Fifty Years On!

This time in 1965 saw the start of the final year of Manors in BR service, the remaining members of the class having their final fling on the Cambrian system. No steam enthusiast looked forward to those final days. Some Manors survived for only fourteen years service before being scrapped. Yet here we are fifty years on and a third of the class still exist, nine having been restored and performed in operational service and long may it continue! To celebrate this renaissance, an event is being planned for November with a special trains re-enacting the last Cambrian line Manor performers almost exactly 50 years on. Mark it in your diaries and please register your interest now to join us on the day for a late autumn train behind our Manor(s) plus hopefully another of the class that survived to the end of that era.

Our Chairman, Terry Jenkins, currently leading the restoration team on 7802, recalls his teenage days and the final Manor operations around Gloucester; “The Gloucester allocation of 7808 and 7829 worked on into December 1965 and the very end of Western Region steam. With a friend we went behind 7829 on a Gloucester – Cheltenham commuter train which was still steam until the end during the last week. This went to Cheltenham St James station, now a supermarket. As a cheeky young teenager I blagged a footplate ride on 7808 on a passenger train from Worcester to Gloucester. It was that event which firmly cemented my long term interest in GW Steam – even though I was rather frightened by it at the time! My first involvement with preservation was cleaning 7808 at Gloucester Horton Road after it had been purchased for preservation. Manors will always be a bit special!”

October Pin Up!

The 2014 Giants of Steam calendar featured as its October picture this glorious shot taken by Phil Jones of 7812 leading 7822 bursting from early morning mist into sunshine near Garth-y-dwr in the Dee Valley on the Llangollen Railway during their Autumn Gala in 2013.

Interest from afar!

The internet knows no bounds in spreading news by website of our activities as the following recently received email indicates; “My name is Jura, my age is 13 years. It took 1 year, as my friends and I organized a children club, who has been studying the history of the railway, company and railway industry to the state and development at the present time. Our club promotes the dissemination of knowledge about the railways of the world in an elementary school in our Siberian small town. In recent years our club has organized and conducted a series of measures for the advancement of knowledge for anyone interested in this wonderful activity. Our kids club wants to wish your company’s growth and prosperity in their activities. My friends and I would be very grateful if you can send (badge, pen or other) of your company, so we put them in our yard minimuseum, which attracts to visit the children and their parents. We hope that this will contribute to better development of knowledge of the railway and your company in the world!” (sic)

Jura’s Siberian home location is the city of Nowoaltaysk, Altayskiy State, close to a confluence with the Chinese, Kasakhstan and Mongolian borders, also the site of a junction of several rail routes and a major Wagon Works, which is the largest in Siberia and Russia.

2015 Manor week and Obbo trip.

The start of Manor Week (volunteer work parties) is week commencing 29th June with the next Shareholders Observation Saloon trip planned for the Thursday of that week i.e.2nd July. Expressions of interest by shareholders for booking places on the “Obbo” (including for a guest, or two if space available) can be sent to Dave Kilner at 3 Woodbury Park, Holt Heath, Worcester WR6 6NT or by email to

50 Year end of Cambrian steam commemoration – November 2015 Similarly, please register your interest for this event with Dave Kilner (as above). Details will be given in our next newsletter in early summer.

7802 Overhaul Progress

Work on Bradley’s chassis at Tyseley is virtually complete with the cab roof recently refitted and even the TPWS conduit replaced under the cab floor (just in case someone sponsors 7802 for further mainline running!). Late in the day, a hanging link for the valve gear was found to be cracked and not repairable. Luckily we were able to get a replacement by swapping a spare lifting link from a 28xx 2-8-0 in our store with a spare Manor link in the possession of our good friends the Dinmore Manor group. This, with two new bushes, proved to be serviceable to complete the valve gear overhaul. This was a win/win exchange for both groups at zero cost as the Dinmore Manor group also own and are restoring 2-8-0 no 2874. Tyseley Works were engaged to carry out additional works including repair of the long left side rear splasher and some cylinder cladding, rebuilding two screw reversers (for both 7802 & 7812), and fitting the shackle to the new front drawhook.

Forward in 2015 – Terry Jenkins

The forthcoming year offers to be a good one for EMF with 7812 continuing in regular SVR service – after some winter attention (see below), the overhaul of 7802 reaching completion during the first half of the year, and further major progress planned for the new 3500g tender for 7802. All this is only possible through the support of our shareholders, working members and the SVR MPD. In particular 2014 has been a very busy year with regular working parties at Tyseley on 7802, usually on two and occasionally three days each week. Additionally regular work at Bridgnorth has resulted in solid progress on the existing 4000 gallon tender for 7802. Importantly regular opening of our shop at Bewdley has underpinned these activities by providing significant financial support. The fund owes a very big “thank you” indeed to those who have supported its activities during 2014.

Please support our working days and encourage others to wherever you can – with plenty of help the end for 7802’s overhaul is in sight!

More Means Less? – Terry Jenkins

In recent years it has been necessary for the SVR to hire in additional non-resident motive power to ensure steam haulage of timetabled services. The completion of 34027, followed by 7802, 813 and perhaps 7714 without the loss of the current active fleet, should mean that 2015 is the first for some years when external hires could be unnecessary (apart from special events). The introduction of these locos should also result in reduced use of each member of the fleet. In recent years 7812 has been used on approximately 120 to 135 days each year but this is expected to fall to around 100 in 2015. We see this as good news as high levels of use mean more rapid and extensive wear with bills to match and with a tendency for the locos to become “taken for granted”. However this means opportunities to use volunteer labour to keep costs down become limited. Our medium term financial plan for both 7802 and 7812 is based on this reduced level of use, working towards the availability of funds to overhaul 7812 straight after withdrawal from service. This is currently predicted for winter 2017-8. Whilst we have a robust
plan in place for 7812, the appeal for funding for the tender for 7802 is still short of its £50k target and it is important that we reach that soon to avoid delay to the project. Our tender construction is one of the more sensible “new build” projects amongst a plethora of schemes currently seeking support. The sum still needing to be raised is a rather more sensible £20k compared to the huge requests being made elsewhere. Please support our appeal.

Winter Work on Erlestoke

To keep 7812 in good working condition, several tasks are scheduled for the period when the railway is closed this winter. The screw reverser and weighshaft (this lifts/lowers the valve gear for forward or reverse direction) have never received mechanical attention since the last BR works visit. As a result these items are now well worn and will be overhauled in January – February. The paint finish on the boiler and firebox cladding is now looking worn and is difficult to clean effectively. These areas are due
to be rubbed down and re-varnished during the closedown. The copper firebox needs two small defects welding in the door plate laps and this is scheduled to be the first closedown period task. With these items attended to, 7812 is expected to be available for the start of the 2015 season.

Looking Further Ahead

As 7802 is reassembled, the most frequently asked questions is “when will it be finished and in steam?” At this stage we cannot predict this with sufficient accuracy but we will organise an event for shareholders to celebrate the event when the time comes. Our locos were withdrawn from BR service in November 1965 and we are currently formulating plans with the SVR to commemorate 50 years since “the end” during next November.

Oi! Who’s nicking our boiler?

This was the unexpected sight (left) greeting trustee Dave Kilner on a brief visit to Bridgnorth on 18th September – Bradley’s boiler disappearing down the road on a low loader! Investigation established that it was on its way to the Adam Dalgleish works near Durham as SVR had arranged for that firm to quickly complete the firebox steel platework due to congestion of work in SVR’s Bridgnorth boilershop. The boiler was duly returned on 22nd November and the two photos below taken soon after show the upturned firebox prior to removing the foundation ring and inserting the copper inner firebox. The ring had to remain in place previously to maintain the firebox shape

The back door plate (left) had earlier been formed at Tyseley and welded on at Bridgnorth but replacement of the side plates (above white line) and welding in of the Tyseley-formed new throat plate (above right) was carried out at the Durham works. The inner copper firebox elements have been repaired at LNW works at Crewe and returned to Bridgnorth ready for replacement inside the steel outer wrapper together with the refurbished foundation ring. This is the next significant stage on this part of the project hopefully to be completed within the next few weeks.

Progress is well advanced on collecting a full set of parts to enable a rapid assembly of the new 3500 gallon tender chassis when work parties’ attentions can be devoted to it. To this end, an intense 3 day work party in early December, dismantled a heavily deteriorated tender chassis frame acquired from Llangollen about three years ago, salvaging a number of useful parts including axle boxes, various cast brackets, drawbar and coupling items and some brake gear. Sponsorship of the purchase of new chassis frames has been promised leaving the tank superstructure as the main outstanding item looking for funds – about £20k still needed for this capital project, hence the need for continuing share subscriptions.

Sales Coach News

Our current sound financial position, arising not only from the recent shareholder appeal and the introduction of steaming fees for operational service, also owes a very great deal to the continuing fantastic efforts of Graham Stevens running the GUV EMF sales coach at Bewdley. Taking over from the well established goodwill generated under the late Geoff Richardson, the enterprise has gone from strength to strength. Graham has always been actively supported in the shop by his lovely wife Trisha but recently she has been unwell and undergone surgery. Trisha is making progress on a slow recovery and we wish her all the best for a full return to health in 2015. Meanwhile the shop may be subject to limited opening hours.

Manor Ale!

A real ale brewed by Hobson’s of Cleobury Mortimer uses Erlestoke Manor as its inspiration for both label and name and naturally we have no hesitation in recommending celebration of the New Year by sampling its traditional flavour! Here’s to 2015 and the seasons greetings to all our shareholders!

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