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7027 Thornbury Castle

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by svrhunt, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. 43729

    43729 New Member

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    8 castle class locomotives currently preserved. Ignoring Thornbury Castle for a moment.

    1 is on static display at Swindon.
    2 are at didcot railway centre, including the only operational example that does not run on the mainline.
    3 are in the care of Tyseley.
    1 is with the lovely folk at LSL.

    If I really wanted to see an operational castle but couldn't afford a mainline rail tour my options are very limited.

    Can anyone involved with didcot, night owl, GWS, or indeed any of the critics on the internet see any point in restoring a third example for Didcot? No.

    But before didcot/4709/GWS acquired Thornbury Castle it was never being restored for use at Didcot.

    It was being restored to regularly run on a railway much longer than the demo line at didcot. By my reckoning that was a unique prospect we appear to have had collectively taken away from us.
     
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  2. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    All perfectly true, and a good reason for Thornbury Castle to be based on the GCR if it does get restored. But the possibility of that happening depends on enough cash being raised soon enough to persuade the 4709 people to relinquish it and enough additional cash being raised later. That doesn't seem very likely, but other things have happened that were considered impossible.
     
  3. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    If there is ever any doubt about whether a loco needs to steam then at a stroke you can create something to look at that comes in at a fraction of the cost.

    Have a word with, for example, Warner Bros.
     
  4. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    Or Tom Cruise.



    Or perhaps not! :eek::D
     
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  5. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

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    Considerably cheaper for the thousands of GCR castle lovers to come to some overhaul/ lease arrangement with one that exists than buy and restore another. If the current circumstances had not changed there were absoloutely no guarantees that thornbury was to be a permanent fixture at GCR - i do agree it would have been an excellent place to have it though.
     
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  6. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    There is one possible reason for having a loco that is not in a condition to steam but is complete including all the internal parts that are normally invisible. That is as a museum piece where the internal parts can be examined by interested persons. Lode Star is an example. But I can't see that being remotely viable for Thornbury just for the sake of its superheater header, if that is its only unique feature.
     
  7. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Its worth a read, it also suggests (from my reading) that the team restoring at the GCR have/had bought a load of stuff from Tyseley that had been taken off 7027 in the past on the proviso that they persuaded Tyseley that she was going to be restored. I suspect it will come to nothing, but its interesting to get further background.

    Apologies, I assumed that the idea that any group could restore such an engine in c.3 months would have confirmed the location of my tongue firmly in cheek!
     
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  8. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    And there you have it. For that reason I really am losing the plot over this Thornbury business to the point where I don't care much about the outcome.

    In fact there's a bit of me that thinks if there is any benefactor money or other donations sitting somewhere then it might be a good idea to send it to any other project of merit that is definitely going to be completed. The P2 comes to mind...and that's me as a Southern supporter saying that.
     
  9. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    If I understand your viewpoint correctly, you are saying that unless a loco (Thornbury in this case) is in steam then any other option is pointless?
     
  10. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Yes we do need steam locomotives to keep the heritage lines going but the owners also need a business plan for the future. A good case in pint is 6201 now stored at Carnforth with no prospect of steaming again. The only viable option would seem to be to hand it over to West Coast to provide them with a second air braked engine for the Northern Belle
     
  11. Fireline

    Fireline Member

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    I don't think it matters how much we want 4709. I think it only matters how much the people putting their money into the project want it. We can choose to like it or ignore it once it's done.
     
  12. Fireline

    Fireline Member

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    A while ago, we would have said the same about 71000. Now that's under overhaul at Tyseley, with it's future looking far more secure. Sometimes an engine needs a lot more patience, which seems to be in short supply here.
     
  13. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    I see it this way.

    When the world moves on - in this case the demise of steam - it's totally logical to look at what is going and try to hang on to a representative sample as was the case with the National Collection at the NRM. Most of these were cosmetically restored for display but started off intact. Some were restored so that they could be seen in steam and these are still around under the custodianship of reputable railways - e.g. the MHR - or have been 'donated' to others - e.g. the T3 to Swanage.

    You then have those locomotives that were rescued from the scrapyard and have largely been restored to steam again, often on heritage lines but also on the main line. Galatea is the best example of that but not the only one, of course.

    It is true that in many respects, the locomotives that have ended up still with us are mostly around because of happenchance - thank you Di Woodham - or planning - thank you the NRM. So there are bound to be gaps and especially the classes that disappeared before anyone thought about preservation. So thank you to the A1 Steam Trust for Tornado and I've already mentioned the P2. It's impossible to have examples of every key locomotive that used to be around and I have to ask what the point is of that? It's definitely of little interest to people under the age of 50 except perhaps railway historians.

    So, for me, this Thornbury business makes no sense unless the outcome is another locomotive that is steamed. We have Castles around, in and out of steam. As it stands this seemed the best outcome before the 47XX idea emerged.

    Personally, I don't see the point in the Night Owl project unless it steams again. That said, it'll never go on the main line so it's revenue earning potential would be limited. Neither do I see it as a particularly important hole in the Churchward back catalogue. For me a far more interesting Churchward locomotive would be The Great Bear - an 'ultimate' GWR Pacific. But if someone with the money will fund it then fine. As for any appeal - I'd be very surprised if it would attract enough donations on its own.

    But as I won't be donating and am ambivalent about the whole business, my view is just that - a view.
     
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  14. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I still cannot understand why a Churchward missing link is being recreated using the wrong boiler. Obviously the 4709 group is desperate to get their loco running no matter what. It's a bit like trying to recreate the Supermarine Spiteful and fitting a Merlin engine in it instead of a Griffon. Well it's a Rolls-Royce V12 so what's the problem? What you end up with is a mongrel. It may look like what you're trying to recreate but in the cold light of day it's not the real thing and adds nothing to our knowledge.
     
  15. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I might be misremembering, but wasn't the Duke's issues more to do with internal politics rather than lack of cash? 6201 is a bit of a nomad, never staying in one place too long, and lack of funds over the years have meant just enough has been done on the loco to keep it going. Now they've got a repair bill of at least £165,000 but only £15,000 in the bank. @Johnb is right - unless something changes (new owner/custodian, massive influx of cash, etc.) then it has no prospect of steaming again any time soon.
     
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  16. Fireline

    Fireline Member

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    That's kinda my point. It doesn't really matter what the issue is or was. 71000 was away for a while, and now is being worked on. 6201 will be away for a while, and we will have to wait and see what happens. It's not an actual requirement that it steams in the near future....
     
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  17. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps a non working but externally complete 4709 would fit the bill? After all it will be of little use to heritage lines and is unlikely to make it onto NR. As with most GWS locos it will long reside out of ticket at Didcot so why go to the trouble & cost of actually making it work? Sounds pretty pointless really.
     
  18. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    It seems to me that Thornbury's one(?) unique feature of a 3-row superheater (with presumably, a corresponding layout of tubes and flues) is a poor reason for being desperate for it to be restored to working order and for getting all upset about the prospect of it being stripped for other projects. I suspect there would have been far less outcry if restoration had not started at the GCR and the Castle had still been in somewhere near Barry condition, and minus the parts removed at Tyseley. The idea of some hard work being (apparently) wasted is a stronger cause for complaint, along with its components being not really all that suitable for the 4700 and Star projects. The big questions that remain are whether a good enough offer can be made to the 4700 people and, even if so, where the additional resource to complete the restoration will be found, after the third of the rich supporters dropped out.
     
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  19. Mr Valentine

    Mr Valentine Member

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    It's funny you make that comparison, as I've often thought there's a parallel between the Spitfire and Castle. In both cases you have this one basic design, which leant itself to continual upgrades over a long production run - it's one of the things that makes them interesting. You could even include the Star lineage in this development. I can't really think of any other class on the GWR that had a comparable development, maybe the Armstrong Goods, or Prairies, but even with the latter there are lots of variations, but not as many systematic upgrades. Even the Saints had most of their development completed within six years. The lifecycle of other designs tended to be characterised by one big change, and lots of minor ones, rather than a succession of more moderate changes, which is what you see with the Castles.

    The difference between 7027 and the other surviving Castles may not be life changing, but the fact it is different is part of the story. And you can tell it apart from a 2-row or 4-row engine, just like you can identify different Spitfire marks by changes to air-intakes, blisters on wings etc. Does that make it a priority for restoration? No. Do I think Didcot need it in their collection? No. But I find it sad the way it's just written off as unworthy.

    If there was just one surviving airframe from a Spitfire V, I can't for the life of me imagine it being scrapped to make some hashed-up replica, on the basis that 'there are already loads of Spitfire I's and IX's'. But then this is the same organisation which scrapped a 52xx, despite not having one in their own collection. Between 5227 and 7202, you could've literally shown the impact of world events on locomotive development.

    I think for poor old 7027, one of the big stumbling blocks is always going to be the initial purchase price. Having to stump up £300k in a matter of months is not the same as raising, say, £1m over 15 years. Reading between the lines in the press, I get the impression the 4709 group haven't yet bought it outright, but are paying for it in instalments.
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Which is of course fully consistent with the statement that the 47xx is "fully funded" :confused:

    Tom
     
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