Martin Nichols has provided the following Loco Update:
The Standard 4, No.75027 and U-class No.1638 were both re-wheeled last week.
75027 Boiler work continues. Plate patches not arrived from Pridhams yet. 1638 New forgings for coupling rods arrived last week as did the new smokebox tube-plate blank. 473 Birch Grove: Repairs to one of the side tanks completed. Firehole door ring and foundation ring now all riveted up. Westinghouse pump returned from Fred Bailey's home workshop and successfully run on air. 263 H-Class: Some firebox problems have been discovered. Also needs new pistons and valves. A pattern will have to be made for the new piston. 92240 9F: Operational, but the driver's steam brake valve will need some new parts making. This will be done when the Santa specials have finished.
So the Pullman train is now up to four vehicles, all dating from the 20's and 30's. Booking for 1997 Golden Arrow dining trains is now open. Having had a superb meal on it with my girl-friend last Saturday, it comes highly recommended (from both of us!)
February: Sat 8 - Sun 9: Branch Line Weekend: Little & Often March: Sat 15 - Sun 16: Children's Fun Weekend April: Sun 20: Vintage Bus Day June: Sat 28 - Sun 29: Friends of Thomas the Tank Engine© Weekend (Event licensed by Britt Alcroft Limited©) July: Sat 19 - Sun 20: Toy and Rail Collectors Fair July: Sat 26 - Sun 27: Steam Fair & Vintage Vehicle Rally: Vintage Vehicles and Machinery, Steam-driven Fun Fair, Intensive Train Service. October: Sun 26: Giants of Steam and Military Vehicle Display
Vintage Goods Trains: Saturdays in May, August and September - Please telephone for confirmation and timings. Vintage Branch Line Trains: These will run in addition to Service 3 on Saturdays in April and October.
At present the coach has been stripped of the lower body panels, which were plywood, so that these can be replaced with teak. All the iron knees which hold the body to the bottom-side, and their bolts, have been removed. They are being galvanised, and galvanised bolts will be fitted, since this is a once in a century chance to do this preventative maintenance work whilst the body-structure is exposed.
The platform 2 canopy is progressing. Most of the work at present is concerned with the preparation of the distinctive Brighton-style cross bracing at the top of the pillars. This involves, I am told, 800 stopped chamfers, 16 end-caps (each having four faces) and over 300 mortise and tenon joints!
After completing the brick-work on the signal box, the team have moved on to build the parapets to the bridge just south of the station. These are copies of the originals visible in old photographs of the station. Attention will then turn to the wing-walls of the bridge where the brick-work has suffered due to tree-roots.
In November the wagon collection in the Dock sidings became connected to the rest of the railway, although access to the sidings is only possible during an Engineers possession, until such time as the area becomes fully signalled.
Some new platework cut-out and profiled for the firebox outer wrapper. New rear corner plates due from Pridhams this week. Firebox crown stays being removed.
A new hydraulic riveter has been made. This is big enough to put in foundation ring or firehole door ring rivets without giving everyone a headache. We also have an electric rivet heater. This is basically a transformer, with a very low voltage, high current secondary. The rivet forms a short on the secondary, and is heated (or melted if you're not quick enough), to red heat in just a few seconds by the passage of several kA.
A number of test pieces have been made and sawn in half to prove the effectiveness of the hydraulic riveter.
Birch Grove's foundation ring will be the first real test of the new gear.
The volunteer gang, led by Lewis Nodes, have been busy repairing the side tanks. This has meant cutting out some of the lower platework, and welding and riveting in patches.
Thanks to advice from the Southern E-Group via e-mail I have established what the shade of orange for the panels of the Stove Fitted SR Passenger Brake Van should be, and a can of 0860-Y50R "Clementine" BS 06E51 has been delivered. Time will tell whether this will fade to a dirty yellow as quickly as did the prototype!
To alert the public to the restored hourly service on the Uckfield line, Connex South Central are offering free travel between Oxted and Uckfield throughout the weekend 2/3 November. The Uckfield DEMUs will mostly operate from Oxted as usual on the Saturday, but the Sunday service will be the first "winter" one on the line for many years and the trains will all operate hourly to and from East Croydon. Details from enquiry line 0345 484950.
East Sussex County Council has revived a scheme of 5 years ago to reconnect the Uckfield line to Tunbridge Wells Central via the Spa Valley Railway (and through the Sainsburys supermarket car park at Tunbridge Wells West and the disused Grove Tunnel) and Lewes via the Lavender Line and Hamsey link closed in the 1880s. First estimates of cost are 25m ukp if electrified and 17m ukp if not. The Spa Valley Railway is cooperating with their plan. Council consultants Mott Macdonald report "It is considered that ... there is merit in having a scheme ready to go if and when the (funding) situation becomes more favourable for rail investment." (Tunbridge Wells Courier 25 Oct)
Jon Piesing added that an ex-Hastings line unit from St. Leonards would be used to supplement the service this weekend.
See the www page: http://www.carol.net/~lawrence/egrouphome.htm [now www.semgonline.com] or send e-mail to (David Lawrence)
Also of interest may be Dave Searle's LBSCR pages: http://www.lbscr.demon.co.uk/
The other three locos will be BR 9F No.92240 - one of the largest, and last, steam locos built in this country, SR S15 No.847 - the last of the powerful Southern Railway 4-6-0 "Goods Arthurs" built in 1937, and BR 5MT "Camelot" No.73082, the only surviving named BR 4-6-0. SR Bulleid Q1 No.C1 has failed as of the time of writing, but if repaired will be double-heading some trains.
Our Pullman Golden Arrow train will also run.
This train will include two SR Bulleid coaches for non-Golden Arrow passengers.
The timetable involves departures every 40 minutes, from Sheffield Park between 10.40 and 5.20 (plus 6.00 to Horsted Keynes only) and from Kingscote between 10.35 and 5.55
At Horsted Keynes:
I'll start this news update with a reminder that booking is now open for the Santa Specials. More details are available.
This page also includes details of the Bluebell's Golden Arrow Pullman Christmas trains, for an extra-special Christmas meal in our restored 1920's and 30's Pullman Cars.
N.B. On some dates the Golden Arrow is nearly fully booked, so don't delay!
BR Standard 2 No.84030: The boiler is now stripped of all tubes with regulator and main steam pipe dismantled, and is now awaiting boiler inspectors inspection.
Front replacement stretcher components cut to size ready for welding together. New studs being machined for front and rear cylinder covers.
Spring Damper housings machined ready for new pony truck, now looking at construction of new pony frame assembly
BR Standard 4 No.75027 is now completely stripped. The wheels are at Swindon for tyre turning and attention to the journals and crankpins.
The frames are being re-painted.
The boiler has had several large chunks of plate cut out which were badly grooved. The most difficult pieces are the rear corners (bent in all three planes) of the outer firebox. The old bits have been taken down to Pridhams (at Tavistock) as patterns for new ones. The cylinders are loose. This means lots of new fitted bolts. There are also some fractures in the steel castings that support the slidebars which will have to be welded.
A return to traffic for this ever-so-useful medium-sized engine is predicted (at board level, so reality may be different) for next spring.
The repair of "Birch Grove" progresses, although the boiler work awaits the arrival of the new stays.
9F was out of traffic for a couple of weeks as the firehole door protector ring fell into the fire and melted !!. Colin Turner was off having a baby and everyone else thought that we did not have any spares !!
September is nearly over, so the coming weekend will be a good time to see the "Vintage September" events. Last Saturday, for example, we had the SECR H-class with four pre-war SR and SECR coaches, the Q1 on the other service train, SECR P-class "Bluebell" at Horsted Keynes, and Baxter running up and down the line with its short demonstration freight train.
The Friends of Kingscote have decided that they will have to take on the p-way work to complete the siding and running-line layout at the north end of Kingscote. They calculate the cost of the sleepers, ballast and crossing timbers as £9440. All the steelwork for the six points, and the rails and chairs are already on the railway.
The canopy on Platform 2 progresses, with woodwork being erected. The zinc sheeting recovered from Lavant and Hassocks canopies has been sorted out, and it appears there will be enough to complete the project. The initial intention is to cover the top of the subway, and an adjoining section which will then provide shelter from the elements for the preparation of the remaining woodwork.
First an update on the Locomotive fleet from Martin Nichols.
In the works 18/8/96 E4 473, Class 4 75027, 3217. 96 Steam test passed OK. Now 'Running In'. 473 Boiler work continues. Stays are now being manufactured (externally), tubeplate has been fitted, but not riveted. Palm stays fitted. Eccentric straps ready for white metaling. Other work on the chassis continues. Air pump being overhauled, (including making many new parts,) by one of the workshop volunteers in his workshop at home. 3217 Still waiting for boiler lift, but external boiler work, (needle gunning, & painting) continues. 75027 Boiler lifted last week, inverted and moved into the workshop for what will have to be an extensive repair. Chassis stripping continues and will be ready for lifting off its wheels next week. I understand that the repair of this loco. has been given top priority. With luck it should be back in traffic next year. 92240 Receiving minor attention to a foundation ring rivet. (Back in traffic this last weekend) 592 Recently received several new driving wheel springs. 1638 A comprehensive boiler survey has now been carried out on this loco. The findings were better than expected, although a new smokebox tubeplate will be required. Quotations are being sought for the new motion parts. 73082, C1, 847, 592, 263, 323, 96, 3 all OK.
The Metropolitan third class coach is now nearly finished, and has been filmed by Channel 4 for a series on vintage restorations, due to be seen on the TV in February. It cannot enter service however, until we have finished the Metropolitan brake vehicle, to which it is close-coupled. It also still needs new tyres on the wheels.
Bulleid open third 1481 has been in the paintshop for a smarten-up and attention to its canvas roof, which should see this coach through the next few years until it can be withdrawn for what will then have to be a major overhaul.
By all accounts last weekend's steam fair was considerably busier than the previous year's, although I've not heard the final figures. The weekend also saw the welcome return to the traffic fleet after a few months absence of the S15, and a service making use of three sets of coaches.
Martin Nichols has sent me an update on the Loco situation as of last Sunday.
96 LSWR B4 "Normandy" Steam test this week. 323 SECR P "Bluebell" On the washout road with the dome cover off. 473 LBSCR E4 "Birch Grove" Boiler work continues. New outer wrapper plates ready for tapping for the new stays. 320 feet of copper bar for the stays is ready to be sent away. Some of the motion work (done about 10 years ago) will have to be redone. 35027 SR MN "Port Line" Withdrawn for 10 year overhaul. 3217 GWR "Earl of Berkeley" Waiting for boiler lift. 75027 BR Class 4 Waiting for boiler lift. In the meantime the crownstays are being removed. 73082 Camelot, 92240, C1, 847, 592, 263 and 3 Baxter all OK.
The exterior panelling of one side and one end of the LBSCR First is now complete. It was extracted from the carriage shed on Sunday, and the resulting photograph should be in the next issue of Bluebell News, together with a photograph showing what has still to be done on the other side of the vehicle.
Pullman car "Bertha" has been in the paint shop and has had its roof stripped back to bare metal and repainted.
On Saturdays and Sundays in September a two-train service will be run.
STARLIGHT SPECIALS - Saturday 19th October - Enjoy the magic of trains after dark.
GIANTS OF STEAM - Sunday 20th October
SANTA SPECIALS - 30 Nov., 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23 and 24 Dec.
Booking opens 1st October - More details on the Santa Special Web Page.
LITTLE & OFTEN, an intensive service of two and three car trains on Saturday and Sunday 8th & 9th February 1997.
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