The photo on the right, thanks to Jon Bowers, shows the repainted War Department "USA" shunter at the recent 1940s' weekend.
The "Don't Mention the War" event, as it became known around the railway, was a fantastic success. Photos a-plenty elsewhere on the web site from Jon Horrocks and Jon Bowers.
The Country Music weekend was the best ever, with Lindisfarne drawing a capacity crowd on the Saturday, and the Yetties again proving a solid attraction, even though moved to the Sunday evening. The Bluebell Railway Band and troupes of Morris Dancers kept the theme going over the whole weekend.
Last weekend's Collectors' Fair seemed to go off with its usual sense of "Busyness", and a stall in the Carriage Works on the Sunday raised a considerable amount for Operation Undercover thanks to selling old model railway and other items donated by members of the C&W department, together with some surplus metal signal arms which would otherwise have gone in the skip!
"A Day Out with Thomas" events again drew record crowds, just a few up on last year. Thomas and Percy behaved themselves better this year, although Percy scared "Blackmoor Vale" to the extent that she missed half a day. Other than that, we had ten locos in steam and running about all the time over the two weekends, and a good time was had by all.
Photos: Left Thomas runs round to take the 6:00 pm `Thomas' Bedtime Train on 20th June 2003 (Les Anstey)
Right Young visitors admire Thomas and the Standard Tank at Kingscote (David Harp).
This weekend sees the Emergency Services Weekend, with displays of emergency vehicles old and new, with a Classic American Car Show at Sheffield Park, and a live band on the Saturday evening.
We are already looking forward to October's Giants of Steam, with the prospect of the NRM's "Green Arrow" to add to the re-naming of "Blackmoor Vale" into its one-time alter-ego as "O.V.S.Bulleid"
GWR Dukedog No.3217 has passed its steam test, and is rapidly coming back together. There is talk of whether the most appropriate launch event for the loco might be Branch-line weekend next year.
The U-class now has a full set of motion erected, and the boiler is also now in the works along with the chassis. Stowe's almost new tender comes on splendidly, and re-wheeling is keenly anticipated.
Baxter is coming on more slowly. Stuart Marks has finished grinding flat the rear hornplates, allowing Derek Barlow to start machining the new axleboxes. Many parts have been overhauled and painted. The last of the old stays have been drilled out where the bottom of the throatplate has been cut away, but there is still quite a bit to do on the boiler. The bunker floor repairs have been completed.
"Camelot" has passed its annual boiler exam, and is thus available for at least an extra 12 months beyond what had been expected, thanks to a change in the "10 year" boiler insurance rules, going back to the old system of 10 years from first steaming rather than "first boiler test" which had been in force for a few years. However, another potential defect with the loco is being watched carefully, so it's definitely on borrowed time.
"Birch Grove" has arrived on the Isle of Wight for its summer holiday, as is seen in the photo by Genea Corney, courtesy of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, and will also visit the Mid Hants on its way back in the Autumn. It only took Birch Grove half an hour on the frequent ferry from Portsmouth, which shows that the island is closer than many think. With its services operated entirely by pre-grouping rolling stock, Birch Grove fits in perfectly, and is there to help out with the heavy summer trains. Birch Grove will begin her duties on the IW Steam Railway on 29th July and will be in action at the August Bank Holiday Steam Show and on many other days as well.
CARRIAGE & WAGON NEWS
The pages for the Carriage & Wagon Works News with Photos have been updated recently, and include much more detail on this topic.
The main news is that the Mk.1 TSO which has had a major structural overhaul in the last six months made it into service, fully painted, just in time for the first "Day out with Thomas". LBSCR 661 looks stunning now its painted and lined and lettered, although it's still several months from completion. The fourth Met coach now has a roof, and mouldings are going on the outside.
Pullman Car No.54 has entered the works for an assessment of its condition, with a view to placing a contract for overhauling either it or Car 64. This will not be cheap, so we wait to see if the railway decides it can afford to do this. The photo shows the coach in the works for this assessment.
The GNR Directors' Saloon has headed north today to represent the Bluebell at "The Plant 150" event at Doncaster this weekend. It will be in pride of place at the head of a rake of teak carriages behind the GNR Stirling Single loco.
The track bed is being prepared northwards from Kingscote for track laying. Ballast has been arriving in large quantities, and is stockpiled at Horsted Keynes, West Hoathly, and Kingscote. The S&T have been progressing with trenches for signals, and Kingscote gang have done more fencing. The following photos from Jon Bowers summarise recent progress north of Kingscote.
The photos show: 1. The trackbed north from the buffer stops; the line of yellow painted marking posts on the west-side provide references for the new track geometry;
2. Looking North round the curve at Turners Hill Road Bridge, where we only own half the width of the double-track formation;
3. Looking towards the tip from the cattle-creep. This might become an occupation/farm crossing, although it may not actually be required in the longer term;
4. Looking south from the top of the cutting, roughly at the site of the former trout farm dam. Ash Lea farm is just out of site on the right.
Towards East Grinstead the main extension gang are preparing for the last of the refurbishment work on the viaduct, which will involve stripping the infill from above the arches to sort out the drainage.
Resolutions at the forthcoming Bluebell Railway plc AGM should put in place the structure required for us to become formally a "Not for profit" organisation, and so clear the way for applying for Heritage Lottery Fund grants for many projects, starting with the Woodpax building.
Brian, who was to a large extent the driving force behind setting up a pattern shop at SP, passed away recently. He made the wheel pattern for Fenchurch and (with help from others) the pattern for the new Terrier cylinders. We now have two cylinder castings for one side and the pattern has been changed to make the other side and gone back to the foundry. Our condolences to his family.
LNER V2 2-6-2 No.60800 "Green Arrow" was there, again visiting from the National Railway Museum. Unlike the Stirling Single above, "Green Arrow" is in full working order, and will be visiting the Bluebell for our October 25 - 26 "Giants of Steam" gala weekend.
Football Competition A quick reminder that with just over 2 weeks to go until the new football season starts, you haven't got that long left to enter this years competition, which is raising funds for Operation Undercover. Full details of the simple-to-enter competition are available here.
This follows a two-month stay on the Isle of Wight steam railway. Two photographic reports are available: 4th
August and 1st
September on the Isle of Wight web site.
A catch point, removed by the volunteer P-way gang from the yard at Horsted Keynes (after being rendered surplus by last year's changes to the shed/paint-shop), has been installed at the north end at Kingscote, such that the extension work site becomes an engineer's siding for the duration of the construction work. Please note that due to the nature of the work in hand, the trackbed is classed as a construction site and is out of bounds to visitors and society members alike.
The thieves removed the clock mechanisms and faces from their oak cases, which is strange as their value is considerably reduced by so doing. The clock faces and mechanisms are stamped with the numbers 166B and 652B. Anyone with information should contact the Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Clock 652B was supplied new to Horsted Keynes station by
Grimshaw and Baxter in 1889 at a cost of £12. The clock face that was
was stolen is not the original.
To commemorate the birthday of the locomotive's designer, the Bulleid Society has renamed 21C123 as "O.V.S. Bulleid", who was born on 19th September 1882. This name will be carried by the locomotive each year from 19th September until the end of October.
In 1963, the Assistant Works Manager at Eastleigh chose 34023 "Blackmoor Vale" when he paid his own tribute to the Southern's last CME. He attached a wooden pattern West Country nameplate "O.V. Bulleid" to one side to make a photographic record.
Further details of the Giants of Steam event, featuring visiting engine "Green Arrow", to be held over the weekend of October 25 - 26 are to be found here
The loco is likely to be a popular choice on our Vintage Branch-line trains, which feature on more days in the 2004 timetable then they have done previously.
They are available in £5 denominations, and can be used in the shop, for Pullman bookings, in the buffet, for membership subscriptions or for travel tickets.
They are available from all Bluebell Railway Booking Offices or by telephone/post
Customer Services, The General Office
Sheffield Park Station
East Sussex TN22 3QL
Telephone 01825 720813
Booking forms are available along with full details on the Santa Special web page.
Secondly, largely the same team have been responsible for the recovery of the body of London Chatham and Dover brake second No.51, as seen on the right, in this photo from Malcolm Saker. There is a complete web page covering details of the carriage and its recovery.
During the Carriage and Wagon working week, the seats and other items stored in 1924-rebuilt SER/SECR/SR carriage 5546 (often known by its later number, as No.1050) were removed to new homes. This revealed a carriage in really quite good condition, and, we hope, capable of a fairly rapid overhaul. This project will follow on from the last of the four Metropolitan carriages, which the BASH team hope will be completed in the spring.
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