A concerted push during June, to complete all the outstanding work needed to put Carriage 119 into service was completed. There then started a period of testing, during which time a number of measurements were taken, to ascertain, that the carriage met the standards required.
On one evening in late June, dynamic brake tests were performed. The ride quality was accessed. The carriage was also run into all the sidings and across all the points and track work it would use in it's working life, to prove there were no gauging, or other issues. Being deemed fit to enter service, it's first run with passengers, was the 12-15pm. service on Saturday July 8th 2017, during the NG Gala.
Work is proceeding apace, to get Carriage 119, into public service. Shims have been added to either side of the bogies, so there is now only 3mm. combined clearance, between the top of the bogies and the underframe. The plywood for the floor, in the ex toilet and vestibule area has been laid and only awaits fitting with lino, which has arrived.
The ceiling that was above the toilet area, has been made good. New LED lighting is in the process of being installed in the ceiling of the carriage. The underframe, couplings, buffers and the new steps, have been painted black.
Photo left, shows brake cylinders and linkage, under Carriage 119. The Brake Rods, part of the braking system have been manufactered and fitted. The brake system was then charged with air, the brakes applied and the system tested, that the brakes hold on for 30 minutes. Modifications are still in progress, to deal with an overbraking problem.
Positioning the Allen couplings of coach 119 in the correct position is the next important task. With the coach over the pit, wooden sleepers and packing were laid across the rails at the end of the coach. The Allen coupler was placed on top and the packing adjusted, to bring the centre of the coupling to the correct height above the rails. The face of the coupler was then positioned, so it was the required distance from the end of the coach.
The preformed swan neck drawbar was then offered into place and marked up for cutting. The cut was at an angle on the drawbar and then a semicircle of metal was removed, so the the drawbar could be welded in the correct position, on a bush.
The photo on the right, shows the westend coupling in it's final position. Note the new, vertical pieces of angle iron, which suport the new Coupler Support Bar (hidden behind Allen Coupler), which is 12ins. lower than original position, which was at top of vertical anngle irons
During the Winter shut down, a new point has been installed adjoining the facing point at Newlands Inn Station. A new siding will be laid from the point, long enough to take a full length train. This will allow trains to be swapped at Gala events.
During the the first 3 months of 2017, work continued on the newly laid point. Rail was then laid along the old running line formation, to create a siding.
Carriage 118, will remain in storage, whilst work continues on Carriage 119, to put it into service.
Earlier in the year the wheelsets in the East end bogie, of Ashover Coach No.4 were replaced. Since then Dave has machined the last two axles and four wheel castings. After the wheels had been shrunk on to the axles, final tread profiling took place. Ashover Coach No.4 was moved over the pit and the West end bogie removed so the wheelsets could be changed. White metaling of 4 bearings was also undertaken.
Both dragboxes on Ffestiniog carriage 119, have now been fully fitted, in their new lowered position. Thoughts have now turned to the swan neck link bar, that will fit between the dragbox and the Allen coupler, that will be used to couple the carriage to other vehicles.
Manrider No.5 was moved into the Running Shed and placed over the pit so it's worn brake blocks could be changed for new ones.
On a less glamourous subject, the Wednesday gang, have spent six Wednesday mornings digging out decades of silt, from inside the Victorian culvert, that runs under the railway embankment in the Country Park. The platform at Newlands Inn Station has been extended Westwards by 7 metres and the release point will likewise also be moved.
Whilst looking at U-Tube, GVLR volunteer Andy Kemplen, came across a U-Tube video of O&K 7529 working in France in 1962
There has been the usual Summer slowdown in activity in the Running Shed, due to increased passenger train running, during the school holidays. Dave has machined the remaining two axles and two wheels have been fitted to one of the axels, with the other to mated with it's wheels shortly.
The dragboxes on Carriage 119, as fitted are to high for our use, so two plates have been fabricated, so the dragboxes, can be lowered 12ins. Steve has progressed more work on the braking system, with the handbrake assembly, the latest item to receive attention.
For the last 3 years the chassis of O&K 7529 has been sitting upside down so it could be worked on. In the last week it has been turned the correct way up and work has commenced on fitting it's wheels. It has received a large amount of scrapping and wire brushing before being painted in red primer, so is stating to look in better health.
Over the first half of 2016, work to bring the carriage into service has continued. After the arrival of the bogies from South Africa, they were checked over and one brake block that had been damaged in transit, was repaired. As the bogies will not have to carry the weight of a 40 tons waggon, two of the six springs, on either side of the bogies, were removed.
The plates that are fitted to the coach and sit on top of the bogies, where then designed, machined and fabricated, in house. In early June, the bogies the carriage was sitting on were swapped for the two South African ones, that it will run in service on.
A large proportion of the air brake equipment, has been designed and installed, the pull rods to the new bogies being the next job, now they are in place. The trainpipe and associated pipework, is also in situ.
The old dragboxes have been removed and refurbished. These can not be reinstalled on the carriage, until the height of the carriage above rail level has been assessed, so that the couplings, which will be attached, will end up at the correct height
The weekend planned for 9th/10th July will be just a little bit different from our past Weekend Events. There will not be a steam locomotive in service, nor will there be any freight trains.
Instead, at 30 minute intervals (commencing at 11:00 am), there will be a celebration of Simplex diesel engined locomotives produced by the Motor Rail and Tramcar Company and Simplex Mechanical Handling. Five loco's are in full working order and providing passenger services over the weekend. As it is intended to work these locomotives both singularly and in various combinations, a Day Rover ticket will be available (priced £5) so that passengers wishing to sample all modes may do so.
Three other Motor Rail Simplex locomotives (non-runners) in the GVLR collection will be displayed as static exhibits in the vicinity of the Running Shed. All locomotives are subject to availability on the day.
After the relaying of a point in the long siding in March, a second one was lifted in Brands North and moved 20yards west before being re-laid and joined to the left hand road of the first point. The two exit roads of the second point will provide access to roads 2 and 3 of the proposed new Carriage Shed, the construction of which is scheduled to start later this year.
The GVLR ran midweek trains during the Easter school holidays and on Friday 1st April, the train crew decided to use 20/28 Simplex 4w DM MR8667/41 "Tubby" as the day's passenger loco. "Tubby" is an air-braked loco and therefore available to train crews. It is only suitable for use on quieter days as it can only comfortably haul 2 manriders.
The reason it is not used on a regular basis is probably to do with the fact that it doesn’t have a battery pack and an electric starter motor! So a strong person with a starting handle is required!
As part of on going development work, in preparation for the building of the New Carriage Shed, a point recovered a few weeks ago, during site clearance, has been relaid in the long siding, next to the GVLR running line. The left-hand route of the new point, will lead to a second point, whose routes, will give access, to roads two and three of the New Running Shed.
With the recent purchase of two steel-bodied carriages from the Ffestiniog Railway, the GVLR had an urgent requirement for bogies to sit them on. A member of the GVLR had purchased two bogies from Poland in the early 1990's, which had sat out in the open, since then. These were moved into the Running Shed, stripped down and rebuilt.
This still left the GVLR, short of bogies, so the decision was made along with other railways to purchase a number of bogies from South Africa, four of which were for the GVLR. These were shipped from from Durban, by ship to the UK and arrived at Appedale in late December 2015. Early January saw, two cars with trailers dispatched to Apedale, to collect two of the bogies. The other two will go direct to the Ffestiniog Railway, to go under Carriage 118, when it is released from traffic.
The GVLR has recently agreed to purchase two more carriages. Adding these to its existing fleet of rolling stock has meant that the railway has run out of suitable undercover storage space. It already has to store the historic Ashover coach, one of the new carriage acquisitions, and the manriders in the existing Running Shed as there is no other undercover storage accommodation available. Even this arrangement is far from ideal as repairs to rolling stock and refurbishment projects are carried out in the immediate vicinity of these valuable assets. Other smaller items of rolling stock are stored in rail connected former shipping containers which are nearing or past the end of their useful life.
The GVLR has decided to build a new 3 road Carriage Shed, 36 metres long and 8 metres wide, to house all the passenger carriages and some of the smaller diesel locomotives (whether restored or awaiting restoration). As well as removing the vehicles from possible harm and contamination, it will allow more projects to be undertaken in the Running Shed - a win, win situation for the railway. The Carriage Shed may also be used to store some other items of rolling stock that currently stand outside in all weathers!.
We are, therefore, opening an appeal to help fund the construction of a new Carriage Shed. It is estimated that the project will cost £70,000 and the GVLR is now looking to friends of the railway to help raise this sum. The much needed building will not only provide permanent, dry and secure storage, but also help reduce the maintenance burden imposed when rolling stock is constantly subjected to exposure to the UK weather! The stock to be housed in the proposed building is both vital for the future success of the GVLR and to the continuing preservation of our narrow gauge railway heritage..
The proposed new Carriage Shed is the next logical step in the continuing life of the GVLR and we are, therefore, opening an appeal to help fund its construction.
You can simply send a donation to the appeal, or more usefully, if you are a UK standard rate taxpayer, you could fill in the Gift Aid Declaration to allow us to claim back some of the tax at no cost to you. We really do need your financial help now!!
Please send any donations and Gift Aid declarations to:
The GVLR Carriage Shed Appeal
c/o Mr H Pinney
31, Dale Crescent,
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