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gauge glasses, ensuring there is sufficient water left in the boiler. The fusible plugs located in the fire box then have to be checked for any damage or signs of seepage and the spark arrestor located in the smoke box has to be checked for any holes larger than a 5 pence piece. The spark arrestors have been put into almost all of the locomotives running on the WHR to help reduce the fire risk to vegetation from passing trains but they also mean that I need to knock all the char out before the start of each day. Usually by this point my driver will have arrived and gone to fetch the diesel that we use to haul the Garratt out of the shed with - we can’t light up inside, for obvious reasons! I then give him a hand coupling up and taking the handbrake off the Garratt and then reapplying it once we’ve pulled free of the shed. A water hose is then dropped into the front tank of the Garrett and I walk back to the cab and empty the remnants of the fire from the day before. Only now am I ready to start making the fire. A fresh round of coal is spread across the grate and a barrowful of wood is then piled into the box. Next I add a bit of liquid persuasion to some old rags, which are then deposited, on to the end of my shovel. With a click of my lighter the rags catch and are thrown into several corners of the box. It’s now just a waiting game. The jobs don’t just stop there though; the ash pans need empting and sand boxes need filling and sometimes unblocking. While all this is being done my driver has had to walk all the way to the other yard to pull the set out of its shed and into the release road. By this time there may be other peope around and after a quick chat to say ‘good morning’ it’s back to the engine to start cleaning. If I’m lucky there will be some cleaners available to help me clean the loco, if not then it’s a rush to make the engine look its very best for the day and get changed into our bib & braces for footplate duty. 66

Model Railway Express Issue Two January 2017  
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