Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Wednesday Gang

Readers of this blog could be forgiven for thinking that interesting things only happen on the GWSR at weekends.  This is of course far from the truth, it's just that being a humble wage slave, I can usually only get along to the railway at weekends.  This week, work had me more or less passing Toddington on Wednesday (well with only a minor detour) so I thought that I'd pop in for an hour or two and see what the Wednesday gang were up to. Besides, the Saturday crowd have been starting to complain that they seem to be the only ones who have to suffer the indignity of appearing on this blog and would like the misery spread further afield.  My apologies in advance, I didn't manage to catch everybody's names and there is a sporting chance I've got a few of those I did scribble down wrong too.

Things didn't get off to a good start, pretty much the first person that I bumped into when I got into the yard was Gilbert.  He was curious to find out what I was doing at Toddington midweek and when I told him that I was here to find out what the Wednesday gang got up to, his reply was "Very little".  Undeterred I ventured further into the yard, to be rewarded with the fine sight of 4270 basking out in the sunshine.
4270 catching some rays
I'm not sure which is rarer, 4270 appearing outside or the sun shining, either way I decided that I should investigate.  Ian Carpenter was keen to show me recent progress, not only were all the smokebox fittings now in place, but both injectors and associated pipework were now fitted too.  Access underneath to fit the injectors & pipes were why 4270 had been pulled out onto the pit.
Driver's side injector
There were still a few bolts to hold the smokebox in place that needed fitting, Ian machined up some new bolts whilst Bob removed several plates to gain access to the location where the bolts would need inserting.
Ian turning up the new smokebox securing bolts
Bob works on gaining access to where the bolts will be fitted
Later on, Paul turned up to fit a bracket to keep one of the injector pipes in place
Paul got slightly distracted and started chatting about camera lenses for a bit...
...but he soon got cracking on the job in hand.
Ian managed to get a bit side-tracked by several members of the 2807 group who needed a steam feed pipe to the condensing coil for the hydrostatic lubricator soldering up... apparently it had been leaking recently.
Ian gets distracted by Bruce & Geof with their steam feed pipe
In the background to the above shot, you'll notice the 8F.  She has been largely turned out in war dept guise in readiness for the Wartime in the Cotswolds event this weekend.  She now carries the WD smoke box number plate 348 and has had an air compressor & air tanks fitted above her running plate.  The LMS logo & number were still in place on Wednesday, but will have been replaced in time for the weekend with the appropriate WD items.  She will of course be reverting almost immediately back to her LMS guise after this coming weekend in anticipation of the Cotswold Steam Celebration 2013 at the end of May, so if you want to see her in her WD guise, then you'll have to be quick.  The weather forecast for the Wartime in the Cotswolds event is looking extremely good, so why not come along?
8F, with WD 348 smokebox number plate & air tanks
8F with air compressor
Outside I discovered Roger busy restocking the wood store.  I hadn't noticed that the wood store had opening doors at this end before.
Roger & friend replenishing the wood store
Meanwhile, over near platform one, Chris, Pete & Nigel are busy erecting some fence posts
Chris wields a sledge hammer, Pete looks apprehensive
Nigel turns out to be less trusting and employs a piece of wood
The new water tower stands next to this point and there are a few open manholes that needed covers manufacturing.
The new water tower
Two of the three exposed manholes
Neil, Tom & Tim in the process of fabricating the covers
The finished manhole covers in place
The weather being fine, more painting was taking place in various locations in the yard and even on the station:
Peter refreshes the white paint on the platform edges
Tim paints the coal dock gates
Chris & Peter measure up the mess coach for the cream part of the chocolate & cream primer
Chris applying cream primer
David also applying cream primer
In an act of selfless dedication to the task, Chris checked the chocolate primer against a large sample of chocolate biscuits just to make sure that the shade was correct.  You don't get such exacting standards on just any old railway you know.

Meanwhile sections of scrap rail were being cut up into suitable sizes to fit into the scrap skip.  Some of them would be temporarily pressed into service to weigh down some of the marquees which were being erected in the car park for the coming weekend.
John cuts up the rail
Peter, Mike, John & John working on breaking up the old rail
Ben is on holiday this week and is spending much of it working on the railway, here he is shifting the cut up rail
Finally, plenty of work was taking place on the restoration of the National Railway Museum's 4F, 44027
The rolling chassis of 44027 in the David Page shed.
Clive & Dave making up a lubrication pipe for 44027
Meanwhile, outside in the sunshine, work was taking place on the boiler of 44027:
The inverted boiler of 44027
Mike at work on the firebox tube plate
Kev at work on the lap seals
Enlarging some of the stay holes, once again I'm afraid that I don't know the names of the people involved

So if this really was Gilbert's idea of "Very little", I'd love to see Wednesday gang at work on a busy day.

Edit:  Subsequent to scribing this little lot yesterday, I've been informed (thanks John) that I managed to miss some of the most important events of the day.  Firstly, before I arrived, all the service locos had their grates/ashpans/smokeboxes thoroughly cleaned ready for the impending services on Friday/the weekend.  As somebody who has occasionally found themselves lighting up a loco at the weekend, it's always extremely nice to find that the grate is clear apart from the remains of a warming fire.  Secondly 2807 had been red-carded due to the defective steam feed pipe to the condensing coil for the hydrostatic lubricator, so the Wednesday gang had already stripped down the condensing coil pipework of 2807 in readiness for Ian Carpenter to re-solder the joint at one end.


  1. Good to see 44023 coming back to life. The NRM might want to know what has happened to 44027 though.... :)

  2. Well done anonymous, you spotted my deliberate mistake. I was just checking to make sure that you were all paying attention :-)

    1. Definitely! Great blog by the way so thank you for taking the time and effort putting it together.

  3. Cool blog dude, you get some great shots of the resto work :)mat

  4. I think Glibert may have said what he said tongue in cheek!!