New Year 2024 News Update
Welcome to our latest news update and we wish all supporters of the Fund a Happy New Year! The autumn months have been busy with 5164 moving to Tyseley via a star appearance at the NEC, the heavy repair of 7802 reaching an important milestone and 7812 in service on both the West Somerset and Severn Valley Railways.
7802 Bradley Manor Repair
The journey of 7802 Bradley Manor back to steam reached a significant point before Christmas with successful recertification of the boiler by the SVR’s boiler insurance inspector. This follows an agreed programme of repairs and testing preparation through the autumn culminating with the cold hydraulic test on 21st November being passed to the satisfaction of the inspector, and the boiler recertified from that date. A few weeks later on 18th December, the first fire was lit in 7802’s boiler since 2019 in readiness for its steam test the following day, when 7802’s safety valves lifted at 225psi to the satisfaction of all concerned!
The following day, a gang set about painting cleaning and painting the boiler with heatproof paint while it was still warm.
This large repair and cylinder block replacement is turning towards the final run in now, with the focus now moving towards reassembly of the locomotive. This is much work to complete in the coming months, but the target is to steam 7802 and return her to the SVR in 2024.
Large Prairie 5164 On the Move
Having been stored undercover on display at Barrow Hill near Chesterfield since 2014, the next stage of 5164’s journey back to the Midlands (and eventual steam!) began with the movement of the loco to appear as the centrepiece exhibit at the annual Warley Model Railway Club Show at the NEC on 25th and 26th November. With 5164’s appearance at the Warley Show came the invitation to have a promotional presence and sales stand, which provided a great opportunity to spread the word about the EMF and our plans for 5164, with many interested members of the public stopping to inspect the loco and talk with us. Coupled with this, a number of new members joined the Fund and the sales stand did very good business with all proceeds going towards the return of 5164 to steam.
Immediately after the Show, the loco was transported to Tyseley Loco Works for storage until work in earnest commences after Bradley Manor returns to service. 5164 was a long time Tyseley resident during its original career, but we believe that this is the first time that the loco has been there for at least 60 years, possibly longer. It is hoped that 5164 will be operational well before its centenary in 2030, with the timing of return to steam depending on the funding achieved through the Fund’s Big Large Prairie Appeal, details of which can be found here.
7812 Erlestoke Manor return to the SVR and further travels
After a successful season working services on the West Somerset Railway, 7812 returned to the SVR at the start of November to take her place working Santa services from Kidderminster and in fine style at the successful Winter Gala on 6th and 7th January. Having settled back into life on the SVR, covering all rostered duties without issue, 7812 is due her annual insurance examination in January followed by scheduled work on footplate experience trains in February.
Following the Severn Valley Spring Gala, 7812 is off on her travels again, paying the first known visit of a Manor to the Bluebell railway, making a guest appearance at their Branch Line Gala Weekend 10th – 12th May, before returning to the WSR on hire for the main running season there on a similar basis to 2023.
Bewdley Station EMF Sales Coach
Over the winter SVR ‘closed’ season, our Fund shop at Bewdley Station will open on Saturdays between 11am and 2pm, longer if our volunteer shop staff are able to stay longer and custom justifies it. So, if you are looking for a new year fix of railwayana, models or books, then we will be delighted to see you!
From The Archives
Peter Mudie has been in touch with us from New Zealand and very kindly shared his recollections of 5164’s original restoration from scrapyard condition, along with some photographs of its very first steaming and test runs. Peter recalls:
“I was one of the original group who worked on her restoration during the 1970’s. In the group were Pete Simpson who led the engineering work and had the two carriages to the right of 5164 on the siding in Bewdley, Derek Bond who was in charge of the finance, my father, John Mudie, Ken and Audrey Commander, Harry Devvey (painter) and his mate Brian, Paul Smith and Graham Young plus others whose names I have forgotten. Hinton Manor and Hagley Hall were to the left and 4566 was at the end of the siding on the right (later replaced by 1501 when the 45 went into service).
Financing the restoration was mainly done by collecting scrap newspaper – before everyone else and their dog got in on the act. An enclosed trailer was parked up at the Kings Norton Factory centre once per month and we all turned up with the paper. Derek weighed everyone’s contributions and share certificates were issued based on the value of your contribution. Scrap car batteries were also collected. At its height we were getting 20 pounds per ton, more for computer paper.
In the early days we mainly chipped rust and paint off the loco using chipping hammers and scrapers made from old file with a sharpened tip welded on to the end. Being a youngster, I got a number of the awkward jobs. After the side tanks were put back on I had to go inside to put on a last coat of sealant paint on all the seams, we did have a photo of me emerging from the filler hole. I also went into the bunker balance tank after we refitted the fireman’s side balance pipe following its welding up to repair a crack caused by a severe frost.
After the boiler was lifted and the tubes removed, I got the job of scraping all the scale out through the tube plate in the smokebox and then climbing into the boiler to get the last bit of scale. I can also remember helping my father cut and fit the new wooden floor in the cab – the timber was a dark red in colour and boy was it tough to cut.
On other memory which stands out was when we refitted the front bogie. The loco was on a slight curve and the swivel pin would not drop into the hole so we ended up getting a couple of screw jacks from the PW shed on the
back road, and putting one end on the inside of the rail and the other on the inside of the frame on the opposite side of the loco we managed to push the front of the loco over just enough for the pin to drop.
Pete Simpson’s vans were a godsend. He always had a good fire going in the stove of his dormitory van no 89 over winter and we needed the warmth to thaw out a bit whilst eating lunch. To raise a bit more money, Pete had a stock of drinks cans and chocolate bars in the little cubby area opposite the door which also held a number of Railway magazines for sale. When work was slow, we also helped out with some of the work on 4566 when Pete had a big job to do on her.
On 5164’s first day back in steam we had to scrabble to find anything that burned as there were problems with coal deliveries, we even found the wooden barriers crashed through by the Ivatt during the filming of the 7 % Solution. Test running was done on the still closed Bewdley South to Foley Park section.
Whenever we did any work on the loco that involved paint, Harry would always check to see we had used the right paint – orange lead, they grey lead, then primer. He would do all the topcoats but we all helped with the sanding down between coats, often rubbing the tanks or bunker down with wet and dry whilst sitting on scaffold planks set up alongside the loco. When she finally went into service it was Harry who did the lettering on the tanks with Gold Leaf.”
Thanks to Peter for sharing these memories ahead of 5164’s next overhaul and the photographs of the first day in steam.