It is a short post this week, but with some newsworthy content as projects march forwards. Out on the tramway, a programme of sleeper replacement has commenced, with our aim being to install one plastic sleeper in every four, between Pockerley and the Town. This programme will continue for the foreseeable future, whilst new rails are on order (and more sleepers) to enable an expanded maintenance and renewal programme to take place in the new year. Some work has also been completed on the Colliery standard gauge, including replacing some of the crossing timbers at the western end of the line. With the rain we have had in the last few days, there is little appeal to this sort of work at times, but the team have been braving the elements and good progress is being made. For some time we have planned to re-sign the tramway and perimeter road, to include speed limits where applicable, and more robust signage regarding access to the tramway track (or rather, to remind pedestrians that it is prohibited on reserved-track sections). Design work for this has been brought forwards, and signage should start appearing over the coming weeks, with a view to completing this programme by the close of this winter.
Recent health monitoring of the various shed environments used by steam locomotives suggests that we need to put in place a number of measures to improve ventilation or enable steam-raising to take place outside. With accommodation on site a future feature of museum operations, we want to ensure locomotives are securely parked indoors at night, and so we are looking at a range of options from natural daft ventilation, forced ventilation and moving locomotives outside. For the latter, the team are looking at options to borrow a small diesel shunting locomotive to facilitate this on a trial basis, with a view to longer-term operation of this sort of machine at the museum. We have looked at winches/vehicle pulls, but the ideal solution, and safest, will be rail-mounted, so most likely a small internal combustion locomotive. More on this in due course…
The latest round of railway periodicals has given this project some great coverage, with an extended feature in the most recent Steam Railway Magazine (Issue 538) and extended coverage in two pieces within Trackside Magazine (Issue 17). Surely never before has such a small class of small locomotives had so much attention! One thing to note – it is a K class that is being built for Beamish – the Y8 classification, as the rebuilt version of the class, and designated as such by the LNER, comes much later. With the marine firebox boiler and differently-positioned safety valves, the version that 559 is can only be a K, not a Y8, if that makes sense?!
Some news from Bridgnorth… Dunrobin has now re-entered the works following its period of storage (when work stopped as a result of the pandemic), with a new plan in place to complete the project and continue some of the processes that were underway in March 2020, namely installation of the new cylinder block, completion of the machining work for the axleboxes and then setting the loco back onto its wheels. The SVR’s refurbished workshop facility is now very bright and tidy, and with an internal overhead crane available to assist with such jobs as placing the block into the frames (work that might entail a number of trial fits).
Below: The overhauled bogie, which will shortly be prepared for final painting (Deep Bronze Green) and lining.
Photos courtesy of Duncan Ballard
Below: The first of the two bogies has moved across to the RHEC facility for painting. The second bogie is having the brake hangers fitted at the moment, and once it moves for painting, the engineering team will turn its attention to the brake rods, bolsters and body-mounted brake system.
Photos courtesy of Don Cook