A few weeks ago, we took delivery of a newly rebuilt ballast wagon. It is known as a Sprat (the FSHKND for those who have been involved in Big Railway ballast wagons). After a delivery of new ballast, the weekend was the opportunity to take the nice, neat pile of ballast and spread it all over the railway – as one does. There were a few ballast shoulders becoming a bit deficient, and we wanted to ballast the Silverdale Station siding. This had never been done, which meant that there was a reluctance to run the bigger locos on the siding, and also it didn’t look particularly nice. Since this siding is opposite the station platform, it is rather the Shop Window, and appearances do count. So, the Sprat was duly loaded using the faithful Fordson tractor, and a-spreading it duly went. The wagon was ex-Ffestiniog Railway, and seems to have begun life as a Hudson wagon of some sort. This most recent work has been to modify the doors to allow them to be controlled against the flow of ballast. Dropping ballast looks easy, but isn’t. The flow of stone must be carefully regulated, and this requires concentration and coordination by both the wagon operator and the loco driver. Failure to do this generally results in the wagon operator being given a shovel and told to sort out the mess. A couple of minor adjustments were needed, but overall the debut of the Sprat was a triumph for the project engineers. All we need now is the Mackerel. As ever, get in touch here.