Monday 27 March 2017


At last we're back in operation...!

CR828 re-entered normal operation with the Strathspey Railway on Saturday 25th March when she handled the normal three depatures from Aviemore with a five-coach train. Then on Sunday 26th she worked the 10:30 service train and then the 13:00 dining service. She performed very well on both days and appeared to be in good mechanical condition. We have a slight issue with the Westinghouse Carriage Warming Valve and that will be investigated during the week commencing 27th March. 

The weather in Strathspey over both days was perfect. Warm sunshine and very little breeze made it a very enjoyable experience on the footplate provided the coal was kept dampened for tender first running. It was great to have two steam locos working on the Sunday and this should hopefully be a regular feature of Sunday operations throughout 2017. The Strathspey Railway is operating a new catering service in 2017 using in-house resources. Feedback on the service has been very positive. Supporters of CR828 could combine a Sunday visit to the Railway by dining in style while travelling behind the loco...!!!! For details please visit the website of the Strathspey Railway at

A magnificent picture of 828 heading south at "Fishermens Crossing" on Sunday 26th March. (Picture by Derek McGinn)

Final cleaning of the loco on Friday 24th March. Norman Girvan, Honorary Secretary of the CR828 Trust, is cleaning the coupling rods...

Polished and ready for operation. 828 under the lum in the Shed on 24th March..

Attracting a crowd..! 828 pauses at Boat of Garten on 26th March with the 11:35 from Broomhill to Aviemore.

Basking in sunshine at Broomhill..

The Wakefield Displacement Lubricator. A tricky device that helps lubricate the valves and pistons. Very temperamental on Saturday 25th and performed flawlessly all day on Sunday 26th...this is it working as it should . A droplet of oil is ascending though the sight glass and will soon be on its way to steamchest..!

Together again at Aviemore. A spotless 828 hands over the service train to an immaculate 46512. After 46512 had departed at 12:30 828 moved up to the carriage shed to collect the stock for the 13:00 dining service..

Saturday 18 March 2017

Test Running.....

A lot has happened since I last updated the Blog. The loco and tender were successfully reunited by the Shed staff at Aviemore after the tender had received some adjustment to its weight distribution. A big thank you to Nathan Lightowler, Calum Titley, Tommy MacDonald and Colin Vaughan. Not only did they have to get 46512 finished and ready for a very successful Photo Charter at the beginning of March; they also had to get 828 finished off and prepared for running-in.

The loco needed some final weight adjustments before test running could commence. With this completed she was steamed and run light engine through to Boat of Garten and then on to Broomhill. She performed well and the only issue was the amount of leakage from the valve rod glands. This was attended to with help from Alan French who cast new replacement white metal packing segments using a harder grade of white metal than has been used previously. Nathan Lightowler made a new gland follower for the RH rod and reassembled both glands.

We took the loco out on a loaded test run on 17th March. She took five MK1 vehicles through to Broomhill and back and gave every indication of being fit to re-enter traffic on March 25th. The newly improved valve rod packing performed very satisfactorily. The weather was cold and damp - just the conditions when it is usually difficult to see the way ahead when running chimney first at low speed because of valve rod leakage. This time there was no difficulty so well done everyone at the Shed...

There are a couple of jobs to attend to before 25th March - the tender water level indicator has stopped working and we need to fix it. This device looks a bit like a walking stick fixed to the front of the tank. By rotating it 90 degrees water should flow into a vertical tube with small holes equally space up its length. The tank water level is indicated by the highest hole that water leaks from. Simple but effective....but not working at the moment..! Shed Foreman Colin Vaughan also wants to add a new layer of concrete to the smokebox floor to protect the steam pipe connections and the top of the cylinder block..

Taking water at Boat of Garten during the light engine test run..

On the way to Boat during the light engine test run..

At Broomhill Station for the first time in nearly three years..

Shunting operations ahead of the loaded test run...

Passing Speyside Signal Cabin on the way to Broomhill...

Heading North on a wet and cold day...and running very well...!