Sunday, 2 April 2017

CMES: Sunshine And Electric Things...

Hi all. After a very nice day on the NRM's T9 yesterday at Shack, today was a much more relaxed affair. Despite me not having ran my engines since early Summer last year, I am still a member of Coventry MES and therefore twice a year I am rostered to help on their Sunday afternoon running days for the public at their Ryton Pools base. I went to work this morning before heading to Ryton just after Midday. Ron had already got most of the stuff out as well as the stock marshalled for the two-train working that is now a common sight on the 5" gauge metals of the RPMR. The traction for today's services would be the two trusty electric engines: the Class 31 & 37 machines. It was the RPMR's first running day of the 2017 season and the public were out in force thanks to the sunny Spring weather. Services began running at around 12:45pm and ran until 4pm...
"The 31 In Action In Fair Weather On A Passenger Run"
We all mucked in for a mixture of Guarding, Ticket Clipping and Driving duties. Passenger numbers were very strong. When I started with CMES in 2004 at age 12, the full 2000ft circuit had only just opened. Back then almost all services were operated with the 0-4-0 Sweet Pea "John H Owen" and many a Driver was to be found on a Sunday afternoon practically begging it to summon some steam. Those Pea's worked their hearts out in those days until the petrol hydraulic appeared the following season. 100 passengers was like a lottery win back then but today we carried 395 in the same time. The battery engines came along as passenger numbers grew and now two of them are a permanent fixture on services. You would have struggled to have kept today's queue down with steamers I'm afraid to say. In my youth I would have crawled over broken glass to pull a train with the Sweet Pea but these days its easier to let the battery boxes take the strain. They are certainly powerful and reliable in service on RPMR trains...
"Driving The Class 31 Co-Co (Not A1A) Battery Electric"
I had a good 10 laps or so driving both the 37 and 31 respectively during the afternoon. The 31 in particular has some real guts. It is no longer a true 31 though as the A1A configuration that the type had has been lost with the addition of some extra motors. The model is now powered on all axles I believe, making for a powerful engine indeed. Both loco's certainly put in some good work today, travelling just over 12 miles each. Services finished at 4pm after a pleasant afternoons running and RPMR trains will continue to run on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays until the end of September. The railways website is here. The electrics will no doubt be the mainstay of the 2017 season but there are three Steam Days planned once again so you can experience the sights & sounds of the coal-fired models. You never know, maybe "Achilles" will get a run out...but no promises! Cheers all for reading once again, Sam...

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