Monday, 27 March 2017

A Quiet Week - Or Was It?

As we trundle through March, the weather is slowly getting better and more and more people are going out to see and enjoy what the Cotswolds has to offer - which meant the start-up of the first mid-week service of the year at the GWSR.

After being the Thunderbird engine over Race Week whilst 7903 and 35006 carried the race-goers, Dinmore Manor has been the engine of choice all week, working alongside the DMU on the Blue Timetable.

After the rush of the winter maintenance schedule and the races, it all seems rather quiet in the shed this week.

In fact you could say it is starting to look like the Broadway Canopy Works as long lengths of green steel are slowly spreading out across the shed like slow-growing lichen. It is going to be an impressive canopy when it is finished.

Inside the DP Shed Broadway Canopy Works at Toddington

In the machine shop, I found Neale busy drilling one of the many, many, holes need to allow for the fitting of rivets.

Neale drilling holes in sections of canopy

One hole down... the electromagnetic drill gets to work

Neale was happy to chat to me and furnished me with some interesting facts about this build:
  • There are around 3,500 holes to be drilled
  • Rivets used are either 3/4 inch or 5/8ths thick
  • 3 thicknesses of steel are used; 8mm, 10mm and 12mm
  • In various places, parts that require joining are 5 widths thick!
On the subject of Broadway, the share scheme reached a massive £1,200,000 over the last couple of days - and with 34 days left to run and £34,000 to go, will it make the target of £1,250,000?

Have you bought your shares yet?
Have you been putting it off? 
Well, maybe it's time to buy before it's too late!

Back to the locos. As mentioned, on the face of it, it's been fairly quiet - but, dig a little deeper beneath the surface and actually for one loco group here at the GWSR it's been a bit hectic.

2807 is going off to Didcot Railway Centre next month, for their '50 Years' gala from 14th April - 1st May, so the team from the Cotswold Steam Preservation Group have been working hard to get her up and together and looking tip top. On Wednesday it was a group effort to polish her up and at some point during the week she had had the front running board repainted:

2807 looking exceptionally shiny from the front
...and not looking too shabby from the sides either! Not bad for 112 years old
A clean footplate means a well looked-after engine
Meanwhile, one of her fire bars receives attention to remove some clinker 

If you would like to come and see 2807 before she goes and/or are interested in becoming a volunteer at the GWSR, 2807 will be on display during the Volunteer Recruitment Fair on 1st and 2nd April. 

The view in the shed almost resembled a museum of its own, with one viewpoint showcasing various eras of rail heritage.

Meanwhile work on Dinmore's tender is continuing - David and Kenneth have been tasked with the laborious job of sanding down the black paint ready for one more coat of black.

David and Kenneth (hiding) sanding down the paint on Dinmore's tender
Some of you may know that I have been working on some photography for the new guidebook ready for when Broadway opens - and on Saturday 25th March, finally the weather was perfect, beautiful blue skies with mare's tail clouds. It was a good opportunity to get some shots of Dinmore Manor in action as well.

7820 approaching Winchcombe

Dinmore steaming up to Platform 2, Winchcombe

Dinmore makes her way to the front of the
carriages to haul the lunchtime train out of Toddington
The sunshine brings out the best in everyone and everything - and today was no exception. Dinmore looks lovely in black with her red and brass contrasting colours anyway, but on a day like today, with the sun glinting off the brass features, it really was a sight to behold. It is a testament to the cleaners who have spent their valuable time to volunteer and get this loco - and the rest of the fleet - looking like a million pounds. 
Beautifully polished nameplate glinting in the sun
Basking in the sun - one stunning loco
Wowing the crowds on Platform 1
Everything disappears in a haze of steam
Not quite full steam ahead... but impressive nonetheless!

John at the helm handbrake

And with a loud whistle, off to Winchcombe she goes with 7 carriages

But, there is no rest for the wicked as they say - normally after 3 trips it's time to dispose of the locos and tuck them up in the shed with a cup of cocoa and a bedtime story (one about a certain blue engine, of course). Not today, though. Dinmore Manor gets to stay out late tonight and haul the Volunteer Special Fish and Chip train.

The Black Manor simmers at Toddington

This particular Fish and Chip special was a token of appreciation for the volunteers of the railway. However, with some 850 working volunteers across the railway in various departments, it wasn't possible to take every single one. So, spaces on the train were on a first-come first-served basis, limited to 150 volunteers.

Fairly busy, even at 6:20pm
Volunteers trickled in for a 7pm departure

Steam rising from the carriages
As the light started to fade, the carriages began filling up, ready for a twilight trip to Cheltenham, where fish and chips would be served and enjoyed by all. Unless of course, you don't like fish, then perhaps you might have a sausage instead!

Volunteers awaiting the off and having a merry time
Many drinks of various kinds were consumed!

Finally, Dinmore Manor is out for a Volunteers Special Fire & Drive later in the week, which yours truly is going to be a part of. Very exciting!

If you (or someone you know) would like to wield a fireman's shovel or get your hands on the regulator at the GWSR, you can find out more information here. But, be quick - 2017 Footplate Experiences are selling out fast with only September and October left!


  1. That was not steam rising from the steam heat - that was from the fish and chips!! Regards, Paul.

  2. Hi,Donna!.An Excellent blog!.Yes there's certainly been a lot of thought,gone into the design of the Broadway canopy(And the station building!),to get it as close as possible,to the GWR,Edwardian design!.I,saw,on the home page,that the share issue total now,is £1,226,000.So,with another month to go,it should reach the target!.And yes!.I've bought my shares!. Anthony.