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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by Jamessquared, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Methinks this latest challenge shall be met in good order! It'll be lovely to see a full vintage set in it's full finery. What with all the pre-grouping kit reaching the head of the 'to be done' list, we're going to have an interesting "carriage restoration of the year" debate coming in about 2022/23.

    Remind me ..... when did the Bluebell's O1 lose it's Sterling boiler?
     
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  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    1906.

    Tom
     
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  3. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Tom. How comprehensive was the 1906 rebuild? Although I've only ever seen a couple of old photos in original condition, the boiler and cab look the most obvious changes.

    Those pre-amalgamation SECR lines must have looked very different before the fleet of Wainwright standard locos and rebuilds.
     
  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    Cab and boiler were the most obvious changes, along with a change from gravity to steam sanding gear, though like many pre-grouping locos, they went through a variety of changes in later life with fitting of vacuum brakes and other detail differences.

    Of the main sequence, there were four primary variations :

    Stirling O as built, but in Wainwright livery - rounded cab, low-set domeless boiler; smokebox wing plates; sandboxes (gravity fed) above the running plate.

    View attachment 26179


    First Wainwright rebuild (still generally referred to as a Stirling O). When the original boilers wore out, Wainwright, as an interim measure, put on his own version of domeless boiler while a better design was worked out, but this boiler sat higher in the frames. No smokebox wing plates; above-frames gravity sanders; Stirling cab (but with new spectacle plate as the boiler sits higher). This loco is one of those later sold to the East Kent Railway (EKR No. 8; ex SER No. 376). Interestingly in this photo it has a Southern liveried tender but SE&CR cab side identification.

    View attachment 26180


    Stirling O1 class, as rebuilt by Wainwright. This is pretty much standard Wainwright rebuild, with the H class boiler, Wainwright cab and below the running plate steam sanding gear. This particular loco (SR 1383; ex SER 383) was sold by the SR to replace the one above on the East Kent Railway which was by then worn out. Apparently no-one told the Ashford paint shop foreman what livery or number it should have, so he gave it the number 100, reckoning that the EKR probably didn't have 99 other locos.

    View attachment 26182


    EKR hybrid. This is a hybrid loco, the first sold to the East Kent Railway as EKR No. 6 (ex SER 372). It was sold to the EKR as a Stirling O in 1923; when the boiler was worn out, it was returned to Ashford in 1932 for a new Wainwright H class boiler (so technically an O1), but in other respects retained the Stirling cab and gravity sanding gear of the original class O design.

    View attachment 26181


    The rebuilding process took place intermittently over quite a long period; the last of them weren't done until SR days.

    More so on the SER in locomotive terms - livery apart, the Wainwright locos were a natural development of the Kirtley engines on the LCDR, so there is a strong family resemblance between e.g. a Kirtley B2 / Wainwright C; Kirtley R1 / Wainwright H etc.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
  5. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    @Jamessquared many thanks for the reply Tom. Interesting view of the loco in EKR colours. Not having any reference works on the railway, I was surprised to see the Westinghouse kit, as the only other clear EK loco photo I've seen is of the Adams Radial, in rather wobegone condition.
     
  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    That's not a Westinghouse pump, it's the reverser!

    Tom
     
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  7. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Oh dear ... How many times have I looked at Ashford locos and missed that pretty obvious detail? :Wideyed: Count "1" towards my 'learn something new every day' quota!
     
  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    Oh well, you'd hardly be the first to make that mistake. If you look at photos of the motor-train equipped H class locos in BR days, the reverser sits on the end of the tank on the driver's side (right hand on an SECR loco); the air cylinder is on the top of the left hand tank; the control cylinder for the motor gear on the end of the left hand tank and the Westinghouse pump is attached to the right hand side of the smokebox. All the photos I've seen betray numerous dents in the air pumps where they have been whacked with a heavy object...

    On another thread long ago, I put up this description and photos of the reverser as fitted to the H class. That on the O1 is near identical, except that in the absence of a side tank, the mounting is slightly different and the path taken from the valve gear back to the indicator in the cab is also adjusted to fit the precise design of the loco. The whole device is also rotated through 90 degrees so that it fits the end of the tank on the H class rather than a vertical bracket as on the O1. (The characteristic orientation is that on the tender locos such as the D, C and O1, the reverser is oriented such that the steam and hydraulic valves are on the side of the respective cylinders facing oputwards; whereas on the tank engines like the H; Stirling Q/Q1; Stirling R/R1, the reverser is rotated by 90 degrees and the valves are on the front of their respective cylinders facing forwards. Looking at photos is probably clearer than my description!)

    ===

    For those interested, here are some photos of the reverser on the H class, which I'll try and explain the workings. Sorry for graininess, as they are all a bit mobile phone on dark days...

    The first photo shows the cab controls. The wire brush gives scale - the controls are probably 8 - 10 inches high and a couple of inches wide. The large brass cylinder behind is the lubricator - not part of the reverser mechanism.

    The first control is a direction setter on a quadrant. Pushing the lever forward operates a slide valve on the steam cylinder such that the next movement will be towards fore gear. Pulling it back moves the slide valve so that the movement will be towards back gear. However, the lever controls the position of the valve, but doesn't admit steam. That means the mechanism is very light - it can be moved with a finger. Just visible below the quadrant is a thin control rod that moves forward and backwards to transmit the motion to the slide valve on the actual reverser itself.

    Behind, against the cab side, is an indicator to show the setting of the valve gear.

    The thick control rod, disappearing out of the bottom of the picture, is the rotating control rod that opens the main steam and hydraulic valves. The lever to control this is not visible (sorry), but sticks out horizontally; pulling it up opens the steam valve and then the hydraulic valve (releasing the reverser to move). Steam is thus admitted to the steam cylinder and, depending on the setting of the direction setter, the mechanism will move either towards forward or back gear. Once the gear is set to the correct position, the control lever is pushed back down, rotating the thick control rod to close the steam valve (stopping the motion) and the hydraulic valve (locking the mechanism in position).

    View attachment 22040

    The next photo shows the two control rods running along the top of the tank; the thin one that slides back and forth and controls the position of the slide valve (and hence the direction of travel); and the large one that rotates to open the steam and hydraulic valves.

    View attachment 22041

    The next photo shows the reverser itself, bolted to the front of the tank. The steam cylinder, with its slide valve mounted on the side, is at the top and the hydraulic cylinder below. The thin control rod from the direction setter can be seen at the top; via series of cranks, it moves the slide valve on the steam cylinder. The thick control rod from the actuating lever opens the main steam valve (visible on the boiler), allowing steam to flow to the steam cylinder and thus drive the mechanism. A rod runs down from this thick control rod to simultaneously open the hydraulic valve (on the lower cylinder) that releases the mechanism to move. Just visible on the top of the steam cylinder is a small cup for lubricating the steam cylinder.

    View attachment 22042

    The next photo shows the hydraulic cylinder and hydraulic valve. Also just visible is a thin rod, which transmits the position of the valve gear back to the indicator in the cab. The large red pipe is the water balance pipe between the two tanks.

    View attachment 22045

    Finally, this is the view with the tank removed, from which it is obvious that, on the H class at least, the reverser and all its controls is attached to the tank, rather than directly to the frames. This gives a clearer view of the rotary hydraulic valve, though with the control rod disconnected. Below the hydraulic cylinder, the piston rod projects down and transmits the motion of the reverser to the valve gear itself.

    Also obvious is how the linkage from the valve gear is transmitted, via a crank and long rod running along the back of the tank, back to the indicator in the cab.

    View attachment 22047

    Tom
     
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  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    Courtesy of @Extension3363, a series of photos of the two SER carriage bodies arriving at Horsted Keynes this week, and being put onto temporary underframes so they could be shunted away into the OP4 shed - the photos show some detail about the condition of the two vehicles and some of the modifications they received while in domestic service.

    Start at https://www.flickr.com/photos/extension3363/39194496582/in/photostream/ and work backwards (left arrow).

    Tom
     
  10. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Superb post Tom, thanks. Seeing those photos, along with your descriptions, has put a lot into focus.
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    Somewhat belatedly, an update on the bridge renewal work that took place at Poleay bridge during November. (Poleay bridge is the second bridge north of Sheffield Park; it provides access between fields on either side of the line, but when the River Ouse floods it also acts as an an additional channel for the water).

    http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/ext/inf_news.html for November 2017 and also - scroll down - 10 October 2017 for background and initial preparations.

    Hope everyone had a merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year.

    Tom
     
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  12. Hurricane

    Hurricane Active Member

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    Tom, what is running between Boxing Day and New Year?
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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  14. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Member

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    To that, Tom, I must just add the link to another superbly produced Infrastructure video production:



    These are superbly filmed and edited, and illustrate far more than words and photographs can, just how much coordination and graft goes into these projects.
    It was not so long ago, that to an outsider, the "Orange Army" existed in a separate and often misunderstood world of it's own. Often the department seemed to face a lot of criticism of work it was carrying out, occasionally this was justified, but more often than not, uneccessary. Generally, where there was a problem, it often just came down to basic communication. The department has done a great deal to raise it's profile, and the wider memberships understanding of the work they carry out, and most importantly, Why They Do It!
    This is another first class job.
    With all seasonal best wishes,
    Mark
     
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  15. Rosedale

    Rosedale Member

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    I gather that the GM has resigned.
     
  16. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Member

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    So it seems. I gather an official statement will be made in due course. In the meantime, I sincerely hope there will be no recourse to any speculation.
    A happy new year to all.
     
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  17. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I wonder whether we can all restrain ourselves.
     
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  18. Zoomeg

    Zoomeg New Member

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    I travelled on the very last service train of 2107 (and also sadly the last for a few weeks) A rare chance to travel in total darkness with the light from the footplate catching in the plume from 847 (not the advertised 73082 but no hardship) and all the signal lamps glowing. Caught sight of a few more winter liveried fallow deer near their usual Kingscote home

    These quiet services after the manic Santa season are a real joy!! Thanks Bluebell for another great year
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
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  19. Dan Hamblin

    Dan Hamblin Part of the furniture

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    Didn't manage to get down during the post Christmas service this year, but a few years back I had the LNWR Observation saloon to myself for the last Up trip to East Grinstead as Dad was on station duty there and I was relying on him for a lift home! As you say it is really nice seeing the railway at night with just the glow of the fire up the other end and the occasional glimpse of signal lamps or the lights of nearby houses and farms.

    With the start of 60th anniversary celebrations kicking off this year, the track renewal programme getting greater attention, OP4 shed starting to fill up, the ASH Project being delivered and 813 coming for Branch Line Gala there should be lots to see and support.

    Regards,

    Dan
     
  20. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Member

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    To me, the railway becomes an enchanted place after dark. Pools of gaslight at SP creating chiaroscuro, and Horsted becomes Milford Junction! And like you say, the trains exhaust underlit by the firebox.
    All the drama of Night Mail, together with the romance of Brief Encounter....
     

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