Sunday, 24 April 2016

Rubbish weather forecast today, so we got wet at Urmston

It started fine, but it didn't last. The forecast had been for a few showers up to mid morning, then dry. It actually turned out the reverse of that - mostly dry until mid morning, then showers, some quite heavy.

Again, my thanks to Jason Lau for the excellent pictures. Please click on any one for a larger image.

 Keith with The Beast and a young potential new member. Me and Alfred in the background.

Alfred on the main traverser heading for the prep bay. Note the bottle of lubricating oil Keith has sourced for us, for use in the oil can in oiling round Alfred before each running session and during the session as well if we're running for extended periods. Many oils, including motor oils, contain additives that are corrosive to bronze, and since the bearing parts of many model locomotives are phosphor bronze, one has to be careful with what oil one uses.

Pete Flitcroft with Alfred and me. I've connected the tender to the loco, and the water hoses between tender and loco for the two injectors and the hand pump, oiled around, filled the boiler and the tender tank with water, filled the tender bunker with coal, put a fire in the firebox, and raised steam as can be seen by Alfred's blowing off merrily. 

Eddie, on the right, about to start preparing his green Black Five 

A more typical black Black Five is prepared 

The rain has arrived as Alfred nears readiness for the track 

Tool tin open on the tender as I get the fire stable for running while Peter, our young visitor, and his father look on 

This young chap has his own live steam model traction engine and is quite knowledgeable on steam matters  

Still on the prep bay, but nearly ready... 

A tender full of clean dust-free coal, boiler pressure looking healthy, ready to go 

The Beast loading with passengers in the station while I work on Alfred in the prep bay 

When running on the inner track one has to stop from time to time to allow the traverser to be used to move engines from the prep bay approach tracks to the main track, or vice versa. Alfred waits short of the gap left when the traverser is in use. When one is running on the inner track one has a 'token', a large brass pin which is carried on the engine. The traverser cannot be unlocked from its position as part of the inner track unless this token is inserted into a receptacle on the traverser, thus if you are in possession of the token while driving on the inner track, you know that no-one can move the traverser leaving a gap (visible below in front of Alfred) for you to plunge into! 

The gap you don't want to plunge into! Running Alfred in the rain was interesting when starting from the water stop, which is at the foot of a slight incline. Being relatively light he will slip on a wet greasy rail and very careful handling of the regulator is required to enable Alfred to grip and not 'loose his feet'. Once his wheels spin on a greasy rail he'll go nowhere.

The black Black Five. Very nice! 

Eddie couples the carriages to his green Black Five, which is blowing off, ready to go 

The rain got more persistent in the afternoon so we packed up about 14:30. Here Keith moves The Beast, on the main traverser, to a prep bay for disposal.

Here's a link to a video of me driving Alfred today

Next weekend, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday is our Steam Gala at Urmston. Let's hope the weather is kinder to us then that it was today.

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