Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Bricks & Trains 2017 / Ash the Master Signwriter

Now that one of the most important events in the GWSR calendar has finished (report to come soon) now is the time to fill you in on some of the older news that has been there in the background whilst important Gala announcements and updates were being made.

You may recall that a group of us were tasked with the job of painting the wheels destined for 3850 as they were due to go down to the South Devon Railway for machining.

The wheels loaded up ready to go down to the SDR
The wheels have now had their machining and Mark Young went along to capture the moment - the below photos show that the crankpins have been machined and quartered, thrust faces machined and the axle journals skimmed and polished. The tyres were re-profiled to P1 for the leading and trailing axles and P9 for the driving and intermediate driving.

Whilst we are on the subject of 3850's overhaul, if you would like to help the cause then you can do so by either becoming a member of Club 3850 or by Sponsoring a Part - every little helps they say, to get 3850 Steaming Back.

While some overhaul projects are underway, we are just putting the finishing touches to others.

Dinmore's New Tender (T2928) was looking fantastic after its final coat of black last month, and it has just had the BR cycling lion added to the sides of it by way of a waterslide transfer.

Applying the graphic...
(Photo by Mike Solloway)
...hard work but worth it
(Photo by Mike Solloway)
I'm sure you'll agree on how great it looks - if you visited over the weekend you will have seen Dinmore out and about with her new tender. I believe the old one is being overhauled now (but don't quote me on that one). 

The Starfish wagon was finished last month also. However as with most projects they are never really finished - there was just a final finishing touch left to complete - the task of painting the lettering on the sides.

As you can imagine it requires an extremely steady hand, plus basket loads of patience and commitment.

One side finished

Ashley Haines, 18, stepped up to the paint tin and undertook the task. This is the largest project of its kind that Ashley has taken on and I'm sure you'll agree that he is doing an absolutely first class job.

A steady hand is needed as Ash makes the curve on the C

Ashley first joined the railway around 6 years ago, joining the Youth Group and has since become involved in the DMUs and is now also being trained as a fireman in our own Steam Department.

The Starfish is diagram P14 wagon. P14s are easily distinguishable from other Starfish as they are the only starfish diagram with GW self contained buffers. They were built from 1911 to 1914 and comprised a total of 270 wagons.

There are seven P14s known in preservation - two at the Dean forest Railway, one at Pontypool and Blaenavon, one at Choseley & Wallingford, one at the Severn Valley and one at Tyseley along with 14111 at the GWSR. The GWSR also currently has three other Starfish wagons - one P2, a P15 and a P20. The P15 and P20 are seen regularly in the railways freight train.

14111 is a reasonably early example of a P14 dating from 1911 or 1912 and may be the earliest preserved example. 300 wagons were originally ordered but production was curtailed by WW1. The wagons were used by the railways construction department for the conveyance of ballast and spoil along with other construction related materials.

The Starfish in a previous life

It could have been supporting its own miniature ecosystem!

14111 was purchased by Mark Y and Ian C from the Dean Forest railway back in 2012 and it was in a pretty sorry state having part of the floor missing and had a tree growing up through it!

The floor had seen better days
After a brief spell at a private site where a lot of the rotten platework was removed and other parts stripped away it was moved to Toddington where restoration began in earnest by the GWSR volunteers culminating in its current state of near completion. It has been restored to as near to as built condition as possible, the only exception being a through vacuum pipe which will be installed to let it run in the GWSR freight train.

Photos to come in the next report, but the wagon was on display in the car park this weekend featuring a 10 1/4" model of a certain popular locomotive.

The 13th/14th May saw the GWSR hold its first 'Brick Event' - no, not an exhibition of builders merchants, more of a show for those that are fans of those little plastic building blocks whose name we cannot mention. A family event for everyone - kids, adults and big kids alike arrived over the weekend to gaze upon the amazing array of models on display.

It has to be said that the main attraction was 'Manchester Brickadilly' - a plastic brick-based replica of Manchester Piccadilly station, with around 11,000 clear blocks making up the two curved canopies alone. Its builder took nearly 7 hours to set up this work of art on the Friday evening.
The Flying Scotsman and a French TGV do what they do best

There was quite a variety of brick-based engines to be seen hurtling around the tracks...

My personal favourite - a Maersk container train

An LMS engine complete with coal wagons - note the 'coal', small round black bricks!

The Flying Scotsman passes Platform 3. Probably the closest we would ever get to seeing it at Toddington!
Spot the Henry on Platform 6 

A Virgin Pendolino makes its way around the outside of the track.
Its weight means it runs much slower and is more battery-heavy than the other examples

A view showing more platform detail
It didn't seem to matter how long you spent looking at it, there was always something else to catch your eye - the attention to detail was second to none.

Other exhibitors were also showing their sets both in the marquee and in the diesel shed - some more high-tech than others:

This train featured a fisheye video camera built into one of its cameras. The video feed was then presented on this screen for 'realistic' viewpoint
Others went for a different kind of realism, by naming their signal box Swindon Junction
 "Is this my train?"

For some it was just business as usual - he looks very happy to be going to work, I wonder what he does...?

The weekend was a success with some 50& more visitors at the GWSR than the equivalent weekend of the previous year. I believe it will be re-appearing on the calendar for 2018

In other news, Hayles Abbey Halt is as good as complete, and is due to open on 6th June 2018. You can find more information here. Gala visitor 1450 and autocoach 'Chaffinch' (or Chuffinch as I like to call it) is staying on for the occasion and running on both weekends either side, with a view to perhaps re-create the iconic Hugh Ballantyne image of loco 1424 in the same spot. It will be a request stop only and is only available on railcar or auto coach services.

What is going on in the coming week?

Now that the Gala is over it's time to look ahead and see what else there is to look forward to in the next few days:

Thursday June 1st 
Loco: 7903 Foremarke Hall

Saturday June 3rd 
RED TIMETABLE (with autocoach)
Locos: 7903 Foremarke Hall, 1450, 4270
Sunday June 4th 
RED TIMETABLE (with autocoach)
Locos: 7903 Foremarke Hall, 1450, 4270

Tuesday June 6th 
Loco: 2807

Wednesday June 7th
Loco: 2807

Thursday June 8th 
Loco: 2807

RED TIMETABLE (with autocoach)
Locos: 1450, 2807, 4270

Sunday June 11th Classic Vehicle Clubs Day
RED TIMETABLE (with autocoach)
Locos: 1450, 2807, 4270

That's all... for now. Stay tuned for the report of the 2017 Workhorses of Steam Gala!


  1. Hi,Donna!.I,was wondering if DinmoreManor's new tender,is the same one,that it ran with,when it was on the West Somerset Railway?.It was paired with a Collett style one then!.I,do remember seeing the real Flying Scotsman,at Toddington,when it visited the railway,back in the early 1990s!.It must have been '92,or '93!. Regards!. Anthony.

  2. Hi Donna,
    Any idea when Dinmore manor is off too the WSR??

    1. Hi John, Dinmore Manor is leaving us 7th June and she is rostered to start running on the 11th June, according to WSR's website.