The Midland Railway Centre - Butterley (Steam)

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I started a one week holiday in England on Saturday 19th August.  Suffice to say that it was just my luck that the best summer for years decided to come to an end as can be seen in some of the pictures / video's taken at Butterley.  I suppose we were lucky though as it never actually rained on us when were out in the open.  Anyway what real steam enthusiast is put of by a wee drop of rain.  So on Friday 25th August 2006 Rod Hodgkin's and I set off for a day at Butterley.  This particular Friday the railway were using their vintage carriage collection to make up the train.  And very impressive they were as well.  We arrived just in time to board the first train of the day and in our enthusiasm jumped in the oldest carriage we saw.  Fortunately for our backsides a kindly volunteer railway worker suggested that the wooden seats may be a bit hard on our delicate posteriors - so we moved to a more comfy carriage.  What nice people there was at Butterley. After our trip up the line I filmed the train as it left Swanage Junction, note the wet ground and leaden clouds.  The engine was, as you can see an 0-4-0 Saddle Tank formerly from Castle Donnington Power Station owned by the Central Electricity Generating Board or CEGB for short.  (For all you youngsters out there, this was the company that generated all the UK's electricity when the industry was nationalised).  I seem to remember Someone calling the engine the 'Bouncy Castle' because of the characteristics of its ride, and it certainly seemed to bounce up and down in the video on the left.  For all of you who want to go and have a look the Midland Railway web site just click the link.  Please note the worker who is at the engine as it leaves.  As soon as he realised I was filming he got out of the way quick!  I doesn't get any better than that!
Midland Railway No. 158A, and what a magnificent specimen it is!  It even has a plate on it saying rebuilt at Derby (where else for a Midland engine) in 1897.  That makes it even older than me!  The cab, even all those years ago looks vaguely familiar with newer steam engines.  Even a none technical person like me can spot a regulator, steam pressure gauges, injector controls and a gi-normous handbrake lever.  It also doesn't look like the sort of environment to be in working in on a January day.
What a magnificent wee engine 1163 is, it was also in immaculate condition.  You can see a picture of it pulling two coaches on the Butterley picture web site  (click to follow the link) and it looks dwarfed by them.  But it obviously manages to earn its keep. According to the engines web pages it is at Butterley being restored.  But from the website it looks as if that has all been completed.  Click the link to find out more about the BR Standard Class 73129 with its Caprotti valve gear setting it apart from the others in the class. 
The engine 46203 Princess Margaret Rose - the LMS Princess Royal Class 4-6-2 is absolutely huge, and totally wonderful.  (The above link takes you to the engines web site)  Its been so long since I saw one last I had forgotten how big they were.  They even look bigger than the BR Standard Class 9F's.  Needless to say the size of it, inside a building, and my limited camera skills didn't produce a picture worthy of the engine.  But you can get a look at some better pictures on the engines web site above. OK guys who's smart enough to spot the chimney is missing on this engine!  I understand, from the dim recesses of my mind, that Boots used these engines for shunting around their chemical works.  Because they didn't want smoke and soot all over the place the engines don't have a firebox.  When they start running out of steam they would scoot over to the main, and stationary boiler plant, connect a high pressure steam line to the top of the dome and fill up with steam.  Then off they go again!
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