Shock Early Withdrawal for 7802!

On 15th February, we were given the upsetting news that Bradley Manor’s firebox was unfit for further service without a full overhaul – a disappointing 8 months before its boiler certificate was due to expire. An increasing number of firebox stays had required replacement at each wash-out and this and other firebox concerns led SVR Engineering dept to conclude that it was no longer economical to continue on this basis.

This unexpected news caught out the editor and set back an already overdue newsletter while the trustees considered the options. This followed an offer by SVR of a place in the Engine House pending a slot in the queue for overhaul at some indeterminate time in the future. With significant funds in the bank with value deteriorating against inflation, the trustees quickly agreed to pledge these to assist SVR in return for an early overhaul. At time of writing a response is awaited.

If that wasn’t enough, on 20th March after several weeks service working on the West Somerset Railway, 7812 Erlestoke Manor was declared hors de combat on the third day of their Spring Gala for which it was one of the main attractions. A superheater element unusually had failed which in turn had caused a blow in a flue tube, neither of which could be rapidly fixed. The loco was immediately returned to the SVR by low loader for repairs which could take some weeks waiting delivery of materials. This means that sadly the loco’s planned visit to the Llangollen Railway for their gala in early April is therefore unlikely to happen.

Travelling Manors!

The last year has been one of travels for 7802 Bradley Manor having commenced 2010 in Devon at Buckfastleigh for axle box overhaul. High profile visits to galas at the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway in May and the Swanage Railway in October have been fitted in with its daily commitments at the Severn Valley.

This latter visit to former Southern territory was the first visit in preservation by either of our two locos to an area outside the influence of the former Great Western. However it may not have been Bradley’s first visit to Dorset and anyone finding historic evidence of either 7802 or 7812’s penetration to, say, Weymouth is invited to send it to the editor, ( No apology is made for devoting most of this newsletters pictorial content to those visits with photos from those who followed the loco on its travels.

Similarly this year, it was hoped to be Erlestoke’s turn to travel around starting with a visit which commenced in February to the West Somerset Railway for a period of several weeks running, culminating in six days working over two weekends of the WSR spring gala at the end of March. This was to be followed a fortnight later by a visit to the Llangollen Railway for their 3 day Spring Steam Gala on 8-10 April. As mentioned above, sadly fate seems to have decreed otherwise.

Preparing the locos for these visits, and then assisting keeping them up to the mark at their Newsletter No 54 Editor; David Kilner April 2011 Bradley Manor meets Terrier 0-6-0T “Martello” at Corfe Castle. (EMF Chairman Terry Jenkins observing from 7802). Photo by D Cook. temporary homes engages our regular active support team who generally work and stay together at these enjoyable away fixtures. All additional assistance from those Manor enthusiasts who may live anywhere near those locations is always welcome.

Winter Maintenance Problems

During the first spell of cold weather just before Christmas, our locos survived unscathed by keeping warm in service. However the second spell of severe hard frost over the 3 day Christmas holiday period when the locos were stood down was then too much for the cooled down systems with inevitable results. Bradley suffered a split water delivery pipe which was rapidly welded up in the following days. The water valves controlling the supply from the tender tanks to the boiler had frozen solid expanding the valve gates which then started seizing in the casings. A hastily convened EMF team assembled at Bridgnorth to set up a production line removing, stripping, repairing and refitting the valves in turn, firstly on
7812. This then was pushed back into service replacing the similarly afflicted 7802 on which footplate crews had been wrestling with the sticking valves. Unfortunately the practice of placing lighted oil pots under vulnerable parts during frosty weather when on shed seems to have been omitted due to the shortage of attendant staff during the extreme weather conditions.

Significant progress has been made on the new 3500 gallon tender with steel plate obtained for both buffer beams, drag boxes and footplate steps procured and with hundreds of rivet holes drilled during several recent working parties at Bewdley. A kit of parts for the chassis is thus steadily being prepared from fabrication drawings prepared by Pete Simpson of the 4150 group. Preparations have already been made for procuring the mainframes. It had been intended to order these as soon as a suitable working space showed signs of becoming available at Bridgnorth to erect the chassis. However the programme for this is now under review, pending the outcome of negotiations with SVR over 7802’s immediate future with respect to its return to service.

Several of our team have also continued to help the 4150 Group with construction of their prairie tank’s new bunker which is now taking recogniseable shape near the goods shed at Bewdley. Developing confidence in this work has started to focus attention towards the next objective on that loco namely constructing the side tanks later this year. All this practice in tank construction enables us to contemplate our team constructing our own tender tank maybe in about two years time.

Another pleasing development to the great relief of our governor in the GUV, Graham Stevens, has been the reconstruction during January of the siding on which our sales coach has been stabled at Bewdley. The track had been steadily sinking with the rotting of the remains of the timber sleepers developing to the extent that some doors to the descending vehicle no longer opened over the platform edge! We had inserted track ties last year to hold the rails in gauge otherwise movement of the vehicle may well have simply brought about its complete descent into the dirt with serious consequences for our sales operation. Fortunately early in the New Year, the line of vehicles in the siding were extracted safely and
the GUV continued open to business temporarily trading from the north end of platform 1. The siding reconstruction was successfully completed in time for the commencement of the service timetable on 26th March and the sales coach is now back in its usual location.

“Obbo” trip 24th June!

Bookings from shareholders now being taken for this year’s “obbo” trip on Friday 24th June. The morning trip leaves Kidderminster at 11.40am, the afternoon trip departing Kidderminster 3.35 pm for a return trip to Bridgnorth. One of the magnificent GWR design observation saloons, attached at the front of a service train, accommodates our guests for the 3 hour round trip – price £30 for morning trip with full buffet, £20 for the afternoon cream tea.

A raffle usually takes place en route to help bolster EMF funds. Hopefully 7812 should be hauling the train. Contact David Kilner on 0771 365 6363, by post to him at 3 Woodbury Park, Holt Heath, Worcester WR6 6NT or by email at to make a reservation.

Footplate Experience

This year, because of the timing of Easter, a slight increase in the number of midweek running days and
the extensive periods when all or part of the line will be under engineers possession the only available dates for our footplate experience trips are Monday – Thursday October 10th – 13th. Details have yet to be finalised but shareholders are invited to register their interest and apply for a place on one of the above days. Recent incidents have highlighted the need that participants must be able bodied.

The cost per participant is expected to be about £200 (£350 for a double helping) to cover a driving and a firing turn over a length between stations yet to be determined. As previously, participants (strictly EMF shareholders only) and 1 or 2 family guests can travel in the train during the five or six round trips during the rest of the day. To register your interest, contact David Kilner on email or by post to 3 Woodbury Park, Holt Heath, Worcester WR6 6NT or phone 0771 365 6363.

EMF Sales

Our sales manager, Graham Stevens, wishes to draw modellers attention to our latest line of EMF promoted special limited edition 00 gauge wagons produced for us by Dapol and just arrived in the shop. They represent historic local businesses using a 6 wheel tanker for West Midland Sugar Co and vans for Bewdley Brewery and Daniels Flour Mill. The tanker is priced £12 and the two vans are available as pristine (£10) or weathered (£11).

Friends Departed

The newsletter would normally utilise the assistance of Colin Willets in the folding and sealing in envelopes for distribution but tragically Colin died suddenly in December. He was a neighbour of the editor David Kilner and together they spent many exciting trips visiting great railway locations both in UK and overseas such as the West Highland in Scotland, the Harz in Germany and mountain railways in Switzerland and Sardinia. As well as providing photos and DVD reviews for the newsletter Colin also assisted on works parties and his light hearted banter will be missed.

Terry Jenkins reports also the death of Bill Jeffries who greatly assisted ourselves & many other GW preservation groups well beyond the call of duty (understatement) when he worked for BREL at Swindon Works. Bill was works manager at Swindon at the time of closure and it fell to Bill to oversee the winding up of the works putting an end to traditions started by Brunel and Gooch etc on that site. He had worked there since leaving school. Neither of our locos would have had their current tenders without Bill’s significant help for example. Whenever we went to Swindon Bill would find time to show us round and get things arranged for us to overcome restoration hurdles.

Newsletter Distribution

It is anticipated in the near future to move closer to digital distribution of the newsletter for those who are happy to receive it that way. This should save a significant amount of postage cost and effort in
arranging the distribution by post. The newsletter is already published on the
website but it is hoped to provide an automatic alert link to those who have provided their email address.
They will then be able to download and print the newsletter at home. You are therefore invited to email with your email address for this purpose. Many already have done this in connection with “obbo” and footplate experience trips in the past.

Churchward Tender Project – Why build a new tender? – Terry Jenkins

The Churchward type tender is the authentic type for use with Manor class locos. Whilst they are known to have run with other types in BR service (7814 with a Collett 3500 gallon tender and 7808 with a Collett 4000 gallon tender) these instances were rare and untypical. In 2010 operational terms the 3500gallon Churchward type provides better visibility when running backwards making it more suitable for the duties 7802 now undertakes on the SVR and other railways.

Tenders of this type are now around 100 years old and surviving examples show evidence of many repairs undertaken throughout their working lives. The 3500 gallon Churchward tender which accompanied 7802 to Barry was purchased by the GWS in the late 1960’s for use with Mogul 5322 and has been restored with that locomotive which is now based at Didcot. From Barry, Woodhams sold a number of tenders for steelworks use and these were subsequently scrapped (though we did secure 3 wheelsets and other parts from one a number of years ago).

Whilst we have some original cast components in serviceable condition including wheels, buffers, and many smaller items, it now makes good engineering sense to rebuild around these with completely new platework to produce a tender of authentic design capable of many further years active service. EMF has already undertaken a similar project for 7812 whose tender was heavily rebuilt with new mainframes, a new dragbox and a new tank around recovered old cast and forged parts. As an SVR based group, we are fortunate that good facilities for riveted construction are available in the boilershop together with other
skills and resources available on the SVR. Those which are not are available from known sources elsewhere.

Through our contacts in the preservation movement we have already obtained a number of original items suitable for further service and we continue to search for others. Fortunately there is significant inter-changability of parts between the different types of ex GWR tender. A number of patterns are already in existence for some components and we have been offered the use of these. Additionally we have already had made a number of key patterns for components for this project which are also of use in the restoration and repair of other GWR tenders both on the SVR and elsewhere. For plate work we already have drawings to allow faithful production to the original design.

GWR standardisation means that this tender could operate with 7812 or other SVR based ex GWR locos from time to time. The value of this was demonstrated recently when 7812 operated briefly with the tender from 7822 whilst 7812’s was under repair. Meanwhile we have an open mind on the future of the existing 4000 gallon tender currently with 7802.

So far we have achieved the following:

wheelsets overhauled with new tyres ready for further service;

  • a full set of overhauled springs acquired with associated parts
  • Buffers and rear drawgear currently being overhauled
  • Brake system parts acquired together with scoop & operating mechanism
  • Steelwork for dragbox and buffer beams has been delivered (right), since drilled.
  • Castings obtained for axlebox bearings, underkeeps, water gauge and other parts
  • A number of new patterns have been made.

A future funding appeal is being planned for sponsorship of further items required to progress this project – more details later.

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