Tuesday, 26 February 2019

The Second Gala Visiting Loco is Announced

Having recently announced that our first gala visitor will be Collett, 4-6-0, 6023, King Edward II, we are now in a position to say that our second confirmed gala visitor is McIntosh, 0-4-4T, 419.  419 was one of 92 members of the Celedonian Railway's 439 class. 
419 at Bo'ness on the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway
 Production of the class spanned from 1900 until 1925, with 419 being built at St Rollox works, Glasgow in 1907.
419 at a recent 30742 charters event on the Churnet Valley Railway
 The wide range of production dates, means that although most were built by the Caledonian Railway, the last few of the class were built post-grouping by the newly formed LMS
419 at Consall, reflecting in the Caldon canal
The class were built for branch line work, suburban duties and banking.   
419 at Kinglsey & Froghall
 She is currently in Caledonian Railway blue livery and numbered 419.  During her LMS days, she was renumbered to 15189 and subsequently to 55189 in BR ownership.  Today, she is the sole survivor of her class.
419 reflecting in the river Churnet
 419 has only just returned to traffic in October 2018 after a heavy general overhaul lasting 9 years.
Somewhere in the vicinity of Cherry Eye bridge
Over the gala period, we will be operating four passenger rakes, two of 8 carriages and a couple of shorter rakes of five (or possibly a 4 and a 6).  419 will operate on one of the shorter rakes.
Unseasonal February sunshine
419's early period of service is not known, but by WWI, she was based at Polmadie in Glasgow to work suburban trains out of Glasgow Central station.
Perhaps the ford was a little too deep to be negotiated on this occasion
Later she was transferred to Lockerbie from where she would have worked passenger trains to Dumfries.  By 1952, she was back at Glasgow, though more for empty coaching stock manoeuvres than pulling suburban passenger trains.
419 in silhouette
It's hard to tell from the above photo, but there is a Westinghouse air pump fitted just forward of the cab on the fireman's (right hand) side of the cab.  Initially when built by the Caledonian Railway she was only air braked, a vacuum brake system not being fitted until LMS ownership.
Under the branches of an oak tree
419's last duties were as station pilot at Carstairs from where she was withdrawn in December 1962
She was purchased from BR for the princely sum of £750.
419 is the flagship locomotive of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society which saved her directly from BR in 1964. 

There is no doubting her heritage or where she was born
Caledonian Railway 419
419 comes to us by kind permission of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society.

I believe that advance tickets are already or at least will be shortly available on the GWSR website. The gala itself will be subtitled "Northern Soul".  Make of that what you will, but many will see it as a hint regarding the heritage of the third gala visitor, that we hope to be able to announce shortly.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Return of the King

No, the blog title has nothing to do with the final instalment of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, but of course the fact that 6023 King Edward II will be paying us a visit for the Cotswold Festival of Steam gala for a second time.  
6023, King Edward II in action a few years ago on the Great Central Railway
 OK, so perhaps not the best kept secret in the world, but I can at least confirm that it is official now, contracts signed etc.

Keep tuned in to this page, we anticipate being able to announce a second guest for the gala in the near future.

Yet again, the day job will keep me far from the GWSR this weekend, but I do have a few photos that have come my way from Wednesday, all photos hereafter courtesy of Peter Gutteridge which focus on the winter maintenance of Foremarke Hall.  The fireman's side injector was a bit of a pain to get to run clean last season, so I'm pleased to see that it is receiving some attention.  John was silver soldering a new seat in place.
John, silver soldering.
A new spring was fitted
Fred wire brushing one of the vacuum brake pipes.
As I'm sure that you're aware, practically everybody on the GWSR is a volunteer. We employ just a handful of people, the bare minimum, everybody else is a volunteer.  It should come as no surprise then that we're often in need of new faces around the place to fill the shoes of those who have retired.  Should you be interested in joining in, then please follow this link to find out more about the recruitment events on the 16th of February and 16th of March.  Go on, you know you want to!

And finally, I was both shocked abd saddened this morning to hear of the death of Steve Adkins in a road traffic accident on Wednesday.  Steve was a fireman on our railway when I first started as a cleaner, though he fairly soon afterwards transferred his volunteering to the Battlefield line which was much closer to home for him.  He was only 43 and leaves behind his wife Teresa and children, Archie, Poppy and Ruby.  Steve & his family will be remembered in the thoughts and prayers of many members of the steam loco dept

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Coming Up For Air

You may be forgiven for thinking that nothing has been happening in the Steam Loco Dept since the New Year commenced by the lack of recent blog posts.  Nothing could be further from the truth, the winter maintenance of our locos is now in full swing.  The sad truth is that your humble scribe contrary to popular opinion, is far too young to get a pension and still has to go out and slave away at a day job. Of late the day job has extended into evenings and weekends as well.  This should be a temporary aberration, normal service will hopefully be resumed by the end of February.

I'm afraid that I need to commence with some errata, those of you who have obtained the latest issue of Steam Railway magazine (issue 489) will have no doubt spotted an article on page 16 that 6023, King Edward II and Douglas from the Talyllyn railway would be visiting for the Cotswold Festival of Steam Gala on the late May bank holiday weekend and for the War Time in the Cotswolds event (April 27th & 28th) respectively.  The announcement for 6023 can be described as slightly premature and is yet to be confirmed. Confirmation will appear on all the usual GWSR channels when contracts have been signed etc.   The announcement regarding Douglas running on temporary track at Toddington is simply wrong, I spoke to one of the organisers of the War Time Weekend only this morning and he had no idea at all where this rumour could have come from.  The War Time Weekend is a marvellous event and well worth taking the trouble to visit, but if you do come, the only narrow gauge locos running will be on the Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway as usual.

As far as the gala is concerned, we are awaiting signing of contracts on two locomotives (including 6023) with negotiations on a third one close to being concluded.
6023, King Edward II a probable gala visitor for 2019
Douglas, definitely not going to be a visitor at Toddington
 Douglas is of course a very interesting little loco, like most of its stablemates at the Talyllyn Railway, and if you want to see any of them, Tywyn is the best place to go.

My absence from the railway does not mean that my spies haven't been sending me through odd snippets of information, they have, what follows will be a trimmed down potted history of the last month.

On the first Wednesday of January, I received the following 5 photos all courtesy of Peter Gutteridge recording the activities that day
Foremarke Hall's injectors removed for refurbishment
Replenishing the completely empty wood store
Keeping 35006 warm
Emptying the tender of coal
Removing life expired fire bars from Foremarke Hall
I was able to pay Toddington a visit on the 5th of January, but no time at all since to write it up... a number of people have mentioned that I am being over-worked at the moment, though most of course are far from sympathetic.
A steam leak on Foremarke Hall's ejector being attended to
The final valve cover from 2874 had been removed
Dinmore Manor's extensive winter maintenance programme includes having the valves re-bored. They had been removed for the purpose.
Fireman's side valves removed.
Also in the plan for Dinmore Manor was to remove the pistons and change the piston rings, a task which involves splitting the piston rod from the cross head.  This isn't normally too difficult a task, but even using the special tool to press the piston rod out of the cross head, along with plenty of heat and coaxing with a variety of soft-metal hammers, neither side wanted to budge.
Heat being applied...
...Mark providing "therapy" with a lead hammer...
...John stepped up to have a go...
...lead hammer applied, scaffolding pole on the pushing tool to get extra force...
...but the only result was demise of the lead hammer...
...and indeed the copper one
Chris wisely cleaned the con rod and chuckled at our fruitless exertions.
The cross heads both split with ease a day or two later... I'm sure that steam locos just do these things just to spite us!

I had a stab at un-boxing Dinmore Manor in advance of her next wash out, all the washout plugs and hand hole doors above the water line needed to come out.  I had removed washout plugs before, a fairly straight forward task, but not removed the hand hole doors before.  The key thing of course is to use the special coat hanger like tool which threads into the hand hole door to stop it falling into the boiler... a sure fire way to make yourself unpopular.  I struggled to get the first one out through its hole, and discovered on the subsequent ones that they come out so much more easily if you remove the gasket first.
The first one out... complete with special tool and the gasket
The hole it emerged from
Eleanor meanwhile dismantled the water gauge
A collection of washout plugs and hand hole doors tidied away
Shortly after all of that, a chap came down from Tyseley with the valve boring equipment.  In an as many birds as possible with one stone approach, whilst he was on site, he bored the valves on 2874, Dinmore Manor and 2807.  The valve re-boring kit attaches to both ends of the valve bore and has to be accurately aligned. Once in position it is driven by compressed air.  
Valve borer at the front...
...and attached at the rear.
The valve reboring gear attached at one end of 2807's valves...
...and the finished job (photo courtesy of Roger Molesworth)
The swarf was removed by use of strong magnets which proved be be so much easier than other methods.

I received a few photos of our resident Peckett, John which has had its boiler and cab trial refitted.  The boiler has yet to be overhauled.
Boiler fitted in the yard... (photo courtesy of Tom Wright)
...John, with boiler and cab in the David Page shed (photo courtesy of Tom Wright)
 Those of you following the overhaul of 3850 will be pleased to know that the final measuring has taken place and the cylinder block complete with frame extensions has now been separated from the rest of the loco.  From here on, the disassembly is pretty much complete and and it is simply a case of putting it all back together again... OK, perhaps the word "simply" is stretching it a bit.
As is traditional, heat was applied to the fixing bolts...
...the bolts were extracted, in this case by Mark & Sam...
 ...the hydraulic ram was used to push the block from the rest of the loco...
...along with some pulling  from the front...
The...and presto, the two are separated.
The previous five photos are all courtesy of Keith Smith.

So far my spies have reported very little regarding 35006, perhaps I need to double their salary!   I did get this photo of its tubes being cleaned out
35006 being tended to (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
 35006 is of course unique amongst our home fleet of locos in many respects, and one of those unique features is that is has thermic syphons in its boiler to assist the transfer of heat.  The thermic syphons have washout plugs on the throat plate that of course need to be removed for washouts.
The holes for the washout plugs on the throat plate...
...and a new freshly machined pair of washout plugs
There is nothing in that last photo to give a sense of scale unfortunately, however they are far larger than normal ones.

And finally, I managed to keep one day this month free to get to the GWSR; the new rule book is now published with a number of detail changes regarding how we operate.  Yours truly attended a MIC (Mutual Improvement Class) this morning in the Tim Mitchell building at Winchcombe to learn about the differences and then straight afterwards sit an exam on the rules.In case you were wondering, yes, I did pass.