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Gertrude reaches Wales – 30 years late n The Porthmadog-based Welsh Highland Heritage Railway has gained a new steam locomotive for the 2010 operating season in the form of the recently-restored Barclay 0-6-0T ‘Gertrude’ (1578 of 1918).
The locomotive was originally built for the Sydenham Ironstone Quarry near Banbury in Oxfordshire, and is a sister to ‘Doll’, which is based at the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway.
Gertrude has been extensively restored by Exmoor Transport, having previously been out of service since withdrawal in 1959. The hire agreement to bring it to Wales will see it steaming for a minimum of 30 days, sharing duties with the WHHR resident Bagnall, ‘Gelert’ (3050 of 1953).
James Hewett, Chairman of the WHHR, said that the line was delighted with Gertrude’s arrival. “We believe she will prove a popular, powerful and attractive locomotive, and add some extra variety to the service in 2010 – it’s interesting to think that although ‘Gertrude’ is 92 years old, she had never pulled a passenger train until August of last year. The restored locomotive could now find itself hauling thousands of people in the next few months.”
This is not the first time that this engine has had an association with Welsh Highland Railway Limited, the charity that runs the
Gertrude in action at Porthmadog over
Easter, doubleheading with resident Bagnall Gelert. Photo:
WHHR. Gertrude was expected to come to Wales in the 1970s when the organisation was in its early days and spent some time at the company’s Kinnerley depot in Shropshire, but never made it to Porthmadog.
Manx museum opens its doors n One of the highlights of the Isle of Man
Replica tram heads for steam line n The Isle of Man’s Manx Transport Trust finally opened its Jurby Transport Museum in the north of the island on Easter Saturday with an official ceremony conducted by the island’s Chief Minister Tony Brown.
The museum is based in a former Second World War RAF hangar at Jurby airfield. The Manx Transport Trust first applied for planning permission to convert the hangar into a museum in October 2008 but did not receive the keys to the hangar 230 until last June, after the trust signed a 20-year lease from the Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure, who own the site.
Heritage Railway ‘Rush Hour’ events weekend running from 1-3 May is the Manx Electric Railway’s diesel-electric Bo-Bo locomotive no 34 ‘Maria’ running various special trains on the Isle of Man Railway’s Port Erin line.
The ‘Maria’ is a replica of the 3ft-6in gauge Snaefell Mountain Railway coal tram no 7 ‘Maria’, which was used to haul coal supplies up to the line’s power station until the line was eventually connected to the island’s main electricity supply.
The replica tram was built in 1995 as part of the 100 years of the line celebrations in that year, but as it was not required for use on that line, it was transferred to the Manx Electric Railway, mounted on a pair of MER 3ft gauge bogies and fitted with a diesel-electric generator to produce a self-propelled tram/Bo-Bo locomotive.
The Isle of Man Railway season started slightly earlier than usual on Saturday 14th March with a reduced two-train timetable operating on Wednesdays to Sundays only. The standard four train timetable started at Easter, changing for the May Holiday weekend to a five train timetable in conjunction with the ‘Rush Hour’ event.
Three locomotives are currently operating the service trains on the line; no 4 ‘Loch’ of 1874, younger sister no 12 ‘Hutchinson’ of 1908 based at Douglas, and no 10 ‘G.H. Wood’ of 1905 out-stationed at Port Erin.
Photo below by David Lloyd-Jones
Since then local volunteers have spent a long time cleaning, de-rusting and painting the site, as well as restoring numerous vehicles for display.
As well as around 25 public and commercial road transport vehicles the displays include several rail exhibits, notably a cable car from the 3ft gauge Upper Douglas Cable Tramway. The cable car based on the San Francisco system was opened in Douglas in August 1896 but closed in August 1928, replaced by a more economical bus service.
Admission is free and the museum will be open between 10am and 4pm every Saturday and bank holiday during the year, and on Sundays between Easter and September and during the TT motorcycling week and Manx Grand Prix week. More details at the website: http://mtt.fpic.co.uk
No 69 – NARROW GAUGE WORLD PHOTOS are welcome, either digital images on CD-ROM or as low-res thumbnail samples by e-mail, prints or transparencies.
Railway author and publisher Andrew Neale stands proudly in front of his Quarry Hunslet 0-4-0 ‘Edward Sholto’ which was returned to steam during a ceremony at the Statfold Barn Railway in March. Andrew repatriated the loco from across the Atlantic, where it had been exported in 1961 following withdrawal from Penrhyn Quarry. Stored for many years in Canada, the loco was in poor but highly original condition when discovered by Andrew and in the subsequent three-year restoration he has kept it as original as possible. ‘Sholto’ will visit a number of preserved lines during the summer. Photo: Phil Thompson.
New-builds gather pace n A trio of narrow gauge new-build loco projects have made significant progress with orders being placed for vital components.
On the Corris Railway a tender has been accepted from Israel Newton & Sons of Bradford for constructing the boiler for the line’s Hughes ‘Falcon’ 0-4-2, similar to ‘Sir Haydn’ that now runs on the Talyllyn Railway.
In another important step forward work has begun on patterns for the cylinder castings which will be made concurrently with the boiler, and as a first step in a plan to produce a rolling chassis alongside the boiler construction work.
Project Leader Peter Guest commented that the first part of building a new steam locomotive always seems the slowest with the need to prepare the many engineering drawings required: “But we are now reaching the metal cutting, shaping and construction stages and we plan to press forward as quickly as fundraising will allow.”
The railway would welcome further support for the project and anyone wanting to learn more can contact Peter Guest on firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to him at 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS. Baldwin cab Meanwhile at the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway an order has been placed for making the cab for replica Baldwin 2-4-2 ‘Lyn’.
The cab will be made by AWH Joinery Ltd in Luton to the designs and details of the original, in American Ash with hardwood windows and steel infill panels. Drawings were prepared using the original general arrangement drawings plus information culled from photographs taken at various times in the life of the original loco.
Using the demountable features incorporated by Baldwin Locomotive Works the new cab can be stored easily and, more importantly, moved around to various locations for display and fundraising.
The metal roof covering will not be added until the cab is assembled on the locomotive but the tongue and grooved timber roof boarding will be in place. Hopefully the driver’s seat will also be installed.
The steel bunker should be completed ready to accompany the cab in the next few months, certainly in time for the railway’s Autumn Gala. More information is on the website www.762club.com Southwold in frame Finally in Suffolk the Southwold Railway Trust’s Loco Project is now well and truly underway following the arrival of the frames and the successful launch of the 2-4-0 Club at the beginning of March.
The Trust intends to construct a replica of ‘Blyth’, the line’s Sharp Stewart 2-4-0 tank locomotive no 3 that was delivered in 1879 and ran on the line for nearly 50 years. The 2-4-0 Club is offering 500 £240 ‘shares’ relating to specific components on the loco and the Trust has already raised more than £27,067 for the project.
The original ‘Blyth’ was scrapped in 1941 having lain derelict since the line closed back in 1929. Once the replica version is completed, the locomotive will be operating on the Southwold Railway Steam Park for which planning permission was granted in February last year.
More details of the project can be found at: www.southwoldrailway.co.uk
NARROW GAUGE WORLD – No 69
Busy at Boston Lodge n Various Spring loco works on the Ffestiniog Railway have seen Funkey diesel ‘Vale of Ffestiniog’ have its main transmission repaired at Mitchell Diesel, which previously cured transmission problems on the other FR Funkey diesel ‘Castell Caernarfon’. Original Beyer, Garratt K1’s poor steaming at the end of last year has been traced to a cracked blast pipe and a specialist weld repair is being done at Boston Lodge. Ex-South African BeyerGarratt NGG16 loco no 138’s 10-year boiler overhaul continues to advance at Boston Lodge. It is intended to have the boiler cradle and cab pipework fully reassembled before the unit is returned to Dinas. Brazil boiler work n Sittingbourne & Kemsley Kerr Stuart Brazil Class 0-4-2ST ‘Leader’ is set to be retubed shortly while work on Bagnall 0-6-2T ‘Superb’ is continuing. Brazil Class 0-4-2ST ‘Melior’ is due back shortly from its winter running at Preston Steam Services to enable routine maintenance and a boiler inspection to be carried out. Thomas on the turn n Talyllyn Railway Kerr Stuart no 4 ‘Edward Thomas’ has been temporarily turned round for a photographic charter. The engine was carefully pushed onto a temporary turntable, balanced perfectly then turned. Both the air pump and running plates were removed as well. Meanwhile, Fletcher Jennings No 2 ‘Dolgoch’ has had its boiler removed and work begun on degreasing and cleaning the usually inaccessible parts of the engine. Fletcher Jennings no 1 ‘Talyllyn’ has had broken pony truck springs replaced, while no 7 ‘Tom Rolt’ has been in light steam to test a replaced stay in the firebox. Joan on its wheels n The restoration of Welshpool & Llanfair Kerr Stuart 0-6-2 ‘Joan’ passed a milestone when the loco’s wheels and frames were reunited on 15th February. The boiler is expected to be delivered in late Spring. Meanwhile Romanian Resita 0-8-0, no 19 in the W&LLR fleet, was set to return to service in April after last-minute issues with a sticking safety valve were sorted. Beyer, Peacock no 2 ‘Countess’ has gained a new ashpan for 2010.