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Bluebell Motive Power

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

  1. David-Haggar

    David-Haggar Active Member

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    Sir Archie hopefully will return sometime next year, as for 9017 not sure as it's gone to the back of a very long queue of locos awaiting their turn for overhaul.
     
  2. Matt35027

    Matt35027 Active Member

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    It's hoped that work will start on 34059 later this year to return sometime in 2013. 9017 may sit out for a while as its not the exactly the most popular loco among the collection.
     
  3. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    Do you mean she's unpopular with the crews, or the Bluebell membership? I can't believe that she isn't popular with visitors! She's a unique loco after all, and that's always a draw for enthusiasts.
     
  4. Matt35027

    Matt35027 Active Member

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    It's a bit of both. Crews tend not to like her running backwards in poor weather (understandable) and some other grumbles. A proportion of the membership feel she doesn't have a place at the Bluebell being a GWR loco. But as mentioned earlier, she's been on the line 50 years and IMO has as much of a place in the collection as Stepney or Blackmoor Vale.
     
  5. Hampshire Unit

    Hampshire Unit Active Member

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    I'm a Southern fan, but the Dukedog is unique, and the Cambrian lines have fond childhood memories for me, I'd like to see more of 9017.
     
  6. David-Haggar

    David-Haggar Active Member

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    I guess 9017 is a bit like Marmite with some in the membership - you either love it or hate it! I think someone from the Llangollen Rly summed up the Dukedog to me when I visited them last year by saying "it could only be the Bluebell Railway that could poncy-up a loco such as a Dukedog by sticky shiny nameplates on it, however on the positive side 9017 is safe and well looked after by them and that's the most important thing".
     
  7. Andy2857

    Andy2857 Member

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    I wouldn't of thought the Duke (with storm sheet) would be much different tender first to the U's or the C?
     
  8. Matt35027

    Matt35027 Active Member

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    I thought the same but I've never really heard anything about the other open cabbed locos.
     
  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    She always seems worse to me in the cold. The boiler sits very low in the frames and the grate is a long way down, and you don't get much heat coming back. So on a cold day you really suffer on her running backwards - probably made worse by the fact that on the Bluebell, running backwards also corresponds with when you don't have much physical work to do as a fireman. Relative to the U Boat, the tender is a lot smaller - read, much less shelter from the wind.

    Add in the lack of shovelling plate (meaning every shovelful of coal has to be lifted to the firehole door, rather than a more natural falling movement found on a proper loco) and the unpopularity, at least amongst firemen, becomes a little clearer to understand.

    That said, she is a unique survivor, so even with those reservations she's held in a certain affection by us all. But given a free choice amongst our mid-size locos, I'd choose a day on her a long way after a day on the C, O1 or E4.

    Tom
     
  10. Andy2857

    Andy2857 Member

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    Interesting, thanks for that. Does the U boat have a storm sheet? I've always thought they make quite a difference to tender first running (primarily on GW locos). For example on the SVR running tender first with 2968 with her fowler is less comfortable than 2857 with storm sheet. I can understand the issues people have with firing GW locos. they involve a lot more stretching and stooping than others thanks to the low fire hole door and lack of shovelling plate as you mentioned, but I think they give quite a lot back. Generally excellent kettles in terms of steam making ability!
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    Amongst enthusiasts maybe - but they are only a tiny proportion of visitors. Amongst the general public, anecdotally I'd say our most popular engine at the moment from the running fleet is 323 "Bluebell". Enthusiasts and photographers may wince, but bright colours, lots of brass and a nice name trump boring black any day with Joe Public!

    Also, it's worth remembering that being unique is, well, that's not really a unique accolade in our collection! Of the 30-odd locos (in service and out of service), 9 are unique survivors of their class (3, B473, 592, 541, 263, 9017, 65, 27505, 488, plus the two new builds). Of those, I'd suggest restoring 488 would be the killer restoration for enthusiasts.

    Tom
     
  12. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    Yes, though generally you don't need it unless the weather is really bad.

    Interesting. I guess it depends what you are used to - I always found the Dog a bit hard to get to steam. It seemed (like 5199 when we had it) to run best when it was worked hard. If the driver was too gentle, it wouldn't really steam, at least not in my hands.

    If you want to really experience an "excellent kettle", try a Chatham engine like the C. They really do steam on the proverbial candle!

    Tom
     
  13. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    You make a valid point, and it's certainly interesting the hear from Bluebell volunteers on the subject. I certainly look forward to seeing the 541 and 263 in steam in the near future, as I am unfortunately too young to remember their last periods in operation. But equally, I'm very grateful to have had the chance to see and ride behind 9017 in the last few years, and I'm sure her time will eventually come again. Similarly, I'm sure an appeal for 488 would be well-responded to, but it's right and proper that East Grinstead is taking priority at the moment.

    As for Bluebell, personally I love her current livery. It may not be authentic but it's been tastefully done! :)
     
  14. Dan Hamblin

    Dan Hamblin Part of the furniture

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    488 will be a significant overhaul though given the list of components that need to be replaced or substantially repaired. It would be great to see it back in action, I can barely remember it operating at the end of its last ticket as I was quite young at the time.

    Regards,

    Dan
     
  15. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Well-Known Member

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    488 would be great to have back but isn't the main problem the boiler which I think a new barrel is needed which is going to be quite costly. Maybe Steam Railway could make her their next appeal loco (Though they generally tend to choose NRM locos).

    I think the NLR Tank is also in need of boiler work but wasn't there a plan to overhaul her shortly after she returned from Ecclesbourne.
     
  16. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    I thought that one of the issues with 488 was it needing new driving wheels (Material/cracking problems?) A boiler barrel is a relatively straightforward replacement.
     
  17. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Yes it does.

    Although I remember reading in Bluebell News that it could be overhauled with out replacing the wheels, but would have to have a restriction placed on its use.It went on to state that an overhaul without replacing the wheels was unlikely.
     
  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    What goes round comes around - the work required detailed here earlier in this thread!

    Tom
     
  19. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Sorry :/ Didn't read through the whole thread ...
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    No worries - it was a long time ago and the thread had died and been resurrected - I only remembered because I wrote it first time round!

    Tom
     

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