Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Second Entry: Some good, some bad

7th August 2010

Saturday: Up until lunchtime on Friday, I was supposed to be on site changing the spring on an 0-6-0 for a client, so Andrew had arranged instead to go see his girlfriend. Then a phone call came through that the job had to be postponed so I was at a loose end.

My wife and daughter were to be person-ing a stand at the Peak Rail “Warring 40s” event all weekend, but I offered to head west and after a few e-mails, it was set up. Andrew’s loco “Kimberley” was transferred a couple of weeks ago from the Cambrian site at Blodwell over the way to Llynclys to replace the 03 that Ken Ryder had to sell, and we were concerned that personnel at Llynclys seemed unaware of the arrangements for use of the loco and maybe a little “Gung ho” about what they could and couldn’t do. But first I had to make a detour into Rowsley to drop off a few things Mrs B had forgotten, then wander out of Derbyshire to get the A38/A5 round to Oswestry. The Llynclys set up is a classic bit of “preserved” railway (except that is a re-creation) in that every spare inch of siding space is monopolised by rolling stock. The ticket office is in the corridor end of a carriage which doubles as cafe and shop, the only “structure” on the platform being a toilet/volunteer amenities block in rural station style. The line runs about a mile to a dead end (where a collapsed bridge and 3 bungalows makes southward extension a trifle problematic) but a short way away is the SU canal which hopefully one day will facilitate out-by-rail-back by-barge type tours. DMUs run the service (every 30 minutes provided there’s a passenger) and “Kim” is primarily there as a shunter, but once the service had terminated, and having gone over things with our contact and satisfied myself that our concerns had been largely groundless, we took “Kim” for its first ever trip to the end and back.

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Kim in siding as the dmu returns to the platform

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View south as Kim goes exploring

I stopped off at Blodwell to check that all was well with the other three locos – and apart from the news that someone left the isolation switch on in “Claire” so the batteries are well and truly flat, they were much as we last saw them.

Sunday: Once Andrew returned we set off for Elsecar with the intention of assembling the exhauster (we have just had the big ends re-metalled) for the Drewry so as to ensure it was ready for Elsecar’s Diesel Gala at the end of August. Instead we were summoned into the presence of two directors to be told by “unanimous decision of the Board” Andrew’s locos had three months to be removed. That this came out of the blue was an understatement – we had had no warnings, nor intimation from the Board hitherto, and of course, no opportunity for representation. How much of this relates to the departure of the 14 is another matter – somebody had started using the corner of the 14’s cab as their personal pissoire (with Elsecar having 24hr security (part of the Heritage Centre) this we assumed to be another volunteer), but when we had tried to raise this with that same director who lead the charge on Sunday he basically told us that he didn’t believe us/cannot be true/we should keep silent on it anyway. Andrew had already decided that his Sentinel steam loco had to go – his interest has always been in diesel and in 2 years or more we hadn’t had any time/money to make a start on it – and the Drewry, being fully running and vac-braked shouldn’t have too much difficulty in finding a new home, but this unwelcome development depressed him quite a bit and as result, “Coronation” – the oldest NB diesel and oldest Diesel Hydraulic s.g. loco in the UK, previously one of the jewels in his collection and one of the candidates for inclusion in the Trust that was to be drawn up under the guidance of the HRA – is up for sale. We returned to the workbench and refitted the exhauster crankshaft and oil pump, but we didn’t have the heart to get the pistons/conrods back in as well, so headed home.

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