If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Bluebell Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
    Well, that's a new one on me... I do love the Bluebell rumour-mill!

    The Bluebell has a pretty good recent record of loaning out rolling stock for short-term hire: 9017 to the SVR and Llangollen (and didn't it go the SDR as well?); B473 and 55 to both the IoWSR and the MHR; 672 to the IoWSR and our twin railway in Holland; 65 to the KESR; Baxter to Beamish as well as the 4VEP to Swanage and the MHR; the Mets to London Underground and the GNR Saloon to the NYMR just the recent ones I can think of.

    So I can't see why we would turn down money simply to prevent loans to other railways. Obviously long-term hire is a different matter, given our current loco situation. Also worth remembering that 488 gets name-checked by the Chairman in pretty much every editorial in Bluebell News, so I hardly think it likely that he would stand in the way of a credible attempt to get her restored.

    Also, just for the record, worth remembering that 488 probably needs new wheels as well as a new boiler, in case anyone is feeling generous!

    Tom
     
  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
    Indeed. Just for the record, I'm a BRPS member, PLC shareholder, volunteer and donor to the Trust, but I don't hold any substantive position (beyond a volunteer grade card) in any of the Society, Trust or PLC. I like to think I am reasonably well informed, but my views are my own, not those of the PLC, Trust or Society.

    Tom
     
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
    (Deleted - double post)
     
  4. Talyllyn07

    Talyllyn07 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Haarlem, Holland
    before you read on, let me say I am not trying to start **** stirr or anything of the sort. however,

    does anyone know why the Bluebell doesn't seem to be actively doing anything to get 9017 back in steam? it seems to an outsider that whilst she is quite a historic engine to the Bluebell, they seem to be doing a dis-service to its historical merit for the Bluebell and the motive power of the GWR by leaving it rot in the shed. then again at least she is under cover rather than being stuck out in the air at HK...

    surly the WSR, SVR or LR if the opportunity arose would love to restore and run it for a few years before it returns to the Bluebell for the final 5-7 years of its remaining 10 year ticket. if one of these railways chose to approach the Bluebell would this be considered a possibility?

    Cheers

    AT
     
  5. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Messages:
    526
    Likes Received:
    398
    The same could be said of many other locos at the Bluebell, 80064, 1618, 92240 etc etc. There is always going to be a queue of locos in store waiting to be overhauled, and 9017 will have to wait it's turn like the others.

    Well if such an offer came forward then I'm sure the Bluebell would seriously consider it. However the WSR, SVR and LR have plenty of locos of their own to work on. I'm sure they would rather put their efforts into restoring their own locos, which they can run for the full 10 year ticket, rather than overhauling 9017 and having to give it back after a couple of years
     
  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
    It seems to be a perennial question along the lines of "why doesn't <insert your railway here> restore <insert your engine here>?"

    We work on a restoration queue, trying to match workshop capacity (space, manpower, money) with the predicted loco requirement at some point in the future - all the while trying to bear in mind the relative complexity of any putative overhaul. (For example, 488 is complex and expensive - which explains why it doesn't rise up the queue). So far so good, but then unexpected failures (such as currently with the SECR C class) tend to delay the works programme.

    So right now, we have 847 and 592 and 541's boiler basically taking up all the workshop space; and 73082 and 541 making significant progress, but outside. (Not to mention work on Beachy Head, 84030 and 27, all of which are longer term projects). Our current critical need is for large locos, hence the work on 847, 541 and 73082: 73082 will probably follow into the works as soon as 847 is ready. 34059 is also high up the restoration queue. There is also a commitment to the owner of 65 to restore that loco fairly soon (we should by rights already be working on her); in all likelihood, I'd imagine 65 will end up being the in-service replacement for B473 a few years from now.

    Where does that leave 9017? Realistically unlikely to enter the works before 65 is finished, so probably it couldn't possibly happen in less than about 5 years. But it is quite possible that B473, when it leaves service, will be considered a quicker job to just turn round quickly. Meanwhile, 9017 isn't rotting: she is undercover in the loco shed.

    As for whether the SVR, Llangollen etc might like her, and whether the Bluebell would entertain an offer to have her restored by one of those lines in exchange for a period of use. Not really my place to say, though I believe that there was a specific condition in the bequest that saw her donated to the Bluebell that she had to remain based there in perpetuity. So it is maybe not that simple.

    Also, you have to think about it from the point of view of those other lines: even if she were available, they also have their own restoration queues and priorities to think about! I doubt she would be a lot of use to the SVR (too small) especially given that line's own current loco situation and a natural desire there to get more of their own larger locos back in service; nor to the WSR (definitely too small).

    Financially, too, I wonder how it would stack up. Effectively, locos last for 10 years and you hope to get as much out of them in that time to pay for the overhaul, and even then your probably don't quite cover it. So I would have though 3 - 5 years use (assuming the Bluebell then got 5 - 7 years, as you suggest) wouldn't look very commercially attractive to the third-party railway; whereas the Bluebell would also have to consider whether long-term residual life was being sapped from the loco, and how to cost that. I suspect the cost model would be very complex to ensure it was a fair exchange for both parties.

    That said, the Bluebell has entered into third-party arrangements with another railway to restore rolling stock in exchange for a period of use: a Bulleid coach is currently being restored (or in the queue at least) at the MHR in exchange for the MHR having a period of use thereafter. But the period is 25 years, not 3-5 years, and I suspect the numbers stack up rather more favourably for both parties.

    Tom
     
  7. Talyllyn07

    Talyllyn07 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Haarlem, Holland
    apart from the first sentence (not what I was trying to put across!), that was a very clear and unbiased view of the situation thanks! the only reason I am interested in her more than the other motive power is due to my Co preference and coming from Newtown on the Cambrian.

    I asked here as I cant seem to find any information regarding her current future, and I wanted to quash rumours that as she is western she isnt liked down there and may not be overhauled in the next 10-20+ years.

    cheers!

    AT
     
  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
    I think in any large organisation (membership or loco department, take your pick) there will be a divergence of opinion, and some locos that are favourites with some will be "so so" with others, and vice versa. Certainly within the loco department, you'll find people who love her and people who are a bit sniffy. Equally, you'll find very entrenched arguments over Bulleids, Terriers etc, as well as detailed debates about the relative merits of restoring large vs medium locos - I don't think it is really a "Western" vs "Southern" thing.

    The only thing that seems to unite the loco department seems to be that no-one has a bad word to say about the 'Chatham locos!

    As for when she might be restored: I don't know, I don't think she is currently in any place in the queue. The one thing I would say is that if we ever got to actually achieving the Loco policy set out in the Long Term Plan, we have to keep four large locos in traffic from a pool of about ten; whereas we need four medium locos from a pool of seven. So all things being equal, medium locos should spend relatively more of their life "in service" than big locos. Which was sort of the rationale behind my April Fool about unrebuilding the Dukedog to Duke and Bulldog, because it would eventually result in another "medium" engine in the pool.

    Tom
     
  9. 73129

    73129 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4,233
    Likes Received:
    594
    Location:
    Winchester
    Hi Tom,

    You say 488 is to complex and expensive to consider overhaul at this point in time. But surely the longer you keep put the overhaul of 488 off the more expensive the overhaul will be come. Someone needs to take the bull by the horns and start the overhaul of this loco before the costs spiral even higher and we never see this loco steam again. The last time this loco steam was back in 1990 and would be a welcome addition to the running fleet.
     
    Talyllyn07 likes this.
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
    Why would it become more complex and expensive (apart from just inflation, but that effects everything)? She's under cover, so her condition isn't deteriorating.

    As I recall, she needs a new boiler barrel, which isn't massively complex or expensive. But there are also issues with the inner firebox that might survive a period in service, but might not: probably the prudent thing would be a new inner firebox, particularly if the plan was to use her intensively (which would be almost inevitable, given the amount of money an overhaul might cost: it's a bit Catch-22). Finally, as I understand there are cracks in her wheels (which are cast iron, and probably date from Victorian times) which means she is likely to need new wheels as well.

    You could probably do a very "sparing" overhaul with maybe just a new boiler barrel, if you accepted that you would only make very limited use of her - rather like was done with Stepney last time round. But that was effectively an indulgence due to very specific circumstances of wanting Stepney in service, by hook or by crook, for the 50th anniversary, and I don't think would be justified for 488. Or else you plan to get heavy use out of her, but that probably means a complete new boiler and set of wheels, hence the expense.

    As for would she be a welcome addition to the running fleet: yes (personally I'd love to see her - she was the first steam loco I remember seeing, from nearly 40 years ago). But actually we have a shed full of engines that would be a welcome addition to the fleet, not least 1618, 80151, 75027 etc! The one thing going for 488 is that she has more than her fair share of supporters within the railway, starting right at the very top (Roy Watts is a fan). I'm pretty certain that a "Double Donation Dash" type appeal focused on her would prove very successful in raising the money, but you are then against the issue of available workshop capacity to actually spend the money! Until we improve overall capacity, complex overhauls will always appear less desirable than "simple" ones, at least until such time as we run out of "simple" overhauls...

    Tom
     
  11. cct man

    cct man New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,258
    Likes Received:
    49
    Occupation:
    CONSTRUCTION
    Location:
    LONDON
     
  12. Simply because the reply didn't agree with him. Therefore, to the typical internet forum keyboard warrior, it is 'unpleasant'. Because they are right and everybody else is wrong. The keyboard warrior doesn't understand that 'debate' works both ways - playing the victim card is their only response to people going "Err, no".

    Now that several people have agreed with the response, the keyboard warrior will slink off back under its stone for a few days before bringing its axe back to grind once more, thinking that everyone else (who are, let us not forget, wrong) has forgotten.

    And repeat...
    And repeat...
    And repeat...

    Tedious, isn't it?
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
    Quick round up.

    Firstly, there are some more photos from John Sandys, showing construction of the canopy at Sheffield Park, the canopy over the ticket office at East Grinstead and the water tower at East Grinstead.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluebellrailway/8702445522/in/set-72157633387619087

    The SP canopy will eventually be extended by another bay to reach its original length. There are visible mortise holes on the woodwork for the next bit of framing and, not visible in John's photos, is what I believe is an original putlog hole in the brickwork of the toilet block for the framing to slot into.

    On the loco front, Collet 0-6-0 3205 is due to arrive for the "Southern at War" event, and will be in service every day from 11 to 21 May. We are due Spitfire flypasts at HK on both days of the Southern at War event (see http://www.bluebell-railway.com/event/southern-at-war-weekend/).

    The line is now running SP - EG midweek, after the three week period of midweek running just to KC. This weekend, the GNR Directors' Saloon is in action on the "B" train - come and have a cream tea and imagine yourself as HN Gresley... See http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/pti/index.html

    Finally (is there a "stick head above parapet" emoticon?), for those not offended by such things, there is an extensive page detailing the history of D4106/09018 here: http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/pics/D4106.html

    Tom
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
    Timetables and loco and carriage allocations for the "Southern at War" event now available via the PTI page: http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/pti/

    Quick summary:

    Saturday

    Visiting engine 3205 is on set A (Bulleids / Mark 1s); 1638 is on set C (Maunsells / SECR 100 seater / LBSC bogie 1st / SECR Birdcage brake); B473 is on set D (Mets / 4 wheelers). 1638 also runs the evening Golden Arrow, for anyone totting up the loco mileage (110 miles for the day...)

    1st train is 09:45 ex SP, 10:45 ex EG and then a regular service at 35 /40 minute intervals. Last public train is 5.15 ex SP / 6.30 ex EG, also 3205, which is running four round trips.

    Sunday

    A normal Sunday service, e.g. trains every 75 minutes starting at 9.45; the other path is taken by a lunchtime Golden Arrow. 3205 is on the vintage set (which is strengthened with the Obo); 1638 on the Southern pre-grouping / Maunsell set and B473 on the GA.

    The Spitfire flypasts are supposedly between 2pm and 3pm on Saturday; between 1pm and 2pm on Sunday, at Horsted Keynes. Haven't yet seen confirmation about which specific aeroplane is involved.

    All the above subject to the usual caveats about availability etc.

    Tom
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
  17. David-Haggar

    David-Haggar New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    823
    Likes Received:
    19
    Occupation:
    Water Meter Reader
    Location:
    Eastbourne (75G)
    Jamessquared likes this.
  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
    Nice photos David. I particularly like this one with the Bluebells!

    At one point it was hoped that Stepney might do the bulk of the Autumn Tints season, as a final "curtain call" on passenger trains before bowing out of service. However, it seems likely now that the commercial people want the AT season to run to at least two coaches this year, rather than the normal one, (and the Obo has therefore been scheduled for heavy overhaul this autumn), so looks like it will be a P tank rather than Stepney. Shame - I normally have my "week" in October and wouldn't have minded a week on Stepney!

    Tom
     
  19. David-Haggar

    David-Haggar New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    823
    Likes Received:
    19
    Occupation:
    Water Meter Reader
    Location:
    Eastbourne (75G)
    Thanks Tom, a couple of us were saying during the charter that we wouldn't be surprised if Stepney is withdrawn at the end of this year due to it's poor mechanical condition. It was only "semi" overhauled to get it back in steam for the 50th Anniversary Gala in 2010 and it's managed to carry on for the EG opening gala along with making a nice little earner with the three charters we've had in lined BR black. So is there any real need keep it going when it can only gently run with the Birdcage Brake in tow and potentially causing even more repairs when next fully overhauled?
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,534
    Likes Received:
    24,354
    Location:
    21C102
    Just a reminder that visiting engine 3205 is running this week and the coming weekend.

    Also, for anyone planning to visit Sheffield Park this week, East Sussex County Council are carrying out emergency roadworks between Chailey Crossroads and Wych Cross, which will effect journeys by road to Sheffield Park. See http://www.bluebell-railway.com/event/important-road-works-information/ for more details. As far as I can see, it should be possible to reach SP on any day, but at various times, access may only be either from the south only, or from the north only. Check the website above of the ESCC website for more details if you are planning to travel, and allow more time for the journey.

    Of course, journeys by rail via East Grinstead are not effected :D

    Tom
     

Share This Page