In a winter of some discontent, for many, Friday at Quorn & Woodhouse was proving challenging in the 50 – 60mph winds which were whipping across the open Leicestershire countryside. The wind effects are clearly evident, for, despite making quite a spirited getaway, No.6990 Witherslack Hall’s exhaust is being swept side ways. I’m sure the driver, who was looking directly at me, was thinking; are these folk mad, standing out there on the edge of a field in a howling gale. We probably are, that’s the nature of a hobby, there’s always that ‘tinge’ of maybe that was just a wee bit too much about them.
I know that conditions on the footplate aren’t great in these conditions either, having done my fair share of trips tender / bunker first trips in ‘winter weather conditions’. Throw in a few icy showers, and you were glad to have the firehole door open and be putting a few rounds on, just to keep warm. You tried to keep the coal and footplate well slaked down, but the dust still flew and if you weren’t careful, when you sprayed the coal in the tender, you’d end up with the wind blowing the jet of water from the ‘pet’ pipe back in your face.
If we imagined that No.6990 Witherslack Hall was fresh out of shops after an ‘Heavy Intermediate’ this would be just the sort of turn she’d have been given, a lightly loaded local service.
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