Friday, 10 March 2017

Tyseley: Cleaning The Castle...

Hi all. Today I was off work for an appointment in the morning and so, after that, I headed over to Tyseley. Arriving at just before 10:30am, I wandered down through the bustling engine shed (its a weekday remember!) to find 5043 crackling away in the yard. The Castle was warming through nicely and the cleaning procedures had already begun. Tyseley engines benefit from the care of a loving midweek cleaning crew, ensuring that they always go out immaculate. In addition to the usual routines, myself & Paul spent today further buffing up the 1936-built 4-6-0 ready for tomorrows outing to Cardiff. Having scaled the heights of the boiler barrel to Brasso up the safety valve bonnet, I continued with the brasses along the side of the engine. On a Great Western express engine like this, brass is not in short supply! When you're cleaning an engine, there is something quite satisfying about the resulting shine, not to mention the relaxing atmosphere on shed as the loco steadily brews up in preparation for the labours ahead...
Whilst we pushed rags around her, the Castle was raising steam all the time. Due to the early departure time of tomorrows trip (7:03am) almost all of the preparation would be performed today. Once the Castle was ready, it was time to go over for coal. The digger would soon be rudely awakened to fill the tender. The cab on 5043: much like the rest of her: is immaculate. The complete absence of the red regulator handle is a lovely feature of the Tyseley 4-6-0 locomotives - very posh...
As smooth as silk, 5043 hissed away from the shed frontage and out onto the demo line. The coal road is reached by travelling tender first down the 'middle road' and crossing the turntable. Meanwhile, condensate was expelled from the drain cocks...
Down at the coal pile the digger did a sterling job of filling the "Earl"s high-sided Hawksworth tender. 5043 then steamed back over to the shed for the continuation of preparation. Tomorrow's "Red Dragon" trip will signal the "Earl"s first trip to Cardiff since her withdrawal from BR service in 1963 whilst resident at Cardiff East Dock shed. After that 5043 spent 10 unhappy years at Barry Scrapyard before being purchased by Tyseley in 1973. As many of you may know, 5043 was initially planned to be a spares donor for Tyseley's flagship 4-6-0 No7029 "Clun Castle" but thankfully, in 1996, plans changed and 5043 was offered a new lease of life. After a painstaking but beautiful restoration, the "Earl" returned to steam in 2008. As biased as I may be, I can quite honestly say that this is a beautiful engine, restored and cared for to the highest standard. I left Tyseley at around 4:30pm for home, looking forward to tomorrows outing to Wales. Cheers all, Sam...

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