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Bluebell Motive Power

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

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    A couple of updates.

    Firstly from last week's eNewsletter:

    Loco Update: Time Well Used

    It's been many months now since I penned a loco update. I'm not sure how the time goes so quickly but it certainly does. After all our special events, loco hire, maintenance, overhauls, special workings, employment, and family obligations, I've finally got the time to update you! It's only a small respite though, as the Deltic Preservation Society's 40th Anniversary Gala is just around the corner, and then we'll only be a matter of weeks away from the Santa Specials.

    When you read this, final planning for the Deltic Gala will be in full swing. The original plan was to have the four working preserved Deltics visit, but unfortunately No. 50022 suffered a broken quill shaft in July ruling it out from participating. This is not an easy repair to undertake either, as you have to lift the engine out, remove the generator, remove the phasing case, and then you can access the quill shaft. All this requires cranes, labour, spare parts, laydown areas, etc. before the first nut and bolt can be undone. It is unfortunate, but these things happen--it won't spoil what is to be an excellent event with four Deltics: three working full size ones and a 7¼ in gauge!

    This year has seen an unprecedented amount of loco hire for our special event weekends. It takes a lot of time and effort from a lot of people across the railway to organise the visit of a loco, be it steam or diesel. I'm very grateful to all those who assist me. From the initial "ask" to the signing of the invoice can be anything from 12 to 18 months, and discussions are already well underway on what interesting and different motive power can visit us next year. So watch this space for news on potential four-cylinder and/or double chimney locos that might be visiting!

    While all these special events have been taking place, work has continued in the Loco Works and the highlight so far has been the out-shopping and return to traffic of the SE&CR O1. The loco has now completed its running-in period and is fully released to traffic, and what a picture it looks in the SE&CR livery. It's now regularly rostered for the "A" duty and easily handles our medium trains to East Grinstead.

    Work on BR Standard class 4 Tank No. 80151 is proceeding very well with the loco now re-wheeled, valve liners removed, new pistons being machined and brake, lubrication, and injector pipework being fitted. Work on the boiler has seen the first of the new inner firebox sides welded in place and the second side in the process of being welded as you read this. Once complete the new throat plate and outer firebox sides can be fitted and welded, before the long task of marking out, drilling, taping, and fitting of the hundreds of stays can start, not to mention riveting the doorplate, tubeplate, and foundation ring together. Once complete, work can then focus on tubes, flue tubes, superheater elements, fittings, etc. before the boiler can be placed back into the frames. With a fair wind behind us, the plan is to outshop No. 80151 around the middle of 2018.

    Schools class No. 928 "Stowe" was lifted from its wheels for the first time in preservation recently and now sits on the accommodation bogies in the loco yard. This is a significant milestone for the project and releases a huge amount of work on the frames, while also allowing the driving wheels to be sent away for tyre turning and attention to the journals. The front bogie is stripped into its component parts and is now undergoing cleaning and repair before reassembly. Offsite work on the boiler continues, with the specialist welding of the caulking grooves and assembly of the doorplate and tubeplate to the inner firebox crown sheet.

    Off-site work is progressing very well on the new inner firebox for No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair", with the last of the new components, the throat plate, and combustion chamber being readied for pressing. There has been a delay to this work due to the difficulties in finding a company that can cast the huge die required, the solid piece of metal which you bend/form the new boiler plate over. Fortunately, Premier Patterns and Castings of Birmingham were able to 3D print and cast this huge item, which is now sitting at the South Devon Railway. No. 34059 will be the first platework to use the new die. Currently the boiler is scheduled to arrive back at Sheffield Park by the end of this year, where the long task of installing the 1000+ stays will start.

    With most of the team focusing on overhauls, our maintenance team have been busy with washouts, machining scored blowdown valves, replacing broken springs, packing glands, and the many other maintenance tasks that are undertaken to keep the running fleet in operation. With daily running now reduced to a one-train service, the pressure is very slightly off!

    All the above work couldn't happen without people, and some recent changes have taken place within the team. I'm pleased to announce that Simon Blaker has joined the team as Boiler Supervisor. Simon completed an apprenticeship in the Works many years ago before working for the family business. Simon also owns and runs traction engines and brings a wealth of experience to the team. In addition to this, Henry Mowforth has re-joined the team as Leading Boiler Fitter and again brings a wealth of loco engineering experience to the Railway, having served his apprenticeship with us many years ago. Simon and Henry will focus on the boiler aspects of loco overhauls, while the other members of the team focus on the mechanical aspects of loco overhauls. I'm also pleased to announce that Harry Spencer has joined the Loco Works to serve a three-year apprenticeship.

    If you have visited the Railway recently, be it for our normal train service or one of our special events, I do hope you enjoyed yourselves, and I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks for the Deltic Gala--and remember: keep an eye out for visiting motive power announcements!

    By Chris Hunford, Locomotive Director
     
    CH 19, 30854, Chris86 and 4 others like this.
  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    30854, huochemi and S.A.C. Martin like this.
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
    S.A.C. Martin, Bluenosejohn and 30854 like this.
  4. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Going great guns! It's fantastic to see this level of commitment to a restoration. I wonder what Harry Wainwright would make of computer generated polystyrene moulds and modern techniques for cutting frames?
     
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  5. Cartman

    Cartman Member

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    He would probably be impressed that his designs were still being used all these years later
     
  6. Jimc

    Jimc Well-Known Member

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    He'd probably say something on the lines of "With these new construction techniques available I can completely rework the design to make the following improvements..."
     
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  7. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Before or after politely questioning our collective sanity I wonder?

    The improvements in metallurgy since his day would doubtless be of interest before he looked at the range of synthetic materials we have now. With his knack for well proportioned, robust and straightforward design, it would be intriguing to see what it would mean for just those locos we're familiar with.
     
  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think with Wainwrights locos, if you go into a huddle, plot everything that could possibly be improved, and then rebuild them along improved lines you end up with ... Wainwright's locomotives.

    Tom
     
  9. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Thought someone would have pointed out by now that it was Robert Surtees who actually did the designing.

    Paul H
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    That comment is often dragged out about Wainwright, while at the same time the fact that it is on record that, say, the Churchward 43xx was designed by Holcroft, or Stanier had essentially nothing to do with the design of a Duchess, seems not to detract from the association of those designs with their nominal designer. Ultimately, the role of a CME is far broader than just loco design, so I don't really see why it should be detrimental to Wainwright's reputation if his lead draughtsman had the primary involvement in the detail design. The bottom line is that the locos designed during Wainwright's tenure at Ashford were almost universally excellent designs.

    Tom
     
  11. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Not "dragged out" in any way. Like J.G. Robinson, Wainright was not a trained designer.

    PH
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    What always strikes me is that I can't actually envisage any pre-grouping livery which wouldn't have sat well on them (and... before Tom hits the roof, the Bluebell have only themselves to blame for starting me on that train of thought!:)), although I'm rather glad that beyond 323's rather fetching "house livery", no-one has put my insane notion to the test on any of the survivors!
     
  13. Jimc

    Jimc Well-Known Member

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    Yes but.. the CME was the man responsible and the head of the team. And, for example, when we say, for example, Holcroft was responsible for the 4300, what does it really mean? Churchward told Holcroft to "get out a 2-6-0 with ... outside cylinders ... and all the standard parts you can", and Holcroft says there were few new detail drawings required - in other words that the vast majority of the locomotive was already designed, it was just a quation of puttiing it together. Holcroft didm't design the valve gear, or the cylinders, or the boiler, perhaps not even the draughting. The 1361 saddle tank was much more a pure Holcroft design, but even then he was updating an older design, and it retained the Allen valve gear of the precursor for example.
     
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  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    That's my point. The fact that Wainwright delegated design to his team seems frequently to be used as a stick to beat him in a way that isn't the case for other CMEs. The bottom line is that he was the accountable person at a time of a series of successful designs, yet there always seems to be a degree of sniffiness about according him the credit he deserves for that.

    Tom
     
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  15. Jimc

    Jimc Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'm not disagreeing... just making the point that even when the veil is drawn aside a little its not as clearcut as some might think.

    I think sometimes these things say a lot more about enthusiasts and their biases than anything else. It often seems to me that those who don't favour a particular designer give as much credit as possible to his staff for his successes, and as much blame as possible to the man himself for the failures.
     
  16. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Nobody is "beating" anybody. Very few chiefs were in fact designers. Neither Wainwright nor Maunsell his successor were. It was the administrative part of the job which tended to produce the real problems. These resulted in a change of management both at Ashford and Brighton.

    PH
     
  17. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    And people wonder why I appear an apologist for Thompson? His failures are his own, his successes are his draughtsmen...
     
  18. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    According to the latest Steam Railway the Dukedog and Fenchurch will be the next locos to be overhauled. Chris Hunsford is quoted as stating regarding the Dukedog " I'd like to think that work will start in 2019, although I wouldn't like to say excactly when".
     
  19. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Does that mean poor old 80100 has been kicked back into the long grass again? :(
     
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  20. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    I'm rather relieved Thompson enjoys a voice of balance amongst our merry throng. Being something of a Bulleid fan myself, you can perhaps appreciate why! :)
     

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