Bradley’s 100,000 miles!

On 25th July, Bradley Manor became the SVR’s fourth engine to record 100,000 miles clocked in preservation. With 850,000 miles clocked before records ceased in BR service, Bradley has now completed approximately a million miles in its overall working career.

At a brief celebration at Kidderminster, a cake was cut and the proceedings recorded for the local newspaper before 7802 set off with the first train of the day on its next 100,000 miles. Erlestoke happened to be simmering nearby, waiting to haul the following train and so was drawn alongside to join the party to everyone’s delight.

Bradley has since travelled further afield, to the West Somerset Railway for most of October and subsequently (minus tender) to the South Devon Railway for axle box overhaul (read more about this below).

Bernard Rainbow – New EMF Vice President

Last newsletter we recorded the honouring of Bernard Rainbow with an MBE at the New Year. This newsletter we are even more delighted that, following his recent retirement as SVR’s Chief locomotive Inspector, Bernard has accepted our invitation to become our Vice President and we look forward to him continuing a long and active association with our group.

Indeed in early November, Bernard was energetically assisting an EMF work party at Buckfastleigh in Devon removing motion and brake rigging to allow Bradley’s rear driving wheels to be lowered for axle box attention. In BR days Bernard drove the last Castle to travel between Wolverhampton and Snow Hill in regular service.

West Somerset Gala in October

Following confusing indications over several months in the rail press suggesting that 7812 Erlestoke Manor would feature at the West Somerset Railway (WSR) gala in October, it was 7802 Bradley Manor that ultimately did the honours and it stayed on the line for another 4 weeks. In fact Bradley was also en route to South Devon for axlebox overhaul, more about that below.

On the WSR, Bradley was reunited with a feature last encountered more than 45 years ago during its many years service on the Cambrian, namely the former Pwllheli turntable recently re-erected at Minehead.

Future Events

Footplate School 10-12th March 2010

Those stuck for ideas for a Christmas present for their spouses might consider this!

EMF is again offering Footplate Experience on 10th-12th March, this time between Kidderminster and Bewdley using 7812 (requested) and a few coaches. Up to six return trips (strictly only for EMF Shareholders to avoid undermining the SVR market in this) on each of the above days between 09.00 & 16.00 with each participant on the footplate for one round trip (unless they pay for two!)

Participants can choose to drive one way & fire the other – cost £145-00 if booking and payment received by 31st December, otherwise £155-00 if booked afterwards. Alternatively drive both ways and fire both ways – cost £245-00 if booking and payment received by 31st December or £265-00 if booked afterwards.

The cost includes: 1. Footplate time as above. 2. Signal Box visit (subject to confirmation). 3. Buffet
or Fish & Chip lunch (to be confirmed). 4. Tea/Coffee. 5. Travel in the train for remainder of
day/half day for participant and up to two guests 6. Photograph of participant on footplate.

This will be the only event of this type organised by the fund in 2010. Many on last year’s footplate
school asked for a repeat so that’s how enjoyable it was. Contact David Kilner on email or by post to 3 Woodbury Park, Holt Heath, Worcester WR6 6NT or phone 0771 365 6363.

Obbo Trip June 2010

Advance bookings can also be taken for our very popular annual “obbo” trip which will be on Thursday 24th or Friday 25th June 2009 subject to confirmation.

The morning trip departing Kidderminster about 11.45 will feature the full buffet in the Observation saloon, the afternoon trip departing Kidderminster at 3.15pm will feature an afternoon cream tea. Prices expected to be £28 for the morning round trip to Bridgnorth, £18 for the afternoon trip with cream tea. Footplate rides will be offered during the trip to those bringing a spare pair of shoes! Reservations to David Kilner, contact details as above.

Locomotive News – 7802 at Buckfastleigh Works

Following its WSR visit, Bradley, minus tender, was transported to Buckfastleigh on the South Devon Railway where it is now in their well equipped works for much needed attention to axleboxes and other motion. The tender meanwhile has been returned directly to the SVR. The reason for this transfer to Buckfastleigh also underlies the the SVR’s latest appeal for funds, namely to overcome the lack of a wheel drop facility on the SVR. The lifting jacks at Bridgnorth, the only practical alternative, are invariably occupied for extended periods with locos undergoing major overhaul and currently the wheel-less frames of the class 28 2-8-0 are on them, probably for some time to come.

Attention to 7802’s axleboxes is now somewhat overdue, the last attention being given to them August 2003 (!)  when again 7802 happened to be in South Devon on a mainline visit to the Torbay Railway and the wheeldrop at Churston was used for urgent attention to a hotbox after a main line run to Kingswear. Whilst at Buckfastleigh, other works may be carried out to the motion including replacement slidebars which are currently on order.

An EMF work party (ten strong!) descended on Buckfastleigh on 9th and 10th November to assist on the first stage of this work, namely removing the rear driving wheel set. The facilities at Buckfastleigh are excellent and our work party was able to admire a production line operation of re-tyring wheels using specialist equipment being carried out alongside our work. Indeed our own spare tender wheels, now divested of tyres, were waiting in the queue nearby to receive their new tyres.

Other Rolling Stock News and Work Parties

In mid October, the Fund’s trustees approved the development plan prepared by Terry Jenkins for construction of a new 3500 gallon tender for Bradley Manor intended to be ready by the completion of the next overhaul. The plan envisages three stages, the first commencing immediately and throughout 2010 to achieve a rolling chassis. The second stage will be to complete assembly of the brake gear during 2011. The final stage will be the construction of the tender tank which will only commence when SVR can commence the main loco overhaul. An appeal for funds to complete the final stage of this project is likely to be required in due course.

The committee of trustees has given the go ahead for the first two stages for which the funds are already secured and a contract has already been placed for re-tyring the set of tender wheels which we already possess. These are also now at Buckfastleigh for this to be carried out. Also Brian Oldfield at Bridgnorth has been commissioned to make patterns for some items including the axle box horns. Drawings are being prepared for the fabrication of the frames, the contract for which will shortly be placed. Some space at Bridgnorth has been earmarked for construction of the tender

Terry Jenkins reports on Tender Progress:

  • Wheels sent for re-tyring, old tyre removed, new tyres delivered, fitting imminent at Buckfastleigh SDR.
  • Four original tender brake hangers acquired.
  • Six new dust shields for tender axleboxes acquired.
  • New patterns received to cast:
    • Tender Axlebox Horns
    • Tender Brake Hanger Bracket
    • Tender Brakeshaft Bearing
    • Tender Brake Cylinder Bearing Bracket
  • Work underway on tender brake cylinder covers & piston.
  • Drawings for frames, buffer beams, and dragbox parts in preparation for ordering profile cut steel.

Following complaints that umbrellas were needed when working inside the Fruit D (long wheelbase van) during wet weather, with rust engulfing the tools and metal parts stored inside it, the problem was tackled by Dave Kilner re-covering the roof with mineral felt during October. This was completed just before a heavy downfall gave it a successful test with no leaks apparent.

The next task is to solve the problem of the decrepit track under the GUV sales coach, the sleepers having so far disintegrated and the rail chairs sinking into the dirt, that the coach doors at one end can no longer open over the platform! Unless something is done to tie the rails, the next GUV movement is likely to be downwards through the spreading track!

7812 Nameplate auction

Colin Walker has advised that Erlestoke Manor’s original right side nameplate and cabside number plate were up for auction in Sheffield sometime in early December. We await news of the possible new owner(s) but the auctioneer’s website indicates that the winning bid was for £12,000.

Wheel Drop Appeal

The SVR has issued an appeal for £150,000 funds for a wheel drop to be installed at Bridgnorth using equipment recently purchased which had become surplus to requirements in a Midlands rail depot. Lack of such a facility on the SVR accounts for why 7802 is currently at Buckfastleigh receiving axle box attention.

The Fund trustees have agreed to put £10,000 towards this appeal and other SVR loco owners are also believed to be responding with donations. Based on the response so far, the SVR Board on 9th December agreed to commence this work in January for completion hopefully by next Easter. Hopefully an appeal brochure will be included with this newsletter.

Branch lines around Oswestry, by Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Middleton Press Book Review by Des Ainsworth

This book, which was published in October as part of a long running series by Middleton Press, will be of interest to anyone with memories of the railway lines around Oswestry. It is in three sections covering the lines Gobowen to Welshpool, the Tanat Valley Branch and the Llanfyllin Branch from Llanymynech. There are 120 black and white photographs and maps and track layouts for all the stations along the routes. As expected Manors are well represented with photos of Bradley and Erlestoke; Childrey, Draycott, Fringford, Hinton and Foxcote are also included. There is an excellent photograph of two Dukedogs (9002 & 9025) in Welshpool Station on 9th July 1949.

Bradley Manor is featured on the cover and very appropriate as I remember going to see it pass through Llanymynech on route from Welshpool to Whitchurch on Sunday 17th January 1965; it was on the Stephenson Locomotive Society (Midland Area) Farewell to the Cambrian Railways – the line closed the next day

Oswestry continued.

Oswestry was the HQ of the Cambrian Railway and had impressive buildings to match as this photo of the station taken on 1st September 1960 shows.

Our own 7802 also features here on a three coach train. Compare (if you can screw your eyes up sufficiently) with the photo on the yellow book cover on the previous page – same loco, same location but a different day and with only a two coach train.

Far be it for me to criticise your excellent journal but I think your Technical Note about the brake needs a little amplification. (He’s so polite! – Ed)

The GW Passenger engines were equipped with a vacuum brake only, as distinct from LMS etc. engines which tended to be fitted with a steam brake. Hence the operation of the brake was somewhat different. GW engines were also fitted with a mechanical pump to maintain the vacuum when in motion, again as distinct from others which used the noisy and steam wasting small ejector continuously.

To enable correct operation of the brake on the engine, a reservoir is provided and a device called the retaining valve, this has a hole in it which allows the ejector or the pump to create 25” of vacuum in the train pipe and 22” in the reservoir. Hence the 2 needles on the gauge, the left hand being the train pipe and the right hand the reservoir. When the brake is applied the train pipe needle drops down below the reservoir needle and the retaining valve swaps over and the vacuum pump now only exhausts the reservoir so maintaining the amount of brake the driver has applied. This situation remains until the ejector is opened and the retaining valve swaps back to allow the pump to draw air from the train pipe and keep the brakes off. Thus the brake on the engine is proportional to the difference in vacuum between the train pipe and the reservoir. This is why you see the fireman applying the hand brake when “easing up” as the reservoir on some locos can leak off and the engine move whilst he is “in between”. Also to release the brake the reservoir vacuum has to be equal to or below the train pipe so in your picture the brake on the engine was in fact OFF.

All this makes working the GW brake a little more difficult than its LMS counterpart and I remember as a budding fireman being allowed to drive, opening the ejector before applying the brake and the driver, one J.A.Rees, leapt across the cab, slammed it shut and said “We’ll have none of your stinking Midland habits here!” Nevertheless, it is a much more elegant device and once mastered is a joy to operate



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