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Bluebell Motive Power

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Orion, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    In the latest Steam Railway there is an article on the preservation's busiest locos, and for the Bluebell they list 592 93,000 miles and 75027 96,000 miles.
     
  2. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Well-Known Member

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    Black ends, it just looks smarter and hides the dirt after the coach has been in service for a while.
     
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Something of a coincidence that they ran that report when they did, in that the upcoming issue of Bluebell News also talks a bit about the historic loco mileages, as well as last year's figures. One little snippet not picked up by Steam Railway is that in terms of operational seasons, this year is the fortieth year (out of a possible 57) that "Bluebell" has run in traffic.

    Tom
     
  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    From the Bluebell e-Newsletter:

    LOCO UPDATE: PLENTY OF WORK UNDERWAY!

    Loco availability has temporarily taken a turn for the worse in recent months with the H class and S15 in the Works for extended maintenance and the Q class withdrawn for its annual boiler exam. In addition to this the C class has been restricted to Sheffield Park station limits due to the leading driving wheel flange measurements being on the limit of the specification.

    This restriction is likely to be temporary, however, while we review the Southern Railway and British Railways specifications.

    The scope of the maintenance work to both the H class and the S15 has grown in size after dismantling. Initially the H class required a couple of stays on the backhead to be changed plus a piston and valve (P&V) exam. After dismantling some loose rivets were discovered on the motion bracket, several leaves in a driving wheel spring were broken, and one of the small end bushes needed replacing.

    While in the Works, the opportunity has been taken to carry out some long-term maintenance work on the H, including re-metalling the axleboxes, re-profiling the driving wheels, and re-machining the eccentrics on the crank axle. The loco now is being reassembled with both driving wheels back in place, the pistons and valves completely assembled, and the second part of the loco's annual boiler exam in progress. The loco should return to traffic in approximately two weeks.

    When S15 entered the Works for its boiler exam, ultrasonic testing equipment found a number of boiler stays to be either fractured or broken. These stays, installed by British Railways, have done a term in BR service plus a term and a bit in our service. The loco also entered for a P&V exam, with the existing pistons and valve having completed more than 55,000 miles.

    With the work to the H class taking priority, work on the S15 has focused on re-boring new cylinders and machining new piston heads and valve heads. A complete set of new rings also are on order, so when complete, the front end of the loco will be good for another 50-60,000 miles. The fractured and broken boiler stays have been removed, the platework tapped, and the new stays will shortly be installed. Unusual tyre wear has taken place since the loco returned to traffic, so it will shortly leave Sheffield Park for tyre profiling on a ground lathe.

    The Q class is being prepared for its annual boiler exam too, with the removal of fittings and pressure gauges ready for inspection and calibration. This work has meant the bulk of our services have been handled by nos. 73082, 473, and 323, with the C class on Sheffield Park pilot duties. The end of May will see the situation improve though, with the H class, S15, and possibly the C class back in traffic, and the Q class following in June.

    Inside the Works, progress has continued on the frames of No. 80151, with the fitting of the new frame stretchers and painting those parts of the frames that don't require any work. Both the cylinders and valves will be re-bored in due course. Work on the boiler has continued, using our newly arrived Asquith drills that are taking out old stays ready to remove the firebox doorplate. "Stowe's" boiler work continues, focusing on the front tubeplate and, offsite, the new backhead is being pressed and formed at South Devon Engineering.

    At LNWR-Crewe, No. 34059's boiler repair has seen the fitting of the new outer wrapper sheet, and we are shortly to agree our final account with Crewe before the boiler is transported to South Devon Engineering for the manufacture and fitting of the new inner firebox.

    The Diesel Gala--in association with GBRf--was very successful, and those who have recently visited Sheffield Park will note we're temporarily storing two class 73s and a class 20 for GBRf. These locos will leave Sheffield Park shortly once some technical issues with the class 20 have been resolved. From a motive power point of view, we're keeping our head above water, with all our resources focused on completing and out-shopping the H class and S15.

    By Chris Hunford, Loco Director
     
  5. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Well-Known Member

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    Is it a build up of historic wear, or are the flanges suffering from some new track issues?
     
  6. agalpin

    agalpin Member

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    I believe I saw the S15 minus cab on a low loader on Tuesday evening northbound on the M23
     
  7. burmister

    burmister Member

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    Not only Locos the coaches are suffering as well. People will have differing options on why but as a Shareholder and BRPS member I feel East Grinstead sucked every last penny the railway had to the detriment of a lot of other areas. No point in hiding this or sticking heads in the sand Bluebell is where it is and needs to implement a major infrastructure investment plan ASAP. Some of track SP/HK is ex BR so well past renewal and cannot be life extended any more according to those working on it I talk too. Not sure spending money now on the west extension or asking for donations for storage sheds before sorting the track out is the best way forward but can only wait and see.
     
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  8. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Part of the furniture

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    Whilst the 'right' decision is to spend the money on your ageing track, raising funds from your members for this task may be a bit of an uphill struggle against those glamour alternatives of sheds and extensions. At least the building of more undercover storage will lighten the maintainance budget, unlike the fairly slim chance of much additional revenue from any extension.
     
  9. Wenlock

    Wenlock Well-Known Member Friend

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    Surely the track renewals have been kept up? This should be a priority, without track there is no railway.
     
  10. A1X

    A1X Member

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    The problem was East Grinstead was "then or never". With George Osborne's landfill tax and the rapidly expiring planning permission at Kingscote if they didn't do it then the Bluebell would now run Horsted to Sheffield Park with a very, very long siding.
     
  11. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    It'd very easy to say in hindsight that track should have been a higher prority but that rather ignores the fact that the Bluebell only had a very small window to get the extension complete before leglaslative changes removed the landfill tax exemption. As was quoted at the cost of disposing of each ton of waste would have quadrupled from around £25 a ton to near £100 which naturally makes an enormous difference when you consider the huge quantity the Bluebell had to shift.

    As such prority had to be given to removing the waste over pretty much anything else - leading to signifficant Loco shortages and a backlog of coach repairs and the condition of the track not being able to be addressed in a timely mannor.
     
  12. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    andrewshimmin likes this.
  13. A1X

    A1X Member

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    263 and 592 were double-heading the train yesterday. Possibly overkill for three four-wheelers and the Obo but there you are.
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'm just glad to see both back! Wainwright is in my opinion a much underrated CME; his locos are far better than their latter-day reputation suggests.

    Tom
     
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  15. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    It was only 592 on the first round trip.
     
  16. Matt35027

    Matt35027 Well-Known Member

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    I didn't realise they had a 'reputation'. Could you expand please, Tom? I've always had the impression that in the preservation era they were rather well liked engines. I, like you was pleased to see 263 and 592 back in action today.
     
  17. V class

    V class New Member

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    Not overkill, H has new valves and rings, has also had axle box work, double heading with C was to to run in.
     
  18. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    Robert Surtees designed the Wainwright locos, and deserves all the credit. Harry W was very much 'hands off'. Tom will know much more about this than me.

    Something similar applied with Maunsell who arranged for a very good team around him such as Pearson, Clayton, and Holcroft on the SECR that lasted well into SR days.

    Cheers,
    Julian
     
  19. D1039

    D1039 Part of the furniture

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    From a knownothing:

    I seem to recall reading in SVR News that their P&V exams are at 20,000 to 25,000 miles. Sir Keith Park had one last year and is 4 years in service this month which would seem to back this up. Can anyone comment on P&V exam mileages?

    Thank you

    Patrick
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think about 20 - 25k miles would be similar on the Bluebell between P&V exams as well - 847 has run about that mileage since its last overhaul, as had 263 and B473, all of which have had P&V exams recently. 847 has needed new piston and valve heads at this exam, on account of the cylinders needing boring out to a slightly larger diameter, hence the reference to having run 55k miles on these pistons and valves, which includes the current and previous periods in traffic.

    Tom
     

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