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Current and Proposed New-Builds

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by aron33, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Well-Known Member

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    http://www.6880.co.uk/news/
     
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  2. DismalChips

    DismalChips Member

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    It's got a copper-capped chimney, what more could you want?
     
  3. alexl102

    alexl102 Member

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    From Railway Reviewer on Facebook:


    If there has been one locomotive dominating the headlines so far in 2024, it has to be 6880 ‘Betton Grange’. The new build project began way back in 1998 but it is expected that 2024 will be the year it finally turns a wheel in anger, recreating a missing gap in the Great Western 4-6-0 locomotive line up that hasn’t been seen since the days of BR.

    It was announced shortly into the New Year that 6880 was to be privately launched at Tyseley Locomotive Works in Mid-January, however due to delays in the locomotive’s completion, the launch was postponed from Tyseley, with the new “first public steaming” to be at the Battlefield Line during the first weekend of February. Once again, this date became unachievable, and the date revised a 3rd time to the East Somerset Railway’s Steam Gala on the 16th/17th March. You guessed it, the Grange has been pulled from that event too almost a month in advance of the event.

    Now I’m not a loco owner, or a gala organiser, and please do call me out in the comments if you disagree, but this seems to be one of the most, if not the most naïve case of premature gala announcing this millennium. Whilst I am sure lots has been going on behind closed doors at Tyseley to prepare 6880 for its inaugural runs, nobody has seen it run in anger yet. What level of running in is to be expected before it gets put on the front of a public service? I should think plenty. I do however hope some of these estimated timescales in recent weeks and months are not indicative of complacency.

    If we were to play the blame game. I’m sure there is a very realistic scenario where a general member of the public booked an advance gala ticket to see 6880 at either the Battlefield Line or East Somerset Railway (and indeed should a repeat of this pattern happen again for its booked and announced visit to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway in May). Who do you point the finger at for any resulting disappointment at the non-appearance of the Grange? Do you turn to the Grange Fund for prematurely offering out a locomotive that is not finished? Or do you point at the Heritage Railways for announcing it as a guest locomotive before there is any rock solid proof it actually works properly, however many assurances have been offered to them by the locomotive owning group.

    The hard line from any Heritage Railway will always be that “any locomotive appears subject to mechanical availability” and it should always remain this way. We are however in a time where rising costs are potentially forcing the common enthusiast to be more selective in what events they attend. Whilst I myself would exercise caution on booking a gala visit on the basis of one singular engine in case of disappointment, it is not beyond belief that this is probably what a lot of enthusiasts do, particularly in the case of a new build. It is one thing to be disappointed when a locomotive fails last minute or is unable to attend an event due to transport reasons etc, but that disappointment is far more justified if the locomotive announced to attend, isn’t actually in working condition at the time of announcement.

    Everyone involved in the heritage movement is responsible for its ongoing success and sustainability, and maintaining good relationships with customers is very near the top priority. One of the cogs in that machine, is delivering a product (or gala in this case), that is as accurate as possible to the one announced. I sincerely wish the Betton Grange group every success in finally getting their locomotive operational. It is a project I have donated to on numerous occasions over the years and I look forward to seeing it running at a heritage railway hopefully later in 2024.

    S. Mulligan

    I have to say - I was thinking absolutely the same. And it’s been announced as an SVR guest in April too. Seems mad booking in such an intensive schedule when it’s not actually hauled a train yet.
     
  4. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I’m very much in the ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ camp.
     
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  5. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Not an unreasonable view, however, just for balance(!)

    From the owning group's point of view, you can't expect them to not make any arrangements until it's first gone chuff. They need some assurance that they will have an income and have to plan ahead. It wouldn't be unusual to find out there might be some final bills outstanding after it has steamed that need to be paid off, and of course the boiler clock is ticking, they will want to hit the ground running and make some money. When you don't currently have a home railway it's a lot trickier as you can't just say "Well when it's ready, it'll start pulling trains". Where, when, how much for? The host visiting railway will need to know.

    And from the various railways announcing its presence, railways will be paying the transport costs to bring it in, the hire fees, the coal etc. etc. They will want a return on that. It's going to be a lot harder to get a return if you are unable to advertise the fact until the last minute. At some point you have to take the plunge and announce because otherwise what's the point in having it?

    I'm not saying that to excuse what's happened, but just to say, it's a really tricky situation. A strong element of damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    No affiliation to the Grange society, some affiliation to one of the railways announcing its presence! :)
     
  6. alexl102

    alexl102 Member

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    Absolutely see your point here! But at the same time, they’re also giving themselves next to no time to rectify any issues that may arise… surely from the owners perspective, it would have been more sensible to say ‘We’ll base it at the Battlefield Line til the end of April, hope to do one or two galas in May/June’ and then aim for the Autumn gala season to launch properly? But I’m not in their shoes!
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I must admit it surprised me that a loco which hadn't actually moved under its own power was already being booked for galas. We would normally expect a considerable running in period for a newly restored loco even for a familiar type which has had previous periods in traffic; my understanding is that the team building Beachy Head want to put it through a very extensive trials and crew familiarisation regime before it is released to traffic. Maybe there is an additional pressure on a new build loco that is being built without a "home" line on which to carry out such running in, but I still found it a bit surprising. Essentially it looked like all the running in and familiarisation of an entirely new loco would be taking place under the scrutiny and pressure of a series of galas, which are fraught enough at the best of times. (Essentially because the crews who know the line don't know the loco, and those who know the loco don't know the line).

    Tom
     
  8. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Mind you the Brighton Atlantic and the Grange are very different situations. No doubt the Grange will have all its fair share of snags and issues, but provided the fundamentals are right then how different is it going to be to manage and run from a freshly overhauled or even restored Hall? Most of the equipment is going to be the same. Operationally it should be a slightly freer steaming Hall with a bit more starting TE. At least I imagine this is what people are thinking.
     
  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    True, but even a very standard loco requires running in, surely? The normal process is gradually increasing length and load of runs while checking carefully for hot bearings etc. As far as I can see, the loco has had no process of running in.

    Tom
     
  10. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Well-Known Member

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    I would agree although 6880 is reusing more reused parts than 32424

    From memory :

    32424 has a repurposed GN boiler and some ex SECR tender axle-boxes I believe?

    6880 is 7927 Boiler, Wheels ex prairie 4156 (scrapped 1980 - purchased as spares for 7325 at SVR?) and Bogie borrowed from 5952. Tender to be borrowed from 7822? I am assuming cylinders to be new?
     
  11. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Well-Known Member

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    Not disagreeing but I seem to recall that 6989 (now at Bluebell) did a little running up and down at Q'n Rd before being tested at it's launch Gala at Battlefield in early 2020.
     
  12. Chris86

    Chris86 Well-Known Member

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    I thought she was using the tender from 3814?

    Also, in terms of difficulty/assembly & disassembly surely the recent massive overhaul of 4930 is broadly comparable, and she has required quite a lot of snagging I seem to recall.

    Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly for them

    Chris
     
  13. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Part of the furniture

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    I think it's intended tender isn't ready, so is going to use 7822's initially.
     
  14. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    They were, but according to a post on the NYMR forum, the tender leaked where the handrails are fitted when it was filled full of water. I think it's fair to say the owner isn't happy - first Llangollen go bust without finishing the work on the tender, now the contract to hire it has been cancelled. The construction of 6880's own tender hasn't been started yet.
     
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  15. Scrat

    Scrat New Member

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    I believe it was a bit more serious than just leaks around the handrails. A friend who was there on the day it was filled said there was a water fall at the front of the coal space when it was only half full.... It seems there was alot of unfavourable comments about the tender generally from other GW loco owning groups based at Tyseley.
     
  16. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don't think the Brighton Atlantic group are in a position to throw stones, IIRC Steam Railway stated explicitly it was a couple of months from completion about 9 years ago, so god knows what they have been messing about on since! ;):rolleyes::D

    No doubt even as we speak the 1:1 scale kit bashers at Didcot have started a plan on how they can recreate this using the boiler from Shannon, a set of pannier tank cylinders and the frames of 6023. ;)
     
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  17. alexl102

    alexl102 Member

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    I did see a clearly unimpressed post from the owner on facebook some time ago. But if the tender isn't fit for use, whose fault is that - the hiring groups, or the owner?
     
  18. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    or maybe the business that overhauled it?
     
  19. Chris86

    Chris86 Well-Known Member

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    He must be gutted- I don't know the full ins and outs of the situation with 3814 but it seems to have been a restoration with lots of hurdles along the way.

    Chris
     
  20. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    They are probably secured by a large nut on the inside of the water space. Once you've gained access, it shouldn't take too long to cure. The interior of tender tanks are usually covered in bituminous paint which helps prevent small leaks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2024

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