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Operation Undercover Phase 4
Lots of progress on the OP4 shed at Horsted Keynes over the last month is reported in several Infrastructure News updates, thanks to Jon Goff and Bruce Healey. See also photos below
14 August 2017 with thanks to Jon Goff.
Following excavation and levelling last week, work on the tramway being installed adjacent to the maintenance road in OP4 moved on today with the laying out of the track. It was also coupled up and straightened out. The first picture below shows a lot of jacks in place to bring it up to the correct height and to get it level.
The remainder of this week will be spent getting it exactly level and packing under the sleepers so that the jacks can be removed. A lot of shuttering has to be made up to produce a three inch flangeway inside the running edge, putting in drainage from the flangeway to the installed drainage system as any water used for cleaning will invariably end up in the flangeway. It will then all be concreted in. Notice the low blockwork wall to the right which will act as the east side shuttering and also form a good base for the curtain wall when it is installed.
The rails used came from the pile of second hand flat bottom short sections used for temporary short panels through the cutting when laying the extension. They are too short and in too poor a condition for use on our running line, but fine for track to accommodate bogies etc during maintenance. The sleepers (47 of them) are just about our entire stock of thin concrete sleepers, old and second hand and a good way of using up the odds and ends without spending money. As the rails were odd sizes that were going to be cut down (but didn't get cut) we ended up with a final length of 31.296 m or 102' 8". Hopefully the tramway will be useable next week.
|Tram track in maintenance area
|F and G roads in OP4
In the background of the tram-track photo are the North ends of F and G road within the shed. In the second photo the South ends of F road can be seen to need about 40' of track and G road about 50' to reach the end of the shed. Since the last report the rails in these two roads have been drilled and fish-plated up. It will probably be after the next track relaying on our main line before further track-laying happens in the shed. The aim however remains to get carriages under cover for this winter.
8 August 2017
Today the first track was laid in the Horsted Keynes OP4 carriage shed. Using some of track recovered from Freshfield Bank in June, a start has been made on F and G roads. The panels are not yet drilled and fishplated and there is of course ballasting to be done for roads H and J. As we have not used all of the recovered track, more will be laid in OP4 this week.
Work on the points to connect to OP4 continues alongside the Ardingly spur although we are still awaiting delivery of some parts.
Two further photos, below, were taken earlier in the day by OP4 Project Manager Barry Luck.
10 May 2017
The two photos below from Bruce Healey show work underway on Operation Undercover Phase 4, where the gap around the raised section of roof has been being filled in, and second-hand ballast laid. There are more photos on the Infrastructure News page.
23 August 2016
Phase 1 of the project is now virtually complete, thanks to the generousity of so many people. We have the money to complete that work, and some to start the next phase, but are still urgently seeking funds to enable us to push on with work to make the maintenance area fit for purpose.
Derek Hayward's photo shows drainage work in progress as of 13 August; work which is being carried out by volunteers.
August 2016 News Bulletin issued by the Project Steering Group is intended to keep all interested parties up to date with project progress. It is provided as a pdf - you may need to download the file to disk and open outside your browser.
To read the PDF you need Acrobat Reader. If you don't already have it installed you can download it free of charge from Adobe.
After a slow start to the foundations due to the appalling weather earlier in the year, we now have the steel structure up and roof over the maintenance pit and jacks. The first section of steel structure was also erected at the North end of the 4-road storage shed, just in time to be viewed by public and shareholders alike, as part of tours of the C&W during the Shareholders' Weekend. It is hoped that the next month or two (weather permitting) will see the completion of stage 1 of the project, for which funds were received from huge numbers of very generous donors in response to the 'Cash for Cover' fundraising campaign, after which second-hand track can start to be laid into the building to get the first carriages under cover.
The Rolling Stock Sub-committee is considering what carriages can be accommodated, and how to evaluate criteria to select the few which can't be accommodated. It will probably be possible to fit 22 or 23 carriages in the storage shed, so it looks as though only 4 or 5 pre-nationalisation carriages will be left outside under tarpaulins; they could be ones which are already so far gone that further deterioration will make little difference, or ones in very good condition, which will deteriorate very little under a tarpaulin, since there is no rot present.
Dave Clarke's three photos here show progress as of 3 April 2016. The section constructed so far is the roof over the maintenance road ("E-road"). The photos below show the junction between the two different roof heights - the higher section over the pit and lifting jacks, already constructed, and the section remaining to be built, with a lower roof, which will extend a further 100 feet southwards.
The project is now known around the railway under the contracted title "OP4". The next stage of the project, for which funds are currently being raised, is to add some of the walls around the maintenance area, including firewalls to separate it from the storage area, and to finish the Heritage Skills Centre, the two-storey range of buildings along the eastern edge of the shed, which will include a training room, meeting room, varnish shop and trim shop, as well as toilets, showers, an office and storage for moquette and vehicle records. The roof and steel frame for the skills centre is included in the part already funded and under construction.
24 January 2015
This project is now formally underway thanks to the generousity of so many people last year.
News Bulletin No.1 - the first in a series of News Bulletins, which will be issued by the Project Steering Group to keep all interested parties up to date with project progress, is now available as a pdf - you may need to download the file to disk and open outside your browser.
See report on the Infrastructure News pages.
The Bluebell Railway is justifiably renowned for its fantastic collection of vintage carriages. We still have over 20 pre-nationalisation carriages stored in the open - to conserve them for the future it is vital to get them under cover as soon as possible.
The project is explained in Nicholas Owen's Video for Cash for Cover.
The Cash For Cover Appeal is to raise money to make a substantial start on the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed Extension, by constructing the shell and roof of the building. The overall project is known as Operation Undercover Phase 4.
Some generous benefactors have promised matching funding for the first £125,000 donated to this project, but only if the donations are made by mid-November so the Double Donations Dash DDD125 will run until this date. Thus donations of £100, if eligible for Gift Aid, will be worth £225 to the project!
The aim is to put up the supports and the roof over four proposed roads and the current maintenance road. You can see here an artist's impression (thanks to Matthew Cousins) of how it will look; the building to the left is the existing Carriage Works. If the target of £125,000 is raised by mid-November, with the match funding of £125,000 promised, we will have sufficient to put up the shed structure and half the roof, and cover 10 carriages. You can read more about the ten carriages which we'd prioritise below. Constuction work would commence in 2015.
If by the time construction starts we have raised an additional £100,000 (so reaching the £350,000 target) then we can complete the roof and thus provide cover for 20 carriages, meaning that virtually all of the pre-nationalisation coaches on the Bluebell can be placed under cover.
That will not complete the project, of course, since we eventually will need to build a component store, office, trim shop, add walls and roller-shutter doors to complete the project, but this will be a tremendous start. The drawing at the top of this page, also by Matthew Cousins, shows how the finished shed, for which we have already secured full planning permission, will look.
There is a long way to go to reach our target. Any donation, small or large, will be very welcome.
Please Donate to the appeal.
Priority carriages for first phase:
Priority in selecting the first ten carriages to benefit from covered accommodation is broadly given to those which:
* are complete (as opposed to vehicles gutted internally for other uses)
* are likely to deteriorate whilst stored under a tarpaulin
* form part of a current project for enhancing current carriage sets
* are favoured by the society membership
Vehicles due to be overhauled in the next few years are not included.
The list is, in no particular order of preference:
6575 (Maunsell brake/composite)
One of Bluebell's first carriages, and was operational until recently. It is planned to be overhauled in the medium term to provide a second brake vehicle for the Maunsell train.
5644 (Maunsell composite)
This carriage is also planned to be overhauled for the Maunsell train. Although this vehicle has much of its interior missing, it is an important part of the Maunsell train, and is suffering damage from open storage.
1481 (Bulleid open third)
This carriage is complete, and was in operation for many years. As a 64-seater it is commercially valuable for its carrying capacity in the Bulleid/BR sets.
4279 (Bulleid brake/third)
Only recently taken out of service, and hence a complete vehicle, this type is valuable for having 48 seats in a brake vehicle.
1050 (SECR/SR non-corridor composite)
This vehicle is complete, but has not run in service since the early 1970s, and has recently suffering damage owing to the loss of its tarpaulin during stormy weather. Of the non-corridor bogie vehicles waiting to be overhauled this one is in the best condition, so is planned to be the next of that type to be overhauled following 971.
1061 (SECR short Birdcage brake/third)
This ran in service until the mid 1970s, and is complete. Its overhaul with 1050 would allow a 3-car Birdcage set to be made up.
1170 (SECR long Birdcage brake/third)
Although this has not run in Bluebell service and is gutted internally, the vehicle structure is sound and, for a brake vehicle, has high seating capacity.
60 (LBSCR Directors' saloon)
The "Brighton Saloon" was operated for several years in the early Bluebell time, but has been stored for many years awaiting a suitable opportunity to undertake its overhaul. As a structurally good vehicle with a fancy interior it will benefit from proper undercover storage.
157 (Pullman brake/third "Car No 54")
This vehicle is structurally sound, but came to Bluebell in a dismantled state. It is a key part of the future development of the Pullman train.
172 (SER first saloon)
This vehicle will be a part of the SECR 4/6-wheelers train, as the only vehicle providing first class accommodation. As a first class vehicle it has interior decoration which is more susceptible to damage from open storage than third class vehicles.
And as 172 is a short vehicle we can add another short one:
25 (LSWR first saloon) - This needs undercover storage for the same reason as 172.
That this list does not include some of the Bluebell's other important carriages, such as Constance, 320 and 1365 is simply an indication of how important it is that we work to raise sufficient money to get a roof over 20 carriages, rather than just 10!
A start has been made clearing the site at the North end of the proposed main shed (photo on the right from John Sandys).
Derek Hayward's photos below show the start that has been made on the foundations for the building, with work also required on drainage and services for the existing building. This is being funded from earlier fund-raising within the Carriage & Wagon department, and secures the planning permission we obtained for the project 3 years ago.
Outline of the plans for Phase 4, for which Planning Permission has now been granted.
Background information about covered accommodation for our rolling stock is available here.