Train Crew

Guards generally start between 9am and 9:45 their day kicks off by cleaning rubbish from the coaches before sweeping them out. If required the windows are then washed and depending on the time of year it may be necessary to either remove or re-fit the removable windows from the semi open coaches. All the couplings, brake pipes, lighting cables and steam heating pipes, in the winter, have to be checked and the guards bag collected from the station. Once the loco is on the train the air brakes and lights are checked prior to departure. The guard must then check all the tickets and doors and once he has the all clear from the station staff will flag the train off on its run to Shelley. The guard will turn the loco on the turntable at Shelley on arrival and ensure that it is recoupled correctly before repeating his checks and flagging the train away on the return to Clayton West. On arrival back at Clayton West the process is repeated and the guard will generally assist the driver as he fills the water tanks.

Drivers generally start their shift at around 9am, when the loco has not been left in steam overnight, the general routine is as follows. If the fire has been allowed to die in the firebox the fire bars are removed from the box and the fire is pulled out through the ashpan before the bars are refitted. Attention then turns to the front end with the boiler tubes being cleaned with a long brush being pushed through from the smokebox end, the soot is then cleared from the smokebox before the door is shut and the electric blower is put on the chimney. This device draws the fire in the same way as the loco blower but allows steam raising to be accelerated prior to having sufficient pressure.

The fire is then lit in the time honoured way using a oily rag, this is followed quickly by a good quantity of wood to get the fire going. Once the wood is burning well coal is then added and the fire built up. With the fire lit the driver then has to go around the loco oiling and greasing where necessary prior to cleaning the loco from top to bottom.

With between 30 & 50psi on the clock there is sufficient steam to start using the loco blower and the electric one can be removed. The safety valves, gauge glass shut off cocks, injectors and air pump are all tested before the loco can enter service for the day. The water tanks are then filled and the bunker loaded with coal before the engine is backed onto its train. On a damp, wet or icy day the driver also has to check the level of sand in the sanders.

The drivers have a fairly hectic day normally running 5 round trips in the winter and 6 in the summer. The trip takes between 20 and 25 minutes in each direction, the driver having to fight against the gradient on the outward journer to Shelley. On arrival there the driver has just enough time to run around the train and oil the loco before departing for Clayton West. On arrival at Clayton West the loco must again run around its train and take on water before coupling back onto the train for the next trip.

When the last train comes to a halt at Clayton West there is still plenty of work left for the driver. The coaching stock has to be backed into the shed and the locomotive disposed of. Previously the driver would blow down the boiler to remove any sediment but with the introduction of boiler treatment at the railway this procedure has generally been discontinued. The driver then cleans the fire, removes any clinker and then cleans the ashpan. If the loco is not working the following day then the boiler is filled with water and the remainder of the fire left to go out. If the loco is working the following day then the fire is built up generally level with the bottom of the firebox door and a cap put on the chimney which restricts the air circulation and therefore the pull on the fire overnight. The boiler is filled and the loco given a quick clean over and can then be safely left overnight.