One Way Trips Mean Short Days
The NRM’s ‘King Arthur’ Class locomotive No. 30777 “Sir Lamiel” has been out and about again this week on the Railway Touring Company’s Dorset Coast Express. We have worked several of these one-way trips now, going outbound one week and ending up at Yeovil Junction, then working the return leg on the following week. This week was an outbound trip, so we had an early start planned for the day: off shed at 05:30, however the compensation is that it’s an early finish as well, we just have to bank the train out of Weymouth, then work engine & van across to Yeovil where the lovely people at the Yeovil Railway Centre couldn’t be more welcoming, ...... and they have a shower! (They also have the most impressive array of wheelbarrows in preservation.)
Next week’s trip will have a later start, then they’ll work engine & van (tender first) across to Weymouth ready to take the train back to London, arriving at Southall before midnight.
During the water stop at Winchfield Pete and Hugh pull coal forward, Gerry is monitoring the water level ready to call "Stop" to the tanker driver and Tom is out of sight in the cab topping up the lubricator (I'm ready to take the hoses off as soon as the water stops!)
We prepped Lamiel at Southall shed on Tuesday, taking coal from Charlton Whitehouse Fuels Ltd who regularly supply us and know how to load a tender beautifully – we got every lump on - thanks Tez! Then it was back to steam raising, oiling round and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. We do like to turn out a clean engine for a trip. Once she looks ‘something like’ in the evening we call a halt (then sometimes have to call again because various people are ‘just finishing cleaning this’) grab a bite to eat and retire to bed ready for that early start.
For this week’s trip instead of the usual engine & van move we were expecting to work a leg of the Cathedrals Express from Weymouth to Yeovil Junction so that their steam loco could go to Yeovil to service, but a last minute failure of the expected steam traction from Waterloo to Weymouth for the Cathedrals meant that the whole trip was diesel hauled, including the leg we would otherwise have worked as there was no need for the diesel to go to Yeovil to service!
Bittern arriving tender first from Yeovil
There were due to be three steam locomotives in Weymouth Jersey Sidings on Wednesday, but in the end it was just us and No. 60017 “Bittern” fired by our own Craig Stinchcombe, taking a well-earned break from Loughborough where he’s just finished 5305’s axleboxes and is hard at work getting the engine ready to go back onto her wheels ready for the boiler to go on. Our crews were Pete Roberts and David Wright on the outbound leg and Dave Hewson and Dean on the banking & stabling leg.
During the wait for Bittern to arrive, Hugh takes a break from pulling coal forward.
Meanwhile back at Loughborough, the diesel team have been hard at work on the Peak and the 33, both of which have suffered minor but annoying troubles lately, which have lead to them both suffering periods out of traffic, but we are hopeful that the worst is behind them and they should soon be back in action. The NRM’s Britannia No. 70013 “Oliver Cromwell” is still at Crewe receiving attention to the firebox, the work is progressing and I’ll keep you up to date with any developments.