EMF The First 40 years!

“It is 40 years in 2013 since some twit wanted to get a Manor from Barry.” So reminded the tongue-in-cheek Christmas card to the editor from fellow trustee John Hancock, himself one of the four founding members of EMF, and the very person who originally made this outlandish suggestion! John, together with Bob Marrows (subsequently the architect of Kidderminster Station), Dave Martin (latterly a leading
light of the restoration of Standard 4MT 2-6-0 76084) and the late Bruce Chennel who became the first EMF treasurer, were active Dean Forest Railway members and looking for an additional locomotive for
that embryonic organisation to augment the Prairie 2-6-2T no 5541 they had already helped to restore.

And so, early in 1973, the EMF was born with the four making a reservation for what professional boilersmiths considered was the best of the six Manors, namely Erlestoke Manor, then rusting away at Dai Woodham’s scrapyard in Barry. Frantic fund raising followed with sponsored walks and adverts in the local Gloucestershire and railway press which succeeded in raising sufficient funds to secure the deal (£4000 + 10% VAT) in June, just a couple of days before an expected 50% price rise.

It was one such advert that caught the editor’s eye, initiating that summer his lifelong involvement with the Fund. Subsequent heroic physical efforts by the team, including EMF stalwart Philip Hammond, enabled movement the following spring to temporary accommodation at the Dowty works, Ashchurch near Tewkesbury. Postponement of the anticipated closure by BR of the Dean Forest branch led to an EMF referendum, the outcome of which changed the focus to the already partly reopened Severn Valley Railway with a main line connection.

The ensuing successful restoration story is a familiar one. The many subsequent main line forays initially with Erlestoke Manor and later Bradley Manor, between them covering nearly a quarter million miles on both mainline and in SVR service, have surely justified these early historic decisions.

7802 Mechanical Repair, Tyseley Contract Progress – Terry Jenkins.

The mechanical overhaul of 7802 at Tyseley continues to make steady progress though low ambient  temperatures in the early months of snowfall caused a halt in progress for a while. The covered facilities at Tyseley are currently being considerably expanded and we have benefitted from this with the loco being under cover since last summer. The working members of the fund have been particularly appreciative of this and this single factor has allowed work to continue when it would otherwise be impossible.

With the frames stripped bare, the weighshaft bearings (see right – the weighshaft (in primer)
transfers the fore gear/back gear reverser settings to the rest of the valve gear) were inspected and found to be rather worn. This was then stripped down from the loco and the bearing surfaces were re-machined using Alistair Meanley’s considerable ingenuity in the wheel lathe! With new bearings made to suit, this was then re-fitted in February – a welcome warm activity which required heating of the weighshaft arm to allow it to be securely shrink fitted back onto the shaft itself. This item is “emerging work”, a term which covers work which had not been envisaged when the overhaul plan was developed but for which the need only becomes apparent as work progresses.

The pistons and guide bars are now refitted with the next operation in that area being to refit the already
re-metalled crossheads. As part of the basic overhaul contract, TLW have been busy grinding the horn
faces in preparation for axlebox refitting.

Meanwhile the scrapers and painters have managed to keep just ahead of the mechanical work and as the time rapidly approaches for the re-profiled and repainted driving wheels to be placed back within the refurbished axle boxes, the last small areas of grime within the rear right hand splasher and the back dragbox have just about been removed. The entire loco chassis is now at least in primer, most of it is in undercoat, the vast majority having been scraped back to bare metal.

We are lucky that 7802’s chassis is sharing the recently built covered accommodation with the
LMS Pacific No 6201 Princess Elizabeth locomotive which is under heavy general overhaul and whose cab rear view can be seen immediately beyond 7802’s cab in the adjacent photograph. This also recalls the days of 7812’s sojourn at Ashchurch in the mid 70s when Erlestoke was also stabled in close proximity to the Princess which was at that time undergoing its first restoration to main line service in preservation.

The focus on Bradley at Tyseley has now shifted to the cab and reversing gear. This chassis clean-up exercise has been a gargantuan effort over the last year requiring probably about 1500 man hours of voluntary effort. Work parties have sometimes been up to ten strong, many recently when temperatures have been hardly above zero.

7802 Boiler Overhaul

Meanwhile at Bridgnorth, the good news is that 7802’s boiler, after a period outside, is back
inside the boiler shop. The copper inner firebox doorplate and tubeplate have been extracted and dispatched to Crewe LNW works for copper welding repair. Work can now continue on removing the foundation ring from which most of the rivets have previously been extracted.

New 3500 gal Tender for 7802

Whilst efforts have been concentrated on the locos, the project to provide a new 3500 gallon tender for Bradley has not been dormant. New brakeshaft end bearings have been cast (together with three for other locos’ tenders) using EMF patterns. Philip Hammond has carried out some detective work to secure one missing intermediate buffer.

7812 Erlestoke Manor Intermediate Overhaul – Terry Jenkins

EMF work parties at Bridgnorth over the winter have assisted with the intermediate overhaul of 7812 at Bridgnorth made necessary by almost 50,000 miles in service since the last “heavy general” overhaul. This consisted of a valve and cylinder rebore, re-metalling and machining eccentrics, regrinding the expansion links and refitting the die blocks. Crossheads, connecting and coupling rods are all being re-metalled and machined.

SVR Engineering have re-bored the cylinders and valve chests and made new pistons, rings and piston valve components to suit. This is the first time 7812 has had the cylinders re-bored in preservation service and we have had the benefit of nearly 70,000 miles of further service from the previously part worn BR components. A major part of 7812’s first year of steaming fees received under the new EMF-SVR Agreement is paying for this intermediate overhaul and we would like to record our particular appreciation to Richard Kempton and Ian Bromley of SVR Engineering for the high standard of work. Smaller items have benefitted from volunteer’s “homework” and boiler fittings are being examined and refurbished as necessary. Volunteers have also assisted dismantling and reassembling the motion, cleaning up the components in the process. Several faces appearing at Tyseley one day on Bradley’s overhaul have frequently been seen the next at Bridgnorth endeavouring to return Erlestoke to service by early April.

EMF 40th Anniversary Events – Cambrian Film Show – 20th April

As indicated in the last newsletter, as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of EMF’s existence, Richard Icke of the 7820 Dinmore Manor Group is presenting his acclaimed BR era Cambrian themed slide show featuring Manor class engines at the Kidderminster Museum on Saturday 20th April at 7.30pm during the SVR Members and Shareholders’ Weekend.

Following this slide show, there will be an hour’s video from the Jim Clemens Collection – Steaming through Shropshire – Part 2 – The Severn Valley – a nostalgic look back at the railways of Shropshire in the early 1960’s. Entry price for the slide show will be £6 and a raffle may also be held. You can order in advance from Des Ainsworth on email; desrwa1950@btinternet.com or by letter to him at Woodcroft, Willington Road.

40th Anniversary EMF Beer Tankards

Two celebratory tankard versions, each shown back and front, are for sale at £7 each and to be produced as a limited edition of 100 of each in batches of about 20 at a time. We have samples in the shop and will have some available at the film show on April 20th and other EMF40 events.

Tail light

It is 40 years since the start of EMF and 50 years since the infamous Beeching Report was published. Bernard Rainbow, our Vice President, recalling his footplate days in the early 60s just prior to the report, remembers being rostered as fireman on the loco hauling an ex LMS inspection saloon for Dr Beeching’s tour around West Midland routes, from Snow Hill to Wolverhampton, then Dudley and Kingswinford. The Doctor’s report closed the lot. Not only that, says Bernard, “he never even came up to say hello, thank you or goodbye to the footplate crew”!

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