May 2023 News Roundup
Welcome to our May 2023 news update, as we catch up after a hectic few months that has seen 7812 Erlestoke Manor successfully enter service after overhaul at the very successful SVR Spring Gala in April, then moving to the WSR to appear in the Spring Steam spectacular, followed by entry into general service for the WSR main running season.
7812 Erlestoke Manor Launch into Service:
Having reported on 7812’s return to the SVR for testing and running in to commence in our last update, two warm coupled wheel axleboxes were detected on the first day of test running on the SVR in December, which led to the decision being taken to trip 7812 to Bridgnorth, pending further examination over the winter. The outcome was some further fettling was needed, following which running in recommenced running in early April, after the completion of the SVR’s winter season track maintenance. SVR Engineering pronounced that they were happy to formally accept 7812 into service on 7th April, allowing for a low-key entry into passenger service on the afternoon of 10th April – all in a nick of time before the SVR Spring Gala. We are pleased to report that 7812 performed well throughout the gala, making her mark by delivering some memorable performances to please the crowds and crews alike, with her home debut on the SVR whetting appetites for her return for the Santa season.
Following 7812 successful SVR launch, she moved to the West Somerset Railway, kicking off the season long hire to the WSR with four days running at their Spring Steam Spectacular, running well and including a number of double headed runs with 7828 Odney Manor.
As the season progresses, we will endeavour to keep our Facebook and Twitter pages updated with planned running dates for 7812 in Somerset, with a highlight already in the diary being Erlestoke Manor’s role in Vintage Trains’ Whistling Ghost tour on Saturday 24th June, booked for haulage by one of Tyseley’s Castles from the Midlands to Bishops Lydeard where, subject to availability, 7812 and 7828 will take over for a double headed round trip to Minehead. Further details on this trip can be found here: https://vintagetrains.co.uk/the-whistling-ghost-to-minehead
7802 Bradley Manor Update:
Back to our engineering activities, the return to service of 7802, along with new build 3,500 gallon tender T2329, is now our prime focus for the year ahead. The staff at Tyseley reached a milestone over the winter with the trial fitment of the new cylinder blocks on the locomotive, with the verdict being that the fit was good – as expected! Work has since continued confirming measurements and preparing the cylinder blocks for when the time comes to fit them permanently. Meanwhile, our volunteers have been progressing chassis repainting and refitting axleboxes to removed wheelsets.
For the new build tender, good progress has been made by our volunteer team on drilling the bottom angles that will run around the base of the tender tank. Meanwhile the tank drawings have been completed and checked with the first orders being placed for these sections.
Large Prairie 5164 Update:
The locomotive remains on display at Barrow Hill Roundhouse, largely cared for by Amanda Hambridge. However, the locomotive has been invited to appear as a the ’12 inch to the foot’ guest exhibit at the Warley Model Railway Exhibition at the Birmingham NEC on 25th and 26th November, so we will use this movement as an effective way of returning the locomotive to the Midlands ahead of its overhaul actively commencing once 7802 returns to steam.
Further advance engineering activities and expenditure continue in readiness for the overhaul starting. Meanwhile, our Big Large Prairie appeal remains open to support the return of this locomotive to service.
Bewdley Station EMF Sales Coach
For the 2023 Season, our Fund shop at Bewdley Station will be open Saturdays and Sundays 10.00 am till 4.00 pm plus gala days, subject to volunteer availability. If further information is needed on opening times, etc., please call Dave Kilner on 07713 656363.
At present we have a particularly good selection of model GWR locos, coaches and wagons in stock!
We also offer an online sales service using eBay, so if there a particular model, kit or book that you are interested in, please contact Dave Kilner on the number above and we’ll advise if we have it in stock.
All shop profits go towards the repairs and upkeep of 7812 Erlestoke Manor, 7802 Bradley Manor and Large Prairie 5164, so every sale helps!
Further details on our Sales Coach and services are available on our website: https://erlestokemanorfund.co.uk/shop
From The Archives
A rare shot this time of 5164 seen at Pontypool Road on 18th August 1963 following withdrawal with a slipped tyre, but prior to its transfer to Woodhams scrapyard at Barry. Intriguingly the locomotive in the background is numbered 732? – could this be SVR preservation stablemate 7325 which was also allocated to Pontypool Road at this time? With thanks to Paul Sankey for permission to share his photograph: