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Bluebell Rolling Stock

Discussion in 'Heritage Rolling Stock' started by tom92240, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. tom92240

    tom92240 Part of the furniture

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    Hi all,

    A bit of discussion began about the possibility of some more Mark 1's arriving at Bluebell in the Rolling Stock Movements thread, and subsequently went onto talking about these vehicles distracting volunteers and staff from restoring the unique and interesting vehicles we already have. I decided it best to start abit more of a dedicated thread and have began where I would have replied in the other conversation:

    As my understanding goes, these vehicles are to be hired. So that is money out of the pot of restoring something unique and different. You can go to any railway and travel on a Mark 1 but you can't go to any railway and travel on a Maunsell Restaurant car, a Restriction 4 Non-Descript etc

    Likewise, as far as I know these hired vehicles are not being bought in to displace existing Mark 1's either, just to add to the fleet. However, if they were to displace other, less attractive Mark 1's and then at some point would be leaving the railway, I would not have such an issue.

    We have a plethora of unique and interesting stock and we're spending time running and maintaining something that you can travel on at pretty much any other railway, which therefore pushes these currently fragile and volatile wooden bodied vehicles further down the queue for their time in the works.
     
  2. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    In agree with all you say, but the fact of the matter is that if more coaches are needed it takes time to restore vintage coaches, they can't be produced like rabbits from a hat. Mk 1s, on the other hand, can be. If the Mk 1s are on hire, that hire can always be terminated when they are no longer required.
     
  3. Peter Hall

    Peter Hall Guest

    There are few that follow the movements of 'preserved' railway carriages as closely as I do ( see http://www.rcts.org.uk/features/preservedcoaches/ if you have not done already). The owner of the Mark 1's in question also keeps me up to date.

    Is it not the case that the restored carriages that have moved from Cranmore have replaced carriages that have had to be stood down at the Bluebell following years of intensive use? The stood down carriages now being the subject of extensive restorations. For example, BSK 34556 is substituting for BSK 35448 currently at Cranmore for overhaul. If the carriages from Cranmore were not available what would the Bluebell be using in its dining trains?

    Like every other heritage railway the demands of the operating department can not always be met by the C&W guys, paid and voluntary, despite all their efforts, so other opportunities have to be explored to keep the show on the road. True, the borrowed carriages will need day to day attention but overhauls, unlike for the Bluebell Railways own stock, will be the responsibility of the owner and not be a burden on the stretched Bluebell Railway restoration resources.

    It may be that the complete set of carmine & cream Mark 1's does become Bluebell Railway based. Can't see a problem with that. In fact, I am sure many would see this as enhancement especially if it takes pressure off the more elderly carriages. True, there might be a hire fee, but isn't that the case for other rolling stock not directly owned? Those fees though will go towards future overhauls in the same way that revenues earned by the Bluebell Railway go towards overhauling their own carriages.
     
  4. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    From what I see on the Bluebell's website, at present there are 3 pre-group carriages (and the LBSC milk/fruit van), 2 Southern Carriages, and a Pullman being worked on in the works. No mk1s. I believe that there are 13 pre-group carriages in service, 11 "ordinary" ones, the obo and the GNR saloon. That is pretty good. Whatever is in service is going to require repairs and maintenance and so take resources, and the older stock requires more of that.

    Yes, there are many others waiting their turn, including those from the early days of the line which were quite ropey when they came to the Bluebell, were run into the ground because there was no alternative, and (in some cases) 30-40 years of storage have done them no favours. I would love to see them running again. BR mk1s don't really do it for me, but they are also part of our heritage, and it is great to see some proper care being put into some of these (including the ones that have prompted this thread). I've travelled on enough mk1s on several lines that are worn out, tatty and seemingly uncared for that it is good to see someone making an effort. It doesn't have to be an either/or, and from the point of view of someone looking on from the outside, the older stock seems to be having an revival on the BB. Lovely

    Steve B
     
  5. Bramblewick

    Bramblewick Member

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    But then, it's all relative. The other day, in an NSE refurbished Mk. 1 SK some of the less attractive modifications to which had been reversed by its current owners, I heard a lady commenting on how lovely the vehicle was. Mk. 1s may be considered dull by the cognoscenti, but to the average member of the public they are representative of a vanished world in which seats were comfortable and in line with the windows, there was plenty of legroom, nobody had to sit next to the toilet, there was a bit of varnished wood about the place, and passengers were trusted to open their own windows and control their own heating.
     
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  6. David-Haggar

    David-Haggar Member

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    I can see where Tom's coming from on this as our forte at the Bluebell is vintage steam hauling vintage coaches. Personally my Dad and I always love to travel in Bulleid carriages rather than a Mk1. However IF some of these possible Mk1's arriving are going to be in blood & custard livery then I'm all for it as I've always wanted to see uniform rake of about 5 or so paired behind the likes of 32424, 80151, Camelot and who knows a lined black H Class ;). In terms of the C&W I would love to see much more emphasis put on getting our vintage wagon fleet back in service. It wasn't than long ago we could boast two superb sets of Pre-Grouping wagons and SR wagons, now they all seem to have been dumped in sidings at HK & Kingscote and starting to look pretty forlorn.
     
  7. cct man

    cct man Part of the furniture

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    That was pre 2005 David, I was the team leader at the time restoring wagons at the weekend. With 9 vehicles out shopped in 18 months , we were really starting to make a difference until the powers that be decreed that wagons do not put "bums on seats" :)

    That is why the Mid-Hants now has a big fleet of wagons:)

    Regards
    Chris:
     
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  8. Grashopper

    Grashopper Member

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    Having been lucky enough to have had a couple of crew training turns on (now-rare) Bluebell demonstration goods trains over the last 2 years, it certainly is a very different experience working a loose-coupled freight to passenger stock. As an exercise we made a full service application departing south from Kingscote on the down-grade as a demonstration of how in-effective a P tanks brakes were against the train weight. It took a few extra turns on the handbrake to bring it under control (we were approaching the rising gradient so it was an ideal spot for the training exercise).

    It is a shame that we don't run freight demos at the moment, but with the shortage of locos and the need to operate and improve the running of the service to EG I can see why we don't (at present). I wonder if any future freight demos would terminate at Kingscote rather than go through to EG?

    Back on topic, if the new on-loan coaches only run on a strengthened Rambler set, they surely will not accrue miles as quickly as service stock so therefore not overly tax the resources of the C&W dept? Additionally a strengthened Rambler set would generate additional income which would surely compensate for the extra work load on the C&W.
     
  9. tom92240

    tom92240 Part of the furniture

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    I think 21246 (Mk1 BCK) is a good case in point. The Service Planning Group, which comprises the relevant managers and directors, expressed a need for the acquisition of such a vehicle. 21246 was available to hire at the time and it was inspected by the C&W Manager who informed the Rolling Stock Committee that it was not suitable for hire without some work being carried out on it. It was believed that this was the end of the matter. Within a month, the vehicle had been purchased by Bluebell Railway plc for a premium price without consultation with the RSC. As a consequence, 21246 is now undergoing a larger than intermediate overhaul in the C&W shops. It is generally believed in the department that 21246 is probably the second-worst Mk1 that has come to the railway.
    This raises the question in my mind along the lines of...what's wrong with 6575, the currently Blue Maunsell BCK. Surely, because it's already on the railway it would be cheaper to transport, it needs remedial work I'm guessing up to the standard of the Mk1. I believe the roof and the side lights need a coat of TLC to make it watertight, a retrim and repaint and away we go. Suspect that is rather a generalisation but the point stands that we have a BCK already, one that is not very common and is interesting, why do we need ANOTHER one at premium cost?
    The answer seems to be that someone somewhere wants lots of rolling bearing axles stock because it's easier to maintain, and that all our unique, heritage, interesting, different (delete as appropriate) stock is either going to be left in the sidings under tarps, or stuffed in the woodpax shed only to be seen occasionally. I wait with baited breath to see whether the suggested plan of 2 6 to 7 car rolling bearing Mk1 sets comes to the fore. I really hope not! And for those that read this and comment upon my apparent dislike for standard stock, don't get me wrong! There is nothing wrong with them, but when they get precedence over unique and interesting vehicles that are in desperate need of saving each time, then it starts to grate!
    Lastly, my understanding off BSK 35448 was that she has been transferred to the owner of the RBR and Mk1 FO in exchange for the 5-year hire of the crimson/cream Mk1 BSK used on the Wealden Rambler. 3064 and the RB are on hire while, from what I gather, further vehicles are being accommodated under storage/loan agreements.


     
  10. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    I don't know for sure, but I suspect that may be where your argument falls to the ground. If the timber frame needs a fair amount of work on it (and I've a suspicion that a vehicle of that vintage may) then I think that in the short term welding in patches will be the quicker option, though it will almost certainly be a repair that doesn't last as well as doing the proper job on the wooden frame. It's also a lot more laborious removing and refitting steel panels screwed to wooden frames in order to expose the frame than simply cutting rusted metal away. As for the roller bearing issue, I think you'd have to look no further than your full time C & W Manager, who presumably is being asked to work miracles with limited resources.

    My feeling and experience is that it takes a lot longer to restore a pre-BR timber framed coach than it does a Mk 1 (particularly an ex-Departmental with little remaining interior) but the end result tends to be a lot more durable than a Mk 1, which will begin to rust adjacent to the patches before long.
     
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  11. 75033

    75033 New Member

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    Out of interest, would anyone be able to confirm if LCDR 114 is to go into SECR Purple Lake once SECR 3188 is complete?

    Nathan
     
  12. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's my understanding, though there is not (to my knowledge) any imminent plan to change the livery.

    The SECR locos we have are all Edwardian, so the aim is that the SECR carriages (mostly ex-LCDR) will be in SECR form as they would have been running prior to World War 1; whilst the LBSCR set will have an 1880s-1890s appearance.

    Tom
     
  13. 75033

    75033 New Member

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    Cheers for the confirmation Tom!

    It's come to light on Dave Clarke's Flickr, that Mk1 5034 has been outshopped in Blood and Custard!

    Image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/extension3363/12663851015/

    I must admit, it looks very nice! 5 down, one to go I believe in the aim for a full 6 coach B&C MK1 set...

    Nathan
     
  14. michaelh

    michaelh Part of the furniture

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    We should remember that Mk 1's are 50/60 years old and are heritage in their own right. They were a significant advance on previous coaching stock and should not be regarded as "poor relations"
     
  15. burmister

    burmister Member

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    Mk1s remind people of what levels of comfort these trains offered up to the 90s have rather than the Deep Vein Thrombosis seat inducing trains we are currently have. I would consider the Mk1 derived EMUs such as the Clactons, CIGs and BIGs were the zenith of British EMU design. Since then every new model and mark of EMU gets more uncomfortable. the first 377s were bad enough, the new 377/6 and 7s are truly awful and I read the same seats are being fitted in the new Thameslink trains for journeys of over two hours. Not even O'Leary Air inflicts these levels of discomfort on his customers.

    Brian
     
  16. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    .............. and the Gresley Quadart set reminds us that this process is nothing new!
     
  17. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    This talk of Mk.1s reminds me of the bit in Steam Beano called "The Golden Years" or some such which really means "When I wuz a lad"! The Bluebell has a Maunsell open third which will blow any Mk. 1 out of the water for style and comfort. Some of the Bluebell's Mk.1s are IMHO particularly unattractive (Sorry bluebellites) but then my family have been motorists since around WW1 rather than train users and thus I regard carriages for what they are rather than for nostalgia.

    For the same reason I find Pullman armchairs tend not to be comfortable being (again IMHO) for grandeur rather than anything else.

    PH
     
  18. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    With Mk 1s, a lot depends on when they were built. I, personally, detest the later builds with extensive use of formica and fluorescent lighting, much prefer the "empire timber" varieties.
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    These days, "Pullman" has become more or less synonymous with opulence and luxury dining. But I believe that, back in the day, Pullman dining quite often meant a slightly upmarket snack for a small supplement (especially when there was just a Pullman strengthener in a normal train). Seats were deliberately not too comfortable, since the desire was turnover the covers as quickly as possible!

    Tom
     
  20. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Well-Known Member

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    I've found that with the MHR BR Pullmans. Very hard for me to get comfortable in them when I've been to the galas.
     

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