Sunday Afternoon With A Diesel Shunter

Last Sunday I was rostered, at the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, as Driver 1 with Sam as Fireman 1. Now normally that would mean preparing a steam locomotive, working the first two trains, and then disposing* of whatever loco was not going to be used on the last train. As we rolled into Llanfair Caereinion with the 2:05 from Welshpool it was apparent that Crew 2 were already disposing of Joan.

While we were taking water JJ, the Duty Manager, emerged from the office and asked us if we would do some shunting once the last train had gone. Because of the activities associated with the New Members Day event, also taking place, Crew 2 had not been able to shunt the carriages from the Driver Experience train back into the carriage shed additionally the Rollwagen loaded with the flail was needed in the station yard. We agreed, coaled up Countess and handed her over to Crew 2.

Time for a quick tea break ….

After the 15:30 had departed we prepared Chattenden and negotiated with the signalman as to how the shunt would take place.

The first move was to pull two carriages from the Coal Road into the loop and uncouple.


And then run round and couple up to the other end.

IMG_2026We then propelled the train to Tanllan. Sam was on the leading balcony giving me directions. As we passed the signalbox the signalman passed Sam the Annetts key to unlock the Tanllan Sidings ground frame.

IMG_2029_cropped_unsharpBefore taking the train into the sidings we both walked down to the carriage shed to see where we could stable the two vehicles. Road 4 had been empty on Friday  and right now it was the only one with an unobstructed door. But our luck was out. Road 4 was full and the only space was on Road 2, but, the track outside that was occupied by the Rollwagen and a ballast wagon.

There was going to be just enough room on Road 4 for them.IMG_2032_cropped_unsharpWith the wagons out of the way the carriages could be safely pushed into the shedIMG_2038_colour_enhance_cropped_unsharpThe ballast wagon was then collected from Road 4 and placed on Road 2

IMG_2040_unsharpUncoupled and then Chattenden went back to Road 2.

IMG_2045To collect the Rollwagen


It was then back to Llanfair and a change of roles – Sam driving and me acting as shunter.

IMG_2049We arrived in the loop uncoupled and ran round.



And propelled it into the coal road placed a scotch under the wheels and uncoupled.



The diesel was then driven round to the front of the workshops and shut down. By now the time was heading towards five o’clock. I headed off for a quick shower before loading up my car for the trip home.

*In “Railway Speak” ‘disposing’ of a steam locomotive means raking out the fire, emptying the ashpan and smokebox, undertaking any inspections necessary and then ‘putting it to bed’.

This entry was posted in Heritage, Llanfair Caereinion, railroad, railway, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sunday Afternoon With A Diesel Shunter

  1. Paul B. says:

    A nice afternoons work. I’ve always thought that Chattenden is a rather handsome beast.

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