We usually find that none of us sleep particularly well before a main line trip, it’s not the beds (they are first class seats, and the fact that you are constantly rolling downhill towards the seat back is an irrelevance, as is the fact that the seats are too short & too narrow for a normal person to lie down comfortably.) it’s not the noise, we are used to the sounds of railways operating 24 hours a day as we try to sleep, no, it’s the fact that we are all anxious that the next day should go well, so normally during the night there are at least two visits to the footplate of the loco to check on the fire, the pressure and the water level, but after last week’s excitement we had another reason for sleeping with one ear open.
Now you are probably on the edge of your seat saying “what happened last week? I thought the trip went well? Tell me more” OK. Last week at about 1.30am one of the West Coast Railway Company’s staff who was sleeping on the green train was awoken by the sound of Miscreants Up To No Good, so he leapt out of his compartment, stopping only to grab his boots and chased them away off the site, sadly by this time they had graffittied several of the coaches and were starting on other vehicles. Luckily for us, they hadn’t reached 70013. Malcolm, one of our support crew, heard the noise of the graffiti removal attempts and awoke the rest of the gang who all turned out to do their best to get the paint off the green train before it went off shed. They managed to make a huge difference to the appearance of the stock before going off shed, and then spent another 2 hours in Victoria Station cleaning as much else off as they could. Even Ron Smith, the driver rolled his sleeves up and mucked in. Big thanks to Malcolm, Jim, Tom, Nick, Martyn, Geoff and Dave for all their efforts. In their efforts to remove the graffiti they managed to use up almost all of our stocks of rag, cleaning materials and brasso, luckily we managed to re-stock before yesterday’s excursion to Canterbury and we don’t begrudge it a bit.
The Cathedrals Express to Canterbury went excellently: we had sunshine (mostly, with a few dramatic cloudscapes to add interest and a couple of showers just to keep us on our toes), Leaving Victoria
With 10 minutes to stand at Ashford, Pete and Dave each check the timesheet.
We had an excellent team on the footplate: Pete Roberts was the driver all day, with Dave Wright firing in the morning and Les Perry in the afternoon and Dave Hewsden who relieved Pete for the ecs movement back to Southall at the end of the day. We also had the assistance of Andy Wilson the MOM for the Canterbury area; it’s amazing how smoothly movements go when you have the assistance of someone who is used to steam and enjoys seeing it happen as much as we do!
Andy, Pete Roberts and Hugh discuss the timings for servicing at CanterburyMalcolm and Simon cleaning the ashpans.
Cromwell looked great and sounded even better; from the footplate the noise as we went uphill was deafening, and it wasn’t much quieter in the support coach, she really is a wonderful machine. Thanks go to: Hugh, Jim, Dave, Simon, Alison and especially to Malcolm for taking on the catering for this trip – fine work team! Malcolm serving second helpings
On the way back from Southall we called in at Loughborough to drop off the van, while we were there we saw a number of bits of progress on 5305 LA projects.
Mick was machining the Flue Tubes for 45305,
Gary was fitting the threshold strips on the parcels door of 17064.And had recently fitted the jumpers for the coach after cleaning, overhauling and painting them electric orange.
Jake the work experience lad had come back as a volunteer and had painted the smokebox saddle of the Five.
Dick had finished cleaning and re-assembling the firehole doors for the five.
30777 was in traffic and put in a brief appearance at the end of the platform as we left the site.
Plus, when Dave Thompson and John Rule arrived at Southall to take over as support crew this morning they brought with them the new draw-hook for the Brit, which we had last seen in the machine shop at Loughborough on Wednesday, in the process of being machined.