Tuesday, 4 March 2014

BBC Countryfile

Last Friday saw a pretty hectic day for the museum! Two weeks previous we were contacted by a producer of the Countryfile show to ask wether they could film the museum, conduct interviews and see it all running in steam. This in itself was not a problem and we would happily bend over backwards for an opportunity like that. However as previous posts have shown, the boiler was out of ticket, had no chimney and the site was in a state of winter maintenance clutter! 

So after some running around, some well timed volunteer effort and a last minute boiler inspection we were ready for filming. The boiler was steam tested on the Monday before the Friday filming and passed with flying colours. All seemed perfect, however...

Countryfile wanted to see the Easton Amos pump, on the Steam test at the beginning of the week this was no problem. On the Friday morning of filming, we also had just enough water to pump, however a few hours later the Environment Agency turned on a fourth pump next door and reduced the rhyne level down to the point where our pump was no longer in the water! On top of this by the time the boiler was up to full working pressure a leak developed on one of the mud hole doors. These leaks have a nasty habit of progressively getting worse. So as the film crew and presenter Ellie Harrison turned up we had a very leaky boiler and pump with no water to pump. Faces started looking a bit down...

A decision was made to run every steam item we had until the boiler pressure was reduced to nothing, a brave chief mechanical engineer went in to carefully tighten the mud hole door, and thankfully it sealed up. With a frantic throwing action the firebox was filled up with wood and pressure soon rose to 50psi again. We still didn't have any water for pumping though and after a quick phone call to some Environment Agency staff we know, we waited. Filming began around the Marshall boiler, the railway and filming other steam engines. Just as the crew wanted to begin filming the Easton Amos an EA engineer turned up and turned off two pumps for a short period in order to allow the rhyne level to rise just 6" enough for us to prime our pump!

So after an eventful start the day ended with a happy Countryfile team. The piece will be on your TV's within the programme on the 16th of March. Please let us know what you think! 

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