What’s been happening at Loughborough recently? Because Cromwell is out on the main line does it mean that all work on the other vehicles in 5305 LA’s care has stopped?
Not a bit of it! In fact if anything we have been busier than usual. Gary has been grafting away at the support coach, with help from Mark, Hugh, Dave, the Wednesday gang and others. In the intervals between rainstorms he has managed to turn almost the entire coach green outside.
Hugh has finished making new step-boards for all the doors, and they are painted up ready to go on (in fact they may already have gone on since I last visited Loughborough). Mark and Gary have made a cracking job of installing the new batteries in the battery boxes, and Malcom has cleaned up and painted the outsides of the boxes so that they look smart and are protected from the weather.
The gas box has been mounted under the frames (thanks John!). Dave and Gary have just about finished finding and welding more patches into the bodywork. This is another job that needs good weather: welding in rain or wind is ‘challenging’. The inside of the coach has been receiving attention as well: Malcolm and the Wednesday evening gang have continued fitting the insulation and panelling in the corridor area and are starting to look towards the South end vestibule as an easily identifiable area that could be attacked in an orderly fashion and finished off.
The support coach isn’t the only one of our projects which has been worked on: The Five has been receiving a lot of attention recently: The coal space has been cleaned and re-painted, the lubricator is under overhaul, and now that she is at the front of the shed we can finally start work on the remaining jobs on the frames. There is a list up of “Things to take over to Tyseley” which includes blanking plates and some boiler fittings, a sure sign that the boiler is progressing and Mick is soon going to machine the threads on the superheater flue tubes (if he hasn’t already).
Sir Lamiel is expected to star at the GCR’s forthcoming Mail by Rail gala on the 25th & 26th of July and at the moment is having a new superheater element fitted.
Lamiel last month, enjoying the English summer.
The Peak has been a busy loco recently with a lot of testing and training work, although now that the GCR’s summer mid-week running is about to start, our volunteer drivers are looking forward to a few weeks during which they can go back to work for a rest!
The National Railway Museum’s Class 33 has also been seeing a lot of work because the 33 is the only loco at the GCR which is compatible with the recently overhauled 4-Big. She was therefore in traffic at the recent gala launch for the 4-Big and at other events where the GCR has used the vehicles. Helen Ashby, the NRM’s Head of Knowledge & Collections, was a VIP guest at the launch.
Although 70013 “Oliver Cromwell” is away at Southall, we even managed to do a job for her at Loughborough; we recently sourced a few spare parts for her and new volunteer Dick Bellamy has made a lovely job of cleaning them up ready for machining. Dick has also been doing a number of jobs on 45305. Thanks Dick, and welcome to the team.
He thought that wearing hi-vi overalls would stop him being photographed!
And finally, one more vehicle to report on: the red van has just passed its MOT.
We have a lot of jobs to do on the vehicles in our care, the size of the task varies from minor to major, so if you have any spare time, please track down Hugh or Tom and see if you can tick off a job from the list, or at least progress one of the bigger ones.