Another baking hot weekend down the Apedale Valley has seen eggs being fried on Ruston bonnet tops and the steam loco crew indulging in the Staffordshire Horsefly massacre – “Death’s too good for ’em”. Using a firing shovel to batter a small insect seemed like overkill, but the others seemed to get the message. Meanwhile, down at the workshops, The Joffre has been showing its wounds with pride. The cylinder is now with the cast-iron welding people for their collective sucking in of breath and tut-tutting, and the next few days should give us an indication as to when this loco will be back in business. A number of people have observed that the loco actually looks quite good without the cylinder, and had we considered the advantages which an inside-cylinder version would bring? Meanwhile, the Hudswell diesel is also now missing a rather vital link – the clutch between the engine and the transmission. Opportunities to dismantle 1930 Hudswell Clarke clutches are rather scarce, and we really didn’t know what to expect. Clutches can be vicious things, since they tend to contain powerful springs which are looking for the first opportunity to escape their confines. However, with care, the clutch is now off the loco and dismantled, revealing a complex multi-plate arrangements of plates, splines and springs. There was some concern about the clutch slipping, possibly indicating an end-of-life lining, which would have been a MAJOR problem. Thankfully, the linings are actually in pretty good order, so a good clean out and adjustment should sort out any issues. There isn’t much more to come off the Hudswell now, although the brake rigging is being somewhat intransigent. As ever, get in touch here (unless you represent the Friends of the Staffordshire Horsefly).