Saturday, 21 January 2017

Tyseley: Braving The Cold - A Bleak Mid-Winter...

"In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan" - words from the 1872 carol penned by English poet Christina Rossetti. Today was certainly an echo of a bleak midwinter as I headed over to Tyseley. Rising early to see the frost heavily settled on the neighbours cars I couldn't wait for the dulling chill that would no doubt be the case at the former 84E. When in steam these imposing main line machines have an almost herculean ability to provide heat but during their seasonal rest period they become warmth robbing heat fiends! Every ounce of temperature enhancing energy is absorbed by these metal entities as they slumber peacefully in their respective positions. After a visit to the local Toby for a breakfast with Phil, we proceeded in convoy over to Tyseley. I met up with the gang in the warmth of the office before we set to work on "Clun Castle". I'd opted for a reasonable half a dozen layers today and found the cold fairly tolerable. Its always a pleasure to help do the odd bit on 7029 as she slowly draws ever-nearer to a return to steam. Down the shed, sister ship 5043 was waiting in the wings, having been cleaned up by the midweek cleaning team. She always looks a treat after their visit...
Behind 5043 stood the Tyseley representative of that oh so numerous class of Great Western 4-6-0 that flooded the Midlands district of the Western region: the humble Hall Class 4-6-0. No4965 "Rood Ashton Hall" is Tyseley's 'Shakespeare' engine. The two operational GWR ten wheeler's always provide an impressive sight as they await their next turns on the main line. Upcoming tours can be viewed here. 4965 is a striking machine and a beautiful example of the level of engineering work carried out here. There are Halls...and then there is this one...
I spent another very pleasant day at Tyseley helping out on various tasks surrounding the Drivers side of 7029. Bit by bit the engine is coming back together! I left the former 84E shed at just before 5pm for the journey home, taking in the various intoxicating smells of the countless Sheldon takeaways on route. The dark of the Winter evenings is counteracted here by the blaring lights of pizza parlours and chip shops. By the way, I have a new book; the main focus being the steam era goings on in Birmingham...
The book is "Birmingham Footplatemen", penned by Fireman Dennis Herbert who served his time on the footplate at Tyseley shed. It provides the essence of the romance of steam coupled with the grimy mixture of soot and elbow grease that was the harsh reality of the profession at the time. Gone were the glory days of the 1930's and here was the decline of steam on the main line...or so they thought! The book is a good read, although I'm only part way in so far. Having enjoyed Colin Jacks' book "Through The Links at Tyseley" I felt another Birmingham based book of memoirs would also be enjoyable. I'll see how I get on. Many thanks for reading once again folks. Next weekend already has one day booked: Sunday: I'm off to Evesham. Cheers all, Sam...

2 comments:

David Chandler said...

The VT tour programme for 2017 looks very good, though with Edgcumbe doing nearly all the work! I'm sure she will be up to the task though.

Also, I was scrolling through Facebook over lunch today and saw a familiar face: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1305253089533326&set=a.149641825094464.29243.100001459420465&type=3&theater

Sam Brandist said...

Hi David...yes certainly looking like a busy year for VT. Great to see a nice variety of trips on offer. Thanks for the Facebook link - I never look very happy in concentration mode! I remember that day - the October 2015 open day. It was sopping wet all day...one of those days where every single time you look out from the cab you get a dribble of water down the back of your neck. Hideous! :D