Bradley Manor goes Mainline to Hereford, Kingswear and hopefully Barmouth!
Make your bookings now if you have not done so already! The schedules from Past Time Rail are published and Bradley Manor is to head the Cathedrals Express on 20th July! The latest information just received is that 7802 will head the train (which emanates from Derby) from Saltley down Lickey incline to Worcester, Hereford, Gloucester via Newport (not stopping) and back to Worcester. Those who have already booked should note changes to the itinerary. Apparently, clearances prevent use of the Shrub Hill – Foregate St curve at Worcester so Shrub Hill is bypassed on the outward trip. Tickets £58 std, £80 first.
On four Sundays in August, 7802 is rostered for the Torbay Express from Bristol to Kingswear where nearly 3 hours can be spent before returning to Bristol. And the icing on the cake – a weekend proposed in September when we hope Bradley Manor returns after nearly 40 years to the Cambrian with trains on two consecutive days from Shrewsbury to Barmouth, still subject to Network Rail before Bradley Manor reaches Barmouth. Our treasurer, John Whitcomb, is rushing out a set of accounts (unaudited) to fill up the space on the other side, just to warn you before you expectantly turn over the page. Despite TPWS, we are still solvent and can afford new tyres for 7812!
Did you know?
The recent boiler swap between the locos was not the first time, as in April 1948, Erlestoke was relieved of boiler no 6406 which was subsequently fitted to Bradley in November of that year following repair. The Trials of Mainline Running Preparing Bradley for the mainline has been nail biting stuff. Achieving full certification has required, in addition to TPWS, new toughened glass windows, spark arrestors, ultrasonic axle testing, boiler exams both hot and cold, and a lot of agonising over vacuum brake valves but we now seem to be just about there. Much annual leave has been expended to achieve this, not to mention hundreds of emails between the parties involved. The locomotive has remained in daily SVR service during much of the period. Despite the efforts required for Bradley, we have also been pressing ahead with work on Erlestoke and the chassis is in position at Bewdley ready to move up to Bridgnorth for replacing the tyres on the driving wheels. Accommodation bogies are to be loaned from Midland Railway Centre to carry the chassis when the wheels are off so that it doesn’t occupy the lifting jacks any more than necessary. SVR boilersmiths have been making tremendous progress on the boiler with most tired stays now drilled out and removed ready for new ones. It looks good for the whole lot coming together during 2004.
Alongside this, Geoff Richardson has been underpinning the engineering works with continuous 7 days per week fund raising effort in the GUV sales coach at Bewdley, in between sessions of chemotherapy. This discomfort (to put it mildly) has not prevented Geoff, wonderfully supported by his lovely wife Joy, from dispensing his special brand of salesmanship, garnished with his usual amount of irreverent banter to hardened regulars, who can’t resist coming back for more. Geoff has also recently been honoured for his efforts in other charitable fields. What a guy! What an inspiration!