Last weekend (15th & 16th March) was the GCR’s 1960s Gala and saw three of 5305LAs charges working for their keep on the GCR.
30777 Sir Lamiel was in traffic on both Saturday & Sunday – although Sunday morning with very heavy wet cold rain was not ideal weather for working a locomotive with a low tender and backless cab, still less for oiling up said machine with water attacking from the sky and from the ground through the boots. But the weather cleared up by mid morning and it appeared that most of the visitors to the railway were managing to keep warm, dry and enjoy themselves.
The Class 33 worked for the first time in a little while – the preparation last weekend where the engine was de-winterised and had its batteries charged was well spent. We are currently waiting for some space in the shed to carry out essential bodywork, buffer repairs and “cosmetic enhancement” (sorry, that should read re-painting).
D123 was also in traffic throughout the weekend, although a problem with the batteries did mean that the locomotive dropped a couple of trips. Thanks to the help of Mark, Kevin and Neil (the Peak’s No. 1 fan), and the loan of a battery charger from the Type One Locomotive Company, the Peak was able to work later in the day and for the rest of the weekend.
D123 has two banks of batteries, each costing around £2800. One bank was replaced a couple of years ago but our diesel wizards have managed to nurse the second bank along since then, meaning to hold off replacement until the Five is back in traffic and we are better able to fund the second bank (is there ever a good time to have a big bill?). Sadly the battery problem that D123 suffered this weekend probably means that the replacement of the other bank can’t wait very much longer – So, you’ve probably guessed, the next sentence is going to be a request for donations to be sent to: 5305LA, Sandcroft, Mansfield Road, Farnsfield, Newark, NG22 8HH.
Finally, this weekend saw major progress on the Support Coach: Kevin and a team of volunteers managed to re-wheel the second bogie. It doesn’t sound much, but plenty of work has gone into the bogie overhauls, first they were stripped down into their component pieces (hundreds of bits) then each part was cleaned, examined, repaired or replaced as necessary, repainted and finally put back together. So getting the second bogie re-wheeled is a major step forward. Thanks to all the gang who have made this possible – We hope to get the body back onto the bogies in the near future. Keep reading the news reports.