Monday, 19 December 2016

Last running day of 2016 at Urmston

We have been remarkably lucky with the weather this year, and I can't recall a Sunday at Urmston missed through bad weather for a long time. Today was no exception; cold, a bit misty at first, but dry.

Lovely pictures by Jason as usual. Please click on any for a larger image.

Last traces of overnight mist at Abbotsfield Park early on Sunday 

Jim prepares his Venezuelan Beyer Peacock Tank Loco as I look on. Lots of visible 'steam' in the low air temperature (steam is actually invisible; however, "steam" as seen here refers to wet steam, the visible mist or aerosol of water droplets formed as this water vapour condenses in the cold air of today). This 'wet steam' was to prove problematic (more of that later) as I drove this locomotive on passenger trains on the main track.

 The Venezuelan Tank simmers on its prep bay as Keith prepares 'The Beast' (Arthur Eve) and Alan works on his rebuilt Royal Scot

Another Beyer Peacock (they all came from Gorton of course), this one a Garrett belonging to Dave (on the right) while another Dave looks on

Keith and 'The Beast' 

George, watching the Venezuelan Tank blow off 

The Venezuelan Tank's flight deck 

The club's electric loco 'Spirit of Urmston' in festive garb 

Me and Keith 

The Venezuelan Tank began its day on the inner track with some of Jim's relatives, visiting from Australia. Later, it was transferred to the main track where I drove it on public passenger trains. 

Alan and his rebuilt Scot 

'The Beast' attracts attention from some visitors

The cold winter temperatures generate a lot of 'visible steam' as described in the caption to the second picture above. On the move this is blown back into the driver's face making him virtually blind. It's made worse if (as I do) one wears wrap-around protective glasses to prevent ash and grit from the loco's chimney going int one's eyes. The 'steam' condenses onto the cold surface of the glasses rendering them opaque.

One hurtles along driving by 'feel' while trying to peer past the steam (a crosswind helps!) and sometimes has to remove the steamed-up protective glasses to check the line ahead, upcoming signals, and vital objects in the cab such as boiler water level glass and steam pressure gauge. I managed to get a bit of painful grit in my eye on Sunday as a result!

Great fun, though!

Roll on 2017, the year of 'The Jubilee'!


Sunday, 11 December 2016

Christmas lunch today at Urmston

....But the trains were running as usual.

Pictures by Jason Lau. Please click on any for a larger image.

 An ex-member came back today - Lee, a lecturer at Salford University, and his son with a nice Great Western pannier tank loco (a 'Pansy') which he ran on the inner track

Dave and I with his Black Five on a prep bay

Malcolm (above) and me (below) give Eddie's 'Green Five' the once-over. The dome cover and dome top have been removed as work has been done on the regulator valve beneath and a hydraulic test of the boiler revealed a leak at the dome, which is in the process of being attended to. 

Felisa and Dorothy preparing the feast

And here is the feast! Lots of it, and very good it was, too.

Trevor on the left, Peter on the right, Eddie second from right, and Eddie's 'Green Five' undergoing a boiler hydraulic test

Lovely end to a great day


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

'My' Chippy in a forced landing last Sunday

dH Chipmunk Sierra Lima at Sleap, Shropshire, 4th December 2016

About 20 mins after this picture was taken (by Mark Harris) at Sleap, Shropshire, on Sunday afternoon, this de Havilland Chipmunk, the love of my life for several decades, had to force land into disused RAF Poulton airfield near Chester on its way home to Liverpool, with an engine problem (very rough running and lots of vibration - been there myself more than once - that situation I mean, not Poulton which I haven't been to!).

Pilot and aeroplane are both intact.

Another upside - the pilot now has Poulton in his log book!

Got a few unusual locations in my log books through similar circumstances in Sierra Lima.