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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden New Member

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    It's nice to see both of the Chathams running lately. Is there any idea whats happened with 847? Hoping it's not a big issue to remedy. Even though 263 and 65 has the same type of boiler does one steam better than the other or are they both free steamers?
     
  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    They are both very free steaming. There are some subtle differences (primarily 65 has a shallower ashpan with less capacity, so tends to choke up a bit - hence the requirement to clear it during the day) but I think a lot probably depends on how they are driven and fired as much as any specific difference between locos.

    My own technique on both is to fire them quite thin. A ring right around the box; deeper at the back and the centre thin. Generally going up the line I'd have the back damper wide open and the front shut. Even with the front damper shut, they both have a bit of a tendency to burn out against the front tube plate, which you have to watch - I think on 65 at least, there is a small gap along the front of the firebars which promotes that. A good rule of thumb seems to be that if they are a bit sluggish steaming, you need more in the back; if they are fine-fine-fine and then suddenly fall off a cliff, you have probably got a hole in the front.

    They are both sensitive to damper position (albeit your options for the back are basically open, half or shut); cracking the doors open also reduces the steaming rate a bit. There is a top flap on the firehole door assembly for secondary air which with the smoky hard coal we had yesterday (not the stuff we were discussing earlier) we had open all the time, but also sometimes needed to have the doors cracked a few inches open as well to control the smoke.

    The red line is 160psi, and trying to do a sustained climb below about 140psi can rapidly lead to a world of pain - a vicious circle of the efficiency going down which uses more steam, which needs more water, which reduces the pressure .... So my general rule is to try to keep them at about 150, and be very reactive to which direction the pressure gauge is going so as to regulate the firing. The only real exception to the "keep it over 140" rule is just at the summits; (West Haothly and Imberhorne) where it can be helpful to run it down, but even so ideally not below about 135 at West Hoathly and 130 or so at Imberhorne (where low pressure and water space helps keep the loco quiet at East Grinstead). We were in second valve on all the climbs even with that load.

    The water gauges we have discussed before; suffice to say when going up the line, if the water is not out of sight above the gauge, you probably are already starting to have too little when you shut off over the summit. So it is all done on feel and occasional readings when coasting on the level.

    The injectors are slow. As an example yesterday, generally we were leaving Horsted Keynes with a full glass; I was putting the jack on round about Horsted House Farm bridge and we were coming out of the tunnel below half glass, with the injector then filling the boiler back up on the run down to Kingscote. From East Grinstead, I was tending to put a splash in through the narrows just to control the pressure; then putting the jack on for good quite low down on the straight section (much earlier than I would on a bigger loco); and we were getting to the summit with about a third glass (but indicated lower on the 1 in 60 descent, obviously). Generally the loco was holding 150psi most of the way up against the injector, and then just dying towards the top (that's the plan, anyway!), at which point if you looked at the fire the whole bed is jumping up and down on the grate. If you get it right, when you are at East Grinstead you have a thin bed of glowing coals right over with almost no flames. Lovely ...

    Coming back is lovely, but the crux is to get it right from Kingscote to West Hoathly. There is no real gradient (only 1 in 122 for a mile and a half) so you just drift along in first valve. If you leave Kingscote with the boiler full, the ideal is to control the pressure using the doors rathe than the injector, such that you have about half a glass by West Hoathly. You know the level will come back to you on the descent through the tunnel, so if you have also got the fire on its last legs by that point, you can drift all the way back just patching in holes and occasional bits of water, while arriving back at SP with about half a glass and loads of space to keep it quiet. If you get it wrong on that Kingscote to West Hoathly section and over do it, you don't have much opportunity from there to use any water, so you'll end up with too much back at SP.

    I didn't get to fire them this weekend with five on (but I have in the past); the main issue is maintaining the water level. Speaking to someone yesterday, they pretty much had the fireman's side injector on all the time and used the driver's side at times to recover the level over the summits.

    Tom
     
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Our first special event of the year - Road Meets Rail takes place on 17/18 July. Step back in time for a weekend of steam powered demonstrations and vintage fairground fun. Traction engines, road rollers, steam wagons, showman’s engines, crane engines and more – bringing Horsted Keynes station to life with recreations of a bygone age.

    Tickets are now on sale - discounts for advance purchase, but tickets are also available on the day.

    Details here: https://www.bluebell-railway.com/road-meets-rail/

    Timetable: as far as I can see, there will be a two train public service (six departures each way), with a demonstration goods and a dining train running in the other paths. There is music in the evening at HK on Saturday night and it looks like anyone staying for that will be able to get a late train back to either EG or SP.

    [​IMG]

    Tom
     
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  4. Bikermike

    Bikermike Member

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  5. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    Update to the Whats New page, featuring the arrival of Pullman car "Aquila".
    https://www.bluebell-railway.com/brps/whats_new/

    Whilst on the subject of Pullmans, just thought I'd add to that a reminder of the historical provence of our other 1951- built car, "Carina", which will (at some point in the future) become the standby kitchen car for the Golden Arrow.
    These are 2 stills from British Pathe footage of Carina, in Winston Churchill's funeral train, leaving Waterloo on 30/01/65:
    Carina 1.png Carina 2.png
     
  6. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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  7. Ruston906

    Ruston906 New Member

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  8. 34002salisbury

    34002salisbury New Member

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    Fingers crossed it'll be allowed out to play a once or twice a year!
     
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  9. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Welcome to the Modernisation Plan Bluebell! ;)
    In all seriousness a 33’s a useful piece of kit and it does have a Southern Pedigree so it should be right at home.
    I have a feeling there’ll be a few complaints but having experience of having to use diesels for ‘thunderbird’ rescue and impromptu shunting moves, they really can save a lot of stress and grey hairs with those who are unfortunate enough to be involved during that day’s operations :)
    I do wonder what Stepney will think though having originally thinking it had dodged a bullet back in 1960 when it shows up at Sheffield Park :);)
     
  10. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant New Member

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    Curious how this news is being taken in more private corners of the Bluebell world. A logical acquisition that has been proven to be needed for many years. And certainly more in keeping than some possibilities out there. The world didn't fall to pieces when the first 08 turned up at Sheffield Park and it won't with the arrival of a Crompton. The Bluebell doesn't just run a short service with a few carriages, this is a decent sized operation. There isn't always going to be a warm spare and gone are the days of just throwing one of the small tanks out and hoping for the best. It also handily gives the railway off-juice power for the EMU.
     
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  11. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    I can fully understand the practicalities of this move, and with the Crompton having a strong Southern pedigree, I happily go along with the strategy.
    Yet one item of diesel hardware I really would love to see operating on Bluebell is a 3H or 3D unit. As much a part of the Wealden branch line scene as a Birdcage Trio set. I know it will almost certainly never happen, that the logistics, storage and maintenance of such a unit would be a massive drain on resources, and that 3 carriages currently on the railway would have to be selected for disposal, so sure- pie in the sky, really.
    And yet could you imagine standing on Kingscote platform late on an autumn day, the light fading, and hearing the throb of an approaching Thumper coming up the gradient from West Hoathly with the last train? A scene straight from the Cuckoo Line in the early 60s...
     
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  12. Fireline

    Fireline Member

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    I think the first move will be to fix it.
     
  13. desperado

    desperado New Member

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    Like all class 33s it will need a lot of bodywork done - more than anyone could possibly imagine.
    33108 is currently having the rust removed before a cab rebuild. This may work (even without a FB account) if you accept cookies (perhaps in an incognito window so they go away again afterwards) https://www.facebook.com/groups/895472313877202/posts/4069410936483308/ .
    If not, it's a posting in the (public) "Severn Valley Diesels (Official Group)" posted by Glen Flurry on June 26 at 2219 (perhaps 2119 BST).

    BRCW is frequently expanded to "Birmingham Rust and Corrosion Works" & that's not too much of a joke.

    Hopefully the new owners got some spares too.
     
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  14. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    This looks well handled, and a 33 is a good choice for a diesel for the Bluebell.

    My regret, though @Jamessquared and others have legitimately asked the difficult questions about money and staff, is that this takes the Bluebell further away from what it once, proudly, was - a genuinely steam only railway, with the challenges and constraints that brings.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  15. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Didn’t that happen a few years ago with use of the 08, 73 and various Class 66’s on the spoil trains from the tip at Imberhorne?
     
  16. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    It's a shame that they turned down a class 73 though. Not much better than an 09, I would imagine, but still an iconic southern design!
     
  17. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    A sensible development, I think.
    Previous generations of Bluebell supporters would have had it burned at the stake, but they weren't running the size of railway that now exists. Also, there was often a lack of appreciation of practical railway work - a colleague of mine who worked in the CCE offices at Southern House told me that the Bluebell members of the department (that was all the rest of them!) were adamant that the extension from Horsted Keynes, when built, would be laid with 45 ft rails on wood sleepers because that's what the Brighton did! That notion ran into the sands of reality; so has the steam only policy.
    Pat
     
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  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not powerful enough to keep time on our gradients though.

    Tom
     
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  19. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant New Member

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    Just have to look at the work required to bring 27 back from scrap via time. The NLR tank has been static for nearly 25 years too. The work and money involved just doesn't add up for the old "Monday Shunt" and P-way duties. It seems like a quite a few of the small tank engines are very, very tired and just not up to most of the services the Bluebell runs.
     
  20. A1X

    A1X Member

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    Aha this explains that wicker man I saw being built next to the A272 the other week.

    More seriously, I noted in the Long Term Plan sent around a couple of weeks back that there was a distinct softening in the stance on diesels, although I didn't realise it would presage something this quickly. I think this has been inevitable since the EG extension opened, back in the days when the Bluebell was an entirely self-contained operation which shuttled back and forth from Sheffield Park, basically everyone turned up by car and if you got stuck and didn't get back until a couple of hours after you were planning to then it wasn't that big a deal. Now there's a mainline link people are likely to need to make connections, and that in turn makes the whole thing a different kettle of fish.
     

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