Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of one Teddy and Another

24th October 2010

Thursday: Andrew decided it was time to release the news. Whether this was because his birthday was Friday and he was in the mood for excitement, I don’t know, but he instructed me to re-jig the pages on his website (www.andrewbriddonlocos.co.uk – but you knew that really). In fact, the pages had been ready for some time – a news piece and a page on the new acquisition, it just took an hour or so to release these, alter the category header to menu them and update a few other bits.

He meanwhile, put a posting out on Preserved Diesels, that he had acquired D9500, then wandered off to collect his girlfriend from the station.. The website went bananas. In the course of the evening 70 people dropped in on it, but that was nothing to what happened Friday, when a month’s worth of normal hits appeared, but that is getting ahead of things.

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Newly aquired D9500 and "Charlie" on display at Rowsley

Friday: Yes, it is his birthday and yes, the girl friend is up but no, it does not stop him taking time out for the locos. In fact, we were getting 14 901 prep’d and ready for the Heritage Shunter Trust gala. After last weekend I had the battery charger in the car just in case, but the loco fired up obediently and we moved it across to the pit so as to get underneath. I had been joined by Will whom we had met in the days at Wirskworth, who proved himself not afraid of getting his hands dirty by ending up black to his elbows putting grease in axleboxes, spring pillars and hanger bushes. Andrew meanwhile, took the Land Rover down to the HST end to start uplifting D9500s loose bits (for example brake rigging) for transfer to the VBA. A delivery of fuel arrived, so we put 15-20 gallons into ‘901 and then, having got the necessary permissions, shunted D9500 and Charlie on to the turntable road as something for the punters to gorp at whilst they waited for the Brake van shuttles.

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14 901 on the pit with the Brush on the back road

Saturday: I checked the website tally at 07.30 and found that 35 people had visited since midnight and another 12 came on between then and 08.00 – were they early risers or insomniacs? I got over to Rowsley for 09.15 and found that Terry had already done all the checks and 901 was ready to go. Robin was pilot, so by 10.00 we were on the train (only 4 coaches today) for a 10.45 departure. Andrew, girl friend and Mrs B arrived and took their places. The timings for the gala reflected shunting loco speeds and were very generous – deducting the booked stop at Darley gave us an overall speed of 8.8mph, which was scarcely going to give ‘901 a problem from a prompt start. Needless to say, it wasn’t anything like a punctual departure, not for any fault of loco, train or station crew, but that the motorised turnout which is classed as Church Lane (but actually Darley’s top loop) wasn’t playing today. After 20 minutes with no news, we got the OK to set off and wait at Church Lane, and after a few minutes at the home signal, the gates were opened and we got an amber flag from the ‘box to proceed forward, and a verbal instruction to keep it slow over the turnout. Rolling in to Matlock and seeing the accusing looks of the assembled multitudes I felt like doing a Reggie Perrin – “twenty minutes late, point failure at…!”. But with a prompt run round we were only slightly late leaving Matlock. 901 was quite happy with 4 – it was easier than the haul at Butterley in May and June and Terry’s Satnav was telling us 15 mph and I only had about 1100rpm on. At Darley we had a few minutes to wait, but the starter was still against us at departure time and after a few minutes the call came through to proceed past it at danger and again saw the amber flag as we approached Church Lane box. Andrew had been pressuring me to make 901 work a bit, so as soon as we were over the crossing I opened it up and approached Rowsley, with an “Ilkley Moor bah-tat” on the horns. The rest of the day was an anti-climax. Apart from a bit of re-arrangement to clear the loop for the 08 and sort locos ready for Sunday, the only drama was when PWM654 refused to drive and had to be left on the headshunt.

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Here's me bringing the 14 back to the train at Matlock

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Clearing Darley loop with Church Lane 'box in distance and Stuart-the-video hiding behind the cabinet...

Sunday: I didn’t rush – my turn wasn’t until 14.05 so I rolled up a bit after eleven and busied myself trying to insert grease into the nipples on the hornguides. As the 08 returned with the first train, I was stood in the doorway of the 14 and was presented with the token. Oh the temptations! In the end I walked up to the 02 and demanded £5 or I was running off home with it.

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02+03 ready to go

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The 14.50 from Matlock (Riverside) 24Oct10

But some people just won’t part with money. The 02 needed a tweek ‘cos its exhauster drive belts were screeching but off they went and returned in good time.

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..and waiting time at Darley Dale

It was 14 901’s turn, and I was thinking wistfully that this would be its last passenger turn here for a long time as it is due to be on its way later in the year. My pilotman was someone I’d not had before, and above the noise of the DV8 was curious about me -

“Are you Heritage Shunters?”
“So what is your position on this railway?”
“Er – Andrew’s Dad.”

The run was uneventful – no delays at Church Lane, a long wait at Darley, then on into an almost deserted Matlock station. With no kind son to snap me in action, I was at least able to take advantage of the generous timings to grab pictures at Matlock and Darley. And back to Rowsley. That feeling of “the Party’s over” came over me as I shut the loco down on the loop. Later on, once the final train had returned, I borrowed the token and with the Annett’s key, released the top end lever frame so that the loco could return to the shed area. After disposing, I headed home.

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