A poignant reminder that whilst volunteering on a heritage railway is a wonderful way to spend your free time, you should never lose sight of the fact that there are many dangers involved.
For us, this was the third and final group of members of the railway drafted in for buckeye training. Somewhere along the way it had changed from being optional to compulsory with a need to be signed out as competent at it.
|It was a bit cold and misty, but it didn't deter us|
|Tim lowers a buckeye coupling using the special tool|
|Sean manhandles a buffer into position|
After we'd all managed to operate the relevant parts successfully on a static coach, it was time to progress on to a real rake of carriages and go through the process of separating them, and then coupling them back up together again. As the Carriage & Wagon dept needed to perform an inspection of the dining train, that was what we used. Steve drove the 03 shunter and everybody else took it in turns to go through the process of splitting then re-forming the train. Opening a buckeye coupling requires getting the driver to squeeze up the buffers, yanking hard on a chain which opens the coupling and then sending the shunter away from you. The classic mistake is to yank the chain to free the coupling and then raise both arms to stop the shunter. This of course involves letting go of the chain which in turn makes the buckeye re-couple itself. You look a bit silly sending the train away, only to find that it is still attached to the carriages that you've tried to separate it from. Getting the carriages re-coupled turned out to be a fairly straight forward affair, with less scope for fouling it up.
|Glynn was brave enough to go first...|
|...with some success|
|Tigger fetching the rest of the train back|
|Mike struggles separating the vacuum hoses...|
|...and then struggles even more getting this one to seal on the dummy|
|Chris yanks on the chain to release the buckeye...|
|...and stops the shunter when it has safely gone far enough away|
|Steve got to spend the morning in the nice warm cab of the 03 shunter|
|Both smoke deflectors have now been trial fitted to 35006|
|The con rods needed a little de-rusting|
|And the pressure gauge has appeared in the cab|
Meanwhile, 2807's ash pan and piston valve spindles were continuing to receive attention. The old ash pan had already had the worst bits cut away, the replacement bits were now to be welded in.
Bruce & Tigger got on with the task of reassembling the driver's side piston valve:
There was a lot of work taking place on Foremarke Hall which is still short of a copper chimney cap:
|She does look s little odd like this|
Next week, it's the start of the Santa specials. Who knows what will happen then. I've bought tinsel and mince pies in anticipation. I failed in my mission to find some outdoor battery powered fairy lights though.
And finally.... more errata. People love coming up to me and telling me when I've got something wrong on this blog. This week it was the turn of Peter, one of the buskers at Toddington last week raising money for the Broadway appeal who I had erroneously said was part of the Broadway Area Group, when he is in fact a member of the Steam Loco Dept and also OTC. I wonder what I managed to get wrong this week. No doubt I'll soon find out.