With the exception of the failure of J11 5317, the new year cracker gala was a success. All engines that made it worked superbly! Unfortunately, due to the requirement of a full pullman set, and with the failure of Car 64, the mixed teak and pullman set never occured.
A great way to kick start to the new year, featuring three recently returned to service locomotives, 34006 Bude, Austerity tank 3795 Fleur, and D16/3 8825. Also in steam for the gala will be Terrier 3 Bodiam, WD75105 Walkden, and J11 5317.
Service train sets that will be running include a mixed Teak and Pullman service, a full pullman service, suburban set, and branchline set. A freight set will also run, hauled by 3795. A double header will arranged with the two austerity tanks, and also Bodiam and Fleur.
This month has seen a sudden influx of progress on completing the GNR/ LNER pre-war Gresley set! Early March saw Composite 1488 outshopped and put into service following it's remedial work since arriving last year, as well as progress on BFK 24290. However, this weekend saw the completion of an ex buffet car, turned Unclassified family saloon, in the form of 3781! This coach has been painstakingly restored to it's former mid LNER life glory, complete with a refreshed interior, and new toilet system! The completion and addition of this coach to our pre-war set is greatly appreciated as we aim to start running three coach sets on a weekend, plus the pullmans, which are now at eight coaches!
In the locomotive department news, you'll have noticed that the railway has gained two more LNER steeds! The first is in the form of a Gresley J39/2, 1974, which is to partake in an anniversary on the 30th March to commemorate it's 50 years since being preserved, and the second, in the form of David Buck's Thompson B1, 61306 Mayflower, which is currently running as it's Perth based sister 61002 Impala! These two engines are anticipated to be crowd pullers for the next few years!
You all may have noticed that 34006 Bude has not been in service recently. This is due to the engine being prepared for a repaint into BR Brunswick Green. The engine is due to reenter service later in the summer!
As readers will be aware, over the past year we have been raising funds to restoring our suburban coaching stock. The first coach to be completed was LNER Gresley Composite Lavatory No.32456. This has run for the past year as an additional coach on our Gresley corridor stock, and as of this month, has been joined by two more suburban coaches in the form of London Tillsbury and Southend Rly Full First No.71, and LNER Thompson Brake Third No.87013. These three coaches will run as a set from this weekend onwards, and it is hoped that a brake 2nd will be added to the set toward the end of the year - funding pending. With this in mind, the society decided to change it's aim of having two - three uniform rakes of suburban stock, but instead, one rake comprising of a variety of teak bodied stock showing the vast differences in appearences, builds, styles, and companies which used such coaches.
Our Gresley corridor set has taken a boost recently following the completion of the restoration of GNR full third No.42440. Having been completed, the group which restored it then took on the half completed remains of Gresley BFK No.24290, and are now progressing towards it's completion. Further to this, the railway came into possession of another Gresley coach in the form of CK No.1488. This coach is currently being examined by representatives of the C&W works prior to it being granted permission to be used in passenger service.
The Pullman set is now ever increasing also, with the arrival of former VSOE baggage car No.8, which had been crudely painted in Royal Mail red and yellow. The aim of the Pullman trust is to restore the vehicle to it's former Pullman full umber livery, and have it run in the set performing the exact duties it was designed for - conveying luggage.
268 is away at Tennington Park along with coaches 76, 77 and E3 (ECJS 39) and will be returning to us by June 7th.
Progress on No.12 The Valiant is going well, and it's replacement buffers have been fitted, along with vacuum braking for the first time. the next job will be for the manufacturing of a new smokebox door, the original being life expired.
Also, Black 5 44781 has arrived on the line on long term loan in our museum.
Today the lines GER J42 No.268 participated in a photo charter with recently restored ECJS six wheel composite third No.76, and the three operational Clerestory bogie coaches. Also running today was Lord Nelson No.855 Robert Blake, on the Pullman train, B12/3 8544, and 4mt tank 80136, both on service trains, with the 8544's set forming the charter stock after the removal of the three four wheelers. The photo to the left shows 268 on one of it's run pasts. We are awaiting a sign writer to come and complete the engine once the second ECJS six wheeler, 77, is complete in a few weeks time. The photo's below show 8544 and 855 on their duties.
Today was a major step toward the completion of the new build GER J42 No.268. the boiler and cab were lowered back onto the rewheeled frames for the first time. Due to the nature of the engine's squat cab, the engine has been dubbed Baby Bertha because of it's "meaty" but squat appearance. The only jobs that need doing now are for the filled areas to be sanded down, and then the engine painted.
The SRLS's maunsell Lord Nelson class 855 Robert Blake has been placed on loan to the railway for an undisclosed duration of time following it's appearence at our Big Four event over the Easter weekend.
The Great Eastern Railway J42 company has decided to home their newbuild/ conversion at our railway. The engine, utilises the remains of an LNER 0-6-0st tank engine, and will take on the classification of a J42, a class that never existed. It will feature some parts of M&GNJR origin, including the buffers, which are LMS. The tender will be a spare from our B12/3 8544, which is currently being prepared to be painted GER Royal blue to match the engine - once complete. whilst this took place, the engine's rolling chassis and cab were paired with 8544's tender to see what modifications would be needed to acomadate a tender drawbar to what was the rear bufferbeam.
Today's Big Four event was a great success! The only fault with the day was the untimely failure of Patriot 45540 Sir Robert Turnbull. Due to 43047 being out for attention to it's smokebox, there was no replacement available, so 8544 and 4318 were put together to double head one of the service trains so that the mogul could acquire the stock for the run that was meant to be with 45540. 855 Robert Blake was a great addition to the event, with one punter asking if it was a permanent member of the fleet, and if that was the case, they would return for another ride behind her. Overall, the event had a great turnout, with lots of visitors purchasing extension tickets to ride in the GER Saloon E3, which was dropped from the LNER vintage set in the afternoon to allow a photo charter with the two all teak sets to take place with 855 and 8544.
4318 is due to leave tomorrow morning heading back to the West Sussex Railway, where our class 73 73108 Burdock is participating in their Diesel gala, which also features two of our operational diesel shunters on long term loan, 08641 Dartmoor and Maunsell shunter No.3, the latter of which will be working brakevan rides with their Queen Mary brakevan.
The railway is to host a Big Four event this Easter Saturday.
Coaching stock will comprise of the lines LMS P3 coaches with the Thompson CK added in, and LNER vintage stock featuring the new build saloon E3. Engines running include Lord Nelson No.855 Robert Blake, 43XX 4318, on loan from the West Sussex railway, along with 45540 Sir Robert Turnbull and B12/3 8544.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.