Lamiel is an old lady – in fact, at 83 years old, she’s currently the oldest main line registered locomotive in the country, but that hasn’t slowed her down at all, as she showed this summer, she is still capable of some excellent performances. At the moment, Lamiel is at Southall, resting between main line jobs, which, incidentally allows our support crew volunteers a bit of a breather in which they can rest, recuperate and remember what it’s like to enjoy plumbing, a proper bed and home life.
But while Lamiel’s busy resting at Southall we have a chance to catch up on some other work; in particular attention is being focussed on the support coach, with the aim of getting it ready for use next year. The plan at the moment is to re-install the Mark II seat cushions in one compartment to see how comfortable they are for support coach use. Support coach seats need to double as bunks, and the received wisdom is that first class are more comfortable than second, and Mark I seats are superior to Mark II. We don’t doubt that (several of us have experienced second class and Mk II seating, even, on occasion, brake van floors), but the proof of the pudding is in whether the seats will do for the present until we have time to sort out some alternative sleeping accommodation . Happily the seat cushions are relatively clean because Hugh spent a lot of time cleaning them when we first acquired the coach so they can be put in place with very little further cleaning – just vacuuming off the dust from two years in store. Meanwhile on the outside of the coach we have had a minor attack of metal moth (I think that I’ve mentioned before that many people erroneously think that the holes in metalwork are the work of the tin worm). Over the next few weeks we plan to cut out and patch the holey areas prior to applying a new coat of paint.
70013’s paintwork has been touched-up and re-varnished recently in preparation for her starring appearance at the Remembrance ceremonies next weekend. 45305’s boiler is still away at Tyseley, but progressing in the capable hands of their boilersmiths. The two diesels in our care have been busy shunting, and the Peak is due to carry out some high speed testing work in the near future – probably next month. It is thanks to the work of our diesel specialists (Allistair, Tom, Mark, Neil and Kevin) who keep the locomotive in tip-top condition, that D123 is in demand for third party testing work – well done chaps!