It’s been a busy few weeks for the association – with two coaches to progress, the Arthur’s elements to install and test, the Brit to get ready for the Summer and on top of that the Five’s boiler coming back from Tyseley.
70013 Oliver Cromwell was due to go to the East Lancs last week, but a couple of things still needed attention so she stayed behind over the weekend so that they could be sorted out and the engine steam tested. Many thanks to Craig, and to the rest of the volunteers who worked hard to get her ready to go, and special thanks to Tony Burton (aka Tone the Clean or Gleamo) who spent the extra few days putting a mirror finish on the buffers, buffer beam, rods, brasswork, and in fact anything that he could reach – once again the loco looks splendid – Thanks Tony.
Tone the Clean working on Cromwell beside 5690 Leander
30777’s elements have been fitted, tested and accepted. In fact, the whole engine has had her annual exam and is ready to go back out on the main line. On Sunday, Lamiel was pulled out of the shed onto the pit so that a gang of cleaners could set to work cleaning her out ready for her visit to the East Lancashire Railway.
Meanwhile, a similar gang also worked on 70013 Oliver Cromwell to clean her out after a steam test, while Tone the Clean carried on working his magic on the outside of the loco.
Both engines are due to leave the GCR this week to attend the East Lanc’s Gala, after which they will work south towards Birmingham, where Lamiel will go into the Tyseley Locomotive Works while Cromwell and ’99 carry on to Southall ready for the first main line trip of the season.
At Rothley Carriage Shed “Team Support Coach” were in the final lap yesterday: Andy Morgan has done a lovely job of the paintwork – really really lovely. There isn’t a run or a dry brush mark visible in the paint job – although I’m sure that if you ask him he’ll mention one or two things that aren’t perfect – painters are like that. Alan Pakes gave him a hand with the varnishing at the weekend, so did Hilary – she was in charge of Orange Paint on the electrical fittings when this picture was taken.
The vinyl decals have been applied to the outside of the coach: we went for 5305 LA crests – they look lovely!
The coach numbers have also been applied -
No you aren’t seeing things it is a different number to the one we have grown used to. This coach actually carried the number 14099 in service for far longer than it carried the later 17099 so it seemed a good idea to change the number to the more historically accurate one while we had the chance. It’s only a cosmetic number, all the official paperwork will go by the TOPS number, and I’m fairly certain that the support crews will just talk about “the (support) coach” or, if they need to differentiate between the two: “99” or “64”! It’s not just the outside that’s nearly finished: inside was a hive of activity as well – Over the weekend, Dave Wright, Andy Carter, Mick & Tom Allen and of course, Alan Pakes and Hilary Cooper (apologies if I’ve missed anyone out) were all busy painting, building cupboards and benches, fitting hooks, making brackets.
The team take tea, carefully trying not to lean on any wet paint.
When we visited on Sunday afternoon almost every surface inside appeared to be wet paint, and of course, the outside was wet varnish. A special mention for Claire Wright who volunteered to make curtains for the coach – so far one set has been completed and hung as a trial, that was successful, so the other 3 sets were on their way down to Rothley from Durham, due to arrive today (Monday), very smart they look, and they seem to be thick enough to exclude a fair amount of light – I wonder if they have soundproofing qualities as well – might be useful for some of the depots we visit!
One of the benefits of asking Locomotive Maintenance Services (Dave Wright) to project manage this support coach is that we get the benefit of his experience as a West Coast Railways Fireman & Guard: over the years he has probably visited most of the support coaches on the system and seen all of the best (and worst) ways of tackling the various challenges involved in fitting all of the tools, equipment, personal belongings, PPE, electrical gear, food, cooking equipment and teapots needed for a support crew into a 60’ coach. The ex-cage area of ’99 now boasts purpose made racking and a work bench, while the guard’s compartment has cupboards for non-perishable stores and dedicated storage / charging brackets for headlamps. The centre vestibule has overall hooks on one side and cable storage on the other.
The hydrant head has its own bracketThe workbench, with vice, drawers and a purpose built glove rack for small to giant size gloves.
The coach is due to leave for the East Lancs to meet up with the engines later this week, ready for the engines & van move south.
Out in the daylight on Monday afternoon
Part of the team: Tom Allen, Dave Wright, Hugh Milton and Andy Morgan pose against the coach outside Rothley Shed.
Meanwhile, back at Loughborough, behind the shed in “64”, Malcolm, Mark, Gary and Steve are still hard at work. We were hoping to move it so that it could be painted, but with all the other things going on in the past month, it’s still at the back of the shed. Nevertheless it’s nearly finished and looking good. As regular readers are aware, 64 has bunk beds instead of normal seats, and a different kitchen and workshop layout. We have a little bit of time before 64 needs to head west for Tyseley – the Arthur’s first booked trip is on the 3rd of April and the coach will be needed then. We all need to pull together to help Malcolm, Mark, Steve & Gary to finish the coach in time – we mustn’t leave it all to them, there’s not a lot of work to do, but it needs more than 4 people part time.
This weekend was a steam only weekend, so the diesels weren’t required for the service trains, however D123 did have a short outing – shunting the shed – and a visiting support crew for Leander was heard to ask “Couldn’t they find a bigger shunting engine?”