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Spa Valley Railway - Latest News

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by matt41312, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    From the Spa Valley website, they hope to have SKP on display for the August Bank holiday.
     
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  2. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    From the SLL is news that the trackwork in the yard is now just about completed - has anybody got any "Before" and "After" pictures?
     
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  3. Wagoniester

    Wagoniester New Member

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    I thought I'd seen SKP somewhere on my travels - Llangollen Gala a few years ago.
     

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  4. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Member

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    I see on the Spa Valley Facebook page that they and SLL have formed a partnership where SLL will form a permanent base in the South East at the Spa Valley along with its South Western base at Swanage/Herston Works, with 34053 becoming a permanent member of the Spa Valley along with the Austerity Norman.
     
  5. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    There are only so many Bulleids that Swanage can make use of, especially now they have quite a large fleet of other locos. It therefore makes sense that SLL are spreading their wings a bit, especially after gaining 35026 recently.

    I did however think that Swanage had signed an agreement that covered all of SLLs Bulleids only a year or two ago. There must have been a rethink on this given the current Covid situation.
     
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  6. Jonnie

    Jonnie New Member

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    If you take a search on Facebook for ‘Unofficial Spa Valley Railway’ you’ll find a group with lots of photos (too many to upload here!) of the Yard project in action.

    Southern Locos had an aim of having a base in the South East and we met the criteria. Sir Keith Park is planned to arrive week commencing 17th August all being well.

    Within the next couple of years we should see the following all in steam at the Spa Valley:
    • Bulleid Pacific No. 34053 ‘Sir Keith Park’
    • LMS Jinty No. 47493
    • LBSCR Terrier No. 650 ‘Sutton’
    • Austerity No. 75050 ‘Norman’
    • Hunslet No. 1589 ‘Newstead’
    Then in the medium term (mid 2020s) joined by:
    • Bagnall No. 2193 ‘Topham’
    • RSH No. 62 Ugly’ (2nd boiler ticket at SpVR)
    That just leaves the J94 and Samson in the frame for future restoration. The 0-4-0 Andrew Barclay No. 2315 ‘Lady Ingrid’ will return to steam shortly however nowadays running this loco 5 1/2 miles everyday with 4/5 coaches constantly wouldn’t exactly be a fair thing to do!
     
  7. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant New Member

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    This is quite the win for Spa Valley. For a group who have come along a lot later than most of the big players, this a proper swing at the fences. While SKP seems like an odd choice to me versus 80104, the STD 4 goes out of ticket next year (and 80078 is there for now). Tunbridge Wells shed has an advantage that any locomotive based there doesn't need a trailer to get it to the nearest railhead and a second dry base will not go a miss. Hoping to make it down for the beer fest in October.
     
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  8. Jonnie

    Jonnie New Member

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    To explain a bit behind this, we were originally contacted by SLL about the possibility of storing 34053 this Winter as there wasn't at the moment a requirement for it to be used elsewhere, COVID having had a huge impact as we know on a heritage railways requirements. We agreed that in exchange for operating the locomotive on a number of occasions that Sir Keith Park could take up residence in the shed at Tunbridge Wells West.

    Not long after that, SLL then approached us about the possibility of basing SKP permanently at the Spa Valley. It has always been an ambition of the railway to have more Southern Steam based on the line and whilst 34053 is a lot more than we were originally expecting the loco naturally fitted the bill! A meeting between Directors took place in early July and it was then put to the railway's Management Team the following week in which it was formally agreed that we would a) offer SLL a home in the South East and b) become home to 'Sir Keith Park'. In 2022 when the locomotives boiler ticket comes to an end we understand that it will be overhauled rather rapidly.

    Sir Keith Park will arrive by road in mid-August, believe it or not, and it surprises me even after all these years of running there (since 2011) that we're not actually connected to the National Network at any stage along our mile of parallel track, we are completely independent so everything does still arrive by road, even things like a Deltic and a Class 50 have come in on a lorry in the past!

    There is a huge chance that 34053 and 80078 will cross paths at Tunbridge Wells West during this and if the opportunity arises, subject to COVID, both locomotives will steam together and feature on some services later in 2020.

    In February 2021, 'Ugly' will be withdrawn having been in traffic now since October 2010 which means the only serviceable locomotive (pending the arrival of 'Norman') currently in the frame is 'Sir Keith Park' so you can expect the Bulleid to take part in our 2021 operations, our Loco Roster will detail the days the locomotive is scheduled to operate on. The headshunt at Tunbridge Wells West will be extended slightly to enable 34053 to run around.
     
  9. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    Always nice to see mutually beneficial arrangements between heritage groups. And also nice to see the Spa Valley increase it’s fleet of ex-BR locomotives
     
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  10. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    This is great news and there are no losers. SLL will get extra hire fees along with more publicity and support, the Spa Valley gets a really prestigious loco and the Swanage Railway doesn't end up having to fend off a surfeit of Bulleids.

    I know our friend Paul Hitch will say it's "big chufferitis" but sometimes, the extra costs of a big loco can generate a lot of extra revenue. It's true that operationally, 47493 is probably the ideal loco for the line, but 34053 will draw the crowds and raise the Spa Valley's profile. Overkill for a short five-mile line? Well, Blackmore Vale operated for its entire first preservation-era "ticket" on a Bluebell Railway that only ran for about 4 1/2 miles and 257 Squadron spent its first few working years in preservation trundling up and down from Swanage to Harman's Cross - a mere 3 1/2 miles. What's more the Spa Valley isn't flat. With five on, 34053 will sound good on the 1 in 88 up to Tunbridge Wells West. Also, Bulleids are not total stranger to the area. Beside the occasional railtour appearance in the 1960s, they worked regularly through Eridge on the 1.55 Brighton-Victoria via Uckfield, although I'm not sure about the Birchden Junction - Groombridge Junction section. Whatever, I can't wait!
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  11. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your replies Jonnie re the yard pictures, but that facebook group appears to be private so pictures cannot be seen by we non-facebook folk.
    John Petley also makes a very good point about the "halo" effect of having a "Big Chuffer". I'm sure the SLL/Spa Valley collaboration will prove very positive for both.
     
  12. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    Erm... yes it does.

    While the Spa Valley may run parallel to NRs Uckfield line, there is no physical rail connection between the two (and thanks to the Uckfield line employing SSI based signalling that would need specialist re-programming / expensive modification its not cheap to retrofit one).

    Any loco based at TWW has to come in or go out by road.
     
  13. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Indeed so
    Not merely "Amen" but the whole "Amen chorus"! With all the pandemic problems, the last thing needed is a coal scoffing express locomotive.
     
  14. Ruston906

    Ruston906 New Member

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    This looks to be a good arrangement for both parties the SLL doing very well at restoring locos to steam.
     
  15. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    I share, to a degree, the concerns about 'big chufferitis'. However, the majority of passengers - not enthusiasts or railway cognoscenti, seem like engines that have names. Thomas & Co, are obvious, but engines with names are more identifiable by joe public than any classification or wheel arrangement. I believe families - particularly the children will tell friends and relatives that the engine that pulled their train was ****** (insert favourite name). ;)
    It should be a good draw for would be passengers.
     
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  16. twr12

    twr12 Member

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    What defines a “bigchuffer”?

    In terms of coal (and water) consumption there are factors that affect it to more extent than the size of the loco:-
    The competence and performance of the driver and fireman
    The life cycle of the wear-outable parts of the loco; a loco with worn piston and valve rings, badly set valve events, bad steam blows etc, will use more coal than the same loco in good condition
    Stopping patterns on the railway, including TSRs.

    Swanage Railway has been using 31806 and 34072 on the same service pattern during July. 44 miles per day, hauling 5 coaches, non stop between Swanage and Norden.
    Average coal consumption per day, including lighting up:-
    31806 1t 4cwt
    34072 1t 8cwt

    34072 costing £37/day more in coal

    Both 31806 and 34072 are fairly fresh in their overhaul cycle, both having run approx 2 years since having piston & valve work.

    30053 (is it a littlechuffer?) just before withdrawal was using 3t of coal per day to do 66 miles.
     
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  17. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

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    I think the comment was referring to the fact that a loco coming from or going to Herston works for overhaul/repairs will require a trip on a low loader, whereas this work can in theory, be done at TWW without using a low loader.

    Keith
     
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  18. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    These are the old old excuses. Carefully not comparing like with like in regard to crew skills, mechanical condition and fuel quality. Currently the Ffestiniog Railway are using their small locomotives in place of their larger ones as train weights are reduced and using smaller machinery reduces fuel consumption as does moderating speed.
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Hang on Paul, it is exactly comparing like with like! 30053 using more coal than 34072 to do the same work - which suggests there is as, as frequently discussed, far more to coal consumption than just grate area.

    The real killer for operating costs though is time between overhauls. As an engineman I’d take a small loco over a Bulleid any day of the week, but as a finance director if I had a big Loco doing 80k miles between overhauls and a small one doing 40k miles, I know where my sympathies would lie.

    Tom
     
  20. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Again, not comparing like with like. Costs and timescales will vary and so will the size of the repair equipment needed, Apart from costs of overhauls, lugging weight around is expensive. The L.N.W.R. even went to the length of reducing water capacity when water troughs were introduced as hauling excess weight around in tenders was no longer necessary.
     

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