The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

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The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

Post  thehawk on Sun 22 Jul 2012, 1:57 pm

This is a short tale about my experience of steaming on the road. Since getting my 4inch (Agri) Burrell "Norman Ivor" road registered late last year I have been out and about several times in the village where I live.

Yesterday, being the first dry Saturday since God knows when, I told the wife, it's dry so I'm steaming! Fire lit at 0820, blowing off at 1005. I planned to go down a lane on the other side of the village I hadn't been down before. The lane is a deadend and around a mile and a quarter long. I was also towing a small two wheeled trailer, I have constructed, carrying extra coal and water.

First I had to get to the lane which means crossing the main road twice - scary when you first do it but ok once you have done it a time or two and know how to control the engine! Anyway I ended up taking a friend sat on the trailer the whole length of this lane and back. The lane is very slightly descending to level and so I was able to find a good balance of speed and steam use, ie; the output of the fire matched the amount of steam I was using. The skill is to be patient and not to go too fast using up the steam. Also remembering to keep an eye on the water gauge and use the water pump when needed to keep the boiler topped up. (I tend to use the injector - which works well - only when the pressure is getting near the red line). On the move I managed to maintain around 80psi with use of the water pump. All in all I did just over 4 miles with a passenger onboard for 2 1/2 miles. Of course, people you meet on the way want you to stop for a chat and admire the engine so 4 miles took nearly 3 hours. And I should say, the engine is a happiness/smile machine, everyone smiles at you, people who have never spoken speak to you, people come out to their gates and wave, it's a big pleasure when you consider the dark days of fitting 200 bloody rivet blots!

Fuel consumtion is very important when you are planning a road trip. I used a tender full of coal on the trip plus a similar amount getting the engine fired up and it consumed approximately 6 gallons of water (good job I was carrying a 5 gallon drum, in addition to the full tender). By the way the coal used on this trip was anthracite nuts, which are smokeless and clinker free and I have loads as we burn it in our Rayburn. So thats around 1 1/2 gallons of water per mile. I tried to keep the valve gear notched back as much as possible to minimise steam use. I should add, the water lifter is brilliant and saves time and effort trying to pour water from a heavy 5 gallon drum in to the filler hole!

So that's my experience which I hope may help others about to go out on the road. I must say, I love it and my next target will be a 10 mile trip! (It's a shame STW (the dreaded MW at that time!) weren't making the DCC when I started building - but I should be content!).

It would be good to hear comments from other experienced drivers on their experiences and fuel/water consumption.

happy steaming,
Paul

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Re: The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

Post  Graeme81 on Sun 22 Jul 2012, 4:10 pm

good story, thanks for sharing.

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Re: The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

Post  bjwlancashire on Mon 23 Jul 2012, 11:44 am

Nice description and I cannot wait to do the same with the Road Loco. Do you use any flashing lights or other means of trying to get yourself noticed from a distance by the faster road users? I have a flashing light (the type seen on roadworks vehicles and the like) for use on the back of the road train when we finish it.

I think Tim Watson should share some of his experiences Question , particularly coal/water use as he is a frequent road usesr with Madeline and he pulls heavier loads too - 2 wagons and around 8 people as I recall when my Nephew and I jumped onboard for the Old Warden road run a couple of years ago.

Cheers

Brian

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Re: The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

Post  highpressure on Mon 23 Jul 2012, 12:22 pm

Hi Paul,

I can relate to your experiences well. Having had three engines (so far) I have done many road trips in various places. We always start New Year with a steam up on New Years day at a local friends who lives in a very small village just north of Chichester. We go for a fair old trek and lots of the villagers come out and say "Hi " as we pass gates etc. A number of kids jump on and we have a good time. We can often be found out and about the local estate but our absence during the build has been noticed by some comments passed. We always try and do the Littlehampton Bonfire night run which involves getting steam up at about 5 ish and then starting at 7.30 a 3 ish mile run through the town to the enormous bonfire on the seafront.

Never really paid a great deal of attention to the exact amounts used but the bonfire run uses the bunker and a bucket of coal and the tender and about 8 extra gallons of water. I am hoping that the road loco might not need extra water as it has the belly tank and I have the bowser too ( which I still need to finish!!)

A good road trip was at Powderham Castle in Dawlish down to the Star & Garter pub with a couple of 6" engines, the most picturesque Devon seaside village you could ever hope to find and I used to particularly enjoy the huge road train of about 40 or more engines that was the road run at the MSRVS, but since they called it off due to "Elf and Safety" Evil or Very Mad I haven't attended the rally Sad

As soon as I am able to I will be putting many miles on the new engine, one of the things I have fitted is a bike computer to give me speed and miles covered.

Cheers Kev.

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Re: The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

Post  busman on Mon 23 Jul 2012, 1:44 pm

Good story, lets have more like this especially as some are only 1/3rd into the build and will be some time before we can strike the 1st match. sunny

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Re: The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

Post  atomenter on Tue 24 Jul 2012, 1:16 am

Hi there
So far I have 2 road runs on the SWB Foden at Boat of Garten and Masham and enjoyed them both and really learnt a lot abot the management of coal, steam and water!! I am interested in the fitting of a bike speedometer to the Foden but don't know how to work out the factor to change the speedo reading for the smaller wheels. Any ideas.

Thanks

Tom A

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Re: The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

Post  lynnr on Tue 24 Jul 2012, 2:15 am

Bike speedos usually have a circumference to speed conversion charts in them. The box should have a chart of comparable wheel sizes.

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Re: The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

Post  highpressure on Tue 24 Jul 2012, 7:06 am

Thats right about the speedo, they ask for the cicumference of the wheel so you just attach the magnet and sensor to any moving part that turns with the road wheel, then tell it the circ of the the wheel and each time it revolves once and triggers the sensor it takes that as its marker and correlates speed and distance accordingly. My top speed on the 4" agricultural was 5.6 mph and it did 68 actual miles year before last.

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Re: The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

Post  Tim Watson on Tue 24 Jul 2012, 10:52 am

bjwlancashire wrote:Nice description and I cannot wait to do the same with the Road Loco. Do you use any flashing lights or other means of trying to get yourself noticed from a distance by the faster road users? I have a flashing light (the type seen on roadworks vehicles and the like) for use on the back of the road train when we finish it.

I think Tim Watson should share some of his experiences Question , particularly coal/water use as he is a frequent road usesr with Madeline and he pulls heavier loads too - 2 wagons and around 8 people as I recall when my Nephew and I jumped onboard for the Old Warden road run a couple of years ago.

Cheers

Brian

With respect to flashing lights, it is worth getting a modern low wattage orange flasher as this will use less juice than one of the motorised old fashioned rotating types: these will drain a battery in no time at all.

Road runs:
I have done many road runs with Madeline. The coal and water consumption will be entirely dependant upon the ground conditions and load. We have a great little run to Redbourn from St Albans which is about 6 miles on relatively un-hilly roads. If I leave home with a boiler full, tender full and bowser full then I would just about make the trip without adding any extra water from the waggon. However, I stop about very twenty minutes to oil up the high speed bits (oil is cheaper than brass). A bunker full of coal will cover about four miles, if you start with a full fire in the box.

A good speed average for any trip is about 4mph: I agree with Kev - the top speed on the agricultural is about 5.6 mph, but that is unsustainable. There are few things more satisfying than having the engine cruising along at a steady non thrashing speed, with the pressure constant, water constant with the injector or pump feeding to make up for water boiled, the fire in control and no wasteful blowing off.

One thing to bear in mind, however, is that it is very tiring driving a miniature. You need to have plenty of breaks, it is almost essential to have someone riding shotgun on the waggon as an extra pair of eyes and you have to judge the traffic and the road well ahead. At one rally on a new site we all went on a road run to a pub. No one realised that there was a steep down hill just the other side of the rally entrance. Every one stopped short, said 'oh s--t!' and put water in the boiler. The other point to bear in mind is that whilst traction engines go slowly, things go wrong very fast indeed. Keep away from pavement edges and drive defensively towards the middle of your lane, pulling in to let cars pass when needed.

The road trip from the Old Warden Rally is great fun - as mentioned by Brian
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtI-h7hsYWM&feature=youtube_gdata_player.
The exit off the site is along an uphill sandy road, which is almost beyond the capability of Madeline with two waggons fully loaded, whilst there is then a fairly long downhill to the pub: going downhill is in many ways more challenging than going uphill, as water levels become an issue. Equally, there is the old saying in TE driving that you should always finish the downhill stretch at the speed you started it: there is never any hurry and it is better to stop and change to low wheel at the crest of a steep hill than to not have the advantage of engine braking - because the other brakes are not to be relied upon. One of the most scary downhills I have done was after Engine Hill in Cornwall when I could not stop at the top of a steep hill to change from high to low wheel, because I was sandwiched between two full sized and slow moving rollers. The engine braking was extremely lumpy, laboured and uncomfortable in this condition!

At the Old Warden rally, coming back from the pub in Ickwell is always entertaining as you then have a long uphill climb - often in twilight conditions, so that the sparks show up very well (makes for some entertainment when they land on your passengers) and then the negotiation of the down and up sandy roads in the park itself can be quite entertaining. Useful to have a circular magnetic LED on the bunker front to illuminate the water gauge in this situation. At one Old Warden rally I didn't have any manstand lights on returning from the pub and simply started with a boiler full of water and worked on dead reckoning and the sound of the engine to judge the levels back to rally site - after a while you will know how your engine is performing even without looking at the gauges.

I am really looking forward to having a two person bench seat on Frederick. This will be really sociable and a major advantage to have another pair of eyes for driving or steering: especially with the challenges of driving a large SRL(S).

Tim

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Re: The Road Trip - The Performance and the Joy!

Post  mikero on Wed 25 Jul 2012, 2:27 am

Having a 'second-man' riding shotgun in the wagon is great until you set fire to them with sparks from the chimney, I still have holes in that shirt.

Mike Smile

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