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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Jamessquared, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    From the e-Newsletter:

    S&T Update: Moving Signals

    Recently Signals & Telecommunications commissioned a replacement signal at Horsted Keynes just north of Leamland Junction (signal HK28), and a number of questions have been raised for the reason why this took place.

    The track in the vicinity will be re-laid shortly, and to improve alignment and foundation it will ideally be slewed towards the signal. To maintain and improve the structure clearance—and we are sadly all aware of the importance of this—we were requested to move the original signal post further away from the track.

    By far the easiest approach to achieve this move was to build a completely new structure and plant it in the revised position. This plan had a number of advantages: the time scales were only limited by the end date, driven by the start of the track re-laying, it de-risked the chance of damage when craning the structure, and it allowed pre-testing and ensured that the signal in the new position worked as expected, allowing the change over to take place without service disruption.

    With the generous timescales available, we took the opportunity to give the project to a group of new(ish) staff as a training exercise. There were a number of fundamentals skills required to complete the scheme, making it ideal for coaching the wide number of S&T competences. The job was treated as a new installation, therefore requiring an amount of normally unnecessary paperwork, but this demonstrated to the staff procedures often required with safety related work.

    The preparation was sufficiently well done that the change-over was completed between trains without any hand signalling required.

    Incidentally, this is the longest wire-operated signal on the Railway at just over half a mile, and it can be pulled comfortably with one hand (this being our yardstick to ensure the signalman is not likely to injure himself; he will, of course, normally use both hands).

    By Brian Hymas, Signals & Telecommunications
     
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  2. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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  3. fisher

    fisher New Member

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    Very
    Very interesting news if true and reflective of the Pullman strategy review that has been progressed by the PLC Board. From a quick glance this morning, it looks as if this vehicle has quite a back story in terms of its conversion from a brake 3rd to what appears to be a full 2nd, which it would be interesting to understanding if anyone has any information.
     
  4. 60044

    60044 New Member

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    The Colne Valley's other Pullman, Aquila, has also been sold, so it looks as though they are getting out of the dining business. That must leave their converted Gresley BTO surplus to requirements as well.

    From the Bluebell's point of view this will bring extra seats into play relatively quickly.
     
  5. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill New Member

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    Speaking of Bluebell Pullman's what is latest status on Carina that they swapped for Doris? I don't think it's due to go in the carriage shed (though I stand to be corrected on that) and I don't think there's yet a restoration plan for it.
     
  6. 60044

    60044 New Member

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    I make it that the Bluebell now has 6 Pullmans (7 if "Constance" is included) and I wonder if they really can realistically cope with that many or even need that may. I wouldn't be surprised to see one or two offered for sale in the future.
     
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  7. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    AAUI, the agreement with the 5-bel trust is that, in exchange for Doris, Carina is to be brought up to a similar state to Doris, at their expense. A considerable amount of work and money.
    I dont believe any timeline has yet been set for this, and I would have thought that the work would have to take place away from the Bluebell. Perhaps Tom or someone knows more?
     
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  8. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    Certainly Car 76 (Lilian) is not financially viable for rebuilding. Not by a long way, unless a cunning plan can be developed to enable the carriage to be reconstructed in-house, but it would take a great deal of expertise and innovation to do so. Stewart's Lane had a very chastening experience with a similar carriage.
     
  9. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Although unaware of issues specific to Car No.76, a general question occurs: Several lines now offer formal apprenticeships (which I unreservedly applaud), but beyond these, with any given restorations broken down into individual stages, is there scope for other mutually beneficial arrangements to be developed with tech oriented further education facilities? I ask, as I recall, in the past, Worthing Technical College getting involved with a line (can't remember which), as a result of their having a railway minded woodworking instructor on the staff.

    Some lines might even benefit from a bit of project management nous flowing t'other way!
     
  10. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill New Member

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    I did recall seeing something like that but wasn't sure if the agreement was still in place as things were quiet as Carina I believe is somewhere on the Bluebell still. If they are still going to restore Carina then given how much time and cost that's gone into reviving the Belle then it was always going to to be a longer wait for Carina.
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    With regard Pullmans - I'm not very close to it, except to know (as has been referenced above) that there is a strategy for them being worked on, the dining train being seen as an important part of the business of the railway.

    Currently there are five on the railway, if you ignore "Contsance", which is a very different beast. Of those, two are in traffic, and a third (Car 54, the wheelchair accessible conversion) is currently under overhaul. There were a couple of good photos of it on the blog for 6th November.

    Out of those, Fingall (22 seats + a kitchen) and Christine (42 seats) are operational; Car 54 would add something like 33 seats plus wheelchair accommodation (I'm not sure exactly how it will be laid out - the seat pitch didn't originally line up with the windows and that is being adjusted to align with the windows, in addition to the wheelchair conversion).

    The last website update on Carina was in 2015, noting that there had been a swap of ownership with Doris, but nothing since. As a second Kitchen car, I'd suggest it has a long-term strategic value in case of issues with Fingall, but hard to see anything happening in the near term.

    Car 76 (Lillian) is no longer in service; as was noted above, an overhaul is technically challenging, to say the least. (It's an all steel car, while the railway prefers wooden vehicles - one of several reasons for the Doris / Carina swap). Maybe it will serve as a static cafe, or it could be used in a future museum for display, but it's hard to imagine it would ever run again.

    If news about Car 36 is true, that provides 42 seats and I'd suggest gives some resilience for Christine or Car 54, allowing longer maintenance windows for those two vehicles while maintaining the strength of the train. Similarly, long term Carina (if equipped with a kitchen) would give resilience for Fingall.

    One point to be considered is train weight. Pullmans are heavy vehicles. Currently, a three coach set plus LMS Stove R van (which acts as brake van and also combined scullery / supplies vehicle) is about 140 tons, which is within the capability of a class 1 loco such as the H class. If you went to four coaches + Stove R, it would be about 180 tons and beyond the load limit - you could do it in good conditions, but not something you would want to do 100+ times per year with 125 year old locos. You'd need locos such as the U, Q or Standard 4mt to take that weight regularly, which then changes the long term loco requirement.

    Taking all that together suggests to me that the aim is probably to be able to sustainably run a service like the current one - i.e. a three coach, with kitchen, about 100 seats, about 100 days per year. A four coach train might be an occasional strengthening, but not a regular occurrence. Given also the requirement to do heavy overhauls on carriages about every thirty years, if we don't want such overhauls to essentially stop the service for a couple of years (especially with the kitchen cars), then a five coach set might be about right: three in traffic, one available for traffic as a spare or occasional strengthener; one in the works. If the news about car 36 is right, that probably leaves Lillian as the odd one out, being currently out of service and, as a steel car, non standard with the others.

    Just my personal opinion - no special inside knowledge.

    Tom
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Question for Tom (@Jamessquared): Re: Bluebell's Golden Arrow dining train makeup .... does the 'Pullman Pup' (the delightful 6 wheeler) serve a purpose on the train, or is it a 'just for show' addition, when within the loco's permitted loading?
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Definitely serves a purpose - it is the brake van for the train, store for crockery needed on the journey, and has I believe washing up facilities.

    Personally, in the WIBN category, I wish we used a corridor connected SR van B for the purpose, and painted green. But the Stove R was available and running. The Van B we have currently serves as a gallery for Matthew Cousins, who has kept it in very good internal and external order.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  14. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    The BGZ is a necessary addition until such time as a 2nd Kitchen Car (ie Carina) is in service.
    Only then can it be withdrawn from the set.
     
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  15. 60044

    60044 New Member

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    Kitchen capacity is probably also a limitation - kitchen cars normally served their own saloon plus an adjacent coach to ask a single kitchen to serve a four coach train is asking a lot.
     
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  16. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    I seem to recall that the BGZ had a kitchen fitted in it at one stage? Perhaps it could again?

    Sent from my SM-A320FL using Tapatalk
     
  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not a kitchen per se - it has a pantry, but not a full kitchen.

    There was a report on the conversion here: https://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/cw_news/bgz_pul.html

    A second kitchen essentially awaits the restoration of "Carina".

    Tom
     
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  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    An infrastructure update on the What’s New page, covering the replacement of 13 panels of track north of Leamland Junction (that is the section of single line immediately north of Horsted Keynes)

    http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/whats_new.html for 15 November.

    I believe that there will be some more tracklaying this winter around Three Arch Bridge (immediately south of Horsted Keynes) but I am not sure if that is planned for November or January / early February.

    Tom
     
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  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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  20. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill New Member

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    I see on the .com Bluebell webpage that next year's Giants of Steam event is taking place over the weekend of September 25-27.

    I think this is the earliest I recall the Railway having a Giants gala,a it is usually mid-late October,but also seems a bit close to the Diamond Jubilee Gala at the start of August.

    Really interested to see how the Railway celebrates it's 60th though as the 50th was a great year of celebration.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019

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