Saturday, 1 December 2012

Agecroft No.1 in winter sun!

Our Robert Stephenson & Hawthorne 0-4-0 saddle tank 'Agecroft No.1' has recently been repainted by MoSI (Manchester Museum of Science & Industry) volunteers, and I went to MoSI today, braving the Manchester Christmas Market crowds, to photograph her in bright December sunshine.

As ever, click on the pictures for larger images.

Atmospheric shot of MoSI wreathed in loco smoke this morning

I blagged a lift on the train's brake van, and took this picture looking back from its rear platform towards the MoSI site. Stuart, the Operating Officer authorised me to leave the train at the Ordsall points in order to take some pictures in one of the few places on our line where the low December sun can illuminate Agecroft. In most other lineside locations, buildings and structures put the line in shadow.

I donned an orange hi-viz waistcoat and climbed down from the brake van to take some shots of the train. This was from the Ordsall ground frame platform.

The train approaches the Salford end of the site

It passes me, cylinder steam cocks open

The guard leans out from the brake van to give the 'right away' to the driver.....

.....As Agecroft, resplendent in her new colours, propels her train back down the Pineapple Line

'Mulliner's Curve' in the foreground has a check rail (the inner rail on the left). It's the sharpest radius curve on site and Stuart once had the misfortune to derail the train here while propelling back down the Pineapple Line. A nearby team of British Rail track workers soon had it back on the rails, and the PW expert opined that the derailment had occurred because the curve was sharp enough to require a check rail - so one was fitted!

After reaching the end of the Pineapple Line, Agecroft returns to the Orsall points

A view from inside the cosy Brake Van with its welcome pot-bellied stove on this freezing day, where I'd rejoined Stuart and our guard as we return to the station, propelled by Agecroft

Agecroft between runs, in the Liverpool Road station platform

She isn't the easiest engine to fire because of the cramped cab. Note the tea billies keeping warm on the shelf above the firehole door; thirsty work on the footplate!

Back at Ordsall ground frame, it's the fireman's job to change the points so we can reverse down the Pineapple Line having run up from the station. The blue lever releases and engages the facing point lock, the black lever changes the point itself. Facing points have to be locked for passenger train operations so the point cannot change while a train is passing over it, derailing the train. Before either lever can be moved, the frame has to be unlocked with the staff (sometimes called the 'Token', the device which authorises the train to run on the line). The staff cannot be removed from the frame until it has been locked again.

A view from the brake van's rear platform as we reverse down the Pineapple Line

From the same vantage point, reversing back down to the station at Liverpool Road. The original Liverpool & Manchester station of 1830 (the oldest railway station in the world) is on the right, with the 1830 warehouse on the left. The 21st century Beetham Tower in the background of this essentially 19th century view provides a nice juxtaposition.

Approaching the Liverpool Road platform. The Power Hall (originally the goods transit shed) is to the right, the Great Western Warehouse to the left.

The train in the station, viewed from the opposite side to where the platform is

As I leave MoSI, Agecroft's smoke is still adding to the atmosphere in Lower Byrom Street


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