Over the weekend of the 21st & 22nd of March the Great Central Railway held their 1960s weekend. D123 was allocated a starring role in the proceedings (well, she was one of three diesel and four steam engines and the DMU who all shared the limelight!) However, this being a gala, with seven engines in traffic and at least five sets of stock (if you include the minerals and goods in the count), plus the DMU, operational necessity meant that not all the trains went the whole length of the line. Now that the GC has double track, Galas invariably involve putting stock or engines ‘inside’ at Loughborough, Quorn or Rothley, where they wait to let the next working pass, then emerge to surprise the public by re-appearing at unusual intervals. Working out the timetables and shunt moves for a gala is a dark art but one which has been largely perfected by the GC’s operations team. It makes for an interesting gala for visitors, allows several engines to be used and means that the drivers get a ‘refresher’ on some of the more unusual moves and signals on the railway. However, this also means that the locomotive crews get to spend considerable amounts of time waiting in sidings for their next move. D123 was no exception; here she is waiting in the “up through siding” at Loughborough.
Meanwhile, back on shed, plenty has been happening.
Lamiel has been receiving attention: the steam heat apparatus recently received a bit of TLC, the safety valve has been overhauled and re-set and the front shut-off valve has been fettled. Having sorted out the steam heating, the team then turned their attention to the exhaust injector. The exhaust injector on the Arthur is a class F and has a manual change-over from exhaust to live steam, at the moment the change-over flap has been removed for overhaul.
The Five’s lubrication system is still being worked on, Peter Maynard removed two of the oil-feed pipes for attention, this sounds like a simple job, but, like all locomotive maintenance, ‘simple’ is never as simple as you expect and involved a fair amount of agility and dexterity to reach parts which are never intended to be worked on.
Having completed this, Peter then set about the long, monotonous but important job of filing out the holes in the new brake blocks to accept the hanger pins. This is a job which has been ‘on hold’ for some time, so we are particularly grateful to Peter for his efforts.
At the back of the shed, the support coach cooker has arrived and the gas box brackets are progressing, so once the box is in place we will be able to install the gas system, just add Corgi fitter and the workbench has been transferred from where it was in storage to pride of place in the workshop area.