During 2016, the decision was taken to trial moving the Day Out with Thomas event to Gembrook, starting with the spring season, thus inaugurating Gembrook as the railways new centre of special events.
Locomotives and rolling stock were transferred in the Down direction on a Friday evening, and back again on Sunday evening at the conclusion of the weekends shows. Peckett No. 1711, which usually masquerades as the cheeky blue tank engine, began to suffer from the extra mileage; overheating bearings on the rear axle being the problem.
The problem was bought under control so that the autumn season could be completed, at which point the decision was taken that Thomas would spend Christmas at Belgrave undergoing a ‘D’ exam.
On top of the usual tasks involved in this level of exam, the wheelsets were removed, and following detailed measurements, machining of the axleboxes and horns was carried out to rectify some misalignment which would have been a contributory factor to the overheating.
Coupled with a revision of the lubrication regime, the problem seems to have subsided for now, and the little blue engines performance during the Autumn 2017 Thomas events were much improved.
Above, Pistons and Crossheads have been cleaned and crack tested, and below, the Slidebars, Connecting rods and Coupling rods have all undergone the same treatment, and await reassembly to the locomotive.
After all parts of the motion had been cleaned, degreased and crack tested, they were given a fresh coat of red paint before refitting.
The opportunity was also taken to make some improvements to the spark arrestor (below), which was beginning to show signs of wear; the results of a hard life!