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Bluebell Motive Power

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

  1. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Tom, you mention the BB has four locos out this weekend (3 sat, 4 sun). How is the railway doing for crews, as four is quite a lot to need each weekend plus any spares, lobby turns, x turns etc?
     
  2. A1X

    A1X Member

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    Makes sense to give her a shake-down before next week I suppose, don't want to try and get her going and find she doesn't want to play ball next Saturday!
     
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    For weekends we seem to be OK, though midweek I think puts a strain on a smaller number of volunteers who can take time off from work, especially at short notice. The regular midweek service gets covered mostly with people taking a week's holiday, but it is all the short-notice odd-jobs - photo charters, filming, charters etc. That said, the demographics are such that attracting and retaining volunteers is a key priority, as the prediction is that a number of (especially) drivers will come off the roster over the next few years. Which is why the LTP has quite a lot about volunteers in it, including better overnight arrangements.

    For this (and pretty much every other weekend through the summer) weekend, I think the minimum rostered requirement is as follows:

    Saturday
    "A" service: D / F / C
    "B" service" D / F / C
    Shunt: SF / RPC
    Evening GA: D /F
    Cleaners: C / C
    X turn: D / F / C
    Spare: D / F
    Lobby: 1 person (either F or C)
    Running Foreman: 1 person (either D or F)

    Sunday
    "A" service: D / F / C
    "B" service" D / F / C
    Shunt: SF / RPC
    GA: D / F
    Cleaners: C / C
    X turn: D / F / C
    Spare: D / F
    Lobby: 1 person (either F or C)
    Running Foreman: 1 person (either D or F)

    (D / F / C = Driver / fireman / cleaner; SF = Senior Fireman; RPC = Rules passed cleaner).

    That gives 5 or 6 drivers, between 5 and 7 firemen and 6 or 7 cleaners needed each day, 19 people in total, to which you'd need an extra D & F when the Wealden Rambler runs. In the peak of summer, when the "A" service runs four round trips on a Saturday, you have to split that turn, which means another D / F / C. So you could end up needing 24 people to run a regular Saturday service, just in the loco department.

    Galas require more: next weekend, we have 7 locos out each day, which means seven crews (some D / F; some D / F / C) and we will may also roster an assistant or relief running foreman as the days get very long if you have earlier than normal starts or later than normal finishes.

    And speaking of odd-jobs: there was a very strange one on Wednesday / Thursday night: book on in the afternoon, take the Black 5, support coach and vintage coaches to HK at night, drop off the vintage coaches, then continue to Kingscote and bunk down for a few hours; get up in the early morning and run the loco up to East Grinstead, where the mainline crew took over for its movement off the Bluebell! Bluebell crew taken back to SP by car in the early morning… I'm surprised the people who pore over Real Time Trains didn't spot that one!

    Tom
     
  4. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Presumably some of this is covered by the same crew working both Saturday and Sunday, so the number of individuals is not necessarily the full 24?

    Do you know how many people are in each grade? I wonder what percentage turnout that is?
     
  5. spindizzy

    spindizzy New Member

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    Anyone know why the 33 was on the 15.45 EG-SP service?
     
  6. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    L150 failed after first round trip this morning according to Bluebell Twitter feed.
     
  7. Grashopper

    Grashopper New Member

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    And before crews are blamed for not getting on with L150 it was a gasket failure. L150 had already been substituted for the S15 which had an issue with the blow down valve so hadn't left the yard. I understand that the repairs to both locomotives should be straightforward.
     
  8. ykin01

    ykin01 New Member

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    Will they both still be available for Saturdays 1st Birthday event?
     
  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Well, usual caveats apply but I understand the issues with both locos were minor, but in both cases needed the engines to completely cool down before attention, which is why neither was in use on Sunday.

    Plan for this weekend is still 847+1638 on one train, 5643+L150 on a second and 263+592 on the third, with Baxter on brake van rides.

    Tom
     
  10. ykin01

    ykin01 New Member

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    Great thanks, do you know when a timetable will be released? As the website still says 'A working timetable will be available shortly'
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    AFAIK, conventional Service 2 timetable (A & B trains) with an extra "C" train interpolated:

    Saturday:
    A service - 1638 + 847 + Southern set, makes four round trips (i.e. normal peak summer service) (9.45 / 12.15 / 2.45 / 5.15 ex SP etc)
    B service - L150 + 5643 + Mark 1s / Bulleids, makes three round trips (11.00 / 13.30 / 16.00 ex SP)
    C service - 263 + 592 + Mets / 4 wheelers, makes three round trips at 10.15 / 12.50 / 3.20 ex-SP and 1hr 3min later ex-EG.
    Baxter on brake van rides (leaves SP light engine 10.35 and returns from HK at 4.34)
    847 does the evening Golden Arrow (two round trips).

    I make that a shade under 500 loco miles for the day...

    Sunday is similar, but the A service only does three round trips. 263 takes the early morning "C" service on its own for just one round trip, then there is a lunchtime GA at the normal timings with 263 and 592. So Sunday is basically a normal Sunday but with the extra train at 10.15 and brake van rides; Saturday is a considerably enhanced service.

    http://www.bluebell-railway.com/event/happy-birthday-east-grinstead/

    Tom
     
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  12. ykin01

    ykin01 New Member

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    Thanks, much appreciated.
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    75033 and Steve like this.
  14. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Just so. Surely it's a principle that's never been seriously questioned? On the big railway, a big engine might have doubled as station pilot and standby but at critical locations on the main line there would be one for each task for all the obvious reasons. For example, a Type 4 diesel once failed at York on the up Talisman and they substituted an A1 at the last minute (that wasn't the station pilot!). The train left about 25 minutes late on the booked passing time for York and managed to arrive at KX only a couple of minutes down in around 158 minutes net including touching 100 down Stoke at Essendine.
     
  15. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Member

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    I overheard a member of L150's crew tell someone that 5643 was on loan for the year but said that L150's owner was happy for the loco to stay on the line.
     
  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    You'd be surprised! As for the practicalities, having a station pilot on Saturday and Sunday simplifies operation at SP but also provides an important part in our training structure. Shunting is harder than it looks: not physically, but in terms of being constantly on the ball with regards the varying demand for steam.

    Next weekend, we'll have five (!) in steam both days

    Saturday:
    847 - A service and evening Golden Arrow
    L150 - B service
    263 - Wealden Rambler
    55 - Special service
    178 - Pilot

    Sunday:
    847 - A service
    L150 - B service
    263 - Wealden Rambler
    592 - Lunchtime Golden Arrow
    178 - Pilot

    Tom
     
  17. A1X

    A1X Member

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    They're getting the big red 'un out again even after her latest faux pas?

    Brave.
     
  18. David-Haggar

    David-Haggar New Member

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    I do have to sort of agree and wonder just how much worth is it keeping hold of that red Prairie thing considering how many times it's now failed. I think it's not a million miles away from the end of it's boiler ticket so maybe not such a surprise that the loco isn't possibly in the greatest of condition.
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Well, the roster was written before this weekend, so if repairs haven't been made, presumably something else will sub.

    That said - the problem is known, so repairs can be carried out. After which the competent authorities decide whether it can be released back into traffic. If it can - it runs. If not, further repairs are carried out until it's agreed that the necessary repairs have been carried out in a satisfactory manner.

    At that point, you have to believe in the integrity of the system and assume the loco is OK - which isn't to say that another failure won't occur at some point in the future. Problems are not unknown even on brand new locos: 847 had a minor failure the weekend before, but no-one is saying she shouldn't run. 1638 has had several boiler problems over the last few years, but currently seems fine on that front after repairs, likewise 592 and cylinder problems. I suspect at least a bit of the current sniffiness about L150 in certain quarters might be an aesthetic judgement as much as an engineering one!

    Tom
     
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  20. matt41312

    matt41312 New Member

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    If she isn't wanted over there, the Spa Valley is on the look out for a second steam engine for its Eridge operation in 2015!

    Matt
     

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