Discussion in 'Heritage rolling Stock' started by 73087, Sep 9, 2009.
Does anyone know what the future holds for the 45 Ton LNER staem crane at the Bluebell?
I''ll give this one a nudge...
There are currently 34 breakdown cranes in preservation in the UK (19 Cowans Sheldon, 3 Craven Bros and 12 Ransomes & Rapier) but only around half of these are in ticket.
I'm likewise keen to know what's on the cards for the Bluebell's crane, and for all the others with expired tickets.
There's a virtual pint waiting for the sender of every helpful answer!
The future would appear bleak for the steam crane at the Bluebell. It has sat at Kingscote for many years now in bits with no-one to care for it. It is abit of a rolling stock grey area, the loco department say its C&W, C&W say loco. It really needs a group of people to run it etc, however this would run into problems with commitment etc much like myself and the group that looked after the 10T SR Hand Crane. Life takes over unfortunately. What with all the lift regs, paperwork and red tape we would get caught up in, it makes one wonder how places like the Mid-Hants do it all!
LMS (NCC) No 3076 (Built 1943) Cowans Sheldon 6.5 ton hand crane - RPSI Whitehead depot - in working order.
LMS (NCC) No 3084 (Built 1931) Cowans Sheldon 36 ton steam crane - Downpatrick & County Down Railway - cosmetically restored static exhibit (no plans to restore to working order).
GNR(I) No 3169 (Built 1912) Cowans Sheldon 15 ton steam crane - RPSI Whitehead depot - awaiting restoration (no plans to restore to working order).
GSWR No ? (Built 1920) Cowans Sheldon steam crane - Irish Rail - Mallow station - cosmetically restored static exhibit (no plans to restore to working order).
Hope this is of some help
Thanks to Keith and Tom for replying, and apologies to '73087' for hijacking his thread (but all in a very good cause!).
Tom, the regs and paperwork etc involved with operating a railway breakdown crane are no great problem. The procedures followed by our crane team at Nene Valley really are quite straightforward and are HMRI approved.
Perhaps the most daunting item is the Method Statement which is required to be completed and discussed prior to a lift. We have a standard form for this which is not at all difficult to complete. It is very useful anyway as it makes us think in advance of a lift about potential problems and hazards. In fact our team wouldn't now take on a lift without the Method Statement, whether or not it was a legal requirement!
If anyone involved with a breakdown crane would like to discuss any issues, please contact me directly on my personal email address: davidwithers at metronet.co.uk
Both the NYMR's 45T cranes are operable and in fairly regular use. The Grosmont one was used in August to lift the boiler from 80135, and will be lifting 45428's boiler back in and 75029's out before too long. They were to have been used this winter to do the lifting work on Bridge 30, but it now seems that the Network Rail's 120T Kirow crane is going to be used. Last winter the two steam cranes found alternative employment as mobile (and self propelled, albeit slow) steam heating boilers at Grosmont and Pickering!
Here are a couple of pictures of Grosmont's 1926 Cowans Sheldon crane - the only one remaining of the two that are believed to have had a substantial design input from Nigel Gresley following his visit to the United States. Some differences to the normal UK design were probably an improvement, others I think were not.
The first picture shows just a little of the wonderful engineering in breakdown cranes. Perhaps not so wonderful, but reliably doing its job, is the load/radius indicator that can be seen on side of the jib - no electronic gismos on these beasts!
The second picture is a close-up of the matching load/radius indicator on the other side. What, no digital read-out?
The third picture shows 45428's boiler being rolled during stay work in June 2009. This wasn't easy because, with no tubes in the barrel, it was firebox-heavy. Driver Charlie is rolling the boiler towards the crane rather than away from it so as to make sure it keeps within the crane's load/radius limits.
The Blubell's crane (LNER 951516, later ADRR 95215) is of course the 'twin sister' to the NYMR's R&R crane (LNER 941601, later ADRR 95214), since both were ordered by the Ministry of Supply and supplied to the LNER as replacements for 951515 and 941600 (both Cowans Sheldon 45-ton cranes, supplied as part of the large and Government-funded order as a war expedient in 1940, and which were requisitioned and sent overseas at short notice in 1942).
The ex-GWR No 2 (36 ton R&R) crane of 1908 currently at Cranmore (probably the most important preserved crane from an historic perspective in the UK) is out of service awaiting boiler repairs and various other (relatively minor) reconditioning work. This crane is privately owned and its renovation is (unfortunately) a one-man project at the moment, since the ESR's resources are all focussed on other work, hence progress is very, very slow.
Does anyone here know the current status of the only other R&R 36-tonner to have survived, the ex-SR 81S now at the Kent & East Sussex Railway? I have a feeling that it is operational but confirmation would be appreciated (also a contact name for someone involved with its operation if possible, via PM).
Many thanks to the foregoing contributors for their updates on the current situation, especially the synopsis of the Irish situation.
Good to see a posting from Roger Cooke, my breakdown crane mentor for the past three years!
I'd advise anyone involved with breakdown cranes in any way at all, in the old days or in preservation, to make contact with Roger. He's incredibly knowledgeable on the operational, technical and historical aspects of UK breakdown cranes and is always keen to share and discuss.
The 36 tonner is in fairly regular use at the KESR and has been used recently for boiler/frame lifting etc in connection with loco overhaul work.
The 10 ton Taylor Hubbard is used frequently for p-way and c+w work amongst other things.
Thanks 6S1001, that is excellent news. 81S and GWR 2 are the only 36 ton R&R cranes out of the 8 built for UK railways to have survived into preservation, and of them 81S is the only one to have a Hopwood boiler. It is good to know it is operational.
If you happen to know a name or contact for someone involved with its operation I would be very grateful, but suggest if you do contacting me via PM or off list not in the public domain.
I don't know much about cranes, I know the NNRs one is operational
Can anyone she any light on the history of this one?
For some more info on cranes, look here:
Might be NSW rather than UK, who cares.
I don't know where this was based but it did spend some time at Chesterton Junction. I have this as built in 1939 as 80/025 for the LNER, which then became DE331332, then 80117 under BR.
Steam crane enthusiasts will be sorry to learn that one of the few surviving ex-mainline 45-ton Ransomes & Rapier steam cranes was scrapped this week.
Ex-Southern Railway 1560S was built in 1940 and was the first of six "war emergency" breakdown cranes ordered from Ransomes & Rapier on Government account as part of the air raid precautions in the build-up to WW2, two going to the Southern and four to the Great Western. Within weeks of delivery, 1560S, together with sister crane 1561S from the Southern and a new Cowans Sheldon 45-ton crane from King's Cross shed, was requisitioned by the military and loaned to the Royal Marines Heavy Siege Battalion at St. Margarets, near Dover, where the three cranes were used to erect and service the two 14" cross-channel guns named "Winnie" and "Pooh" (it took all three cranes lifting together to raise the barrels, two at the breech end and one at the muzzle end).
After D-Day the guns became redundent and were decommissioned, and the cranes were returned to the railway companies. 1560S continued to serve the Southern Railway and later BR(S), based at Nine Elms, and later Eastleigh, Hither Green, and Stewart's Lane. 1560 and sister 1561 remained in service after all other BR steam breakdown cranes were either disposed of or dieselised, and went on to become the last two steam breakdown cranes (in fact the last two steam powered assets) in BR ownership. Finally declared surplus in June 1989 they were both sold into private ownership and in December moved to Swindon.
The pair remained out of use in Cocklesbury Yard at Swindon - where they became quite famous as a local landmark - until the yard was cleared in 2006, when 1561 moved to Southall (where restoration is virtually complete) and 1560 was moved to Tyseley for continued storage. Last week, however, 1560 was moved to a metal recycler in Birmingham and has now been cut for scrap. It should be noted that this crane was privately owned and that the decision to do this was the owner's decision (and entirely within his rights), and nothing to do with TLW.
Thanks to the very considerable co-operation of the scrap dealer who purchased th crane, it has been possible to save a number of parts from this crane for re-use on other crane restoration project.
Whilst it is to be regretted that a crane that is as historic as this, not just to the railway history of Great Britain but also to the history of the defence of the realm, has been summarily scrapped, it should be remembered that the few remaining breakdown cranes are on the whole privately owned and cannot possibly earn their keep. The fact that we as enthusiasts can still enjoy the sights and sounds of steam cranes working is due to the enthusiam and passion of a small number of people who strive to keep them running against a background of increasing regulation and cost. Next time you get the chance, please support your local steam crane team in whatever way you can and let us try to prevent this happening again in the future.
A real shame, but at least 1561 survives and has some spare parts.
As this seems to be the thread for steam cranes, it may be of interest to report that concerted efforts are being made at Didcot to bring their 50T Cowans and Sheldon Crane (ex LMS) back into working order. More details here - http://www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk/guide/projectitems/50tproject.html and for those on Facebook, more updates here https://www.facebook.com/50toncrane/ There is a crowd funding appeal in progress to try to add to the £5500 raised so far towards the work.
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