Each year the engineering club I am a member of has a Halloween Steaming evening for families and friends. The 7″ ground level track (1.35 miles / 2.2km) and the 5″ raised level track (1361 yards / 415m) get decorated with spooky stuff and we run with lights on the locos.
I fit a 100mm diameter angel light ring on the smoke box door and have a couple of small LED torches either side of the front running board and a red flashing rear light. The front view is pretty bright as a result but evening running in cold weather means lots of steam and seeing what is going on is difficult. Add to this I need my spectacles on to see the water level in the glass and my specs steam up. Add to this the fact that the oiler is running a bit heavy at the moment so my specs also get a fair amount of oil splatter.
I started the fire using charcoal soaked in white spirit and had steam pressure fairly quickly. I loaded the fire to just below the first line of tubes and set off.
I was pulling both my driving trolley and the passenger trolley and worst case this was 3 adults. I had severe wheel spin if I wasn’t careful with the regulator movement. The raised level rails are aluminium and the weather was damp so this was not unexpected. When heavily loaded the fire was really drawing well but as the evening went on it became more of a struggle to maintain steam pressure. The top of the fire had a crust of darker red on it but when the fire was poked this broke away to an incredibly bright fire.
Analysing this is difficult. Was the fire too deep and the draft from the Rosebud not sufficient ? Were the holes in the Rosebud getting clogged with ash and reducing the draft ? Or something as simple as letting the water level drop too low ?
Lots of questions that I am still working on. That aside I definitely need a session on the rolling road to adjust the oiler.
Picture taken by my son as myself and Dave prepared for another run.
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