Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Easter on the MoSI Railway

Our railway at the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry usually only operates at weekends, but at school holiday times it operates during the week as well. I was rostered as fireman on Friday 5th April and Monday 8th. The driver was Jan Ford, who took some pictures on the Friday which she has published on her blog at Jan Ford's World. Here are some of them, copyright Jan.

Our loco, 'Agecroft No.1', in the MoSI station (Liverpool Road East). This loco was built in 1948 (so it's a year older than me) at Robert Stephenson Hawthorn in Newcastle and spent its working life at Agecroft power station hauling coal trains, and was restored at MoSI a couple of years ago from scrap condition by volunteers and staff. 'Agecrofts' 2 and 3, the entire fleet at the power station, still exist. Only No.1 is serviceable at present.

I look back, keeping an eye on the train, as we leave the station

David, our guard, gives the 'right away'. The grey brake van is not part of our train today, but will be from Monday 8th onwards as the blue coach with the guard's seat will be at Beamish (see below).

Our train comprises a North London Railway coach hired in from The Furness railway, and one of our two blue open coaches which were built at the Museum as contemporary stock for our replica 1830 'Planet' locomotive 

David on the guard's seat in the rear coach

I look back as Jan photographs us passing the 1830 warehouse

 The train heads away from the Museum to cross the Water Street bridge, and followed by Stephenson's original stone arch bridge over the Irwell, into Salford. We are an Inter City Railway!
A nice view of the North London Railway coach

Nice pictures! Thank you Jan.

On Monday 8th when I was firing again, 'Planet' and the two blue open coaches were loaded on to two low loaders, one for the coaches and one for 'Planet' and tender. They are off to Beamish Museum for a while leaving 'Agecroft' as our sole locomotive at MoSI. That's why the North London Railway coach has been hired in, as otherwise we would have no coaching stock on site.

On the Monday our train comprised the North London Coach and the grey brake van in the third picture down. We need that in the consist as the coach has no guard's compartment or guard's emergency brake.

On the Friday, Jan and I had noticed that 'Agecroft' wasn't steaming quite as well as she usually does, and when I fired her again on the Monday it was no better. A faulty blower was diagnosed and we nursed the engine through to complete the day's work. On inspecting the front end after the last train had run and the fire dropped, it could be seen that the blower pipe had split and was issuing free steam into the smoke box and little draught up the chimney. When I left for home at about 5pm, she was being worked on to get her back in traffic for the next day's operations.

I'm firing her again next Friday, and looking forward to it!

Update Friday 12th April:   Bev was nominated driver today, and me as fireman. I lit her up from cold and prepared the engine as usual while Bev oiled round; the usual crew duties. Once we were ready to run at about mid day I returned from collecting my packed lunch from my bag in the railway cabin to find Bev on the fireman's side of the cab. "You're driving" he said. And I did - all day!

Thanks Bev!


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