|4270 at Bishops Lydeard, photo courtesy of Neil Carr|
|4270 shunting at Washford, photo courtesy of Neil Carr|
|Now where does this bit go?|
|Chris (l) and John doing the "Shake 'n' Vac", photo courtesy of Ade Showell|
Upon eventually arriving at Toddington, I found to my delight that there was a large number of old motorbikes parked up in the car park, including a pair of Vincent Black Shadows. If anybody is ever stuck for ideas for a birthday/Christmas present for me, then one of these will do very nicely indeed. Sit down or stand well clear of fragile objects before inquiring about the price.
|You'll find more than beautiful old steam locos at Toddington.|
|2807 heads off for Cheltenham Race Course|
|35006's tender looking resplendent|
From the sides, you would be hard pressed to know that she was actually 35006, the numbers (transfers, which had been getting a bit tatty) have been removed in anticipation of new ones being painted on.
|Anonymous Merchant Navy.|
|Tim paints a bit of 7903's cab trimming|
|Sean prepares a cylinder end cover for painting|
|Steve paints the firebar supports with heat resistant paint|
|Soon be ready for swimming in.|
|Mark Drills, Ian watches on|
|A bit later on, Kevin was grinding other parts of the tender|
Time flew by, and soon 2807 returned for disposal prior to the evening fish and chip train. evening crews get the luxury of having somebody else empty the ash pan etc for them.
|2807 on the ash pit|
I had viewed this turn as being something of a poisoned chalice. It was my first firing turn since Boxing day, and being a volunteer special, I was expecting that most of the steam loco dept would have been on board, ears straining for any hint of a sound from the safety valves, or worse still the train stopping in the middle of nowhere for a blow-up. Normally, you move heaven and earth to avoid blowing off as you pull out of Toddington for fear of a round of applause from the mess coach or at Winchcombe whilst crossing another train, aside from that you're fairly safe. On this occasion of course, there would be no hiding from them. In the event, I needn't have been so concerned, only Mark & Sean had booked tickets to ride on the train, the others
being too antisocial having worked so hard during the day were too tired and had declined the railway's generous offer of free fish & chips.
The toughest job of the evening was tracking down the "Cheltenham Fryer" head board, which had been cunningly hidden away.
|The Cheltenham Fryer, ready to go|
|The day crew had been a little over enthusiastic with the coaling.|
Another concern had been the weather. 2807 has a very open and exposed cab when running tender first and it had rained quite hard earlier on in the day. Sean had reportedly been seen doing a rain dance in the David Page shed soon before the evening special, but obviously not well enough as mercifully it stayed dry throughout. Apparently it wasn't so much a ten from Len as a one from Craig Revel Horwood. Never fear, I don't watch Strictly Come Dancing, I had to make inquiries amongst my friends for a suitable dance related quote.
Regardless of my concerns about boiler control, it all seemed to go pretty much to plan. The highlight of course was a free fish and chip supper on the platform at CRC.
|Neil tucks into his fish and chips.|
There was only one mistake made during the whole round trip, but as it was dark, nobody will have noticed that for the return journey we had the headboard on upside down. Oops!
And finally, Neil mentioned that he happened to have a photo that he took of one of our gala visitors, 34092, City of Wells. He took it from the A418 bridge near Haddenham on a down Shakespeare Express sometime in the mid-late 1980's.
|Photo courtesy of Neil Carr|