On Tuesday Craig & Rob Stinchcombe came up from Loughborough to Carnforth to finish off a few last little jobs on 70013 “Oliver Cromwell”. They arrived with a lot of materials and tools to use; now that the engine has moved to Lancashire it is a long way from the workshop & tool lockers at Loughborough if you find that you’ve forgotten to bring a left-handed screwdriver or a bucket of red oil for the tail lamps, and you can't just do a couple of hours of an evening after work.
One of the most important jobs that they had to do was to prepare the engine for the boiler inspection required for main line operating. The boiler inspector arrived at about the same time that 30777 “Sir Lamiel” went off shed to work the “Dalesman”. Although we didn’t have any real concerns about the boiler, we were all anxiously awaiting the call to let us know that the boiler inspector was happy, and were most relieved when we finally heard at Carlisle that another vital piece of documentation was ‘in the bag’. Craig and Rob didn’t stop there though, because once the inspector had left they carried on with fitting the ash-pan spark guards and other ‘little jobs’. In a way you could say that they had very little choice because they were staying in the support coach, but we’d taken it to Carlisle so they had no mess room or tea making facilities all day. The train wasn’t due back into Carnforth until around 9pm so in the end they got washed up and walked into town to find food and drink, luckily, due to the magic of modern communication we were able to ask them to buy us some ‘ready meals’ to cook when we finally got back hot, sticky, tired and covered in coal dust.
I mentioned earlier that 30777 went off shed yesterday at around 7.30am with the empty coaching stock for the Kingfisher Railtours “Dalesman” excursion to Carlisle. Getting out of Carnforth Shed with stock is a drawn out process as the head shunt isn’t long enough for the whole train, so it has to be split up and brought out in sections. We worked tender first ECS to Hellifield where the passengers alighted, then up the S&C to Carlisle and back, returning ECS to Carnforth again at around 9pm. If you’ve been up the S&C behind steam you will be able to picture the run, 30777 was going well and we picked up time; having been late away at Hellifield, we were early at Carlisle. If you haven’t been up the S&C behind steam why not book on one of the other Dalesman trips this summer (www.kingfisherrailways.co.uk).
The job of the support crew is spasmodic – Most of the work is done on shed; oiling, cleaning, filling sanders and generally making sure everything is ready. On the journey, apart from the ‘owners rep’ on the footplate there is very little that actually needs doing between stops so although you have time to listen to the engine make music and watch the scenery going by, you can't relax because all the time you are keeping an ear open for unusual noises from the loco. By contrast, when you reach a water stop you are all busy laying out hoses, pulling coal forward, re-filling the lubricator, coiling hoses up and other essential jobs.
Watering from a tanker at Carlisle
So it was a long, hot and tiring day, but worth every minute, 30777 is back on the main line doing what she was designed to do – haul big trains long distances, and 70013 is one step closer to joining her out there.
By Info | Thursday, July 31, 2008 | Tags : 70013