I have ridden it to the very ends of the system at Snibston, (where we spent two weekends boring through a 6″ buffer beam for the train pipe only for the boring tool to break off at 5.5″) I have done a fair few miles on it at Wirksworth, including a run the full length to Duffield after ‘management’ started saying that it wouldn’t do it without overheating (and then got cross when it was suggested that their drivers might be the issue) – which it didn’t. And finally it went over to Oswestry. It is now owned by a prominent Cambrian group member and after a couple of minor things Andrew has promised, I’ll bid it a proper farewell.
"Claire" with the EVR works train at Duffield - 13july08. Driver - P Briddon
Friday: Andrew declared that we had to be at Rowsley early Saturday morning- we had people coming from the Nene Valley, a large lorry with a crane from much nearer at hand, and the plan to lift out the remains of the Paxman from D9500, and it would save time if we got it into position first. So we got in around 3pm, to hear the news that “Charlie” had a broken spring leaf and Rob wanted to take 14 901 on the Sunday works train. We fired 901 up and shunted D9500 (which we generally now refer to between ourselves as ‘902) into an agreed position alongside the Heritage Shunters building.
Is it a bird?... No, just D9500 with exhaust stack detached
Saturday: So much for being early – Andrew was “awake” by 07.45 but came down a lot later. He set off with the Land Rover and I was instructed to head to the main Sheffield sorting office, where a parcel should be awaiting our collection after a red card came through the door on Wednesday. Said Sorting office is of course surrounded by meter bays and double yellow lines, so normally this is a two person job – one to go collect and the other to keep a beady eye out for Traffic Wardens or cruise around the block. Not only was I on my own but a Warden was busy booking cars 100 yards away, so I had to buy a ticket and then wander in to collect the parcel – and would you believe they can’t find it?
Arriving at Rowsley the Nene Valley guys had been on site for an hour. Eventually the crane lorry arrived and smoothly and professionally lifted the casing top off (it was already detached) and then lifted out the Paxman block. Plan A had been to turn it over, remove the sump and lift out the crank, but after a flurry of phone calls, Plan B was hatched that they would take the block, sump, crank and a few other still fixed-on bits as one lump. The lorry continued by lifting out the Voith oil cooler, which, like an awful lot of D9500, turned out to be neither plumbed in nor fixed down, and then replacing the casing top, after which I brought 901 across to return D9500 to the siding. Terry had joined us, so I set up the chop-saw and cut 50mm box and 30 angle down to a list of lengths that Andrew gave me, so that Terry could commence welding up the next patented Racking section for the VBA. It did not need 3 of us to do that, so that left me free to return to the pegboard in ‘901, with the added need to clear the cab so that it could be run the following day. It had in fact been in use during the week on shunting, but they had tossed the loose pegboard to one side which meant they could not get at the handbrake wheel!
Casing top about to lift off
Andrew checked out the broken spring on “Charlie”- part of one leaf had broken off and will require attention but from experience it can be monitored for the present.
Sunday: Again, a none-too-early start and plans to view a couple of potential vans to replace the Land Rover fell through, so we headed up to the DVLR at York to drop off a some bits of pipe and collect a dmu exhauster so that I can start sorting out pulleys and bracketry to mount it on “James”. A DVLR member has started needle-gunning and priming the worst bits – Andrew painted it nearly ten years ago and it lasted well – so hopefully it will be fully working and presentable next year. After a mere half-hour or so in York, we set off again back to Matlock, to see if ‘901 was indeed in charge of the works train, and sure enough it was sat in the platform having propelled tool vans, crane and other vehicles down in the morning (Matlock loop is out of operation until the new turnout is completed)
Sitting at Matlock Riverside, works train alongside, Crane behind
The new turnout that will shortly connect Peak Rail back to Network Rail (buffer stop beyond fence, centre background)
Having grabbed some pickies we headed back to Rowsley, swopping the newly assembled racking for the Dexion stuff and starting yet again on sorting out the contents of the now numerous shelves. After darkness fell, we hung around, waiting for ‘901 to arrive in glory and a blaze of code and headlights – but instead saw Rob walking back for his car having stabled the loco at Darley Dale. Shucks.