7812 – Olympic Torchbearer!

Two incredible firsts for Erlestoke! When Olympic fever came to Bewdley on 24th May with the arrival of the torch on its 8000 mile journey around UK en route to London, 7812 Erlestoke Manor carried the Olympic torch on the footplate while pulling a well loaded train full of excited school children to Kidderminster. Not only that, but the train made a first ever scheduled stop by the safari park for a meeting with some flag waving elephants (right)! All recorded on television and beamed around the world!

The scene above shows the torch after arrival at Kidderminster still on the footplate carried by local athlete Christopher Stokes, with spare lanterns (with other parts of the “mother flame” in case the torch flame went out) being passed down by torch attendants. Driver for the occasion was our Chairman, Terry Jenkins, seen standing on the right of the footplate. Garry Williams, standing on the left, was fireman for the day, and Loco Inspector, Roger Norfolk is standing at the back.

Bradley’s Overhaul

Good progress is being made on all fronts to overhaul Bradley Manor now with a target return to SVR service for 2014. At Tyseley, great progress has been made on the loco chassis with work on programme for chassis completion later this year. At Bridgnorth, the boiler has already been de-tubed and stay removal has commenced. At Bewdley, parts continue to be accumulated for the new 3500 gallon tender chassis. More detail is given below.

The boiler and tender appeal launched in the last newsletter has brought a magnificent response of over £18,000 either subscribed or pledged over the next three years. But we still need more! (see below)

Tyseley; Loco chassis

Following dismantling in January, regular weekly working parties often with seven or eight EMF volunteers, have degreased, scraped and commenced repainting the frames and wheelsets. Voluntary attendance has already notched up nearly 1000 hours of input at Tyseley alone during 2012 but more help would be welcome.

Reassembly of the bogie is now imminent with a view to replacing it under the chassis sometime in June to enable its movement around the yard. Tyseley Loco Works completion of the overhaul of the piston valves enabled the volunteer gang to refit them back in the rebored valve liners on 18th May.

With the chassis now largely dismantled and inspected, nothing particularly untoward or unexpected has been found which might prolong the completion of the chassis overhaul beyond the autumn or exceed the budget allowed for the work. Provided the volunteer input can be maintained (more help would be welcome) then an autumn return for the completed loco chassis to the Severn Valley looks very feasible. The SVR have agreed that on return, the chassis will be stored under cover, pending completion of the boiler overhaul.

This creditable progress has been achieved despite the frequent distractions of adjacent locomotive activities and movements, including on the Tyseley turntable, of their magnificent fleet of main line operational locomotives such as 6201 Princess Elizabeth, Castle class 6043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, two Halls, a couple of pannier tanks and some unmentionable diesel powered locos.

Boiler Overhaul – SVR negotiations

Negotiations with the SVR to secure the overhaul of Bradley’s boiler have continued fitfully over the past year, alongside wider discussions regarding locomotive agreements. This has been a difficult and time consuming process aimed at increasing the number of locos in traffic at any one time whilst addressing current and future funding issues

Our EMF trustees have been pressing hard for a more determinable future for our locos without the risk of them waiting possibly 20 years in an overhaul queue. Our approach has been underpinned by the considerable voluntary resources EMF can muster to support both the overhaul and also running maintenance of the locos together with the financial resources (over £100k pledged) to help fund the overhaul of 7802.

Our efforts over the last year are now showing signs of bearing fruit. EMF have
arranged, and are fully funding, the contract for 7802’s chassis overhaul at Tyseley. We
have also offered to put further EMF funds towards the boiler overhaul (not to mention providing a completely new tender for 7802).

The SVR have reacted positively and work has not only commenced on the boiler at Bridgnorth but is now building up significant momentum. Earlier this year EMF volunteers assisted with removal of the tubes and flues but the last couple of months has seen the SVR Bridgnorth staff pick up
the cudgels and continue the work with removal of stays under the supervision of new boilersmith Philip Davidson. (Picture right shows trainee boilersmith Colin Bromley drilling out old stays)

The Boiler and Tender Appeal

The boiler and tender appeal launched in the last newsletter has gone very well with over £18,000 subscribed for shares or pledged by about 60 contributors and our heartfelt thanks to them for this magnificent effort so far. However no apology is made for including yet another copy of the appeal leaflet, hopefully to persuade the balance of the 250 or so shareholders receiving this newsletter to consider adding to the total. Despite the leaflet’s indication that a minimum £50 subscription is required, any amount below that figure will be just as welcome for adding to your shareholdings.

Share certificates have already been sent to those who subscribed a lump sum by cheque. Those who have been subscribing by a monthly subscription will be receiving a share certificate for accumulated holdings in the near future.

7812 in Dock with “Hot box”

As this newsletter was being drafted (12th June), Erlestoke succumbed to a “hot box”, an overheated bearing on one of its bogie wheels. The loco was temporarily withdrawn and the bogie unit removed using the wheel drop, rolled out and dismantled to remetal the bearing and check all the other bogie axle
boxes and lubrication pads at the same time. (see picture right showing the bogie parts in foreground with 7812 behind masquerading as an 0-6-0 behind the wheel drop)

Fortunately no evidence of damage to the axle journals was found.

(2 days later) Very rapid work by the Bridgnorth team under Richard Kempton remetalled the errant axle box, checked the remaining boxes and commenced reassembling the bogie within 48 hours of removal from the loco (see left). Repairs of this sort highlight the necessity for having the wheel drop facility.

Bridgnorth SVR Staff; Farewells and New Arrivals

Recent departures to pastures new have included Graham Beddow, Dave Reynolds, John Gittins and Mike Heinzmann, all of whom have provided great service to our locos in the past and we wish them well for the future. Recent new appointments include Philip Davidson and Colin Bromley and we warmly welcome them and look forward to developing close working relationships with them.

Erlestoke heads for Cornwall this September?

7812 Erlestoke Manor has been requested to attend the Bodmin and Wenford railway Real Ale event in early September and remain there for a couple of weeks. This would be in exchange for the ex LSWR T9 4-4-0 which is due to attend the SVR Autumn Gala late in September. This visit by 7812 would be the first operational visit by a Manor class loco to Cornwall in over 50 years, our loco being very appropriate for this as it was shedded for periods at both Truro and St Blazey in the 1950s being used on both freight and passenger trains in the area to Penzance, Newquay, and possibly occasionally to Newquay and Falmouth. Hopefully the visit will stimulate people’s recollections of this period in 7812’s existence and photographs would be most welcome.

Items invited for Sponsorship – Tender Project

  • 1 no handbrake stand casting £300
  • 1 no vacuum brake cylinder top cover casting £300
  • Steel for front dragbox £750
  • 1 no vacuum brake cylinder piston casting £300
  • 2 no steel mainframes £1250 each

New cast iron tender tank vent castings have recently been obtained. If sponsoring a particular item interests you, please fill in the attached appeal form and endorse it with the name of the component you would like to sponsor. As the project progresses further sponsorship opportunities will arise.

Greetings cards

The picture on the left of 7812 arriving at Arley is one of several SVR scenes reproduced from watercolour paintings by David Birtwistle and depicted on greetings cards from his shop to be found in Worcester’s attractive olde worlde Friar St.

The cards are £1.50 each (unusually showing picture extended over back side as well hence the fold mark down the middle) or mounted prints are obtainable at £20 each. Visit the shop, Birties of Worcester, or see the website; www.birtiesofworcester.com Tel; 01905 28836

Obbo Trip; Thursday 20th September

Bookings are now being taken for this year’s “obbo” trip on Thursday 20th September, the day before the autumn gala commences. There could be some interesting locos to see! The morning trip leaves Kidderminster at 10.35am, the afternoon trip departing Kidderminster 2.05 pm for an approximately 3 hour return trip to Bridgnorth. One of the magnificent GWR design observation saloons, attached at the front of a service train, accommodates our guests for the 3 hour round trip – price £32 for morning trip with full buffet, £22 for the afternoon trip with cream tea. A raffle usually takes place en route to help bolster EMF funds. Hopefully 7812 should be hauling the train. Contact David Kilner on 0771 365 6363, by post to him at 3 Woodbury Park, Holt Heath, Worcester WR6 6NT or by email at Bradleym@brearley56e.fsnet.co.uk to make a reservation.

The editor apologises for the length of time since the last newsletter, particularly to those regulars who like to plan their year around the annual obbo trip – must do better in future! Life has been a bit hectic recently.

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