After big CEPG events and outings, we have decided to conduct a more formal writeup in order to archive events and proceedings of the day. Sometimes we will produce video logs, in which case a simple "News" article may suffice. Alas, we are going to kick this off with something arguably very important, Visit number 2 to Isfield.
A secondary visit was very important to us, not only as it puts us in better standing with the railway, but allows us to review 624's current condition compared to her previously. This is a good chance to then judge the rate of deterioration. It also helps seeing her in the dead of winter, possibly in the worst light possible. There was one other key reason behind visiting, but at a risk of saying too much, this will stay under wraps for now. So there we were, 15th Jan 2022. another 6am start. This time we went by road (as opposed to train) and it was one of the reasons we didn't "vlog" the day (the other being it would be much too similar to the first video.)
The drive down was quite long, and was incredibly foggy. We had the strange sensation of driving over dartford barely able to see the huge bridge pylons while driving through them. looking out it really felt like flying through cloud.
The fog mercifully cleared as we approached Tunbridge wells, and we continued down to Uckfield. When we arrived it was a familiar site, but no 309 was to be seen... This was because the Lavender had to shunt the vehicles "up the line" in order to have the platform clear for other stock. We were actually quite thankful for this, as it afforded us a completely different view of the vehicles. So after meeting our friends at the Lavender Line, we all took a careful walk down the line (With high-vis of course!) to go and see 624. The poor girl did look a bit more sorry for herself, but was generally still in a stable condition, similar to when we last saw her.
We all climbed up into the DTS and had a walk down the length. I mostly sat in her cab, longing for a day in the future where we may one day be running down a line. While there, I put my gloves on and gave her a good de-cobwebbing, as she had amassed a fair few on the controls... One thing the earlier fog helped with is highlight the amount of condensation issues. These have since all been noted and are on the list to sort. The main issue however stems from the missing windows. These are priority 1 if we get the unit, to make sure she remains watertight.
after this, a member of our team walked up to a footbridge over the line to get some more overhead shots of the roof and pantograph.
finally, we all retired back to Isfield station to review the situation and have a nice cuppa. We are looking forward to sharing more as soon as we are able to. We then said our farewells and began the long journey home, though we did find time for a quick "personal needs break" at Eridge, seeing the beautifully restored station there (sadly no trains were running today)
All in all another good and tiring day, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We have been invited somewhere else the following week, for which we plan to "Vlog". Keep your eyes peeled for that video coming soon.
Here is a gallery of photos from this visit. We hope you have enjoyed reading. -CEPG