Wednesday 18 June 2014

Giving pleasure to many thousands

It is just over a year since we steamed  76084 at Hepscott then later saw it travel down the A1 on a road transporter. it is coming up to 11 months since it first entered service on the North Norfolk Railway. In that time it has already given pleasure to many people.

Recently the NNR revealed that it carried 157,800 passengers last year. 76084 must have hauled a fair number of them. It ran for part of the summer holidays, in the autumn gala and the Santa Specials plus ordinary trains in between. Usually 76084 was pulling four trains a day. It was in service on 65 days. That must take it passenger total clearly into tens of thousands. Most passengers do look at the locomotive on their train. So, many families, holidaymakers, couples, coach parties and enthusiasts could see that it was 76084 giving them a pleasant ride.

This year 76084 steamed on 12 days at the East Lancs Railway. My visits showed it was largely the general public travelling plus a fair number of enthusiasts. Add several more thousands to the numbers hauled by 76084.

I bumped into a NNR volunteer at another line recently. He said 76084 had steamed for 48 days so far this year at the NNR. I notice that it has been the rostered steam locomotive all this week on the yellow timetable with four round trips a day. Add thousands more passengers to the total, probably into five figures again.

For the general public 76084 is a "proper" engine, that is it's a locomotive and tender. Its proportions look good. It may not be green, red or blue but it does look smart in its lined BR black livery with early emblem on the tender. It steams well too as any ride behind it or youtube video shows.

Our locomotive has been enjoyed by holidaymakers and residents of East Anglia, people living in the North West and in October anyone in central England will have the chance to enjoy a ride behind 76084.

When we spent years restoring 76084 we knew we'd be delighted when it steamed and that it would be an ideal heritage line locomotive. But I wondered if we realised how many thousands would travel behind it -I certainly didn't. We are well into tens of thousands and haven't even completed a year in service. Meanwhile 76084 continues to please its passengers...

Friday 13 June 2014

76084 Shed Allocations

I'm really passionate about steam locomotive Motive Power Depot books and am always looking for possible additions to my library. And of course there is always the hope that I might find some new fact about 76084 that has gone unreported elsewhere.

Imagine my disappointment recently when I picked up a book hardbacked to boot all about Standard Locomotives Shed Allocations which listed 76084's first depot as Skipton. This immediately put doubt in my mind that I had got it wrong on the website. (see 76084's BR Service page). You'll notice that 76084 on our listing went to Lancaster Green Ayre before Skipton anyway. 

So how could I verify we have the right facts?

There is a brilliant resource on the internet that I will always recommend to anyone doing research on British steam locomotives. It is the 'Complete BR Locomotive Database 1948-1997'. And what does it say for our beloved 76084?

The complete information held for 76084 is here which is identical to our own website - PHEW! 76084 did go to Lower Darwen when new in April 1957. But YOU knew that didn't you?

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Now for OTMR

Thanks to the generosity of a few 76084 shareholders we have achieved enough funding to fit Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) equipment on our locomotive. But the 'Go Mainline' Appeal doesn't stop there.

TPWS can be thought of as 'mainline light' and is the only technology needed for instance for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to run into Whitby on Network Rail track. To go FULL mainline we need On Train Monitoring & Recording (OTMR)  and Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) equipment.

So the 76084 Locomotive Company Limited have launched phase 2 of their 'Go Mainline' Appeal to raise funds for OTMR. The parts sponsorship programme worked ever so well for TPWS and is being repeated for OTMR. You can see what parts are needed at The cost ranges from £100 to £500 and can be paid for over a period of time.

Picture shows Classmate and one time Shedmate 76079 on the Cambrian Coast. With a little help form our friends 76084 could be doing something like this.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

24D Shedplate

There are a number of Lower Darwen Motive Power Depot fans out there. Whenever a photograph comes up for sale on this subject I encounter competiton.

My wife is so tuned into the 24D/10H all consuming collecting thing that she spotted a 24D Shedplate at a flea market held at the Three Counties Showground last Bank Holiday Monday before I did. My jaw dropped which was observed by the stall holder who immediately informed me it was a replica and I could have it for £8 (marked up at £10).

This sum is 23 times less than what I paid for an original some 10 years ago. The original was on display in my porch which my wife likes to leave unlocked so that her QVC parcels can be delivered when she is out. So buying the replica was a no brainer and is now in my porch with the original safely tucked away indoors.

If you live anywhere near Great Malvern the stall which has lots of railwayana is
usually to be found in the undercover 'shed' part of the market.  And there were loads of whistles around the market too!

Tuesday 3 June 2014

True 4MT Sounds in a Model Loco

This could be happening fairly soon.

I didn't appreciate the fact that model locomotives with on-board sounds all use the same sounds. Anyone who has been anywhere near several steam locomotives will know that they often have distinctive sounds within a class of locomotives and when something is not quite right individual locomotives within a class will make their own unique sounds.

The strive for absolute realism when it comes to model steam locomotives is intensifying to the point where each locomotive will have a chip on-board containing its own bespoke sounds. 

For the BR Standard 4 2-6-0 our very own 76084 will very shortly be recorded so that digitally controlled models can not only look like the real thing but sound just like it too.

To achieve this level of realism the sound recordings have to be done away from the general public and microphones have to be strategically placed to get the true sounds. For instance, a microphone placed just in front of the steam dome will get the exhaust whilst microphones behind each cylinder will pick up the sounds of the motion amongst other things. Then there are the footplate sounds of coal being shoveled (and dropped). 

So not an easy task but imagine the end result. 76084 rests at the station then is given the right-of-way. The Regulator is opened with cylinder drain cocks opened too so she moves off in a cloud of pure white steam. The drain cocks close and the bark of the exhaust becomes the predominant sound. 

All this in my attic!! Can't wait!!