The Class 33 emerged from the shed this week ready for the Diesel Gala. Thanks to Alan & Alex Pakes and the rest of the team this part of the Nation’s heritage is looking much smarter than she did when she came to us. The new livery of BR blue with full yellow ends is mostly complete, although she still needs details applying.
The photo doesn’t do the new paintwork justice because it was taken in the early morning and the dew was still on the loco. D123 was also in traffic for the gala, which means that with the Brit working on the Cathedrals Express on Sunday, three of the five engines in our care were working last weekend. Of the other two, Sir Lamiel stands ready for future work at Carnforth and the Five is still receiving expert attention at Loughborough and Tyseley. I’ve been reminded that we haven’t had a detailed report on work on the Five recently, so I am working on a report giving full details of the work. But given that the boiler is at Tyseley and I need to include photos, it may be a while before I get the pictures I need.
As well as working at the Diesel Gala, the Peak has been providing ballast to Tornado recently: D123 was included at the rear of an 11 coach train to add weight and also to draw the train out of Leicester North (the maximum number of coaches you can run-round there is 9).
70013 has been out three times in the last week; she went to Norwich on Tuesday the 9th of September (and received a round of applause in Liverpool Street Station when she got back!), to Bristol on Thursday the 11th and Exeter on Sunday the 14th. Luckily for the support crews it wasn’t the same team on all three trips, although there was a bit of overlap and Jim did work all three trips, and was properly tired at the end of the week – well done to all concerned for the way that the engine was looked after and turned out. We are gradually bringing the Brit up to the standard of turnout that we aim for in 5305LAs charges. On Saturday the coupling and buffers were burnished giving her a clean face to show the world, this is a lot easier to type than it is to do: the coupling in particular had become rather dull and lack lustre over the last few (rainy!) weeks and was brown rather than silver. Burnishing by hand takes a long time and a lot of elbow grease, but the results are worth it.
One of the advantages that being at Southall rather than at Carnforth is that although the shed is open at both ends, the engine can be lit up under cover and there are electric lights to work by once the big yellow disk in the sky has set. One of the disadvantages of Southall over Carnforth is that there are electric lights which mean that we keep working long after sunset despite knowing that we have a 5am start tomorrow! So at the end of a long day, instead of sitting down for a rest, we kept going to do the final touches, when we finally stopped and went to wash up each member of the support crew seemed to take a few moments to stand quietly admiring our shiny beastie before retiring to bed. Another disadvantage of Southall is the distance from the shops; to reach the nearest shop you need to use the walking route to the station, crossing a running line. So it makes sense to stock up with food, teabags and milk for the duration before we arrive. We began the weekend with thousands of teabags and gallons of milk (well, gallon, we had over 8 pints) which should have been ample even for a thirsty support crew. But when you factor in the afternoon shift fireman who joined the train at Waterloo, the afternoon driver, John the Tanker Driver from Bells & Two Tones, and the conductor who joined the footplate crew all of whom joined us at Salisbury, plus various guests and an extra support crew member who joined at Exeter, we quickly go through milk, and if it hadn’t been for the generosity of the chef who kindly donated a couple of pints on his way to the car at 1am back at Southall, breakfast on Monday would have been black tea and dry cereal.
The trip to Exeter went well , apart from a slight problem with water: a mechanical problem with the tanker which had been due to water us at Honiton meant that this water stop was cut out and we carried on to Exeter where we were able to take a little water, but weren’t able to fully fill the tank. The next water stop was scheduled for Yeovil Junction where the engine was serviced, turned, and rejoined the train which had been brought up for us by the Diesel. We managed to water the support crew quite well – many thanks to the kind person in the shop who allowed us to re-fill the water containers, but watering the engine in time for our departure had to be supplemented by the Fire Brigade - Many thanks to all concerned.
Our final water stop of the day was at Salisbury where John from BTT had got the tanker ready and, despite the tight time slot, was able to fully fill the tender in time for our scheduled departure.
early morning leaving Southall
By Info | Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | Tags : D6535