'Lindow' acquitted herself well at Urmston this morning. She was the first locomotive to arrive and soon there was a station full of passengers wanting rides. One advantage of an electric loco is it's soon out of the car and ready to run.
Some steam locos started to arrive and made their way to the prep bays to raise steam while 'Lindow' and I provided a train service.
This was the first time the loco had been on a track so I had no idea if she'd even run OK, never mind what sort of load she would haul. The first circuit to gain access to the main track bypasses the station so I did that one solo and she ran fine. I selected the 'half power' switch 'on' for this as not only was this the loco's first ever circuit, it was the first circuit of the day and I had to run at slow speed to check the line ahead for any obstructions (kids sometimes leave stuff on the line on a Saturday night).
On entering the station after the first lap, which was uneventful, I told Fred (the station master) to only give us a light load to start with to see how she went.
She went superbly! I de-selected the 'half power' switch though 'Lindow' did not notice the passenger load at all. It felt the same as the solo circuit. Next time in the station I told Fred to 'load her up' and with two full carriages she stormed up the banks with plenty of power in reserve and not the slightest sign of slipping. Next time I'll try her with three carriages.
For the next hour and a half, by which time a couple of the steam locomotives and the club's electric locomotive had joined me in providing a passenger service, we hauled full trains of passengers.
By now I was getting used to the loco's regenerative brakes (using the traction motors as generators to put power back into the batteries while slowing the train) activated by the rate one 'turns down' the speed control knob to a lower power setting. Once mastered, I found I did not need to use the carriage brakes at all, something one always has to do when hauling by steam.
Soon after mid day, with the loco's battery condition indicator still showing not much less than full charge, we hit the usual 'lunchtime lull' we get at this time of year and suddenly we went from a station full of waiting passengers to no passengers at all. So I took 'Lindow' and her train off the main track and parked her up by the carriage shed while I went to the clubhouse for lunch.
Another advantage of electric locos is that they can be left unattended with no need to worry about maintaining boiler water levels and keeping the fire in and healthy. The downside of course is they just not as much fun to drive.
This being Christmas Eve, the lunchtime lull looked like extending well into the afternoon so after one more circuit of the big track I called it a day and ran 'Lindow' to the exit track for removal of the traction batteries (for easier transport and only takes a minute with the quick release connectors) and packing everything away in the car for the journey home.
So, a very enjoyable if short day at the track with the latest addition to my loco fleet. Next time it'll probably be the Jubilee's turn at the track, recently returned to me from the supplier, to check if she is now operating as she should.