Some few years ago a GNR Atlantic boiler came up for sale, and it was purchased with the aim of using it to build a Brighton Atlantic class locomotive at the Bluebell Railway. The magnitude of this task is such that no construction work has been attempted yet, nor is there yet a plan for this, but appopriate parts are being obtained whenever they become available.
These pictures show the boiler in store at Sheffield Park,
having been cleaned and painted (some years ago now),
and a chimney obtained.
Three wheelsets together with springs and parts of the cast axleboxes of an LBCSR C2X tender chassis arrived at Sheffield Park in two loads on 20 and 23 April 1999. These items have been purchased by the Brighton Atlantic Project which means that the tender can now be started, based on the LBSCR B4 chassis bought from the Manston group in 1995. This has only two wheelsets as it lost its centre axle when converted to a van and used as a test unit at St Leonards depot. The three C2X wheelsets are in good condition and will be used as a set on the rebuilt tender.
The tender wheelsets.
All the axles and tyres and almost brand new,
being stamped 1958 and 1959.
The C2X tender was based for some years at Guildford where it served as a water carrier No DS 70183 until being purchased by Woodham Brothers in about 1981. It was felt that some of the locomotives in the scrap yard would have a better chance of being sold if tenders were available, but in the event the C2X type was sold on its own to Madame Tussauds for the Royalty and Empire Exhibition at Windsor station, where it was made to look Great Western behind a dummy locomotive "The Queen". The axlebox castings were machined off and new GWR-type covers were cast to make it look authentic behind the loco.
This attraction closed some years ago and little had been heard until an article in Steam Railway indicated that the tender had been cut up as only the replica locomotive was needed in the new arrangement, believed to be a restaurant. Because it was not possible to extract the tender in one piece it had to be cut up, but at least the wheelsets were left intact and sold to scrap merchant in Uxbridge where they were traced by Roger Cruse of the Bulleid Society. We are grateful to Roger for his help in identifying where these items had gone. Following negotiations between the workshop staff at Sheffield Park and the scrap merchant, including a visit to Uxbridge by Ray Bellingham and Paul Thorp, our offer of £400 was accepted and the items are now on the railway.
The springs - a complete set in apparently good condition.
The main castings have been modified to look like GWR type,
by machining off a portion of the front face,
and the covers are made-up GWR style,
but the spring sockets are original.
The bronze bearings had been discarded when it was prepared for the replica locomotive.
The funds of the Atlantic Project are now in the red as no serious fundraising has been done in recent years due to a deliberate decision to keep it low profile until current projects have been finished. There was also quite a lot of criticism originally that the scheme would dilute funding of other activities on the Bluebell which deterred people from coming foreward to help. However, with similar rebuilds such as the Saint, A1, Clan, etc., now in progress the time has come to re-launch the Atlantic Project. Construction of the tender would not be too difficult as a chassis for No 1638 has just been completed and a brand new water tank has been made for O1 No 65.
For further information about the Brighton Atlantic Project contact Terry Cole at email@example.com.
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