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Spa Valley Railway - Latest News

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

  1. matt41312

    matt41312 New Member

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    Despite the lack of updates for a while, the overhaul of Jinty 47493 has been progressing well towards the point where it is almost completely stripped down.

    Early September finally saw the boiler lifted from the frames and placed in the yard at Tunbridge Wells. This was a carefully co-ordinated plan that resulted in no more than 6 crane lifts being undertaken, which will allow more work to take place on other boilers, namely the J94, Sutton and our Bagnall ‘Topham’. A couple of weekends of Thomas the Tank engine has allowed us to make some inroads into de-tubing the Jinty’s boiler and we hope to advance this over the coming weeks, after which it will be cleaned out and the outer wrapper sandblasted ready for inspection.
    The frames remain wheeled in the shed but we hope they will be lifted in November with the wheels being dispatched for re-tyring after that. These need a significant amount of steam cleaning before a full assessment of works can be undertaken. This will take place over the remaining months of 2014.

    We are always looking for people to get involved with the Spa Valley’s fleet of locos. If you’re interested then please do get in contact with us or drop me a message. No experience is necessary, just a keen interest to get your hands dirty and get involved.
    Elsewhere work on Sutton’s boiler has recommenced on removing boiler studs, but this will soon cease again as attention turns to fitting the new cylinder block within the frames.

    Andrew Barclay ‘Lady Ingrid’ is slowly progressing with completion of painting to its brake gear. This now allows us to consider re-assembly of this element of the chassis.

    The operational fleet continue to behave themselves with both ‘Walkden’ and ‘Ugly’ sharing the duties between them. Current work has focused on boiler wash-outs and light maintenance. ‘Spartan’ remains available for traffic as and when the opportunities arise.

    Matt
     
  2. matt41312

    matt41312 New Member

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    This weekend is the Spa Valley's Annual CAMRA Beer Festival between Friday and Sunday. We have over 90 ales and 25 ciders available across the railway but mainly centred at Tunbridge Wells West shed.
    Friday and Saturday train services will be hauled by diesels, including the last chance to travel behind Class 26 26038 "Tom Clift", before it heads back to Boness next week.
    Sunday will see a steam and diesel operation with Hunslet Austerity "Walkden" handling steam diagram.

    Matt
     
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  3. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    A long time since the last update happened in this thread.

    Since then however at the Spa Valley we've quite successfully seen in and out 2015 with newly formatted Santa Specials, Days out with Thomas and record breaking numbers of passengers at our Diesel & Beer Galas!

    So for 2016...

    Unfortunately at the present time we're down to Austerity No.72 as our only operational steam locomotive however we hope to have Ugly back in traffic very soon, the first set of tubes are due to be fitted next week by a contractor and after that our resident boiler smith will be working his magic to finish the rest. Last year saw the departure of Class 37 37254 for the mainline however welcomed new resident Class 33/2 33202 'Dennis.G.Robinson' just before Christmas to take its place, also departing last year were the two T-Stock carriages which were sold on to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre and we wish them all the best for their restoration.

    On the for sale front, we have two cranes, RSH North Downs and also a Benzene tanker wagon available to enquire about here (with further details): http://www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk/enthusiasts/For_Sale/

    Our services for 2016 will relaunch on Valentine's Day with a sell out High Weald Belle Dining train and now selling very fast 'Wine Specials' which have taken off after only going on sale Tuesday. In March, whilst the DEMU receives some re-wiring repairs the two Class 33's will feature in a running day together, full details here: http://www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk/e...ekend__Curry_Express_-_12th__13th_March_2016/

    The big project for 2016 is the commissioning of the remainder of Groombridge Box, for those of you who aren't aware in 2014 the East end of the station was brought under the control of the newly constructed Signal Box and has since been in use, the West end however remaining under the control of the Ground Frame. The work required to bring the West end under the control of the signal box is reliant upon the two sets of points being replaced that form the loop line and also provide access to the sidings. Luckily we've planned for this work for sometime and have in stock the components to form up the correct 'CV' turn outs needed to complete the project, the work being undertaken by a contractor and funded privately.

    The relaying will enable the already in stock point machine to be installed and the relevant wiring connected up which will provide control over the mainline end of the points, the Up loop end remaining under the control of the Ground Frame, at the same time five new signals will be brought into use & two track circuits. This will at last bring the Groombridge Signalling project to about 90% completion with the only remaining work thereafter to bring in token working between Tunbridge Wells West and Groombridge.

    Inside the shed at Tunbridge Wells away from the industrial's, Sutton has seen quite a lot of LBSCR Umber Marsh paint applied and also the cylinder block permanently fitted into the frames, the Jinty's wheels at the South Devon have had their new tyres fitted and work on the cab has been underway to repair areas of tired metal. Our BCK 21214 has entered the shed for some major bodywork repairs which have so far been very successful, the new plate work to be welded in soon, the carriage has been with us since the very beginning and has seen regular use for a number of years. Once the bodywork repairs have been completed a full re-trim of the interior will be undertaken prior to a repaint into BR(S) Green, this will provide us after nearly 20yrs with a rake of 4 MK1s in the same colour! It is planned the BCK will return to service for the Summer Diesel Gala.

    Due to enter the shed soon is the Queen Mary Brake Van for some remedial woodwork repairs and a repaint and also our last PMV which is un-restored, this will be a plywood overhaul and see the wagon return to use as a van for use during our Santa Specials and Beer Festivals.

    That's a minor update of some quite exciting projects that are well underway, Groombridge Station will continue to see a lot of work during the 2016 season and I hope to bring you news of our new Forward Plan in the near future!
     
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  4. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    A major project underway at the present time is the relaying of the crossover which could be found at the Eridge end of our Groombridge passing loop.

    The original bullhead crossover is being renewed for a CV flat bottom one which will take the railway to being flat bottom throughout bar the Tunbridge Wells West station site.

    The project is on day four and due to be completed by next Tuesday, ready for its first trains on Saturday 5th March. Some photos of the relaying project are attached, copyright Charlie Ralph.

    The completion of this project will include the point machine being connected up and we hope by June/July this year we'll see the phase 2 of Groombridge Signalling Scheme commissioned. This'll enable full control of the passing loop from the Signal Box.

    Currently on the trains front Austerity No.72 and 33063, 33202 & D3489 are all available for service. The stay tubes have been fitted to UGLY and the remaining tubes should be with us by early March, once fitted the locomotive should hopefully receive the relevant testing and return to service ASAP.

    Jonnie
     

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  5. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Stay tubes on a conventional loco boiler?
     
  6. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    It's what UGLY has.
     
  7. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    The major relaying of the crossover at Groombridge is nearing completion and it's state as of yesterday is shown in the photo.

    Also a photo of the Ashurst Spur which some may find interesting, since the sale of the T-Stock it remains quite usually empty one side.
     

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  8. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    My curiosity is further aroused! Presumably these are thicker walled? How many are there? How are these stay tubes fitted to the tubeplates? Were these locos copper or steel fireboxes when originally built? I'm presuming at your loco currently has a steel 'box. Questions, questions......
     
  9. Always liked the rugged looks of the RS&H '56' class and feel that referring to them as 'Uglies' is more than a bit unfair!
     
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  10. NUTSPLITTER2

    NUTSPLITTER2 New Member

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    UGLY...the royal engine......steel firebox. The boiler was fitted with four longitudinal stay bars. These were passed thru' a tube and nutted at each end. Obviously something that had been considered necessary at some point in it's career. They looked very much like tube stoppers . I can only assume that somebody had trouble keeping the tubes tight and the intention was to stop the tube plates flexing. Anyway, we put them back on agreement with the boiler inspector. The firebox had bridge stays with some loose-fitted links to the outer wrapper. This was many years ago so perhaps somebody has now fitted heavy wall stay tubes as marine or land boiler practice.

    After setting up the compensating links the loco rode like a coach. Nice big boiler, big cab and plenty of pulling power.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Fascinating! Thanks. I wonder if the other RSH boilers on these locos are similarly fitted and why it came about?
    I seem to recall that62 bounced a bit on the rear wheels as it had coil springs but I could be getting confused with 31.
     
  12. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    We had exactly the same set up on the ex Birchenwood OX4 class 0-6-0 Peckett (2153/54) when it was at Steamport. Like all the Peckett boilers I knew it had a large 'T' angle rivetted to the back of the front tubeplate rather than longitudinal stays and I just assumed that some boiler inspector in the past was nervous about having such a large unsupported tubeplate and insisted on stay bars being fitted through 4 of the smoke tubes.
    Ray
     
  13. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Wouldn't the thermal expansion and contraction of the stay affect its clamping abilities?
     
  14. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    Surely the expansion rates of the steel boiler barrel and steel staybar/tube would be the same so there shouldn't be a problem. We certainly didn't have a problem with 2153's 'staytubes' leaking.
    Ray.
     
  15. matt41312

    matt41312 New Member

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    The stay tube is very similar to the rod and nut idea, but doesn't block the tube itself off. The tubes are designed to provide longitudinal support between the firebox and smokebox tubeplates but allow the passage of gases. When we originally overhauled the boiler now in Ugly 10 years ago, we fitted 4 stay tubes to provide additional support, without compromising the steaming capabilities, which would have happened had we plugged the tubes and used rods. The originals were expanded and beaded over.

    The current re-tube has specified 10 stay tubes be installed in the boiler, with the originals removed. Obviously this would reduce the heating surface a fair bit. The new stay tubes are 5mm thick and have been welded in place with a certain type of penetration weld. The idea is that these tubes will be good for around 20 years service. The old ones will now be removed and re-tubing can commence. The new tubes are on order and due for delivery next week so we are hopeful of a return to traffic in the Spring.

    I'll try and and attach a photo of the smokebox tubeplate showing the new and old tubes later tonight.

    Matt
     
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  16. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I'm well aware of stay tubes and there use in industrial boilers is quite common. However, it is unusual in boilers on locomotives (as distinct from locomotive type boilers) This is because there is no standard for boilers for locomotives but there are standards for both welded boilers (BS 2790) and locomotive type multitubular boilers of riveted construction (BS 931). Both these standards require stay tubes if the unsupported area of the tubeplate exceeds certain requirements. No account is taken of the ordinary tubes because the staying effect of expanded and beaded tubes in indeterminate. This requirement by the Inspector seems to be a case of applying BS 931/BS 2790 to a loco boiler. However, these standards specifically exclude boilers on railway locomotives. I have had this problem with Bureau Veritas in the past.
     
  17. burmister

    burmister Member

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    Some pictures of the new Stay Tubes now on 75F Facebook page. It does remind me of my days at sea when this type of tube plate was found on the small package boilers we had for emergency use if the proper dual pressure one failed. Junior Engineers got to look after these simple fire tube boilers as they had pressure jet burners, mobray water level controls and glass tube water gauges so you could not go wrong really and I have happy memories of playing with them. Water treatment was Houseman D&M (blood really) and woebetide you if the second or chief found scale water side.

    Brian
     
  18. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    Our new point work installed at Groombridge, this takes the whole mainline to being flat bottom rail.

    The second phase of the signalling scheme now really begins with a major push to have it commissioned by June/July.

    Jonnie
     

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  19. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    From Brighton to Preservation - Preserving Class 09 09026 'Cedric Wares'

    On behalf of the Tunbridge Wells & Eridge Railway Preservation Society, the supporting charity of the Spa Valley Railway, it gives me great pleasure to announce the purchase and preservation of Class 09 09026 'Cedric Wares'!

    The Class 09 diesel shunting locomotive today entered preservation for the first time after a lengthy career on the British railways network. Having resided at Lovers Walk Depot, Brighton since the 90s previously being used to shunt the depot and cross country Virgin trains services, this very useful locomotive for the heritage railway movement has been kindly sold by Govia Thameslink Railway to our supporting charity.

    I would like to extend a huge thanks on behalf of our railway to GB Railfreight, Network Rail, Technical Construction Limited, Southern (Govia Thameslink) Railway and Allelys Heavy Haulage for making the preservation of 09026 possible.

    Joining resident Class 10 D3489 'Colonel Tomline', the two 'Shunters' will certainly aid shunting, engineering and passenger train movements on our 5 mile railway. 'Cedric' will see its vacuum brakes reinstated at the earliest opportunity and with its 27 1/2mph maximum speed capabilities is ideal for our 25mph operation.

    The English Electric 0-6-0 Diesel Shunter, 09026 'Cedric Wares', built in 1962 will first be launched, subject to successful heavy maintenace, into public use at our Summer Diesel Gala which takes place from Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th August.

    Full details about its launch will appear very soon on our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds!

    Other news...

    Following the 09's arrival we said farewell to Hunslet Austerity 'Walkden' which has unfortunately failed with stay trouble, it has returned to Ribble for future repairs, we are very grateful to its owner Dave Watkins for providing 'Walkden' since July 2014, it having covered 80 steamings during this period for which the majority of it was spent as our only operational steam locomotive.

    No.72 remains on hire to us and is seeing regular use, RSH 'UGLY' No.62 should return to service in time for our 'Summer Steam Festival' which is taking place on the 2nd & 3rd July. We're working to see if other steam locomotives can pop along to the Spa later this year but there are no promises as yet however as we are 20yrs old this Christmas it is hoped we can operate a special commemorative day in late December/early January to celebrate this occasion, we might be very young and it does surprise people when they hear we've been operating trains for 19yrs so far, the first trains operating in December 1996 as far as Cold Bath Bridge (3/4 mile from Tunbridge Wells West).

    On a final positive note from our little line in Kent & Sussex, our visitor numbers are very much up in comparison to other years, helped by several promotions being offered and a new Marketing & PR source. Secondary spend, especially in our catering outlets is increased significantly and our dining trains are regularly selling out before the month before has taken place.

    Our website is about to undergo a major update to improve the online booking service we offer our customers, its been going for about 3yrs already with online sales but with a limited admin team further development is needed to make it much more user friendly.

    Jonnie Wesson
    General Manager
     
  20. Paul.Uni

    Paul.Uni Member

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