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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Jamessquared, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. PILLBOX MAN

    PILLBOX MAN New Member

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    If there is not the cash to o/h the Yankee, (£150K ? plus same for NLT? ) I doubt BB will have enough cash/time/space to sectionalise it. Sectioning the MN was OK as there are many preserved ( 5. 6 , 9, 10, 11, 18, 22, 25, 27, 28, 29) but not USA tanks. (64, 65, 70 and 72). You also need to mount on rollers to see wheels revolving and valve gear operating albeit slowly to make it a viable interpretative display. More costs. Stuffing it in steam works I guess would mean losing another space for an operational loco. Perhaps permanent loans with the proviso BB get "free" use on gala days occasionally.
     
  2. Wagoniester

    Wagoniester Member

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    If I recall rightly, wasn't the USA originally intended to go under the Steamworks as a rolling road example, but got dropped as the amount of work required to get it to a standard in which to do so was not viable? I think the rolling road itself was also dropped?
     
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don't necessarily see it as permanent.

    Firstly, a lot of the upper sections are corroded anyway, so would need replacement if you ever wanted to run the loco again. Additionally, if you consider what is done to overhaul a boiler these days, it frequently requires removal of substantial amounts of the firebox and replacement with new material. So rather than seeing sectioning as permanent, I'd wonder whether a loco could be taken back to a sectioned state by removing all the bits that would be scrap in an overhaul anyway. At that point, you have a sectioned exhibit, but crucially, you haven't actually thrown away any material that would be reusable if you did choose to restore in the future. Obviously if the intention was to overhaul the loco for running, sectioning it as an intermediate step is more expensive than just doing the overhaul; but if the intention is not to overhaul the loco, then there is the potential to get an exhibit for the museum that is more interesting than having it complete; has ready access and visibility for the valve gear (unlike other small locos); but which doesn't ultimately compromise a future restoration. Another option short of sectioning would be part-disassembled, to illustrate the process of overhaul.

    Obviously that might be a bit whimsical. But the options for the loco seem to be:
    1. Sell it in its current condition. (Are there buyers? Unlikely to realise a significant sum given the work that would then be needed)
    2. Transfer elsewhere on a "restore and run" agreement. (Is there someone who would want it? A preservation benefit, but no particular financial benefit to the railway)
    3. Restore for operational use (but is it especially useful?)
    4. Cosmetically overhaul for indoor display. (If so, would it be the top priority? Personally I'd pick the NL tank over the USA tank, for starters; and certainly Sharpthorne).
    5. Cosmetically restore and section for indoor display (likely to be more expensive. Would there be grants available? Higher value museum exhibit in that state)
    6. Leave to continue to deteriorate, pending expansion of the amount of undercover storage for locos.
    As usual, most options come back to some combination of money and storage; none is ideal.

    Personal view as always ...

    Tom
     
  4. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    Thinking about it from a museological perspective, it would make a great deal of sense for the Bluebell to dispose of the North London tank. It doesn't fit with the railway's "core" collection, which is focused on the SR and its constituents. Admittedly, it has a long association with the line in preservation, but for how many of its years on the Bluebell has it actually been in working order? There would still be plenty of other engines on the railway that are strongly associated with its early days - the Terriers, the Ps, 488, 473, etc.

    By contrast, there are several preserved lines either in Derbyshire, or with LNWR heritage, for whom the engine would arguably have more historic resonance. Not many lines can boast appropriate pre-grouping motive power, so the NLR tank could become a flagship engine for them; it could help to boost their profile, rather as the loan of the Beattie Well Tanks did for Bodmin. Moreover, some of those lines are small enough that they might be able to make use of the engine for regular service trains, which now seems unlikely on the Bluebell.

    Of course, I am speaking hypothetically here; to the best of my knowledge the Bluebell have no plans to dispose of the engine, nor have any of the railways I am thinking of expressed any interest in acquiring it. But I use it as an example to illustrate the potential advantages that could be gained when heritage railways grasp the nettle and have the courage to dispose of items they no longer have a use for.
     
  5. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden New Member

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    From what I understand both NLR tank and USA require substantial firebox and mechanical work anyway. But I don't see either of them having a place in the queue for at least the next 10-15 years (latter point is a personal view)...
     
  6. Jdwitts

    Jdwitts New Member

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    Where is Sharpthorne kept these days and what shape is it in? Don't imagine for a second it's got any prospect of being fully restored, but I was a bit surprised it wasn't given some cosmetic attention to take a place in the new running shed/Steamworks. Surely one of the best assets for telling the 'story' of the Bluebell - a loco that actually helped build the line! As a member I'd happily cough up some cash to see it get some TLC. Have been tempted to write into Bluebell News with that thought in the past..
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    At HK, and I think you wouldn't be the only person surprised that it didn't find a way into SteamWorks. Maybe write that letter ... :)

    Tom
     
  8. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden New Member

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    To be honest, Sharpthorne deserves more of a place in SteamWorks then Baxter does in my own not-so-humble opinion. As nice Baxter is, Sharpthorne is more historically important to the line.
     
  9. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    If anyone is able to get down to Sheffield Park on Friday, Pullman car "Aquila" will be arriving from the SDR on a 30 year running agreement.
    The car, which is owned by Richard Jones, will require an intermediate overhaul before entering service, particularly attention to its underframe, some bodyside and roof work, plus a full rewire, which will entail much dismantling of the interior to do so, so will be time-consuming, the plan being that Aquila should be ready for traffic in 2 years time, along with Fingall, Christine (which also requires an underframe overhaul in the interim, once Car 54 has been released into traffic).
    Most crucially, Aquila gives the Bluebell its second Kitchen Car, which will take the load off the BGZ, and not before time.
    Aquila's owner has spent a quite considerable amount of time and money sourcing original/ high quality reproduction fittings for the interior. (This photograph was taken several years ago, but shows up well that the 1938 interior design was carried forward, post-war):
    EInhusaX0AQ0IFv.jpg
    Also worth noting, is this does NOT by implication make "Carina" surplus to requirements; having spare Pullman cars available (eventually), means that capacity never need fluctuate, which has been an eternal curse to the operation, (and will continue in the short term future).
    Although with Carina, obviously this was always going to be a long and very expensive rebuild, the Car's provenance means that Carina will hold with it an almost mystic aura, and something of an eternal fascination, particularly for visiting overseas Anglophiles.
    More information yet to come, yet but anything more detailed regarding the Pullman train project should rightly come from official sources.
     
  10. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Why does Carina have a mystic aura?
     
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  11. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    On 30th January 1965, Carina carried the principal mourners on Winston Churchill's funeral train. It was coupled directly behind the Hearse Van. Perhaps "draped in history" would be a more appropriate description.
     
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  12. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Ah!
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Watch the next issue of Bluebell Times :) Looks like I should have an article outlining the various planned changes to get the train back up to full strength while allowing overhauls to take place as required.

    Tom
     
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  14. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    I think the strategy to have a four-car train (minus the maligned FO) by 2024 is impressive in itself, and lucky that the underframe overhauls have come due when they have. After that, it gets interesting... Having 160 covers is a major operation, and if the custom really is there, it will turn the GA into a big earner for the railway.
    The idea of having spare cars to hand is the key thing, so that a 140-160 cover train is always available. Good. I'll look forward to reading that.
     
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  15. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Member

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    I was going to ask what the optimum amount of operational Pullmans the line required, but luckily it seems you have answered it for me and looking forward to Tom's article in Bluebell Times as well.
     
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  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Ha! Not my article - I'm merely an editor :) I've got something I'm hopeful I can include.

    Tom
     
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  17. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    YouTube clip of Aquila leaving Buckfastleigh today. Worth watching for the haulier's reversing skills alone!


    All looks in good order, but as we all know (cough*21246*cough!) that appearances only go so far. Nonetheless, we do know that this one has been very well looked after.
    Worth noting- the carriage is currently wired for 240v throughout, and carries no steam heat, so hopefully that 2-year overhaul will provide enough time for the quite extensive electrical and mechanical work required. Looking forward to seeing it at the Park, shortly.
     
  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    A quick reminder that this weekend, the service train is double-headed by Nos. 263 and 65. I'm on one of them on Monday - come and say hello if you are about.

    (Meanwhile - the Pullman paper will be in the next BT: I'm working on some illustrative diagrams to show how the formation is planned to change over the next few years).

    Tom
     
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  19. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden New Member

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    I see you probably around the public footpath around Horsted then ;)
     
  20. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden New Member

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    A couple of todays Chatham double header.
     

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