Lewis Nodes has recently put more photos showing current work on Stepney and Birch Grove on his web site.
The Maunsell Loco Society reports a good year with progress on the second U-class No.1638, with cab sides, running plates and steps all fitted to the rolling chassis. The new coupling rods are due to be delivered in March. The steelwork is on order for a new smokebox, and the new front tube-plate is already rough-machined. The tender chassis (ex-schools class/snow plough) has been stripped down, and re-assembly is now in progress, together with the fabrication of two new drag-boxes. Arrangements are in hand for having the new tender tank manufactured on site, although timing for this is dependant on space being available.
The S15, No.847, is being rapidly stripped down in preparation for its ten-year boiler inspection. It is not thought that much work is required.
Paul Auckland reports that the current locos in the workshop are Birch Grove, Blackmore Vale, Stepney and the O1, and that the visiting Standard Two 2-6-0 was very popular with crews, but now has made its journey back to Keighley to be used with their Santa trains.
The test diggings for the removal of the tip have been done. Although the final results are still awaited, there were apparently no nasty surprises!
Roger Williams is swapping his stripped out shell of a Mk.1 Corridor First for a Bulleid Brake, No.4008, which, being in poor condition, he will break up for spares. With the discovery of problems with Bulleid Brake 2515 (corrosion has almost separated the body from the underframe at the brake-van end) he is wondering whether this might be his next project!
73082, 75027, 33001, 592, 323, 96, 3. Also loan loco 78022.
92240 requires some minor caulking in the firebox but is otherwise operational.
In the works:
34023 (loco only), 3217 (loco only), 473, 55, 65 (loco chassis only).
See photos on Lewis Nodes' Photo News Pages
34023, "Blackmoor Vale". The removal of the outer casing sheets was completed last Sunday (23-11-97). Some of these still show traces of the original paintwork and in places the word 'spam' can still be discerned.
3217, "Earl Of Berkeley". Work is being done on the replacement superheater header, which requires all the joint faces to be re-machined.
473, "Birch Grove". The boiler work continues. About two thirds of the new stays have been riveted over. New crown stays are being manufactured. There are 80 of these in an E4 boiler, and about half of these have been made and fitted. Various steam take-off points have had new fittings made to replace life expired ones. These have also been fitted to the boiler.
55, "Stepney". The strip-down is well under way. Tanks, cab and boiler have been removed. The replacement smokebox tubeplate has arrived, although this is undrilled at the moment.
65, SER O1. All the motion has now been removed.
In terms of heavy overhauls the plan is 473 (early 1998), then 34023 then 3217.
Southern Railway Bulleid Brake 4279 has had the last of its windows re-bedded, and is now in the paint-shop. Bulleid Brake 2515 has replaced it in the work area, also for a new roof canvas. Some external panelling has been removed to allow the rotten section of cant-rail above the lavatory to be replaced. This was a job that was not done at its last overhaul ten years ago, since it was only discovered after the coach had been re-assembled.
The Metropolitan Railway composite 368 has been stripped to a shell, and has received preservative treatment. Although all the soft-wood (roof, partitions, lining etc.) had succumbed to dry rot, the teak body framing is sound, with the exception of one small area of corner pillar, which will be cut out and patched. Most of the mouldings on the east side of the Metropolitan brake coach have been fitted, although I still have to make those for the side of the brake van. Teak for making further new mouldings is now being prepared from a vast quantity of material recovered from benches in a redundant factory.
And finally, a reminder that the Santa trains start next Saturday, 6th December. Advanced booking essential. Here is a booking form to print out.
There are pages for the timetable, special event details, and, most importantly, at this time of year, the Santa Specials.
There are maps and gradient profiles, news of the extensions, and of the signalling, as well as comprehensive details of the Loco and Carriage fleets, and an update on the progress with the Horsted Keynes canopy. There are up-to-date comprehensive stock lists for locos, carriages and wagons. The stock lists also provide an index to the photographic archive, with photos of virtually every item of stock, although photos of wagons are, for the moment, a little thin on the ground!
There is a membership form to print out, should you wish to join the preservation society. Having done so, you can then become a volunteer, and there are pages to visit detailing what is involved, and how to get involved.
The Bluebell's Golden Arrow Dining train has its own page, should you be tempted to splash out on that extra-special evening or luncheon in one of our four pre-war palaces on wheels.
A contacts list gives names and addresses for virtually everyone involved in the railway who you might want to contact. The inevitable links page enables you to find out still more information about the Bluebell, since several loco-owning or restoring groups connected with the Bluebell already have their own web sites.
Unfortunately, both days were marked by late-running of the trains. On the Sunday there was a 25 minute delay to the lunch-time Golden Arrow departure awaiting guests who were finding parking difficult due to the crowds of ordinary visitors, and also the time taken up by a ceremony before the Royal British Legion poppy-appeal luncheon on board the GNR directors' saloon. Very tight time-tabling, and some speed restrictions on the track following October's maintenance, left no recovery time, so trains ran late. Hopefully the marvellous weather made up for this inconvenience! Certainly the number of visitors was encouraging (about the same as last year's event) and many trains were full and standing.
Not only were the locos in fine form but the coaches in use also gleamed in the sun. In total on the three trains were: 3 pre-grouping coaches, three SR Maunsells, four pre-war Pullmans plus luggage van, three SR Bulleids and just four BR Mk.1 standard coaches. In addition to the four BR Standard locos, the Bulleid Q1 joined in the fun, as the SECR C-class had on the Saturday evening.
Following a meeting of the members of the Carriage and Wagon, it has been decided that a small group (formed mainly of some of the employed staff who wish to come in at weekends as volunteers) would convert the last remaining ex-travelling college dormitory coach, No.5034, into a multi-purpose vehicle with double doors and an open saloon at one end, allowing wheelchair access. It is felt that of the four ex-travelling college Open Seconds, this was the one in the best structural condition, and so would be the one done in spite of it currently not having any interior at all. Half the coach will have 32 seats as per a normal TSO.
The trackwork has seen attention in the October Permanent Way "work-ins". As well as some work at Sheffield Park, the major alterations have been at Horsted Keynes. The point leading from 3-road into the dock has been removed. In the longer term the dock road will come off the carriage yard rather than a running line, which will be much more useful operationally. The point removed has become part of a crossover from No.1 road into the up-yard, in the reverse direction to the trackwork formerly known as "Middleton Junction", which had been secured out of operation since it acquired that name! This is all part of the long-term scheme to make Leamland Junction operational, and thus bring platform 1 into use as a through road.
25 October: Starlight Specials The magic of steam trains after dark 26 October: Giants of Steam Largest collection of BR standards: Classes 2, 4, 5 and 9 Also on 26th October: BASH Treasure Hunt. Starts 10am from Horsted Keynes field. 20 miles, approx. Explore the countryside around the Bluebell, and discover little known facts at the same time. Entry Fee: Cars 10 pounds each, bikes 3 pounds each. All money raised towards the restoration of the four Victorian Metropolitan Railway coaches. 27-31 October: Half term - daily running. 6-7, 13-14, 20-24 December: Santa Specials Booking now open. More details here. 26 Dec - 1 Jan: Daily running 14/15 February: Branch Line Weekend 14/15 March: 40th Anniversary of final closure Hopefully two visiting engines for this event.
Ardingly Trackbed purchase. Contracts were exchanged on 1st October to purchase all the trackbed from Horsted Keynes to Ardingly. The fund raising for this has reached £14,000, which, with the interest-free loan, leaves only another £6,000 required to cover the purchase, including legal costs.
BR Standard 4MT 4-6-0 No. 75027 passed its steam test last week. It has been back in the workshop for the finishing touches to the paintwork. I believe it will be making some test runs up the line next week. [It did, on Weds 15th - RS]. See photo.
LBSCR E4 "Birch Grove"
New smokebox and ashpan are virtually complete. Boiler work continues. Motion being cleaned. See photos and more detailed news.
LBSCR A1X "Stepney"
Now in works and the strip down has begun. See photo.
SER O1 No.65
In the works temporarily whilst the motion is taken down. See photo.
9F, C1, 592, 323, 96, 73082, 3 all running OK.
34023 "Blackmore Vale" and 3217 "Earl of Berkeley" should enter the works next week when 75027 is outshopped.
The SECR Hundred Seater No.971 is now nearly finished in the paint-shop, with just lettering, lining and varnishing to go, after its intermediate overhaul.
Bulleid Brake No.4279 is also now just waiting for the glass to be put back in the windows, a new roof canvas, and repaint before it is outshopped at the end of what has turned into nearly a year-long intermediate overhaul. Maunsell drop-light open third No.1336 is expected to replace it in the work area for a complete restoration from departmental condition. (photo)
LBSCR Bogie First should have the last of its external panels fixed this weekend. The second end is now complete as far as panelling and mouldings are concerned. Good progress is now being made on the manufacture and trimming of the seating.
Bulleid Open Third No.1482 is very nearly half way through its major overhaul, with half of the coach re-panelled, and the interior going back into place. The second half, however, includes the toilet end, which from past experience tends to be more demanding! The overhaul of the four Metropolitan Railway coaches has got to the stage where people are starting to ask whether they can have the first two in service next May. This may be a little ambitious, although not impossible. The first coach only requires the completion of its bogies, now that the wheelsets are back from Swindon where they have been re-tyred. The Brake coach is coming long well, with the external reconstruction of the Brake end nearly complete following the fitting of the last of the new roof timbers, and the installation of the end windows, returning the end to its pre-1906 condition. Green paint matched to a sample covered over by the 1906 conversion has been obtained for the lower half of the interior of the brake van, the upper half being cream.
The third of the Mets is the one in the worst condition, and this one has been stripped of its roof timbers, partitions, and all interior fittings. The remaining shell will be treated for dry-rot prevention, by a contractor who has volunteered his services free of charge. Work on the fourth coach is limited at present to mechanical work on the underframe, which is proceeding well.
In addition we won second prize in the timetable leaflet competition, only being beaten by the North Norfolk Railway, who admitted that their 1997 timetable had copied the style of our own 1996 timetable.
The Camelot Locomotive Society's "Footplate" took third prize in the journal (circulation of 500 and under) competition.
From a personal perspective, I must say that it was the prospect of receiving the quarterly "Bluebell News" magazine which initially caused me to join the BRPS, although it was only a year before I discovered how much more fun it was to actually get involved as a volunteer!
11 November: Restoration of Flying Scotsman - D Ward and R Kennington
9 December: AGM and Christmas slide quiz
4 November: A look back at steam - G Hatherill
2 December: AGM and members own slides
3 January: Lynton and Barnstaple Railway - P Gower
35027 Port Line. Following retubing to try to let it run for the remaining 9 months of its boiler certificate, Port Line unfortunately failed its hydraulic test with evidence of cracks in the combustion chamber tubeplate. So this will now have to go back into the queue for its full 10 year overhaul.
SECR H-Class No.263 Now due for annual boiler exam, and will probably be withdrawn. (Boiler work, valves etc)
LSWR B4 No.96. The broken spring has now been repaired and re-fitted. Back in service soon (probably in time for the gnats of steam event) !
SER O1 No.31065. Boiler and cab arrived last week. Boiler looks to be in good order.
Steam crane stokes bogie re-wheeled with the crane that unloaded 31065's boiler. Due to return to HK to be re-united with the crane 15/9/97.
LBSCR E4 No.473 Birch Grove. Boiler now laid onto its side. Work continues.
BR 4MT 4-6-0 No.75027. Work continues.
GWR "Dukedog" No.3217. Detailed examination of the piston valves started today (14/9). These are 8 inch diameter valves of the GWR type with a single broad ring and snap rings. One of the 8 snap rings is broken (I wonder if that's why they're called snap rings !), and this may explain why the loco was so weak before withdrawal. The valves are of the outside admission type, which is quite unusual.
C1, 92240, 592, 323 operational.
10.30 and 11.30 ex Sheffield Park will not run
10.47 and 11.47 ex Horsted Keynes will not run
11.23 and 12.23 ex Kingscote will not run
10.50 Vintage Bus ex East Grinstead will not run
11.50 Vintage Bus ex East Grinstead will run to Horsted Keynes to connect with the 12.47 service for Sheffield Park.
All subsequent services, including the vintage goods train, will operate as normal.
Loco is nearly complete. Some fittings still to replace, and Steve Czech is replacing the tender coal watering spray which was removed many years ago.
Boiler cladding all in place and in undercoat. Some sections of the running plate still to be fitted.
Return to steam in a few weeks. Will send an update when I have more precise news.
35027 Port Line
Retube almost complete (largely due to Southern Locos team). Hydraulic test due this week, and if this is OK then Port Line should also be a runner in a week or so.
473 Birch Grove
Lewis and the gang were making lots of noise on the boiler last weekend. All the side stays are now fitted, and some have been riveted over.
Lewis has a new www page with news on progress on Birch Grove.
The three SR Maunsell coaches are at last running together as a set, following some maintenance problems. This coming weekend, one set will be made up of an SR 4-wheel passenger brake van, two SR Bulleid coaches plus the three Maunsells. The other set will be the green Bulleid/Mark 1 set.
The GNR directors' saloon will be running for public use on Saturday 20th September. A first-class ticket is all that is required to travel in this 100-year-old vehicle. Click here for a photo (copyright Mike Esau) of the coach.
473, Birch Grove. Just about all the copper side stays have now been fitted by Lewis and the gang. This means its going to get noisy in the near future as they all have to be caulked in and riveted over.
75027 Boiler in the frames. Smokebox secured and being finally bolted down. Boiler cladding/insulation being fitted. Firebox done, barrel cladding sheets being rubbed down prior to fitting. Tender now in the works and being rubbed down ready for painting.
35027, Port Line Boiler inspector has inspected the boiler and is satisfied that it can be used up to the end of its boiler certificate. The re-tubing is due to start next week.
92240, 847, C1, 263, 592, 323 Bluebell, 3 Baxter
73082 is stopped for boiler work... a leaking rivet in the foundation ring (again).
96 Normandy. Not sure if this is a runner or not. It did have a broken spring.
Lewis Nodes has put some web pages up about his restoration team - they're currently working on Fenchurch and Birch Grove.
Latest news is that it is hoped to return Fenchurch to traffic more speedily than planned by fabricating a new top to the cylinder block. The casting of new cylinder blocks for both Stepney and Fenchurch will still proceed, but is expected to take some time.
The Maunsell Loco Society reports progress at a furious rate on the tender for the 2nd U-class, 1638. The frames are now being re-assembled, the new drag-box is coming on, and the brake reservoirs are being fitted. A contract has been placed for the manufacture of a tender tank, which will take place at Sheffield Park. The machining of the coupling rod forgings is set to go ahead, at a cost of around £30,000! This will complete the motion for the engine.
Work has started on the SER O1, and the tender tank has been freed from the frames, which are being needle-gunned. The general consensus is that it's in remarkable condition. Then again, it did have major works attention and a new boiler only a short while before withdrawal! I gather the boiler was due to arrive last week, but I've not had confirmation of this.
BASH has taken delivery of about 4-tons of teak lab benches from a demolished factory. This should be enough teak to see the project through to the end, although further quantities in thicknesses of more than 2 inches will still be useful. A dry-rot specialist is to treat the stripped out shell of Metropolitan composite 368, which was the one of the four Mets which was nearly scrapped in the seventies.
Full details and a map are on the extension page.
26-27 July - Steam Fair - Horsted Keynes Station
Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd August - STEAM TO COUNTRY
in the Grand Marquee, Horsted Keynes
Friday Evening: Line Dance with Kane & Co., plus D.D.Disco - Tickets £5 Stalls, Real Ale, Free Parking, Barbecue Overnight Camping: £3 per night Saturday Afternoon: The Dean Brothers, Medicine Bow, Hero's, Montana Western Dance Team Saturday Evening: Raymond Froggatt, Medicine Bow, Hero's, D.D.Disco 2000 sq.ft. dance floor On the Saturday from 11.00am to 11.00pm: Tickets £15 all day, Children Half Price; Free car parking at SHEFFIELD PARK; Take the steam train to Horsted Keynes Station and Picnic Site; No parking at Horsted Keynes on the Saturday; Trains run hourly from 11am to 11pm.Email Richard Salmon for leaflet and ticket booking form.
The other new carriage arrival is another Pullman, all-be-it a rather different one. In 1891 the South Eastern Railway assembled at Ashford Works six "Gilbert Cars" built at Troy, USA, to form the "Hastings Car Train". These six cars were rebuilt in 1896, and in fact were then advertised to the press as brand-new for the second time! The rebuilding included enclosing the vestibules at the ends of the coaches and the fitting of Gangway connectors, and the fitting Stones Electric Lighting, in place of the original accumulator system.
In 1919 the Pullman Car Company found itself committed to running new Pullman Trains on both the SECR and the GER. New vehicles under construction could cope with the GER traffic, but to service the new Boat Trains for the SECR the Pullman Company purchased the six "Hastings Cars" along with the contemporary "Folkestone Cars". All were rebuilt (in minor ways) and turned out in Pullman Lake Livery (not Umber and Cream) for the SECR services, and ran until the late 1920s.
I have not yet established which of the six cars it is which we have, but No.32 (later "Carmen") can be ruled out, having been destroyed as a result of the Sevenoaks derailment of 1927. The coach body has been part of a building, and has been cut in half. However, it is generally in excellent condition, still with 25-Tons Tare plates on both ends, and with much of the Marquetry panelling still present inside. It has been placed on an Ex-SR Maunsell underframe temporarily. It is believed that funding for its restoration may be provided/raised by the Bluebell Railway Trust.
Other Carriage News:
The final two embossed papered ceilings have been fitted to the LBSCR Bogie First. The repairs to the timber body-framing on the west side of Bulleid Brake 4279 are complete, and the steel sheeting and windows have been re-fixed. The structural repairs at the North end of Bulleid Open Third 1482 are complete, and half the coach is now re-sheeted.
SECR 100-seater 971 is in the Paint Shop. The windows are to be re-bedded with new bolection mouldings (outer window frames). The Roof canvas is to be replaced, and the inner roof is being restored to repair the damage caused by water penetration. At the same time the coach is being re-wired and the through lighting control finished. The coach is to be repainted in Maunsell lined olive, to match the other SECR coach and the three Maunsells.
LBSCR E4 No.473 "Birch Grove". The replacement copper stays have arrived at last. Lewis Nodes and the gang were busy fitting them last weekend.
BR 9F No.92240. Re-bore of the cylinders and valve chests completed. New piston valves cast, machined re-ringed and fitted. Old cast steel pistons built up with weld, machined, re-ringed and re-fitted.
All motion re-assembled.
Pony truck wheels back from Swindon, and re-fitted to the loco.
This means that there is not much work left to do on this loco before it can resume its place in the operating fleet.
96, 323, 263, 592, C1, 847, 73082 all operational.
Peter Richards writes:
Once again we are running a couple of football competitions to raise funds for the renovation of the Horsted Keynes signalling due to start later this year. Both are very easy.
Competition 1 is to predict the order in which the 20 Premier Division teams will finish the 1997/8 season and competition 2 is to predict the winners of the 1997/8 FA Cup.
The address for entries is: 10 Foxwarren Haywards Heath West Sussex RH16 1EN
The entry fee for the 1997/8 Competitions is still only £5 per competition so don't delay sending yours in. Anyone wishing to enter can obtain the rules and an entry form by sending a S.A.E. to the above address - please say you read about the competitions on the Internet. If you are not bothered about the rules then you can send your entries on a blank sheet of paper, signed and with a day-time telephone number please. If you enclose a S.A.E. a copy of the rues will be sent. Overseas entries are welcome, but we can only accept entry fees drawn on a UK bank.