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Bluebell Motive Power

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Orion, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Orion

    Orion Well-Known Member

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    I notice that 80151's boiler ticket is coming to an end and I'm wondering which Class 4 engine is going to replace it. How close to running are the engines currently undergoing overhaul?

    Regards
     
  2. E-G Media

    E-G Media New Member

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    The nearest engine to completion that could replace the 4MT is the S15 No 847, which should be out (touch wood) late 2012/early 2013. The H should be back by March, but that's more in line to compliment 'Birch Grove', the 'C' and the two 'P's.

    However, I hear that once the 'Q' has been returned to traffic (not sure WHEN exactly), 80151 AND 80064 will be going in together; as part of a mass 4MT parts order in conjunction with other railways
     
  3. cct man

    cct man Part of the furniture

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    Ah , if I am reading between the lines correctly, 80150 on the Mid-Hants might be restored sooner than we thought then?

    Regards
    Chris:
     
  4. Buckeye

    Buckeye New Member

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    Could always add 80100 to the group, but theres more chance of the 4-SUB 4732 running over the Ardingly branch then 80100 being restored. I could never see why with 80100 there and then 80064 arriving they got a third example on the line, but there's often strange logic to thier motive power policy.
     
  5. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    First I've heard of this.
    What parts would these two locos require? They are both complete. Hopefully, they will only need the usual overhaul jobs doing and, maybe retyring, unless anything unexpected is found with the condition of the boilers.
     
  6. David-Haggar

    David-Haggar Active Member

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    80100 is the only Std 4 Tank that the Bluebell actually own, 80064 & 80151 are privately owned.
     
  7. steamdream

    steamdream Member

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    Bluebell own 801OO since october 1978 why do they have no overhauled it yet?I have some difficulties to understand that
    regards
    noel
     
  8. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    The answer to why 80100 hasn't been touched, and why 80151 was accepted onto the line is probably the same in both cases - 80151 was almost finished when it arrived and 80100 was untouched. Why start a huge ex-Barry project when you could have an almost finished one running in a short time?

    As for the "huge order of parts", might this refer to some boiler/firebox pressings? some might be applicable to/needed for 75027 as well
     
  9. E-G Media

    E-G Media New Member

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    In response as to which parts are needed for mass ordering, I'm not sure exactly. But I'm told that the NYMR are also asking for similar parts in the same order for 80135. Maybe the MHR might be in the same boat.

    Personally, I can't wait for the 'H' to come back. She's just the sort of engine the railway has use for right now. About class 2-3 power range, historic, protective cab, economical (an engine her size could happily take 4-5 coaches up Freshfield Bank with less coal) and could easily relieve 'Birch Grove'; who has been worked a little harder than expected since her last overhaul!
    Regarding the locomotive policy: It's a funny one, without question. But, given that the price of coal isn't likely to go down (£120 a ton, last time I heard), an engine that could take a normal coach load at cheaper running costs is more likely to be used than a bigger machine like 'Archie' (whose not set to run again until 2013). From my experience, the BRPS doesn't seem to suit engines that need to be worked at high speeds. The 'U' boats are fine, the S15 should be fine, they seemed to have got away with 'Stowe' in the past and most of the BR Standards have done well over the years. But in the past, 'Port Line' and 'Blackmoor Vale' were both problematic. 'Archie' works well when she's in traffic, but has still been out for considerable jaunts since 2009...!

    As for 80100: Weirdly enough, she's considered by some to be in better mechanical condition than the Adams Radial tank.
    ...can't quite see the logic in that one, myself :p
     
  10. Rumpole

    Rumpole Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure I heard a while ago that the plan was for it to be restored by the same group who are currently overhauling/rebuilding 78059/84030, when this is finished. Does this ring any bells with anyone else?
     
  11. 73129

    73129 Part of the furniture

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    I don’t under stand why the Bluebell hasn’t returned 80100 back in to serviceable condition. Surely a class 4 loco is the optimum loco required for any preserved railway. Which has been proven by 80151 running very successfully over the past ten years? The longer 80100 is sidelined from being overhaul from Barry condition the higher the overhaul cost of 80100 will increase. Is the main reason why 80100 isn’t being returned to service is because all the railways profits are being put towards the EG extension?
     
  12. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Yes. I will try and find a written reference to this.
     
  13. Rumpole

    Rumpole Well-Known Member

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    Given that its been stored in the same condition it has been since it arrived in 1978, highly unlikely. Could it be that it just makes more financial sense for the Bluebell's business model that, considering they have had 2 identical locos on operation in the form of externally-owned 80064 and 80151, it is more appropriate to keep 80100 for a rainy day?

    There is no need to have everything in steam at any one time, and I would be amazed if there hasn't been any form of conservation on it in that time. I certainly remember when I spent a couple of days as a footplate guest up there it was covered with a tarpaulin in the back siding at SP.
     
  14. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    The Bluebell returned 2 ex Barry loco's 1638 in 2006 and 34059 in 2009 both owned the Bluebell. It has been stated on a number of occasions that 80100 is being kept for the future.

    The Locomotive Review 2009 ( Bluebell News Winter 2009) states that Bluebell Railway PLC owns 19 loco's. The ones not owned by the PLC are 263 ( Bluebell Railway Trust), 541,847,928 1618, 96, 21C123, 80064,80151, 73082, 592 & 65.
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    When looking at Bluebell motive power policy, as usual there are many factors to consider:

    - What the long term plan says
    - Who owns the locos
    - What the operational requirement is
    - How much things cost to repair, vs how they meet operational requirements.
    - The condition of out of service locos

    Taking them in turn:

    The long term plan
    This is currently up for its periodic revision, but the current plan says, in part:

    Obviously, we are some way short of that requirement, though changes to operational requirements are shifting the requirement somewhat to needing more medium and fewer large locos, primarily by reducing loading. For example, the Golden Arrow is now within the wight limit for medium locos. Running more vintage, and less Mk 1, stock can only help in that regard. (Sample: the 4 Mets take 48*1st class; 180*3rd class and contains a brake compartment, yet weigh only 80 tons. By contrast, our five coach Mk 1 set takes 66*1st and 151*3rd, plus 12 wheelchairs; contains a brake; weighs 178 tons. In other words, twice the load for fewer passengers).

    Who owns the locos
    19 locos are owned by the Bluebell Railway PLC. One is owned by the Bluebell railway Trust (263); the remaining
    10 or 11 are owned by various smaller groups and, in one case, an individual.

    Obviously, ownership affects restoration priorities. It is easier to spend PLC money on restoring PLC-owned locos. On the other hand, an independently-owned loco that has its own money behind it (such as 73082) will jump up the queue. It was the transfer of ownership of 263 from the H Class Trust to the Bluebell Trust that enabled it to be fast tracked for restoration, paid for by the Trust.

    Incidentally, 34059 is owned by the Bluebell Railway, not the Bulleid Society as is often erroneously said. Similarly, 1638 is owned by the PLC, not the Maunsell Society. Clearly, though, each society has a deep connection to the locos, but they don't technically own them.

    The operational requirement

    In an ideal world, the locos available would always match the services promoted. However, in practice the lead time on restoring engines, and simply the resources available, mean that isn't always possible. For example, at the moment we are at least one medium engine short, and the shortfall is basically being plugged by running 178 and 323 in tandem (it's a standard gauge Fairlie...)

    Operationally, we run about 45,000 loco miles per year. With only about 7 operational locos, that means an average of 6,500 miles per year per loco, and more for the work horses (1638, 80151, 592, B473 at present). Inevitably, that means that in practice if a loco lasts 10 years, it will be pretty worn out - quite likely it may have run 70,000 miles in that time. That explains why, if a loco fails after 7 or 8 years - such as 9017 - it often isn't viable to patch it up just to finish the 10 year boiler ticket, as it is likely that repairs might be done just to have something else fail within a few months.

    As explained above, changes to coaching requirements can help the loco situation, for example by reducing loadings without reducing seats.

    Cost of repairs
    In short, bigger locos are more costly to repair.

    A few years ago, the Locomotive Director gave the following equivalence:

    The condition of locos
    Finally, the condition of locos affects their viability to repair.

    Taking a few that seem to generate interest:

    80100 - the only Bluebell-owned loco still in Barry condition. However, the boiler is said to be in good condition, and many forgings and castings have been assembled over the years where these are missing. I think this is probably why you sometimes see statements that this loco may be easier to restore than 80064. Incidentally, I haven't heard anything definitive about "batch restoration" of the various 4MTs - which isn't to say it isn't being considered, but simply that I haven't heard anything said from what I would consider official channels. Up until those rumours started flying round, I was under the impression that work would start on 80100 when 84030 was finished, and done by the same team. Obviously however, that's a long term plan and plans can change.

    On the question of 80151, it is certificated until May 2012.

    488 - a BRPS favourite. The boiler barrel is said to require replacement, though that is't a particularly complex or expensive repair. However, the wheels (which are wrought iron) have cracks in the rims and may not be possible to run. If that means the expense of new wheels, then the expense could only be justified by making intensive use of the loco. That in turn may show up long-standing faults in the firebox, which have been present since the loco was bought from BR in the 1960s. So in effect, repairs to 488 may actually mean new boiler and new wheels to be viable...

    263 - someone mentioned above that it was a class 2/3. Really it is nearer a class 1/2. I believe the boiler and cylinders are identical to 65; in other words it will be like a slightly less powerful version of 592. On the other hand, Chatham boilers are good steamers, so no doubt it will work turn and turn about with 473 and 592 which are ostensibly slightly more powerful locos.

    Hope this helps explain some of the background. Inevitably what we enthusiasts want to see (488, 21C123 etc etc) and what makes commercial sense (80151, 263, 592, 473...) aren't always the same thing. In the end, the railway has to make money...

    Tom
     
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  16. Rumpole

    Rumpole Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the very comprehensive and informative post Tom.
     
  17. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    The 2009 Locomotive Review mentions regarding 80100 " We are planning to do some conservation work"
     
  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    No, EG is being funded by independent capital fundraising; entirely separate from the operational budgets for overhauls etc.

    The situation with 80100 is I suspect far more down to simple availability of resources. The Bluebell (or closely associated groups) have restored 34059, 1618, 1638, 847, 73082, 541, 80151, 92240, from Barry condition (maybe more) as well as recycling 55, 65, 178, 672, 323, 473, 592, 263, 75027, 488, 96, 21C123 (and maybe others) through several overhaul cycles. Eventually 80100's turn will come.

    Tom
     
  19. 73087

    73087 New Member

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    That is exactly what I heard as well! As for 84030 the existing frames are shortly due to be moved whilst a crane is on site to shift Camelot from its current location. At this point the new rear frame section for 84030 will hopefully be welded on. Lets hope it won't be too long before we see a rolling chassis!
     
  20. steamdream

    steamdream Member

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    If we take the time scale of the 84030 rebuilt I have calculated that 80100 will be ready about 2280 ac...........maybe time to think about a nuclear boiler maybe?:banplease:
    regards
    noel
     

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