5097 disgraced itself today.
I Waited patiently at Patea for the arrival of 526 so I could let the Palmy crew go home, and make my way to New Plymouth.
After a short while 526 emerged round the bend and the first thing I noticed (apart from the meager train of 4 wagons) was that the front locos were running.
I thought it very odd that they would need two locos to bring 4 wagons and a dead DFT up, so I was about to give a bit of cheek but cut short after being told that 5097 (on the front) had no water and was just idling, and the second loco (5137) was online and doing all the work, because 5097 would shut down as soon as throttle was applied..
So while we were changing over, the Brightstar thought it was cold and decided to step up to high idle to warm the engine up (built in feature) and as soon as it tired to increase revs, 5097 promptly shut down!
Well the Palmy guys fled the scene, leaving me to breath some life back into the old girl. A quick reset of the governor, a bit of a poke and prod, and 5097 was back up and running, so I got my warrant and set sail to Whareroa.
Once at Whareroa, we left the wagons on the loop and I got the rail operators to guide my consist down into the milk siding so I could use one of the high volume water hoses down there to fill 5097. Alas all the water has been turned off to the milk siding during shutdown, so we had to go for plan B, using the garden hose up at the Whareroa depot building.
The shunt crew shifted the DSJ out of the way and we eased the three big locos round the tight curve, lining up the water filling point on the DX with the hose. But once again we were stopped in our tracks (pun intended) as the small diameter of the hose ment that more water was coming out around the filler neck than was going in.
So with 5097 shut down I had to get up on the roof and stick the hose into the top of the water header tank...
And after an eon or two the header tank was still no better off.
With the hose jammed into the header tank I got down and started the loco, to which it started coughing and spluttering and sounding a bit odd, so, I went for another look about the engine which soon reviled a veritable fountain of water cascading down from around the central power assemblies on the drivers side of the motor.
"Ahhh" I said. "Thats torn it!" and we promptly declared 5097 a basket case and shut her down.
After a bit of reshufflng, 5097 was plonked in behind 7213 (the power for 535) with a "return to sender" slapped on it,and I carried on to New Plymouth on 526 with 5137.
And even then I nearly didnt make it, having one of my closest "near hit" yet at a level crossing in Inglewood when a bloody big white truck swung off the main road and barreled across the level crossing without even stopping!
Almost required a visit to the proctologist to remove seat leather!!
Just another day in the office!