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What is the long term future for the unrestored Barry engine

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 45698 MARS, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. mcjlf1

    mcjlf1 New Member

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    OK - Having spent some time drafting a very detailed and hopefully informative reply about 4123, and then somehow losing it during the 'preview' process, here we go again with version 2...

    I understand the perception of "it's never going to get finished" or "its taking way too long" as I have heard it all before, and quite frankly I am used to this and to be honest not really interested in others points of view, particularly when its from those who observe from a distance, make no contribution or make no effort to establish the facts prior to making such statements. (I take it a little more seriously when it comes from people who have a track record of achievement within preservation). Also, I don't really want to get into a philosophical debate about WHY it should be necessary to justify anything to anybody, least of all to an internet forum (some outfits have a policy of silence which at times does not seem like a bad idea), but in an effort to provide some clarity please note the following about the status of 4123:

    1. The loco is owned by the various members of the London Midland Society (LMS). They also form the active working group undertaking the restoration. The AVR are of course our hosts, and in the main we have a good working relationship with them - to the extent that a number of our members are actively involved in the AVR loco dept as footplate staff. And also from time to time engineering help is given in both directions between the LMS and AVR. The AVR has no ownership interest in the loco, and as far as I am aware, they have no desire for this as they are more than occupied with their own loco and rolling stock fleet and other projects. As we do they also have challenges with recruitment and retention of skilled volunteers... more on this later below. We are all in agreement that the loco is really ideal for the line for lots of reasons, and yes, believe it or not we would like it to steam and run there at some point in the hopefully not too distant future. (I am 32 and rapidly getting older...). {I cannot speak about the departure of the 8F - it was nothing to do with the LMS - but on a personal note I was sad to see it go. as I think it would eventually have been much more desirable for the line than some 0-6-0 industrial}.

    2. From the beginning, the philosophy of the group has been to NOT dismantle the loco into component parts until absolutely necessary to do so. You do not have to strip a loco into thousands of parts in order to commence a restoration. Of course some parts have been removed for repair of for use as patterns to copy, and also bear in mind please that the loco was heavily stripped of parts whilst at Barry (much worse than some other locos), so much was missing anyway. [some of this has been re-acquired and other bits are out there somewhere...] It has also been the philosophy to undertake as much work in house as possible - partly to save money, but also for the enjoyment of doing the work, and also an attempt to preserve some of the skills that were used to build the bloody thing in the first place. To this end we have made or acquired around 75% of all the components required, albeit that many of them require machining or further work before they are truly finished and ready to use. We had always hoped to have almost everything ready "off the shelf" so when the time comes for re-assembly it’s a case of bolting it all together without being stuck waiting for something.

    3. The loco is not really "in Barry condition". If you take the trouble to closely examine, you will notice that the cab structure/running plates/splashers etc are new fabrications and that pretty much everything else which needs to be is protected. e.g. the boiler is painted with a good paint system which is preventing any further deterioration and has been de-tubed and de-scaled internally. Everything else on the loco is either still protected by the original layer of gunk (‘boxes/springs etc), or is scrap anyway, e.g. smokebox, dragbox so doesn’t need protecting. So yes, shrewd of you to notice that the loco is still outside. For the time being this really doesn’t make much difference to the longer term condition or survivability of the engine.

    4. We do have a shed actually. At present this is a plate and machine shop and is where the majority of the parts have been made over the last few years. Bringing the loco in here whilst this work is ongoing would to some extent been counter-productive as it would have quite simply got in the way. When we need to and are ready to do so, it will be stripped down and brought inside. Yes we would like to have a three road shed with 50T overhead craneage, hundreds of sq. ft of space, underfloor heating and hold and cold running water…but at present and given the constraints of the site and the present priorities of the AVR being elsewhere in terms of capital expenditure, its not likely to happen for a while yet.

    5. Present work is concentrating on the tender chassis (the tank is completely rotten and is only being kept as a pattern for when we come to make a new one). The chassis is also ‘tired’ with serious corrosion on the front sections which we have decided to replace. A school of thought was to just make a new one and only re-use the wheels and other bits and pieces, however we have decided to repair it as it is salvageable and it is the original tender that the loco was built with….so nice to save at least some of it. Work also continues on making and acquiring parts for the loco… including in-house pattern work.

    6. As the ‘webmaster’ of the LMS internet site I do try and update it from time to time. To be honest I really only created it as an exercise to see if I could, and if it happened to provide some information to others, then so be it. I, like most regular working people, would rather spend what little free time I have on actually getting on with the loco rather than talking and writing about it! I don’t think that this forum sees that many of the ‘main men’ in preservation circles who actually drive projects forward (with a few exceptions of course) making regular postings, other than perhaps in response to or to rebuff some of the nonsense which gets posted about their locos. I do not claim to be anywhere near or close to the major players within the ‘industry’, but I do know a few of them (they may not know me), and I don’t see too many posting on here. [Could it be that they prefer to just get on with it and are quite happy to ignore some of the drivel which gets posted on here?] Mmmm…


    7. With regard to the issue of volunteer labour, of course we could use more – who couldn’t - but it has been the experience of our group generally that there is a shortage of skilled volunteers. I am sure this is familiar to many in this game.

    Regrettably, and I promise that am not trying to be elitist or aloof here in anyway [who am I to do so], most people who drift past our transom and express an interest in helping fall into two categories; i) they have no engineering (or indeed commercial) skills that are of any use, or ii) they don’t have the staying power to see things through on a long-term project such as this. Unfortunately it is a fact that in order to drive things forward you need people with useful and practical engineering skills, experience and expertise. I genuinely am not trying to discredit the scraping/painting and tea-making guys, as they have a part to play, and actually this is where I started in preservation, but unfortunately this is only of limited use in the long term.

    No doubt if there were a few more truly skilled people around, we would have made some more progress. And yes, this becomes a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario, as in order to attract the talent you need to put across the impression that the project is viable and making progress.
    Cue people slating me with “if you have that kind of attitude, no wonder you don’t have enough volunteers…” posts. But I promise you, we genuinely welcome all comers, and I think are one of the more ‘user friendly’ groups at the AVR and possibly elsewhere.

    So, m’laud, in summing up, I hope the above points have made my case strongly enough to have 4123 taken off the no-hopers list, and that the above information satisfies the armchair-ites, frothers and gossipers out there in internet land, at least for a little while.

    Regards
    James

    PS – I believe it is traditional at this point to ask those of you who I have just accused of being ‘armchair’ to show your true colours by making a donation or volunteering help, and I am not going to change this tradition. So, if you would like to contribute to the £5.5k that we have just spent on having the tender springs overhauled [and spares made], please send me a private message. I would be happy to discuss it with you.

    I am standing by my computer now awaiting the thousands of e-mails which will no doubt come flooding in…I would even be happy to receive the “I’d love to help but I don’t have any money / I’m already contributing to something else / I’d love to help but I’m not going to as I would prefer to spend my time speculating on the internet” mails….

    Alternatively, if you would actually like to come and give us a hand to try and achieve something, then you would be more than welcome. I will be at the AVR from this evening (Friday 19th Dec) until Monday. Please ask for James F. I would be more than happy to show you around, show you what has been done so far, and see how you could help us progress the restoration of this “straightforward” loco & tender…If you are a pattern maker, machinist, welder/fabricator, mechanical fitter or engineer I would be even more delighted to meet you.

    PPS – I really tried hard to not fall into the trap of degenerating my response into sarcasm – and even now as I read it all again I honestly say that this was not my intention, even though it may come across as so. However I do sometimes get a little knarked when I read things which are ill-informed, plain wrong or just ignorant, and I am sure that as has already been pointed out, there are others out there who are quietly working away on perceived ‘no hope’ projects who feel the same, and who would also generate a similar response if only they could be bothered to rise to the bait and do so.
     
  2. mcjlf1

    mcjlf1 New Member

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    Ignore this - was just deleting a duplicated posting by myself.

    Finger trouble on the keyboard today...
     
  3. James

    James Part of the furniture

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    ^ If anyone out there is thinking "I can't be bothered to read that, it's too long", then I urge you to reconsider and take the time. There are plenty of valid points raised, and perhaps a few lessons to be learned by some.
     
  4. RA & FC

    RA & FC Active Member

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    Without wanting to agrivate anyone. When you have finished 44123's tender, what will you do with it?! Is the idea to hire it out to another loco group, or to keep it in storage until you have finished the loco itself?
     
  5. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    Very well put mcjlf1. Keep up the good work.
     
  6. 6880rules

    6880rules Active Member

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    Top stuff James

    We ALL really appreciate your time in responding to well.....my comments

    This Is EXACTLY what this forum does best getting the information out.

    Could you please keep us udated on future progress

    Maybe you should start off in the Loco Information section

    I Keep meaning to stick 5199 in there, its a bit late for 6880 as she has a long running thread in this section.

    My parting advice is keep the information coming for all you know by next year missing parts may of turned up, People with skills and time may of offered thier services, and maybe a few pounds will go 4123s way......all because you kept us infomed.

    Thank you
     
  7. mcjlf1

    mcjlf1 New Member

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    I think when we eventually finish the tender we probably put it into storage somehow as it would be a shame to see it get ruined before we have finished the loco.

    Of course, this may change if there is a loco out there that really needs as Fowler (Deeley actually) tender...
    James
     
  8. RA & FC

    RA & FC Active Member

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    Good stuff. If there was a group wanting to hire the tender, that would generate some much needed cash towards the restoration of the loco.

    This was done with 3802's tender at llangollen. It was hired to Foxcote Manor group, whilst their own tender was being refurbished...
     
  9. Broomhalla

    Broomhalla Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for that well thought out reply and i am now very much glad to remove your engine from the list.
    I guess i and quite a few other have fallen into the age old trap of seeing a picture and assuming nothing is happening. I am glad that this is not the case. Keep up the good work and please keep us informed so such mistakes don't keep happening.
     
  10. Edward

    Edward Member

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    Broomhalla has made an attempt to give us all a "state of play" on Barry wrecks. Let's not knock him for trying. Perhaps one of the major magazines could try and produce an accurate supplement every year giving the state of every ex BR loco? 6880rules has also had a pretty good crack at giving a detailed account of the suject too. You're never going to get a post like that 100% correct, but at he's made an attempt, and if it's 80% accurate, it has given us a basis for discussion on here.

    The 4123 information above is great. it gives everyone an idea what is involved in restoring one of these locos, and should hopefuly answer the "They should restore it!" posts. You've got the ideal engine for most preserved railways there; my only observation is regarding unskilled helpers. A certain spotty faced 14year old who appeared at Grosmont in the mid 80's, and who was of very little use at the time, is now a steam driver, with a BR driving ticket behind him. It's worth being patient with people. Best of luck with this, ad please keep us updated with your progress. I can think of a certain rather steep bank I would love to have a crack at with your loco.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    You might want to change your mind if it becomes a reality. Derby 4's were not renowned for their ability to boil water and 44422 was a struggle when it was on the NYMR. A bit like a lesser version of an S & D 2-8-0!! OK downhill, though!
     
  12. Edward

    Edward Member

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    I missed out on both the S&D (which kept failing the day before I was due to have a go) and the 4f. Just so bored with the 4MT/ 5MT diet that I fancy a challenge. Get the feeling that 4F's are rather like GWR engines - the genius was in the company management that convinced their men that they had the best equipment in Christendom! (serious abuse heading my way...)

    Did note form some of the ex - firemen that I worked with at Bedford that they seemed to prefer the 3F to the 4F?
     
  13. boldford

    boldford Member

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    Isn't it a case of those engines with no real hope will eventually return to the soil as oxides of iron etc. Some are already on their way. Others are having the pain prolonged by an occasional futile lick of paint over rust.
     
  14. ady

    ady Well-Known Member

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    I a GWR fan... and certainly there maybe some truth in that statement!!!!

    GWR designs were not totally brilliant it as to be admitted. As for the 4Fs they only issue I though was with the terrible axle boxes...

    Look foward for more information on the 4F, would be a excerllant adidition to the Avon Valley fleet in time. And the Battle of Britian will be good to see, although that would bit of a b#gg#r to run. (At Swanage they very heavy on Coal)...
     
  15. Fireline

    Fireline Active Member

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    While others get a lovely big waterproof shed to hide in for 10 years between overhauls, when some railways are struggling for a single working steam engine....
     
  16. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Resident of Nat Pres Account Suspended

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    Which locomotive todate has the longest continual restoration project ?

    I dont mean engines like Galatea or Thornbury Castle which "waited" for years for restorations to start.. but engines like 6023 or 80097 which have had "bodies on the ground" every weekend for 20 years + and are still going at it without a result ?

    Maybe these groups need an incentive boost (funds, bodies or both) or maybe just publicity to get them back on track..
     
  17. Edward

    Edward Member

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    I absolutely love the WC/ BB locos, having been lucky enough to "learn them" off an ex Nine Elms driver at Grosmont; mankillers when you are a novice, but he had the presence of mind to convert me subsequently.

    The problem with Bulleids, and all wide box engines, is the amount of coal you burn before you even turn a wheel. i suspect this is why so few MN's & 9F's have been done up.

    Bulleid's designs do have their advantages in the "credit crunch." All steel boiler - no expensive copper to buy...
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    It's got to be 41298. In full working order when bought for preservation, its 'overhaul and restoration' has so far taken more than 40 years!
     
  19. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Resident of Nat Pres Account Suspended

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    Has there been bodies on the ground restoring this engine most weekends for 40 years ???? wow ? That gives me hope as a 1 man restoration ! Surely it's just been dumped / stored for 40 years ?
     
  20. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Active Member

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    It has been going on for many years now. Its quite amazing how much two people have achieved.
     

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