Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by AndrewT, Jul 17, 2012.
That was the plan AFAIK.
Just to prove he's not "gone dark" on us, Barrie has updated his 'unoffical' site, with a raft of those old images he's been digitising .... and there's oodles to peruse:
Only if it becomes truculent and refuses to go......
Here is a comedy narrow gauge poster to lift our spites
Wrong railway...... and what are "spites"?
Just when we needed it, Barrie's unofficial (and much valued) WHR website gets another update. Mainly historical stuff this time, but no less interesting for that:
The usual caveat about watching your mobile data allowance applies to the video clips.
From Mr.Lewin (who sounds more comfortable 'on camera' these days), a comprehensive round up of what's occurring with the various FR/WHR steam locos .... and Moelwyn!
Fans of the Alco may feel a tad downcast, though with the sheer quantity of work Blodge have committed to, that's hardly surprising.
The usual reminder about not chewing your mobile data limits applies:
This is a great video.
Did he actually say anything specific about the Alco? Agreed that it's unlikely to be seeing any attention any time soon with everything else in hand, and the delays and other issues due to the ongoing crisis.
I seem to remember Mr Lewin was never a particular fan of the Alco. Back in the days when he finished Ricket Rescue there was some talk of the Alco being next, and I have a vague memory of an article from him on an old FR Magazine which suggested a major rebuild on the grounds that it wasn't any good.
Not criticising him personally, he's been a good GM and done wonders for the FfR.
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Totally agree, as are the other videos that the F&WHR have put out during the lock down. I particularly found the Boston Lodge Project one (produced as part of the Nation Lottery funded project) interesting, as not only showing what the plans are, but also seeing areas normally out of the public view.
(As always, all these links below are data heavy so think about your data allowances!)
And for those who missed them and are interested here are videos of the recent line inspections
Apparently the WHR one was filmed from the carriage as the camera on the loco failed.
The Railway should be commended on such a positive approach to communications during these difficult times.
(Oh and if you like old photos have a look at https://www.facebook.com/pg/festrailinsider/posts/?ref=page_internal for dozens of them! (No login needed)).
That's just not accurate I'm afraid. Paul Lewin is a fan of the ALCo and as far as I know has never said otherwise.
Paul Martin was largely responsible for the Ricket Rescue. There were plans for them to take the ALCo on after that but the group were suffering from burn out by that point and took a break. In the end he took on the rebuild of Merddin.
The ALCo is tired and needs a heavy overhaul just like we did with Linda a few years ago. It is a good performer when it is in good condition, and was still pulling 8 coach trains to time even when it wasn't.
Nowt specific. Couldn't help but notice Mountaineer only got a short clip of historic action, lacking any specific statement regarding it's current or future status. As EoM got the same, perhaps I'm reading too much into it.
Slightly odd (to my mind) was the inclusion of shots of Nos. 3&6, but none of original No.7 Little Wonder - if that gets recreated, will Tal get the originl single Fairlie slot 'No.9' (now vacant) back? On those grounds, equally odd was the absence of any reference to Moel Tryfan, given the loco actually passed into FR ownership with the final failure of the original WHR. Mischievous thought: When the "1863 England" comes to fruition, will LT (in it's NR cocoon) get it's original No.11 back? If so, what about EoM?
The roundup of WHR power was most welcome, most especially NG15 No.134, which I've been avidly following. Can't wait to see this beastie storming north out of Beddgelert! Pity there was no mention of C2 No.4 (the Chinese 0-8-0) ... so let's cure that right now: http://c2project.org/index.php?page=news
Was inclusion of ' The Ladies' with sundry Hunslets perhaps indicative of their gradual passing from 'frontline' to 'heritage' status?
....... and a pet gripe ..... what's all this superstitious claptrap with no No.13? I ask you .... do trains grind to a halt every time a black cat crosses the line?
Great video tho' ..... hope they get round to an internal combustion roundup at some point.
I got the impression that the order of the locos being looked at were in their number order - the Hunslets seemed to be put in order of their works numbers in the absence of any FR numbers. What I found myself wanting more of was the current status of Britomart - another with just a historic action shot with no commentary. Anyone know what her status is?
As I recall Paul Lewin led the rebuild of Linda 1990s before he became GM.
A top form Alco was capable of taking 11 so it was always very valuable as something more powerful than the Hunslets but not as expensive as a Fairlie to run.
There do seem to be a lot of reasons given about why it can't be done 'ie can't be coal fired, would have to be oil fired' etc etc. I don't know how many of the claims really stand up.
The symbolist in me would like to see Prince haul the first train when the line re-opens.
Britomart is privately owned and well looked after by one of its owners who is also a fitter at Boston Lodge. It's still in ticket and comes out to play now and again. The owners quite like the care worn look but there has been talk of repainting it lately. The blue paint is from the 60s and somewhat darker than when it was first applied. Plus it is starting to fall off.
I may be betting Messers Martin and Lewin mixed up, then, sorry. I think one was instrumental in the overhaul of Blanche and the other did Linda? All a long time ago and those FR Magazine issues are somewhere in a loft in Merseyside, so was a half memory only.
I think if the present management were big fans the Alco would have been done by now, considering all the other projects which have come to fruition in the meantime, some of them quite unexpected (which does not mean unwelcome).
The Alco and the Earl are my quintessential childhood Festiniog locos, so I retain a soft spot for them, and very much hope I get to see them both back on steam at some point. But I realise there are low priority and am more than prepared to wait.
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My understanding is that the Alco's bar frames are showing their age. Not being unduly familiar with such components, whether it's economically feasible to bring 'em back up to snuff isn't something I could comment on. From what I've seen, the talk is whether the FfR will be looking to do just enough to render the loco suitable for restricted use, or go the whole hog and return it to something like 'frontline' condition. Both schools of thought seem to enjoy similar levels if support (and opposition).
As regards EoM, count me among those bemused by Blodge's ability to keep a 140 year old double loco in frontline service, whilst another, nearly a century younger, is held to be 'past it'. I daresay there are perfectly valid reasons behind FfR thinking, even if, as I suspect, it involves some degree of inconsistent logic chopping, Whatever anyone's views on EoM's aesthetics, it's 100% Ffestiniog and every bit as valid a component of the line's long history as Prince.
Like many railways there maybe a wholesale rethink about what motive power requirements will be over the next few years both in terms of the requirement to pull trains and the pennies to maintain. It has been great to see over recent years that the FR has many more loco's in ticket than it requires and many of those only really first choice at certain times of the year.
One aspect that the FR will have to think about, possibly more than others, is that they have appeared in the past to attract substantial coach traffic. The collapse of big firms like shearing may see that slightly slower to recover when things get going again
It doesn't work to any financial benefit of course, but any reduced patronage via lack of coach parties or otherwise could benefit social distancing...
To reiterate what has been said before - and all my personal view...
The Alco has a significant fan club and they regularly call for its overhaul to be brought forward. Most however are those who have never had to operate the beast. When it was in a good mood, yes it could work 10. When it wasnt it was hell on wheels to work the 8 mentioned and would use a lot more fuel (and water) than the ladies in doing so. It has at one time routinely referred to as the HOS (as in Heap Of Sh1t) or the barge (aka garbage barge). I spent a lot of time firing it and I will confess I was never a fan. It needs a LOT of work to sort out why it should be quite so inconsistent along with other more specific issues. For instance - the frames where lightly built for a loco expected to have a limited lifespan. They are now over 100 years old and it shows. Depending on who you talk to they are currently bent, or twisted or both. No-one knows for sure until it gets stripped down. Then there are issues with the boiler in converting it back to coal (it has only ever run on oil with this boiler) on top of whatever routine repairs are needed to a far from new item. Then there is the fact that the weight distribution is all wrong and only a radical rebuild would sort that out - which would attract significant opposition from said fan club. All in all it is expected to be a BIG job and this has resulted in a reluctance to bite this particular bullet just yet. It has been said though that it is next in the queue after Welsh Pony. We will see...
There is no doubting that last point but there is logic at play. The Earl is now 40 years old and has run 8-10K miles a year for that period. It now needs major work. The boiler is up for its latest 10 year overhaul and is believed to have suffered rather more than that on ME from some issues in the original design. It seems clear that it will need a lot spending on it to keep it going - a sum comparable to the cost of a replacement. The tanks have been patched - and patched on the patches - and are now leaking again. The only real solution is a new set of tanks. When designed, those extra large tanks came out a bit heavy which was compensated for by building the carrying frame a bit on the light side. This means that this major component has not worn well and now needs significant attention. Having potentially replaced all that how much of the original is left? You are talking about putting a new superstructure on the old bogies - which is the route the railway has chosen to follow. And then hang some new nameplates on it.... But the Square lives on. He (always he) is tucked away safe in the back of Boston Lodge. He too has a significant fan club and it may well be that "Earl Rescue" ("Square Salvation"?) will one day swing into action and he will again see the light of day. Its only money....
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