaming round...
It really was a lovely sunny morning in the Leicestershire countryside...
I did wonder whether or not to bring "Achilles" with me today and try my hand at ground level running but I just couldn't summon the enthusiasm after the long hours of yesterday. It was nice to finally see Pockets' engine steaming away after hearing so much about it during previous chats...
"9F In Flight On The Ground Level 5-Inch Track"
Down on the shed, the massive resident K36 was enjoying a break in the sun. Ten of these huge 2-8-2's were built for the Denver & Rio Grande Western in 1925 and spent their lives primarily as freight engines. They were 3ft gauge with 20" cylinders and they are (in full size) massive! This 7.25" gauge example comes out as a BIG engine...
"Denver & Rio Grande Western 2-8-2 K36 No484"
Nine of the ten K36's are still around, either in store or in operational condition. This model is numbered 484 and the actual No484 is currently operational in Colorado on a 64-mile long heritage railway named the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. 64 miles isn't a bad preservation run for these old gals! Today, the 7.25" 484 sat cold on the shed but it was great to see her. She is pictured working in my post from last year...
Back with the 9F, Pockets and his dad had been flying round with steam to spare. I was kindly allowed to do half a dozen laps or more on the regulator and duly assumed the GL5 seating postion, perched atop the tender. The cab layout was fairly simple and had the typical BR standard screw reverser & pull out regulator...
With myself on board the tender and a good fire in the box, we set off. The 9F felt very strong and there was plenty of power behind the regulator. The ground level 5" perspective is quite different from raised track running but was very enjoyable to experience. The engine simply tore along with steam to spare on the dual gauge track...
"At The Controls of The 5" Gauge 2-10-0 9F"
After a few laps it was time to stop for some water and coal. Pockets was burning a coal-charcoal mixture and the coal in particular was a good mix of steam coal and household stuff. Either way, the needle barely moved away from the red line and I had no trouble with steam or water. This was a nice engine on a nice railway...
After a break for a nice hot cuppa' I was kindly allowed out with the 9F again. It was very nice to have a go on GL5 and to see the steam effects rising from the miniature engine on this crisp Winter day...
At around 2:30pm, with the sun already settling lower in the sky, I decided to head off and have a cuppa' with my old Shack colleague David as he only lives around the corner. I must thank Pockets for the go on his lovely 2-10-0 and of course thank Arthur who owns this fantastic garden railway! Cheers for reading all, Sam...

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