Monday, 5 May 2014

A Pair of Churchward's Finest

First off, a bit of housekeeping.  I checked the newly installed cleaning rag bin when I arrived at Toddington on Sunday.  An old pair of decorating overalls that I had left in it last week had gone and something else had arrived.  I took that to be evidence that it was being used and that some kind soul was inspecting it and moving newly arrived rags into the oil store ready for use.  Thank you to all involved.  We are still very short of rags, so please do keep on bringing along any suitable rags that you can donate.  As I was reminded last  week, please don't bring along anything made of man made fibres as they are of little use in either cleaning locos or for lighting up.
Cleaning rag collection bin, at the entrance to the yard at Toddington
 I mentioned a few weeks ago that it was hoped that we could lay on a free bus service from Network Rail's Cheltenham Spa Railway Station to the GWSR's Cheltenham Race Course Station during the Back to Black steam gala on May 24th to 26th.  Well as you may have seen on our official website, thanks to the generosity of Crosville Motor Services, that will be happening.  I note that they will be using a Bristol Lodekka with an open platform at the rear.  It brings back happy memories for me of commuting to and from school.  I won't say how many years ago that was, but as I'm only 21, it clearly can't have been too long.

I was amused to discover from the first of those four links above that the steam gala committee is "small but perfectly-formed".  This caused no small amount of mirth when I pointed this fact out to some friends.

Sunday morning was a busy one, with three locos required to be in steam as we had a lunch time dining train running too.  I was down for cleaning 5542, which is always a great cleaning turn as there is much less of her to have to clean.  One of the mainline train operating companies thought that they might try to get some free advertising and woo our passengers elsewhere:
It caused Andy to burst into song
Neil oiling up 5542, Mr Branson's balloon looks like it's just emerged from the chimney
 Somehow I don't see any Pendolinos operating on our line in the near future.

Eventually, they were off shed and then at 10:00 departing with the first train of the day to Cheltenham Race Course.
Dinmore Manor looks on as 5542 sets off
I have spies in many camps.  Not long before 5542 set off, her fireman was caught napping by Philip Moore who was the train's guard:
Philip thought that Andy was taking the 'Not to be Moved' board a little too literally
The last of our trio of locomotives out yesterday was the 8F, which hauled the lunchtime dining train:
The 8F, being cleaned by Aaron and Pete prior to departure
Things have been happening in the David Page shed.  For a start, some steel reinforcing has been put in place at the ends of roads 8 and 9 for the planned concrete floor installation:
Can't be too much longer before it's ready for the first pour of concrete
My spy in the 35006 camp had let me know that the last wheel on the drivers side had now been repainted and also that Jon would be around on Sunday to start putting the top coat on the tender.  Jon referred to it as the "Sexy coat". I decided that it would be safest not to ask any questions as to why that might be the case.
One of the repainted driving wheels and a couple of other unidentified newly painted items
Jon putting on the "Sexy coat".
First of several top sexy coats applied
Meanwhile, over in the mess coach, George had found a couple of mirrors that Tina had left lying around with a note asking for some kind soul to install them in the washroom.  George decided that he was that kind soul and fitted them to the wall where Tina had asked. 
Mirror mirror on the wall.....
 Now that Dinmore Manor is in traffic and settling in, attention is turning towards getting 4270 in running order:
Steve gives the undercoat (presumably non-sexy) a light rubbing down
I joined Steve for a while rubbing down 4270's side tanks with a fine grade wet and dry paper in readiness for final painting.  She has been booked into the nice shiny new paint shop at Carriage & Wagon for the final painting to take place.

The driver's side piston valve cover had been removed to allow Ian to measure the valve timing.  Pete took the cover away to remove any surface rust and then repaint it.
Pete removing rust from the piston valve cover
Neatly repainted
 The piston valve cover is a fairly weighty lump of cast iron, and probably better transported around using some sort of mechanical aid.  Pete managed to select one of our wheelbarrows with a flat tyre for the purpose, which didn't help.
Fetching it back for fitting
To be fair, most of our wheelbarrows have flat tyres, he'd have had a job to find one that still works as it should.

Ian had taken measurements and determined that 25 thousandths of an inch needed to be machined off of the eccentric rods on the drivers side to get the valve timing set correctly.  I found myself helping out with the removal and refitting of the eccentric rods:
Removing one of the eccentric rods...
...and refitted again after milling
 That particular eccentric rod had lost some paint during some work that happened the day before, so I sanded it back and re-primed it again.
Non-sexy coat paint applied
 The other eccentric rod from the driver's side was by now over in the machine shop and being milled:
25 thou being slowly shaved off
Finally, both were back in place and looking good.
Whilst I was under 4270, painting the eccentric rod, I was visited by Matt Willis, one of our station porters. It was Matt who took the excellent footage of the Spitfire that appeared on last week's blog after the wartime weekend.  Matt is busy working on setting up a video channel on Youtube of footage that he has taken on the GWSR.  The video that he took on Sunday can be found on this new official GWSR youtube account and will be regularly updated with further videos as time goes on.  This news will no doubt strike terror into the hearts of our volunteers, who will no longer just have me and my camera to avoid, but also Matt as well.  I haven't worked out how I'm going to avoid Matt myself yet, I can't spend all day hiding under 4270!

Well, as you'll have guessed, 4270 is the first of the 'pair of Churchward's Finest' referred to in the title of this post, the second is not 2807 which is sadly not yet back with us from her repairs at Tyseley, but 2874.  We started work on dismantling her today:
Steve separating the superheater header from the boiler
Fetching it out with a block and tackle
Pete & Ian dropping it down on the running plate
Pete and I also made a start on removing the smoke box stays:
Not been disturbed in the last 50 years at least
Pete applied a little heat, I got them turning with a socket
Good news for Pete, he will be starting practical firing training in June, he's very much looking forward to it.

We only managed to get one smoke box stay completely off, the other is most of the way there.  On a OO gauge model, the smoke box stays are very fragile bits of plastic.  In real life, they are extremely substantial lumps of cast iron and weigh a not inconsiderable amount.  I carried it a short distance towards the DMLL container before spotting this trolley on which I transported it the remainder of the way.  Needless to say one of the tyres was flat. 
Smoke box stay on the trolley, back tyre flat as a pancake
And finally, as I was leaving, Steve spotted that his fireman on Dinmore Manor had left her shovel behind. The rather nice BR (S) shovel is now squirreled away in the boot of my car and will be returned to her on Saturday.... just as long as she brings cake, or at least chocolate biscuits with her to negotiate its safe return with.


  1. Nice to see 2874 getting some attention, will the 2874 blog start having things written on it, or has it been forgotten about? would be brilliant to have a Barry restoration documented from start to end on blog posts. With 4270 coming to an end, will the people restoring her regularly help with 2874, or will it just be the DMLL guys. Then there are all the people who will be sitting on their hands once 35006 is done too. I seem to remember talk a while ago that the various groups working on locos nearing restoration would go and help other loco groups on the railway once theirs were done, which is which, as those two groups could now go and help 2874, 44901 (when it arrives - or has it!?) and/or 4027 (which itself isn't a million miles away). Certainly looking very bright for all the restoration projects on the railway at the moment though (apart from the one in the headshunt!)

    1. Hi Alex,

      I'm sure that the 2874 blog will get an update at some point, but that's not one that I'm responsible for. I doubt that it will be solely DMLL people who work on her, none of the people involved on Sunday are members of DMLL as far as I know. 44901 is still at Wishaw. The 44901 group will have a stand in the marquee at the gala and should be able to provide more information. 4027 is making some progress in the David Page shed. I'm not up to speed on a current projected timescale for her completion.

  2. I'm sure as soon as anything on 2874 comes up, Ray and myself will let ya know!


  3. Thanks for the blog Ray, it makes an enjoyable and informative read each week. Do you have any information on what the future might be for 76077 which as Alex mentions is currently languishing in the headshunt?

    1. Hi Geoff,

      76077 is indeed currently languishing in the north headshunt. I've never knowingly met its owner to discuss what the plans are for it. It would be an ideal sized loco for our line though, and it would be good to see it running on the GWSR.

    2. Hi Ray,
      Thanks for reply. It would be a perfect locomotive for GWSR (or most other preserved lines) so it is a shame to see it as it is. However, at least we have 4270 and 35006 close to being unleashed again with 44027 to follow (among others) so the future is pretty rosy.

  4. Good to see everything progressing, thanks to the guys for their kind help yesterday in letting me photograph 2874 for a small fund-raising project I am working on for her thanks again David Holmes