I don't think sand would have been the problem with the castle, more like the load behind it.
When I first saw the castle I was surprised at the smaller size compared to the A3, although like the scot she could get up and run. We had a real time keeping up with both 4472 and 4079 when doing some of the mainline running, following by road, making for some great video footage.
When Scoty crossed Oz we had 5 cars as well as the crew car and parts van, and at various times up to 3 water gins. One car was left at Yunta through a hotbox and we picked up an old South Australian 500 Class car at Port Augusta to replace it.
Of course across South Oz we also had a GM, crew car and powervan added to the train.
At Kalgoolie we had a day where the GM and crew vans were shunted off and the water gins. Another 5 cars were added to make up the train.
At Koolyanobbing we picked up the Hotham Valley carriage crews and I was able to meet the owner of Flying Scotsman Sir William (Bill) McAlpine and his wife Jill.
At Northan we picked up the passengers for the run into Perth Terminal and the end of the 7 day trip from Sydney.
The Castle was already positioned at the end of the platform having come down by road from Dampier. Finally in the afternoon we arrived at Perth Terminal and after speaches etc the locos were put on display till early in the evening.
When the time came for the train to depart the castle was attached to the Sydney end of the train along with its water tanker. The castle then proceeded to pull the whole train out of Perth Terminal, I just forget the grade, but it was fairly steep right at the end of the platform. This grade made for some great performances by both locomotives when departing the Terminal.
We were sitting close by with the Hotham Valley crew and we had a great time telling them the train arriving was the castle returning. Again and again the Castle tried in vain to lift the load on the grade and time again it returned to the platform. I think 4 attempts were made before a sick scoty was coupled on the back and the train finally departed. The sound of the castle battling the grade at night was fantastic.
One of the best runs in the west was with 4472 and 4079 returning to Perth Terminal. Roland had made it a rule that no loco would be put on the front of the Scoty because of possible distortion of the frames. The A3's rarly were double headed, subsequently 01 only ran twice i think leading scoty. The same applied in Perth, however there was 1 and only 1 trip 4079 lead scoty on a return run. I went down to the platform to see this trip come back and standing in the middle of the platform the loco's raced past with all breaks on and hand brakes as well trying to pull up the train. luckily Perth has a long platform.
Running of the Castle by Pilbura they used 3 ex NSW FS cars for their runs. A diesel compressor was mounted on their auxillary water tank which was sufficent for this operation. On the mainline with a 10 car train this was less than suitable. Also going to Perth Scoty's compressor had suffered problems also and was not 100%. During the stay in Perth I think we went through a 1/2 dozen Coates hire compressors running the trains.
The Corridor tender was great for traveling to and from the footplate. I was able to get some great video from the footplate using the corridor. However it was very small and myself being over 6' meant a bit of cramping to get through. Saying that I did sleep one night in the corridor which was very interesting indeed. Crossing the desert the corridor was used to get our 16 passengers to the footplate so that all could experience the Nullabour and the longest straight from the footplate of 4472 at sunset. A truely unforgetable experience.
Both 4472 and 4079 had water scoop gear fitted,however 4472 lost most of its to make room for the air tanks required for the Westinghouse Air brakes prior to the Oz trip. The Castle from what I could see still had all the equipment fitted under the tender.