musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: Steam engine

Tewkesbury Mini-steam Weekend 2017

It was that time of the year when Tewkesbury holds a number of events in and around the town. The first event that I attended this year was the mini-steam weekend that was held on the 24th and 25th of June. I attended the event last year too as well as in 2015. I had an information leaflet somewhere but seem to have mislaid it again so will really cheat a bit if I need info. The event is held by the Model Steam Road Vehicle Society. in the grounds of the Tewkesbury Rugby Club.

The engines on display are not the large full sized beasties, but smaller versions that mimic their bigger breathren; and like the full sized vehicles are feats of engineering way beyond my skill level. Realistically most of the machines this year were the same as I saw last year, in fact that was the problem with the event this year, I had seen it before but I do look for the odds and ends that make it different. 

This was the first engine that I saw while I was walking to the event, I have seen this guy quite often with his engine “Jack”, and he seems to thoroughly enjoy himself. The Abbey can be seen in the background of the image. 

The event has the usual mix of traders, enthusiasts, vintage cars and interested parties, and quite a few of the engines were raising steam when I got there.

Oh, and having their brightwork polished. Make no mistake, these machines require lots of time, patience and probably a healthy bank balance too. 

This wonderful showmens engine is typical of that particular type of vehicle with loads of shiney brass fiddly bits.

I am always fascinated by the electrical plant on these machines. It has a certain “Frankensteinish” look about it.

Here are a few of the steamers just waking from their slumbers while their owners had that first cuppa.

There was one exhibit that I ended up rooted to the spot at. It featured a single sided ploughing engine (my terminology may be out of wack though), and I spent quite a lot of time listening to the owner enthusing about his pet project. And, she was a beauty. 

I am no boffin on these things, but this system uses a single ploughing engine, an anchor, with an associated trolley and a double ended tool carrier. Wait, let me see whether I can find a link to explain it all. http://www.steamploughclub.org.uk/index.htm has a nice description on how steam ploughing actually works. In the image above the engine is closest to the camera. The dolly in the middle looks like this. Since the war ended GI Joe has gone into the ploughing industry.

The other end (called a travelling anchor) looks like this….

And it has the large disk-like wheels to prevent it being pulled sideways by the engine with ballast on the opposite side to the engine to prevent it from tipping from the load. A large twin forked anchor is set into the ground ahead of it and it is winched forward to the anchor as the rows are ploughed.  

These models are really magnificent and the owner is rightly proud of them too. I can see why. 

A full sized ploughing engine? they look like this… 

Continuing on my meander I also spotted this quirky steam powered ape. 

Who says steam in not versatile?

While I was walking around a number of engines were making their way to the arena where they circled around in a slightly haphazard way.

You can even use steam to walk the family dog and tow the family around.

There was a small display of vintage cars, and there were some I had not seen before.

And then there was this Kombi in the distance, she should have been in that line-up too.

By now I was considering my homeward trek and stopped at some of the traders tents to look around. The one tent had all of these wonderful old vintage and not so vintage tools in it, and what a strange eclectic collection it was. 

And while I was loitering there I heard a strange noise behind me… 

And then it was time to go. However I shall enthral you with my random pics.

   
   

And that was my day. Hope you enjoyed it too.

One final pic… because this is one of the things that Tewkesbury is known for:

© DRW 2017. Created 24/06/2017

Updated: 24/06/2017 — 15:39

Welland Steam and Country Rally (Traction Engines)

 [ First Page ] [ Military Vehicles ] [ Cars and Trucks ] [ Traction Engines ] [ Odds and Sods ]

For me the drawcard of a steam rally are items that use steam as a means of propulsion or to do stuff with. Diesel just does not have that same pulling ability that steam does, and a perfect example was the steam shovel. Close by was a similar diesel powered shovel and more people were watching the steam powered version even though they were both doing the same thing. 

I am fortunate that I do have the catalogue so may be able to Identify some of the machines in my pics, however the pics taken in the arena are quite dark because of the heavy cloud cover that was developing. 

The highlight of the traction engines was definitely the Showman’s Engines. I was amazed at how big they were, most that I had seen previously had all been miniatures. This was the first time I had seen full sized versions.

Most of these machines were already blinding to the eyes, but the shining continued all the time.

The dynamo/generator/alternator is mounted on a shroud protruding over the smokebox door, and even that was spotless.

The agricultural sector was also well represented with ploughing engines in action, these too are huge machines, and even they are spotlessly clean as can be seen by this Fowler ploughing engine. 

There were a number of traction engine cranes at the fair, and I find them fascinating because of their sheer size and the ability to lift things. I have however not seem one of them in action (much to my dismay).

The steam powered trucks and lorries have also always been a favourite of mine, there is something about that transition between traction engine and truck that I find fascinating. There were quite a few on display too, so choosing pics is difficult.

What I did find quite impressive was this Burrell Road Locomotive trundling along with it’s load consisting of a boiler. You did not want to stand in it’s way.

Overall though there were a lot of engines, and trying to show each one is impossible, because there were potentially 72 full sized machines, 34 miniatures as well as 22 showmen’s engines, and I doubt whether I saw half of them.

And when all was said and done,

and they had lined up,

one by one.

With a mighty roar,

and spray of steam,

their whistles farewell did scream.

Final line up (1500x636)

Final line up (1500×636)

[ First Page ] [ Military Vehicles ] [ Cars and Trucks ] [ Traction Engines ] [ Odds and Sods ]

McLaren 6" showmans engine "Goliath"

McLaren 6″ showmans engine “Goliath”

Fowler "Lord Doverdale" (1917)

Fowler “Lord Doverdale” (1917)

Ruston Proctor 6" scale

Ruston Proctor 6″ scale

Marshall No 28922.  “Alderman”

   
Wm Foster & Co. "Pride of Freystrop"

Wm Foster & Co.

“Pride of Freystrop”

Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies. "Velfrey Queen"

Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies.

“Velfrey Queen”

The Burrell "Herbert's Galloping Horses on tour"

The Burrell “Herbert’s Galloping Horses on tour”

Garrett No 34085

“Baroness”

   
McLaren 1332 "Gigantic"

McLaren 1332 “Gigantic”

Garrett 4" model "Muriel"

Garrett 4″ model “Muriel”

   
Burrell Road Locomotive "Duke of Kent"

Burrell Road Locomotive

“Duke of Kent”

Aveling & Porter 10072 "Achilles"

Aveling & Porter 10072

“Achilles”

Burrell 3" "Gladwys"

Burrell 3″ “Gladwys”

Garrett 6" "Claire"

Garrett 6″ “Claire”

© DRW 2016-2017. Created 31/07/2016. Bad poetry by DR Walker.

Updated: 14/12/2016 — 20:07

Tewkesbury Mini-steam Weekend 2016

This morning I headed off to the Tewkesbury Mini-steam weekend held at the Tewkesbury Rugby Club grounds. This is the 2nd time I have attended this event, and I cannot believe that I have been in this town now for over a year. The event is held by the Model Steam Road Vehicle Society and showcases some of the smaller versions of the steam traction engines that are so popular around the country.

Last year was great, and while I did not do a blogpost I did showcase some of the images in my gallery. Unfortunately today the weather was not great and the sky changed colour quite a few times during my visit, and at one point it was even drizzling. But, steam is steam! let the steaming begin.

2017 can be found on it’s own page.

I arrived early (as usual) and did the rounds, looking for interesting steamers worthy of a second look. There was a really nice collection of vintage vehicles on show, and in my book the Ford Zephyr was tops until the Morris dropside van came along.

I was however not here for the cars. I was here for the steamers!

ministeam 024

So many distractions!

As I was saying, the accent in this event is not on full size traction engines, but on smaller half/quartersixth sized ones. Do not be mistaken by the size though, those small machines are working replicas of the real things, and they are not made of plastic. 

This early in the morning steam was being raised and brasses polished and bunkers were being filled. 

And of course the gubbins had to be adjusted too, now if only we knew where the gubbins actually was.

And as the morning wore on more steamers were waking up and steaming across the grass, smoking from the long extensions in their chimneys, while some just stood around smoking!

The steam wagons are interesting vehicles, and they do present a different set of challenges to the operator. 

 

Unlike last year when there was some sort of grand parade, I did not see one advertised this year, or not for the period that I had scheduled for my visit. Like it or not, I was not keen to hang around here the whole day, especially with drizzles coming and going. You can bet though, the moment I was out of earshot the grand parade commenced. 

I was also very impressed by the way the whole family gets roped into the occasion, and even the dog has a go.

Now remember, one bark means left, two barks means right! 

These machines were never built for speed though, they belong to a very different age, and of course age group. But it is good to see many youngsters and women participating in driving and keeping the machine in peak condition. 

These machines do not come cheap, and many have been in the family for a long time, They are more of an investment as opposed to a toy.

I have to admit Maud (image beneath) was a stunning machine with a fair turn of speed too. She is based on a JH McLaren machine. 

While the beauty beneath is based on a Wm Allchin Ltd Machine

To me though the best machine had to be the 15 Ton crane, 

There is definitely something dignified about these machines, whether is it the almost silent running of the machine in neutral, or the slow almost waddling gait as they pass by.

These are the machines that make small children point and get excited over, and which older men like me look at wistfully. Like their cousins that run on rails, they are machines from a different era, but they still have the ability to turn heads. Such are the machines of legend.

Random images from the cutting room floor.

© DRW 2016-2017. Created 25/06/2015

Updated: 24/06/2017 — 15:32

Cotswold Festival of Steam

Yes indeed, I spent the day at the Cotswold Festival of Steam held on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (aka The Honeybourne Line). This will be the fourth time I have travelled on this heritage railway, and it is quite an experience.

This 3 day event was centered around “Swindon Built” steam engines that were primarily built for the Great Western Railway. Sadly, Swindon no longer makes steam engines, but it is the home of Steam, Museum of the Great Western Railroad which I visited in January 2015.

It was promising to be a great day because there were a number of visiting steamers, as well as the long awaited running of 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental S.N. Co’ – Rebuilt Merchant Navy class. I had been after a decent pic of this machine since first saw her at Toddington last year and hopefully today would be my chance.  

My day started at Cheltenham Race Course Station where I waited for 9.45 train. Much to my surprise it was a double header, and both were beauts and running tender first. The outboard engine being one of the visitors, as was the inboard.

There were a lot of people at the station, and most were brandishing cameras and that determined look that says “getoutofmywayyouareblockingtheengine!” I sometimes get that look too. Our outboard loco uncoupled and charged past us to the attach herself to the now front of the train. She was 9F class 2-10-0 no. 92214 which is the youngest BR and Swindon built steam locomotive in working order, dating from 1959.

The inboard loco remained behind. And, she was a real beauty that I really wanted to get more pics of, she is an LMS Ivatt 2MT class 2-6-0 no. 46521 and was visiting from the Great Central Railway

There was a scramble for seats and then we were off.

The one thing I realised about the GWSR is that their rails are full of joints and there is that hearkening to the grand days of joined rails that used to permeate train travel when I was young. Clickety Clack Clickety Clack!

First stop was the siding just outside Gotherington where we waited for the next train to pass. Unfortunately every door was occupied so getting a pic was impossible. I do know that the lead loco on that train was 7820 Dinmore Manor, and I suspect the second loco was 7812 Erlestoke Manor. I was really biding my time for Winchcombe where I would hopefully manage a pic of the next train as she entered Winchcombe.

Much to my surprise the next train was a goods! with a crowded brakevan of photographers, the Loco was 2807 (running as 2808), a ’28xx’ class heavy freight locomotive, built in 1905. I will be honest, I have never seen so many linesiders in one day as I did today. It just goes to show that steam engines can still pull crowds, no matter how insignificant they are.  

Once the goods was past we were on our way once again, heading towards my final destination Toddington. The train continues to Laverton, but there is really nothing to see there, except for the Stanway Viaduct and you really need to be watching a train crossing it as opposed to being on the train doing the crossing. 

The train at platform 1 had Modified Hall class 4-6-0 no. 7903 Foremarke Hall in charge.

Out of interest, the train I had just climbed off was on platform 2 which is on the right, with the next train to Cheltenham at Platform 1 on the left.  The loco at the far end of the train on platform 1 was the one I was looking out for. But alas she was just out of sight and I would only be able to see her when the train pulled out. When it finally did she remained behind until it was safely away before she backed down the line. Finally, my Merchant Navy has arrived!

Theoretically, if she continued on this line she could end up crossing to the other line to attach to the back of the train I had just vacated. 

I was wrong, she headed backwards and turned onto a line heading back into the depot and then hid behind a signal pole, hoping that I would not see her. 

After a drink of water, The Red Dragon headed backwards down the line too but pulled off onto the other side and proceeded to move forwards to attach herself to the end of the train on platform 1. 

She is a stunning machine, and I only noticed when I got home that she was a 2-10-0. Now that is impressive. I think I have a new favourite. Interestingly enough she is sister to 92220 “Evening Star”  which had the distinction of being the last steam locomotive to be built by British Railways.

And just as I was about to dash off for a bathroom break.. along came 46521 with her train, now can I go for a bathroom break?

There was not much on the go at Toddington, a traction engine and steam roller occupied some space and that was about all.

There were however, stirrings afoot and my Merchant Navy Class was on the move so it was back I went and I finally got my pic!

She attached herself to the rear of the train that had just arrived at Platform… 1? or was it 2?

It is hard to say with all this steam about. 

I heard tootings from the Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway and I headed in that direction for a look. Much to my joy there had two of their steamers out and about  

This beauty is called “Tourska” and she was built by Chrzanow in 1957 and is works number 3512. The other loco on the go was “Chaka’s Kraal No6” and she is a Hunslet and was built in Leeds in 1940, She spent most of her life in the sugar estates in Natal before being returned to the UK in 1981.  

I was tempted to go for a ride, but I had other things to do first, so would consider returning a bit later. It was time to see what was going where back at the station as I needed to make some plans.

My plans did not include a ride on that! The diesel is 11230, a Drewry industrial shunter.  In all likelihood I would grab the train that was now on its way back from Laverton and head down to Winchcombe. There was movement in the distance too, and that needed investigating.

 As I suspected, it was the goods train, and somewhere along the way she had had a loco change and was now under the control of 7812 Erlestoke Manor. 

and shortly thereafter, the train from Laverton started to appear around the bend.

46521 was still at the head of the train but now she detached from the train and settled down to have a drink and a smoke with the loco next door.

I boarded the train and off we went, heading for Winchcombe. I intended to bail there and go look at the carriage works again, and see what was waiting at the station for us to arrive.

That was 2808 waiting there, and her safeties were feathering all the time, she was ready to blast out of there. 

I was now trainless and headed out of the station towards where the carriage works were, but there was sign pointing towards the town that and I changed direction and headed off to Winchcombe town instead. I was hungry and frankly the queue outside ye pie shoppe was way too long for me. Besides, I really wanted to explore the town, so off I went, 1 mile? nah, that’s easy. 

To read about that portion of my day you can head off to the relevant blogpost about the town

I really thought that I was facing a 30 minute wait for the next train, assuming it wasn’t the goods train! However, on my walk to the station I could hear steam whistles and things were happening. As I got to the station a train arrived and it was heading to Cheltenham. The loco passed me as I got there and I saw it was 46521! The loco on the other platform was my Merchant Navy, but there was no time to grab a pic as the train that had just arrived was late, so she was not going to hang around…

We trundled back to Cheltenham, I was still hungry and footsore and just a tad bushed. The walk to and around Winchcombe had been a long one, and I really needed to start getting home.

Pausing at Gotherington.

I had to admit, it was nice country out here.

Then we arrived and all bailed out for the usual last minute loco photography.

The problem was, what loco would take the train out of Cheltenham? 7812 was sitting on the unused line waiting to shunt to the head of the train, and our current loco would probably take her place.

I walked up the long hill to the road and played chicken with a few cars who tried to run me down. I was very curious about where the line went to after Cheltenham Race Course. According to a book I bought at Toddington, the line enters the Hunting Butts Tunnel and then along a brick viaduct through the centre of Cheltenham and would have joined up with the main line between Bristol and Birmingham. The current station in Cheltenham is called Cheltenham Spa and it is far from the city centre. The former Honeybourne Line had 3 stations after Cheltenham Race Course.

I zoomed into the distance and could just see the roof top of the tunnel in the distance, but what was this loco in the foreground?

I returned to the station to photograph 46521 which should have the whole station to herself, seeing as the train had left. 

As I got to the ramp leading down to the station the loco that I had just seen started to move and it turned out to be 7820 Dinmore Manor. I had wondered where she had gotten to.

It turns out that she was doing “driver experiences” and went back and forth along the platform 3 times while I watched. 

And then it was time to go.

I stopped to photograph the vintage bus that wasn’t going anywhere.

But I was going somewhere, and that was home. It had been a long day and I was finished. I still had 2 buses to catch as well as a long walk home from Tewkesbury Town, and I was hungry too, but, It had been a good day out. I had seen some new loco’s and seen some old friends too. And, I had taken lots of pics and seen a cemetery and church too; and that made it all worth while.

© DRW 2017. Created 28/05/2016 

Updated: 15/12/2016 — 07:22

Heritage Day: Bristol Docks

The last part of my Brstol excursion on the 3rd of October takes place inside Bristol Docks and was an unexpected bonus. However, I am going to use a mix of my 2014 images as well as images from this excursion as they are almost interchangeable (the sunshine ones are from 2104). My intention had been to walk along the dockside to capture images of the SS Great Britain from the opposite bank to where she is berthed but my priority changed when I saw a plume of moving steam on the opposite bank to where I was. It was at that point when I changed my mind and crossed over to that side of the harbour. 
 
My approach was via the so called “Banana Bridge” which was originally erected as a temporary bridge in 1883 at another site. It is quite a striking bridge, and a reminder that footbridges need not be ugly. 
  
The difference between this time around and last time was I headed towards St Mary Redcliffe Church instead of straight to the harbour.  My original harbour entrance had been from an inner basin where an old lightship was berthed.

This led onto onto one of the first vessels of any size that I saw, and it was the 1959 built Thekla she is really a floating nightclub/bar/salon/venue. 
  
For some reason she reminds me of a small oceanographic research vessel, but the reality is that she was a very tired coaster that found a new life. 
 

It seems as if she has had a paintjob since 2014, and the original hull line is still visible.

Leaving Thekla behind the next vessel that I was after was the Balmoral, and I have covered her in a separate blogpost.

   
Astern of Balmoral were two old tugs, The John King being one of them
  
On this day she was out and about, and I managed a far off pic of her sailing, but got better images when she returned from her trip.
 
  

She is the last of Bristol’s biggest fleet and was built in 1935 for Kings Tugs Ltd. and was used on the Avon and Bristol docks until 1970.

The vintage steam tug Mayflower was berthed in front of her  in 2015 and she dates from 1861 and is the world’s oldest steam tug and the oldest ship afloat in Bristol (the Great Britain is in dry-dock so does not count).
bristol072

On the weekend I started out on the opposite side of the harbour, because I wanted to see Mayflower, Balmoral and John King from across the water. As I got there John King sailed away and there was an odd looking boat alongside Mayflower.


It turns out that this odd looking boat is called Pyronaut and is a fire-float and was built in 1934!

Walking along the quayside I crossed the Pero’s Bridge with it’s collection of padlocks. Gee, where is my bolt cutter?

My next destination was the sailing ship Kaskelot.

She is somewhat of a TV and movie star, and luckily for me I saw her in 2014 and managed a better shot of her from where Mayflower was berthed.
 


It was while I was standing at Kaskelot that I saw the odd plume of steam and smoke from the other side of the harbour and I zoomed into it to see what it was.

Now not too long ago I was reading about “The Flying Bufferbeam“, which was a similar sort of steam loco. Could this be her? Photographing the Great Britain could wait, this was more important. I rang down for a full astern and headed to the other side of the harbour at full revolutions. 
 
Walking down towards the steam engine I realised there was another source of steam doing the rounds, and that was the just in front of the Bee was is a 1970’s built supply tender. 
  
The thumping great steam crane is an interesting beastie on its own. She is a Fairbairn Steam Crane and she was built here in 1878 and was designed to lift heavy loads from ships and she can still lift 37 tons (or 7 African elephants)! She worked until 1974 when the docks closed. She is an impressive machine though, making loud trundling noises as she rotates on her platform. I may even have video of it, but have not worked through the video that I shot to see how much came out. Naturally the moment I hit the shutter she stopped moving! She has the distinction of being the only surviving Fairbairn steam crane. 
  
I was also now at the place were my errant steam engine was dashing hither and thither. In fact there were two steamers there, the first being Peckett No 1940 “Henbury”.
  
And the source of all the commotion was the Bagnall 2572 “Judy”
 
 

Judy was doing driver experience jaunts and that entailed a slow pull away, then a rapid dash down the line and an abrupt stop under a cloud of steam, and then backwards in a similar fashion. The unusual design of the loco was required to cope with some extremely tight curves, and a very low bridge under the Cornish Main Line close to where she served originally.

I watched this strange loco going up and down for awhile and then headed back towards Balmoral, pausing to watch the John King come alongside, followed by the Matthew which is a reconstruction of John Cabot’s ship

The design is a Caravel, and it hard to believe that ships of this size were capable of very long voyages, she is only 24 metres long, while John King is 19 metres.

There were also two classic vehicles at the harbour, the first was a Bristol flatbed truck

and the other was a 1961 built Bristol bus. That bus is the same age as I am! (and much better looking).

 

 

And then it was time to head to the Balmoral and see about getting on board her, but that is another blogpost on it’s own.

I had been extremely lucky to be in Bristol on this day, I saw so much and revisited a place that I wanted to come back to. I did not get to the Great Britain, but that’s reason enough for another trip. It only cost me 9 pounds to get there so it is very do-able for more trips in the future, but with winter closing in I suspect I may end up hibernating instead.

© DRW 2015-2017. Images migrated 02/05/2016, originally created 05/10/2015.

Updated: 15/12/2016 — 07:38

Traveling with the GWR (1)

While gravehunting recently in Prestbury Cemetery in Cheltenham,  I kept on hearing a steam whistle, and I had read that there was a heritage rail operation in the area called the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, it was time to investigate, and I duly headed in that direction on the 15th of August.
  
The railway runs from Cheltenham Race Course Station, to Gotherington, Winchcombe and then to Toddington stations where the loco shed and end point is. Actually that is not quite true as there is a halt further on called Laverton, which is really a signpost and not a station.  
 
Like most heritage rail operations I have encountered in the UK I was amazed at the professionalism of the operation. They are staffed by volunteers and run like well oiled machines, just like their fleet of steam and diesel engines.
 
I joined the train at Cheltenham Race Course Station for the run through to Toddington.
 
 
The loco in charge was a GWR 4200 Class, number 4270, and she dates from 1919 and she is one of 5 surviving sisters that were rescued from the famous Woodham Brothers Scrapyard in Barry. 
 
Her rake of coaches were a mixed bag of Carmine and Cream corridor and compartment coaches typically found in the UK. 
gwr 135
 
  
The train also had a buffet car and a compo van as well as a first class compartment coach. They are very comfortable coaches, totally unlike anything we had in South Africa. Oddly enough though, many of the internal fittings were the same as that found in South Africa, and the chances are the fittings all originated from the same place. 
 
Once our loco had had a drink she ran to the end of the line and then through the points onto the opposite line, ran past the train, back though the points and onto the back of the train (which was now the front of the train), she would run bunker first to Toddington. 
  
And then we were off. The line to Toddington has some challenging climbs until it comes to the Greet Tunnel which is almost the highest point of the line. The first station is Gotherington and I happened to be leaning out of the window as we came into it, and it looks like a fascinating place to visit as a destination. Technically from here you can just see Tewkesbury (although I expect binoculars would be needed).
 
The one things that amazes me is how children instinctively know how to emulate a team engine whistle, and I know that from the other heritage rail trips that I have taken.
 
The next “highlight” of the trip is the Greet Tunnel which is 693 yards long and it is the 2nd longest tunnel on a British heritage railway. I did try some photography in it using the camera flash, but my experiments were not really a success.
  
Next stop was Winchcombe and we stopped here to wait for the other train to arrive. The line is single rail between stations with passing blocks at the stattons. On this particular day there were 3 trains running on the system. 
  
And here comes the other train…
  
And with her out the way we could now proceed to Toddington. 
  
Our train is the one of the right, and the one on the left is the Railcar which runs between Laverton and Winchcombe. I had planned to look around Toddington and then grab the railcar to Laverton, and then reboard the train and travel back to Cheltenham with the next train depending on how much there was to see at Toddington. The loco shed is here and that was what I was really after. GWR also operates heritage diesels, and while these do not have the attraction of a steamer, some are really interesting machines in their own right.
45149 (D135) - Class 45/1 Diesel Electric Locomotive.

45149 (D135) – Class 45/1 Diesel Electric Locomotive.

Class  49 'electro-diesel 6036

Class 49 ‘electro-diesel 6036

26043 (D5343) Class 26, Diesel Electric Locomotive

26043 (D5343) Class 26, Diesel Electric Locomotive


Yorkshire Engine Company 372

Yorkshire Engine Company 372

Of course there were steamers too, but they were all in the wrong position to photograph, the closest I could see were:
2807 - '28xx' class heavy freight locomotive, built 1905

2807 – ’28xx’ class heavy freight locomotive, built 1905

35006 'Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co' - Rebuilt Merchant Navy class

35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co’ – Rebuilt Merchant Navy class


I would have really liked to have seen that Merchant Navy Class in action, but there was just now way to even get a decent pic of her.

I had decided to catch the railcar to Laverton and time was catching up with me so I headed across to the platform where she was was now due after a short jaunt to Winchcombe.


This particular example is 117 and it comprises cars W51405 (DMS), W59510 (TCL), W51363 (DMBS), although on this occasion there were only two cars coupled, of which both had a drivers end. They are powered by 2 x Leyland 680 150hp driving through 4-speed epicyclic gearboxes on each power car. It is an odd vehicle though, not quite a train, not quite a bus, although I was impressed by the smooth ride that it gave.

The trip to Laverton is a a short one, and the highlight is travelling over the Stanway Viaduct, which is 50 feet above the valley floor and comprises of 15 arches. You cannot really get a sense of these things when you are going over them, but you can bet that from ground level the viaduct is a pretty impressive piece of engineering.

 

The end of the line is Laverton. It is really just a signpost and not much else. However, there are future plans to extend the railway till it meets with the main line at Broadway, and then this operation will explode with traffic. It is 2 miles from here, so near, yet so far.
Our driver changed ends and we headed back to Toddington. Once we arrived I bailed out and went looking around again, realistically I wanted to catch a train back about 14H00, and it was do-able assuming I planned it right. The train was already in Toddington, but would not leave here until the other train had turned around at Cheltenham. It left me about 45 minutes to kill.

There was a particularly interesting exhibition in a restored bag van that had some fascinating arteacts in it, as well as a small shop with similar items.

Realistically Toddington is an eclectic place, with the emphasis on the past. They even have a narrow gauge railway at the station, but sadly this was not in use on the day when I was there.

Time was creeping, and I reboarded the railcar for Winchcomb as there were a lot of interesting pieces of rolling stock that I wanted to look at.


Unfortunately Winchcomb was a bit of a disappointment as the coaches were not accessible. It was a pity though as there were a lot of very interesting coaches to see.

I stuck my nose into nooks and crannies, passing time till my train arrived, or should I say, till both trains arrive. The one train cannot pass a section while there other is possibly in that section. It is the safe way to do things.

And then I heard a steam whistle.

It was not some imitation done by a child, but the sound of the train from Cheltenham. She would have to be alongside the platform and could only proceed until the Cheltenham bound train arrived. With minutes of her arriving my train hove along the bend and it was time for me to head off home.

That is the thing about trains, some arrive, and some depart, and some pass each other along the way.

My loco for the ride home was the 1928 built 2-6-2T – known as a ‘small prairie’ tank engine, and was used on light branch lines.  Her coaches were a crimson rake and they were just as nice inside.

 


As I left the station and headed for the bus stop I could hear the loco blowing her whistle, and I knew that I had heard that sound a few weeks ago, and that is what drew me to here in the first place.

It had been an awesome day, and I had seen so much interesting stuff and travelled on or behind three heritage railway vehicles. The GWR operation is fantastic, my only real gripe is that I did not get to see more of the loco shed, but otherwise, it was worth the time and effort. I returned to the GWR for the heritage diesel weekend, and you can read about it here.

Video of the some of the loco movements are on my youtube channel

© DRW  2015-2017. Images migrated 01/05/2016

Updated: 15/12/2016 — 19:25

The Steam Museum in Swindon (1)

 
After much vacillating and excuses I finally got my butt in gear and headed off to Swindon to visit Steam. Museum of the Great Western Railroad.
 
I was looking at doing a trip to the museum since last year, but doing it from Salisbury would have been a mission, whereas from Basingstoke it entailed a train to Reading, and then another to Swindon. This is Great Western territory as opposed to my usual South West Trains that I have been using regularly on my travels. This is also the furtherest North that I have traveled since coming to the UK in 2013.
 
The train trip was a bit of a disaster though; I had left a bit later in the morning than I should have and it put me in Reading just after 10am. I had two visits lined up for the trip and theoretically had enough time to do both. Unfortunately the train before us had problems with its central door locking at Didcot Parkway, and was stuck in the station while we ended up stuck not too far from the station as a result, and I sat watching the time march from the comfort of the inside of a train. We sat for almost an hour and by the time I hit Swindon I had seen my plans take somewhat of a dive.
 
The museum is not too far from the station, in the former engine works of Great Western. Looking at images from there you cannot believe that all that engineering is gone, and in one case it has even been replaced by a yuppie fashion house. These works and Great Western are also closely associated with the famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel,
 
The Museum is housed in a former machine shop, and the last steam locomotive that came from these works in 1960 was the Eastern Star, which is the last steam locomotive built by British Railways. (Tornado was not built by British Railways). Hopefully there would be some steamers still inside the building, and that was what I was after. 
 
The traverser and 4 wheeler were a good sign,  and I eventually found my way into the museum. Schools were open so theoretically it should not be too crowded. 
 
The first surprise was a set of driving wheels for Brunels broad gauge loco, Lord of the Isles.
  
These wheels are 8 foot in diameter, which makes Brunel look short. It is worth remembering that Brunel was using the “broad gauge” which is 7 ft (2,134 mm), later eased to 7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm) which meant his rolling stock was very big. The gauge they use in the UK now is 4 ft 8 in (1,422 mm), now eased to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm). (South Africa uses what is known as “Cape Gauge” 3ft 6 inches). There is quite a good explanation on track gauges on Wikipedia
 
The first major artifact which caught my eye was a boiler with all the complications that it entails (including a woman sitting in the smokebox). This is a representation of the boiler works
The one thing I have learnt is that steam engine boilers are very complex devices with a lot of engineering that often does not make sense. However, when you consider the energy that steam is able to generate then you can see why the boiler has to be so strong and designed with so much inherent strength and flexibility. The locos that were coming out of these works would be in service for many years and works like this produced some fine machines that would still be running had it not for the demise of steam traction. 
 
  
Just around the corner I discovered one of the many intact steam engines in the museum,  GWR 4073 Class 4073 Caerphilly Castle.  The nice thing about her is that you can actually walk underneath her and see those hidden bits that are all taken for granted.

She was built in 1923, and withdrawn from service in 1960. I was going to wait for the person in the wheelchair to move before I took the last pic, but then I realised that he did give a sense of scale to the machine.

Around the corner I came to a replica of  the 1837  “North Star”, and it is really a comparatively simple loco when compared to the machines that rule the rails 100 years later.


The original was purchased by GWR and ran one of the first trains between Paddington and Maidenhead in 1837. There is no consideration for crew comfort in this machine, although I am sure these locos did not break too many speed records.

2516 is a Dean locomotive, built in 1897 and used on freight services. It has some resemblance to a cab, but has been split away from her tender.  She is the only survivor of her class of 260 built at Swindon.

9400 is a relatively new machine, having been part of  a class that was built between 1947 and 1956. She is an 0-6-0 Pannier Tank loco, and her class really had very short lives as the diesel made more inroads into their traditional roles. She is one of two survivors of her class

At this point we come to a replica station and the trains pulled up at the platforms. There are two locos here, namely 4003 “Lode Star”:

 


She was built in 1907 and is the only remaining GWR 4000 Class locomotive.

And  7821 “Didcheat Manor”  She is a reasonably new loco too, having been built in 1950. 

 
And that really concluded the collection of steam engines at the museum, The other interesting piece of motive power at the museum is a GWR diesel railcar.

 

The art deco styling of this railcar must have really been a sight to see as it trundled along the route between Birmingham and Cardiff, and they were really the precursor to the DMUs that I travelled on so often in Salisbury.  Unfortunately the railcar was not open so I could not see the interior except through the windows, and it did look really nice inside.

The museum also has a Buffet coach on display, and its green interior must have been very comforting to somebody having a cuppa and a sticky bun inside.

There is also a Great Western Royal Saloon on display, and it formed  part of Queen Victoria’s Royal Train. Unfortunately part of the vehicle is closed off and I was not able to get much of an impression about the coach, which is a pity really because this is quite an important exhibit.

The rest of the museum has a lot of very interesting exhibits, in fact it is overall a very nice museum, although I would have liked to have seen more rolling stock and coaches, but then beggars can’t be choosers either.

The station is particularly interesting because it really shows most aspects of what stations may have been like so many years ago, and in the  follow up to this post I shall add in some pictures of the other exhibits.Please turn the page to go to Part 2

© DRW 2014-2017. Images recreated 22/04/2016
 
Updated: 23/01/2017 — 20:02

They have gone and destroyed it

Regulars to my webpage and blog may remember the SANRASM debacle, and how a collection of valuable railwayana was reduced to so much scrap metal. It was a messy escapade, and the final outcome saw a new team placed in charge and some sort of rationality happening that seemed to signify that parts of the collection would survive. 
 
The last time I visited there was in June 2012, although I really posted that information backdated to the blog in December 2011. Like so many others I hoped that things would now progress from wreckage to preservation and finally to a fully fledged museum. 
 
That never happened.
 
The reality is that somewhere along the line (April 2014?), the scrap vultures entered the premises and cut the frames of some of the locos to get at the bearings, rendering the locos irreparable, and only fit for the scrap. Once that damage has been done the loco will never move again. I saw it happen at Chamdor, and it happened at Sanrasm, and has now finally killed Class 19D-2644, aka “Whardale”. This historically valuable loco was the only one of its kind, and was historically a very significant machine. 

I hope that one day these vultures will become victims of their own greed. When there is nothing left to steal then what will they do? Our steam locomotives, like our Rhino, will be extinct very soon.

What was saved? It is hard to know because I do not have all the information. But I know that both Class 6 loco’s were saved, although Class 6A No.454 has had her frames cut to steal the bearings off it. Fortunately the decision was made to rescue the loco and she is now privately owned and may end up on the rails again one day

6A-454

6A-473

The tender from Wardale was also saved and  I do know that one diesel was also saved. but do not know what happened to the other two.

Various parts from other loco’s were saved to keep the pool of steamers running. I do not know which coaches were saved.  

The former 4-10-2T North British Loco No.23722 was saved and is now plinthed at the Rand Society of Model Engineers site in Len Rutter Park, Florida. (2014)

More images from the disaster that was Sanrasm may be found at my allatsea blog

© DRW 2014-2017. Image recreated 17/04/2016. Updated 12/03/2017, added 10 wheeler 26/03/2017

Updated: 26/03/2017 — 15:41

Visiting the SS Great Britain.

Bristol held one more attraction for me, and that was yet another preserved ship: Brunel’s SS Great Britain. There is no doubt in my mind that Brunel was an engineer that could do almost anything. He was ahead of his time and his vision seemed to encompass anything that needed doing. Ships was just one task he applied himself to with a passion, and the Great Britain is one of his finest creations.  I am not qualified to expound on the history of this grand old lady from a different age, I just tell it like I see it.  I suggest a visit to the Wikipedia page for the history thereof.
 
Berthed at the the drydock in the Great Western Drydock in Bristol, she is back in the place where she was created, and she is a stunning example of shipbuilding the way it was back then. I took the walk to her after my sojourn at Arnos Vale, although I did not really realise how far away she was from the cemetery. It did mean a long walk along the banks of the Avon, and a detour through the docks, which was a good thing because I discovered a whole new place to shipwatch.
 
The Great Britain was still quite a walk from where I entered the docks, but eventually I spotted her, resting in her dry dock, far from the place where she nearly ended her days. The fact that she still survives is a testament to her design and construction, and of course the fact that she was seemingly forgotten so was reasonably untouched by the destructive hand of the scrap merchants.  Her return to the UK was a triumph in itself, and today she is an extremely popular member of the preserved fleet that is resident in this country. 
 
Entrance to the vessel is via the top deck, which are wide and relatively unencumbered for a ship that boasted sails and an engine! 
 
I did find the surplus of skylights quite odd, but their reason for being there would only come about when I went below. There are three decks to explore: the Weather (top) Deck, Promenade Deck, and finally Saloon Deck.  The Promenade Deck did not feature a promenade deck as they are associated with cruise ships and TransAtlantic liners, instead it was more of an internal space where people strolled up and down and tried to escape the incredibly small cabins that were found on this deck. 
 
 

It is worth remembering that ships like this did not have air conditioning, and probably no running water in the cabins.

 

Ventilation would be almost minimal, although it is possible that a porthole could be opened depending on what deck you were on and what the weather was like outside. Ablutions would be “down the hall”, and any entertainment was usually provided by the passengers themselves. The concept of stabilisers did not exist, the passengers were at the mercy of the sea just like the crew, although they may have had more superior accommodation to the fo’c’stle where the deck crew usually were bunked.

Voyages were long, cramped and uncomfortable. But a ship like the Great Britain was probably light years ahead of her competitors, and she was no tub either, but a well found vessel, albeit one that seems to have had a chequered career.

The skylights in the image above are directly underneath the skylights on the deck above so that light could penetrate the gloom below. It is really an effective method of providing light, although I wonder how watertight they were? This is the Promenade Deck and it has the large windowed stern at the far end.

Rising up into this deck area is the engine room, and this is a fascinating space in itself. The machinery occupying the space is massive. It occupies 3 decks and weighs in at 340 tons. There are 4 cylinders in 2 sets, each at a 33 degree angle in a V shape.

These drive a wooden toothed chain wheel just over 18 feet in diameter which turns another wheel on the shaft via a set of chains. The Great Britain used the same principle as a bicycle! The engine really has to be seen to be believed, quietly turning but never going anywhere.

 

From what I have read the engine in the ship now is actually a full scale working model built with lighter and more modern materials.
Apparently her original engines were replaced by better ones (as the technology improved) and naturally there would be the benefit of more efficiency with less expenditure of money. However, the reliance on sails still existed, and while she was built as a steam ship with sail power available, she later changed to a sailing ship with an auxiliary engine. She also had the unique ability to retract her propeller when not in use and when running on sail.

I was also able to catch a glimpse at “steerage” dormitory style accommodation, and it is frightening to think of being cooped up in this area on a long voyage.

Another area of interest was what I expect you would call the first class dining saloon, and it is quite a large space, although the decor doesn’t really do much for me. I do not know what was behind those ornate doors though,. although I do know one was the gents!

Right in the bow of the ship was a large open area that was probably used at one point for cargo and probably crews quarters. Its a dark area and I don’t know how original it is, but it does give a good indication of the internal lines of the ship.

The ship is not afloat, and rests on keelblocks in the dry dock. Parts of her hull plating are rusted through, and there is a sophisticated humidifying system in place in the dry dock. to keep her hull stabilised. The fact is that iron rusts, and this ship is over 160 years old, and spent many years neglected and unused and semi derelict, it is inevitable that she is not in a pristine condition, in fact she is really a very tired old ship, but also a very handsome tired old ship.
Parts off the hull plating have rusted through and these have not been replaced, but you can get an idea of the fragility of the hull if you really take the time to have a look.

The part that interested me was in the dry dock itself, the ship is surrounded by glass panels and water flows across the panels giving the impression that she is afloat. For some reason this seems to work much better than what they did with the Cutty Sark which is more like a giant goldfish bowl.

Bear in mind that each of those rivets was put in by hand….. and many of the hull plating has a curvature to it. And did I mention it is over 160 years old? Seeing a ship from this angle is always fascinating because it is here that you really get a sense of scale (and how small you are compared to it). The propeller is a replica of Brunels 6 bladed design which is remarkably similar in performance to modern 6 bladed screws.

This propeller shape also features on a memorial to the engineer in Portsmouth.
Two dehumidifying machines (one inside the ship and one in the drydock), help keep the humidity at bay, without them the Great Britain would be living on borrowed time. A comprehensive history of the vessel is also available at the website dedicated to the engineer who was such a forward thinker and whose work still exists in so many forms today. Sadly, yet another of his ships “The Great Eastern”  would ultimately cause the death of her designer on 11 September 1859. He is buried in Kensall Green Cemetery in London.

There is still so much to say about the ship and what I saw, it is always difficult trying to do justice to a vessel such as this in a blog, the ship is always better seen and experienced up close and personal. I know she was very different to what I expected, and I would have loved to have explored much more, but time was catching me and I still had to get to the station for my train. I will return to her one day, preferably in summer when the days are longer, and hopefully this time will know what to look for.

More images:

 
 
 

© DRW 2013-2017. Images replaced 16/04/2016
Updated: 13/12/2016 — 20:01

Random Shipwatch: PS Waverley

Yet another ship from my long gone Ships Monthly collection, PS Waverley is another ship from a different age. She does not call Southampton her home, but this past weekend she was doing a series of local coastals from our harbour.
 
Berthed at 104E she is not accessible without having to go through the dockgates and having a valid piece of paper as a ticket.  She is barely visible from Town Quay, and unless you knew she was there you would have missed seeing her. 

I was working on this particular morning, so decided to head out a bit earlier to get photographs of her 10am sailing.

As a steamship I was hoping that she would at least use her whistle, but all I saw was a  puff of smoke and she started to back away from the quayside at the appointed time. I don’t know how maneuverable she is, those twin paddle wheels may give her the ability to rotate about her axis.

Like Shieldhall, she is a real ship. There are no balcony cabins or chrome and glass, instead she was built to ply her trade, and as such is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world.

She is rated to carry over 925 passengers in “Class V waters”, and, given her popularity is probably very crowded when full.

The weather in Southampton on that day was changing all the time, and light conditions were not great, but at least it wasn’t raining (yet).

She is actually quite sleek and has very nice lines, and the paddle boxes blend in quite well with her hull. I could not really judge how full she was though, because she does seem to have quite a large saloon below deck. 

 
Then she was past me and heading away from my position at Town Quay, moving quite quickly and in a very businesslike fashion. I did shoot a bit of video of her for my Youtube Channel. 
 
I wouldn’t mind having a closer look at her, as she is in Southampton from 6 till 26 September, I may have to make a plan over a weekend before it is too late though. It is just a pity she was not berthed closer to Town Quay, preferably where she could be enjoyed by everybody. Had they berthed her in front of Shieldhall there would have been a unique opportunity to have three of the National Historic Fleet Core Collection (Calshot, Shieldhall, Waverley) all together at one berth, and with a bit of pushing and shoving Challenge could have joined in too. 
 
I think it is things like this that I enjoy the most about Southampton. Every now and then it springs a surprise, and Waverley was definitely one of the many I have had since arriving here in April.

At some point Waverley started to sail from berth 49 and on the 21st I was able to see her alongside from a bit closer. Sadly though, the weather was grey and gloomy so it was not great photography at all. However, I did manage one image which is what I was after originally. From left to right: Calshot, Calshot Spit Light vessel, Waverley and Shieldhall. Arcadia in the background.
I did take some video, but it isn’t really up to much because of the gloomy conditions. I will say one thing though, she does not waste time coming off the wall.

I will see how things go tomorrow and if able will try get to her at the berth, I am very curious about having a look at her from close up. Unfortunately I did not get to her berth, but I did pick her up while I was waiting for an early morning arrival.

 

© DRW 2013-2017. Images recreated 11/04/2016

Updated: 13/12/2016 — 19:40
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