The news comes thick and fast
This posting was supposed to go up yesterday (23rd December 2009), but a technical hitch held it up until Christmas Eve.
After weeks of not much news, everything seems to be happening at once for the Association; so it’s a job to know where to start.
As it’s nearly Christmas I’ll start with the best bit: 45305’s boiler has had a hydraulic exam at Tyseley and passed with flying colours. John Glaze, the boiler inspector was very happy with the work that Tyeseley have done on the boiler, in fact both he and Tom Tighe agree that a properly overhauled boiler is a work of art and it’s a shame to put a fire in it. Not that that will stop us – Today Dick Bellamy was volunteered to drive the red van over to Tyeseley with the firehole door, grate and gauge frames ready for a steam test early in the new year.
The red van returns
Thank you Dick. This is the best Christmas present the Five could have had. We have waited a long time for some really concrete news about the boiler, but until the exam had been carried out all I could say was that work was ongoing, well I suppose I could have listed stays nobbled, patch screws installed, tubes beaded etc, but even had I had that precise information, I doubt that it would still have been accurate by the time I posted it, as work has been pretty much non-stop at Tyseley so by the time I got the news, it would have been out of date.
Other boiler ticket news this week is that Sir Lamiel was due for her annual boiler inspection this month, which meant that unless we could get her examined fairly quickly she wasn’t going to be available for when the GCR wanted to use her over Christmas. A boiler exam means a washout ready for a thorough internal exam and then a steam test a few days later. John Street kindly brought over the Association’s washout pump two weeks ago so that we could do the washout, then John Glaze, the boiler inspector arrived last Friday for the cold (internal) exam. This is where every washout-plug and mud hole door is removed and John has a very good look all through the boiler using mirrors, flares, torches and sometimes fibre-optic cameras (well it is the 21st Century!). John was happy with the cold exam, so the boiler was closed up again and a warming fire lit yesterday (22nd December)ready for the steam test today (23rd December). Alison was off work for the day and agreed to mind the boiler and help John with the steam test. The steam test entails a visual exam of the outside of the boiler looking for steam leaks, the same in the firebox and then raising steam to full pressure to test the safety valves. I am pleased to report that John was happy with the boiler so Lamiel is once again “in ticket” – phew!! Many thanks to John Glaze for agreeing to come to Loughborough today to carry out the exam this close to Christmas, and for the thorough and professional way that he examines our boilers – it’s good to know that we are in such careful hands.
Lamiel tucked up with her storm sheet on for frost protection after the test.
70013 has been busy on the GCR’s Santa Specials recently, working top & tail with a diesel to save time running round at each end of the line. Sometimes, like today, it’s our friend D123 at the other end of the train. I understand that the Santas have been busy this season, tomorrow (Christmas Eve) is fully booked and has been for some time, most of the trains recently have been pretty full, with just odd one or two seats available. It’s good to know that the GCR seem to be having a successful Santa season.
The coach team have really changed up a gear with 17064, now that Dave Wright has finished the bunks and hose rack, and the coach has been sorted out we have been able to ascertain exactly what still needs doing. In Dave’s usual style, there are notes and lists on every compartment door and in other strategic locations so that anyone coming to work on the coach knows immediately that this compartment still needs the door handles putting on, the intermediate headrests fitting and the lower luggage rack securing. Whereas in the next one along, someone has signed off the headrests and door handles, but the windows still need cleaning and the ceiling light needs a cover. This policy of identifying jobs at the point of need seems to be working, and other people have been adding to the notes. One job that really makes a visible difference to the coach is that the step-boards have finally gone on. They had been ready for fitting since the summer, but like a lot of other jobs, there was something else in the way which needed finishing before they could go on. Malcolm Clarkson has been busy in 17064 this week using his Christmas leave to progress the coach, in particular he’s fitted the overhauled door locks and I believe that he may have had something to do with the fitting of the step boards, thanks Malcolm, and thanks also Steve Lockley who arrived at Loughborough this evening for another Wednesday night’s work.
The step boards in place.
But 17064 is not our only coach, so far, 17099 seems to have been largely forgotten, not any more. The Association have asked Locomotive Maintenance Services (Dave Wright) to take on the overhaul and conversion of 17099 as a fast-track contract. Work began today with Dave and Hugh commencing a clear out of the various coach spares that had been stored in there, a planning session to decide what goes where and lining up jobs for Dave’s team to work on over the Festive break.
5305 Locomotive Association would like to wish all our partners, members, donors and readers of the website a very happy Christmas. We look forward to a busy 2010 and hope that you will share it with us. Finally, we want to thank the owners of the locomotives in our care for entrusting them to us: The Draper Family of Hull, The National Railway Museum and the owners of D123.