With apologies to JMW Turner……
Members have been submitting more photographs of Richard’s weekend to the News Desk that the Editor decided it was well worth an additional feature. It may have rained, it may have been cold, but did we ENJOY ourselves! The steam effects were magnificent…… (click on image to enlarge)
Richard was a little concerned that a few of the injectors on the day were not picking up as cleanly as they usually did. It reminded him of this expereince from years ago…..
Coke and steam don’t mix!
It was a really hot summers day in about 1998 and I was doing public running at Worthing MES with my newly built 3.5” gauge SAR 15F locomotive. I knew I was going to be on the go for
about 6 hour without a break and so I stocked up with my supplies of chocolate and cans of coke etc.
As per usual I put 3 cans of coke into the tender to keep them cool and the chocolate under my seat.
It was an extremely busy day and by about 3pm I had drunk 2 of the cans of coke and eaten all the chocolates (surprise, surprise).
With the queues still coming I packed the firebox again with 12 small shovels of coal for another few runs and puffed off down the line with another load of about 16 passengers. It was at this point 15F started giving off a rather strange smell from the exhaust. I could smell the newly fired coal but some other kind of fumes were coming out that chimney that was not quite right. With queues miles long waiting for a ride I just continued to run but all the time this smell was worrying me.
The engine seemed to be running just great and so I just presumed it was the new oil I filled the lubricator up with earlier in the day. After a few more passenger trips around the track my little class 15F started to prime and was soon throwing water out the exhaust at an alarming rate. After trying everything to stop the priming I made the decision to take her off and find out what the problem was..
Onto the steaming bays I inspected her and noticed she was very stiff and a brown colour substance was coming out from her cylinders. Even the piston rods were dark and dry indicating lack of oil. I checked the lubricator and sure enough all was working well and after going round the whole engine I was rather confused at what was going on.
Finally with no reasonable fault found I oiled up the engine once again and went to fill the tender with water and take her for another trip around the track. It was right at this point where I discovered what all this priming problem was about. As I lifted the tender lid to re-fill the water there floating in the half empty tender was a burst cola can. This last can of Coke in the tender had burst and all its contents had mixed with the water and of course got injected into the boiler. Coke being such a fizzy liquid of course would be bubbling away inside the boiler and causing foam on top of the water and of course making the engine prime. The sticky substance would then be getting down the steam pipes and into the cylinders and sticking to every moving part which of course would explain why everything was so dry.
It was now time to drain the tender and give it a good washout and then blowdown the boiler and try to get this horrible sticky substance out. Having blown the boiler down about 6 times and fed loads of oil into the cylinders I took her out for a test run but this poor engine just continued to prime. For the rest of the evening I kept blowing down the boiler and thankfully after about 4 hours of doing everything possible she finally gave up the priming and was back to her good usual self.
Who would ever believe that a can of Cola could ever cause so many problems to a wonderful simple steam locomotive?
Once back in the workshop I removed all her injectors and clack-valves etc and left them sitting in a can of vinegar simply to remove all traces of this sticky substance.
Lesson learnt, do not leave cans of coke in your tender!!