Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Make hay whilst the sun shines!

Its been fairly quiet at Toddington TMD over the last few weeks as the summer season approaches and the railway sees a lot of special events that take over the Diesel Shed, meaning that weekend work has to be carefully organised around these weekends. May is certainly always the busiest month for events and it means that any work either has to revert to weekdays or be postponed - allowing some us to help out with the running of the events. However, this doesn't mean that we drop the ball....the locomotives still receive attention as they are needed.

The larger scale projects continue with the work on Type 4/Class 47, 1693, progressing further. On the 20th May, with all cylinders now ensconced in their respective liners, work on the power unit had moved to the external body work. Tim L was busy rubbing down around the cabsides and the front ends. At either end, work had already started on priming and painting the locomotive's buffer beam and pipework.
Tim L gets to work with the sander on 1693/47105.
Primed and ready for painting. 
The amount of dust covering the floor at the end of the day was testament to the amount of paint that was removed. A new colour scheme has yet to be chosen for 1693, however, given that the loco was one of the few to remain in BR blue until withdrawal, the options are perhaps a bit limited.

Next to 1693, on Road 10, the wheel set refurbishment on the first bogie of Class 24, 5081, was nearing completion. The Traction Motors had been repainted and repositioned between the wheels allowing the remainder of the braking system to be refitted. Most of this work has been going on during the week and it has been quite surprising to see the speed with which the refurbishment has moved into the final stage of phase 1. It won't be long before the locomotive is moved back onto the jacks for the removal of no.2 bogie and the refitting of no.1 bogie.

The screw mechanism for the hand brake on 5081's refurbished bogie. 
No, not a black box!
Out in the yard preparations were ongoing for the Cotswold Festival of Steam with two of the four visitors sat in the yard. On walking out into the yard, it was a little strange to find one of the visitors ticking!! Diesels tick; they are fitted with Spirax Valves to allow the release of moisture from the air system and can be heard for hours after a loco has been shut down. But a steam engine with a Spirax valve? Well.......this one has them!

WD S160, 5197, visiting from the Churnet Valley Railway.
The American build S160 Class had air powered auxiliary systems similar to those found on Diesels. The source of the ticking was the Spirax Valves under the tender!

The afternoon diesel turn was being covered by EE Type 3, D6948, and a shunt was required to get her out of the shed. Myself and Richard Scott were rostered as crew so a shunt was in the offing. Our ED, Class 73, E6036, was sat outside so, with the Class 04 being used with the 'kettles' and DES still out of action, the ED was fired up and used as the depot Super Shunter. As a locomotive that doesn't see much use away from the P'Way train I haven't had much experience with this particular locomotive and Richard is one of only a handful of people who can drive it.

One of the unsung 'heroes' of the railway, Class 73, E6036.
One of the locos redeaming features, making it ideal for ballast work, is the fact that it is the only mainline engine in the fleet that can be driven from either side of the cab. It also only has a 600hp English Electric engine making it more suited to slower speed workings.

The cab of the Class 73 is symmetrical making it driveable from either side of the cab. D6948's nose can be glimpsed through the rectangular windows!

Richard eases D6948 out of the shed. 
Elsewhere in the yard the ever shortening time that Class 20, 20035, has with us was more evident. After removing the side doors and roof, the frames have now been cut away giving easier access to the power unit. Once a concrete platform has been laid near to the mess room the engine can be removed and placed in storage.

20035's exposed power plant. Although it doesn't look particularly healthy, apparently, it is in pretty reasonable condition.

Generator, Traction Motor Blower and Fire Extinguisher stand in front of the electrical cubicle. 
On a more positive note, DES's extended period out of traffic could soon be at an end. The owners have been in contact with Timken with regards the correct grades for steel for the spacers and the information gained has allowed progression on the new abutment rings. Spacers should be forthcoming shortly, although, the spec has to be exact. It is hoped that the wheelset will have returned by the end of June and the loco up on the jacks by the end of July. In the meantime Paul, Chris and the team have been busy cleaning up the traction motor brush boxes. The main generator brush boxes have seen similar work, one brush box was found to be loose and has been repaired. The air compressor was removed to address an issue with the fixing bolts and has now been refitted. Finally the batteries have been removed to address corrosion in the battery compartment.

Chris was hard at work finishing off the refurb of the battery box. 
It was then off to prep D6948, however the loco seemed to have acquired a particularly strange, and previously unnoticed, hood ornament!! Dean, one of the loco owners, was busy giving her a bit of a spruce up!

Not quite a Silver Ghost or a Jaguar!  
The weekend of the 31st May - 2nd June saw Class 26, D5343, having a very last minute jaunt to the Mid Hants Railway for the 'Watercress Line's' Diesel Gala. The McRat was a very late call up due to a locomtive withdrawal from their original line up. Originally, I was planning a nice weekend of doing very little but a phone call from Simon T on the Friday night ended up with me making a two hour trip down to Ropley early on a Sunday morning to help crew the locomotive over the famously steep line. With a ruling gradient of 1 in 60 from Alresford and 1 in 100 from Alton, with the summit at Medstead, it makes any loco work very hard, let alone a Type 2 with 1160hp! The loco had worked well throughout the weekend and the Sunday was no different. It was certainly very different to crewing a loco on the relatively flat GWR and the 26 would spend a considerable amount of time at full power! A good chance to blow out the cobwebs!

D5343 waiting to leave Alresford with the 0945 to Alton. 

We had worked down with Class 47, 47579 'James Nightall GC' which shunted in to the dock siding. This loco was on hire from the Mangapps Railway.

D5343 waits in the late afternoon sunshine at Alresford for a clear path back to Ropley.
The Class 26 returned to Toddington on the Monday and, come Saturday, was to be found parked outside Road 10 enjoying the warm sunshine.
Recovering from it's exhertions on the MHR. Very reminiscent of its time in Scotland. 
Meanwhile, in the shed, evidence of more work on 1693, and thicker layers of dust in the immediate area. It also appears that it has undergone a bit of a identity crisis......

No.2 end has had a visit from the sander with some of the body side also given a rub down.

Not another one!!!! A recurring in-joke amongst Class 47 fans.
June sees a down turn in diesel loco running with only the DMU seeing regular running on the BLUE timetable during the week (Tuesday to Thursday). The weekend of the 16th/17th June sees 47376 'Freightliner 1995' work the last train of the day on the PURPLE timetable while, 37215 and D6948 will be out for the Thomas and Friends weekend over the 23rd/24th June.


























































Monday, 14 May 2018

Bricks, blocks, rings and bolts.

Things never stand still in any of the departments, especially when the running season starts. The diesel fleet is starting to rack up the mileage with all serviceable locos having had turns - although the Class 26 has not operated any GWSR services, as yet, due to its recent visit to Roberts Road TMD, Doncaster for tyre turning.

The number of locos from the fleet to have reached Broadway increases. The weekend just gone (12 & 13 May) saw 'Peak' 45149 reach Broadway on the GREEN timetable, making it the first of the class into Broadway since the fateful day in 1976 when the 0635 Toton - Severn Tunnel Junction loaded coal train, hauled by sister 45076, derailed at 'Chicken Curve'. This leaves only D5343 and 37215 as the only serviceable locos not to have made it up the new extension.

45149 became the first 'Peak' into Broadway since 1976 on the 12 May. This was taken the following day, 13 May 2018. (Courtesy of Richard Drewitt)
It almost didn't happen, though! When dealing with near 60 year old machines, inevitably, things go wrong and, whilst working 2B10 1205 Cheltenham Racecourse - Broadway on the Saturday (12 May), the 'Peak' lost power at Gotherington. Fellow Type 4, 47376 'Freightliner 1995' was hastily prepped and sent down to rescue the errant 'Peak'. After depositing the 'Peak' back on Toddington MPD for assessment 47376  continued in its place. On a positive note, the fault was identified and rectified quickly and 45149 was able to carry on and worked the penultimate service to Broadway north from Toddington. It completed all timetabled services on the Sunday without incident.

It's amazing what can cause a 135 tonne, 2500 horsepower locomotive to become unserviceable......

A split contactor ring (top)...the cause of Saturday's frustrations! (Courtesy of Tim Leverton)
The weekend also saw the railway's 2nd Bricks and Trains event, jointly organised by the railway and the Southern Lego Train Club. Last years event was very successful and this year's event seems to have been built on that - coupled with some excellent weather. I was lucky enough to catch a few of the larger exhibits setting up on the Friday evening but I couldn't get to the railway for the weekend due to my stepson's 15th birthday. Some of the items I saw on the Friday were a lot more realistic than what I remember from the Lego railway collections when I was a kid back in the 1980's. London Underground stock, a GWR IET and a Class 70 could be found on show.

What if the Storm Troopers from Star Wars played football?!

The Diesel Shed suitably cleared ready for some of the exhibits. Others were in a giant marquee in the Car Park.
I was afforded these 'behind the scenes' views as I had been rostered on the first Driver Experience of the 2018 calendar along with Simon T, as rostered Driver, and D6948 as loco. I had been under the impression that we would be taking our other EE Type 3, 37215, however after prepping it Simon arrived and told me of a last minute switch to the Green Machine! This last minute change set the tone for the early part of the Friday where it was very much a case of into the unknown. Being the first Experience day to utilise the full length of the line for a couple of years, included a fried breakfast (much appreciated!) for all participants, guests and crew as well as everything being retimed, it meant that it was all very much a case of 'see how it goes'. An oversight by Admin had meant that the participants and their families were told erroneously to arrive at 0930 rather than 0830 for breakfast, safety briefing and shed tour, however, the first trip was due off Toddington at 1000! Suffice to say we played catch up for the rest of the day however, the participants were not put off by the slightly later finish. In fact, these experience days (both steam and diesel) are incredibly popular and there is rarely an unhappy conclusion. The fact they are generally sold out within days of being announced is testiment to the popularity. Three of our participants this time had done previous experience days on the GWSR - one was returning for the 4th time having previously driven 47376, 45149 and D5343!!

D6948 awaits the RA at Cheltenham with the last trip towards Broadway. 11/05/18. 
The overhaul on the bogie of Class 24, 5081, is nearly completed. The two traction motors have been cleaned, primed, had top coat applied and have been resited inside the bogie. All brake structures are now fully attached and are awaiting calibration. Black top coat has also been applied all over the frame and onto the wheels.

Nearly there. No. 1 bogie is almost ready to be replaced under 5081 after just over a year being overhauled.

The cleaned and repainted No.2 Traction Motor.
Class 26, D5343, as mentioned above, has returned from its sojourn to Roberts Road TMD in Doncaster for Tyre Turning. The latest turn has meant that the whieelsets are fairly close to the limits of tolerance that are allowed - a worry for the owning group as they are not cheap, or readily available! However, after allowing for time to settle and with testing in the yard completed, the wheelsets have passed fitness to run with no further issues highlighted.

The new profile can just be made out on the leading wheel at No.2 end of D5343 on 05/05/18.
Just in time, too, as the locomotive will be off on yet another holiday in June!! The McRat will be heading to our friends on the Mid Hants Railway for their Diesel Gala over the weekend 1 - 3 June becoming the first of the class to work on the line.....another first for our Type 2 trailblazer!

My last 'working' weekend was the May Day Bank Holiday and I was up at Toddington for my first training turn as a Driver on the 5th and 6th May. The first order of business was to get the rostered loco out of the shed and walk through the preparation - an important task that all Drivers have to be proficient in. Lead Driver Richard Scott was my chaparone, firing questions at me left, right and centre to gauge the knowledge I had picked up in two years as qualified Second Man. Class 04, 11230 was fired up and 37215 was pulled out of Road 10. As we did so I happened to look up and noticed we had a new addition to the shed.........

Let there be (LED) light!!!
We have new shed lights! These have been a long time coming and have been awaiting a suitable time that they could be hung and wired up. Whether that had been done, I can't say, as the weather was stunning and illumination in the shed was not required! However, they will certainly be a big help come winter shutdown when we routinely had to stop work around 4pm because it got too dark!

Class 37, 37215, basks in the mid morning sunshine after prepping.
With the blue 'Growler' all prepared and on stand by it would have been a shame to have stayed indoors so Richard and I walked down to the site of the new southern turnout where a small gang of the Saturday P'Way team were busy replacing some of the temporary fish plates and checking the heights of the rail in the increasing heat.

P'Way hard at work.

Never ceases to amaze me how much effort these guys put in!!
The new (or reinstated depending on how long your memory stretches back) southern turnout is nearly ready for hooking up to Toddington Box by S&T and will allow locos to head straight to Winchcombe rather than have to do a multitude of reversing! It may also be put to other uses in the future! It was really quite interesting to see the work P'Way do at first hand and, despite not using 'modern' equipment, are more than capable of giving the railway top quality permanent way.

Back in the yard, the open doors and engine room window gave indication that someone was at home inside D5343. In this case, Richard G and Ian C were busy doing a bit of spring cleaning and completing some basic running maintenance after the locos' extended 'holiday'.

Ventilation is much in evidence! With its fibreglass roof D5343 does a good impression of a green house!
Behind the '26' our non-Class 04 shunter 'DES' was loitering over the pit. Preparatory work has started on the undercarriage of the shunter in readiness for the refitting of the new axle. Chris was also around doing some minor work to the engine and air system. The good news on the axle front for DES is that the owners have identified someone to complete the required welding and its now just a case of matching schedules and finances to allow the work to go ahead. Hopefully, we will see the powerful shunter back in traffic sooner rather than later.

DES still awaiting its return to traffic. Hopefully, not much longer now.
Back in the shed Mark S, Dave M and Tim L continued on D1693's (or 47105's) overhaul. The loco's bufferbeams and solebar have been sanded down to remove dirt and corrosion. Some areas around the solebar have also had new steel welded in and coated in black primer.

D1693 or......

47105!
Sunday 6th started how the Saturday finished - another superb day, perhaps even warmer. I was rostered again on 37215, with Mark S this time and new Secondman Trainee, Alex. After prepping the loco and placing her out in the sun we were joined by Ben E, Frank and Steve. The order of business was to get 20035 into the shed to complete some of the cannibalisation of the body work ready for removing the English Electric 8SVT Mk II engine. With Mark at the helm on 11230 (with D2280 along for the ride) and Alex getting a taste of shunting the yard and using his hand signalling in anger for the first time, we set about getting the rusting hulk of Class 20 into the shed.

20035's roof panel taking up real estate on the ground in the yard at Toddington.
The cannibalised remains of 20035, along with the Class 04's, is shunted back towards the shed.
Once safely scotched on Road 10 work was to begin in earnest on continuing component recovery on the demic Class 20. Steve, who also owns two other Class 20's, D8137 at Toddington and 20228 at Barry, and ED Class 73, E6036, had identified that 20035 had unmatched buffers. Two of these were the correct size for spares for the Class 73. Frank and Ben were given the task (with assistance from Steve) of removing these buffers for refurbishment and placing in store.

Ben, Frank and Steve discuss the plan. Gas axe, is it?
Meanwhile, Mark and I went about removing the doors on one side of the loco. One of the nicknames of these venerable locomotives is 'Whistling Wardrobe' and this is earned due to the number of bodyside doors running the length of the nose. The reason for removal is to make an easier job of removing the power unit. Rather than hire in a crane to lift it up through the roof space the plan is to remove the side frame and slide it out with a lower level crane. Some of the bolts were very resistant to the usual ways of removal, even with copious amounts of cleaning and WD40! Cue Mark and his trusty angle grinder!

With doors removed, the prime mover is revealed. Although it looks in poor condition there is nothing a good clean couldn't sort!

Shut that door! No, not that one, this one!! 
With the doors removed Mark could get to work removing the frames in order to give a clear space to eventually remove the power unit. However, work needs to be done to create a hardstanding area for the power unit to be stored on before a lift can be done.

In case you missed it last time, the first details of our 2018 Summer Diesel Gala have been disclosed. The gala will be over the 27, 28 and 29 July 2018 and a visiting locomotive has been confirmed in the shape of BR Type 4 Diesel Hydraulic 'Warship', D832 'Onslaught' courtesy of the Bury Hydraulic Group and the East Lancashire Railway. Built in 1961 by BR at Swindon Works the loco was withdrawn after only 11 years service in 1972 due to BR wishing to standardise their fleet. Along with D821 'Greyhound' they are the sole remaining locos of the iconic 'Warship' fleet of Classes 41, 42 and 43. Although 'Warships' weren't common on the Honeybourne Line, with fellow BR Green Class 37, D6948, there will be a very BR (W) vibe running through the whole event. A public timetable will be made available soon where we hope to have up to 10 departures from Broadway each day and over 1000 miles traveled over each day. Remember, to gain access to any part of the site over the weekend of the gala, you will need to have a valid ticket. NO TICKET - NO ENTRY!!

You can keep up to date with regular news on the gala by clicking HERE.








Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Hot off the press! GALA 2018!!

'Back to Broadway' Diesel Gala

Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of July 2018

The first details of the 2018 Diesel Gala have been revealed by the organisers and, to mark the first diesel event that takes in the new extension to the Cotswold village of Broadway, a very special Gala has been planned over the 27th, 28th and 29th July 2018

I am sure most of you want to know, firstly, about visiting locomotives so I shan't keep you hanging on. Various discussions have taken place over the last few months about number of visiting locomotives and those that were available. Initial approaches for one loco in particular, initially, seemed to be bearing fruit however fate intervened and its availability was suddenly taken away. We had also had discussions about maybe having two guests but the general consensus was to have just the one....given the excellent home fleet we have at our disposal. So, without further a-do, our Gala visitor will be.....

Class 42 / BR Type 4 Diesel Hydraulic 'D832 Onslaught' (Courtesy of the Bury Hydraulic Group)

Our 2018 Gala Visitor. (Photo courtesy of the Bury Hydraulic Group/P. Smith)
It is the first time this particular locomotive has paid a visit to the GWSR (although it is possible that it traversed the line in BR days) and, along with our own 'green machine' English Electric Type 3 / Class 37, D6948, will bring back classic memories of the Western Region of 1960's era British Railways. All of our available home fleet locos will play some part throughout the event (usual availability caveats apply)....
  • English Electric Type 1 / Class 20   D8137 (20137)
  • Sulzer Type 2 / Class 24                  D5081 (24081)  *STATIC DISPLAY ONLY*
  • BRCW Type 2 / Class 26                 D5343 (26043)
  • English Electric Type 3 / Class 37   37215 (D6915)
  • English Electric Type 3 / Class 37   D6948 (37248)
  • Sulzer Type 4 / Class 45                  45149 (D135)
  • Brush Type 4 / Class 47                   D1693 (47105)  *STATIC DISPLAY ONLY*
  • Brush Type 4 / Class 47                   47376 'Frieghtliner 1995' (D1895)
  • BR Electro Diesel / Class 73           E6036 (73129)
  • GRCW Class 122 DMU                  W55003             *STATIC DISPLAY ONLY*
Our Class 117 3-car DMU set, subject to successful coupling tests to be carried out in the next couple of weeks, will also be in use in a similar format to what we had a few years ago when we had one service each day recreating a DMU drag. In order to have a sufficient number of services over the full length of line a fourth rake of stock was required therefore, pending successful tests, the DMU will be utilised as 'loco hauled' stock. 

Up to 10 trains each day will run to Broadway, with even more running between Toddington and Cheltenham Racecourse giving a full 28 mile round trip on most services, which together with passing trains in the loops at Gotherington, Winchcombe and Toddington allows a 45 minute frequency service along the majority of the line. This gives just over 1000 miles traveling per day. There will be something for everyone - for families looking for a great day out as well as for the railway enthusiast. The railways of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s live again! 

A public timetable will be available in due course.

TICKETS

This event is ALL TICKET ONLY. There will be no additional access to any site other than with a valid, dated ticket.  Shareholder, member, HRA passes and other complimentary tickets will not be valid for the event either.  

Your ticket will get you access to all stations on the line as well as unlimited travel on all mainline services. The Diesel Shed at Toddington will be open giving access to stalls, model railways and our static displays. You will also be able to visit our Carriage and Wagon workshops at Winchcombe to see the valuable work done to keep the rolling stock on the railway in tip top condition.

As well as traveling on the full size trains, the North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge Railway at Toddington will also be running on all 3 days adding to the 'mileage' you can rack up and giving passing views of Toddington MPD and the mainline towards Didbrook. Access to this is also included in your ticket price.  

Early bird internet tickets can be purchased from today (25/04/2018) which will be offered at discounted rates. Multi day tickets are only available via the internet and will not be available on the day. Ticketing details, prices and a link to purchase can be found here. Why stand in a queue when you can beat the hassle and get the tickets online?

SALES STANDS & DISPLAYS

One thing we want to increase this year is the number of other loco owning groups, modeling or heritage transport clubs, retailers (whether this be sales of models, railwayana, art or other railway related items) and model railways/demostrators that attend for just one day or the whole weekend. We can offer both under cover pitches (inside the diesel shed which will be functioning as an exhibition hall) and, at a lower rate, outdoors in the car park which provides a link between the shed and the station. An application form and details on charges can be accessed here.

Come and join us in a celebration of classic British Rail diesel traction, the new Broadway Station and British engineering in general!!

More details to follow as they become available. 





Monday, 23 April 2018

The 'Bubble' that can't be burst!

It never ceases to amaze just how much can be achieved in three weeks in preservation and the last three weeks have certainly been indicative of how things can fall into place quickly. Sadly, I haven't been around to witness most at first hand so have had to rely on a network of 'spies' and social media to keep up to speed with developments across the department. This has also meant that there are not as many photos as usual. My apologies in advance.

Firstly, we trek back to the 2nd April. As I mentioned in my previous blog, 45149 had been rostered to operate the PURPLE timetable however, it was replaced at short notice by 47376 'Freighliner 1995'. The 'Peak' had not received its B Exam ready for the new running season and was removed from the roster until it could be completed. However, the plan for the Brush Type 4 to replace it for the 2nd and 4th April was scuppered on the return from Cheltenham Racecourse when it lost power at Winchcombe. Cue a rescue by our colleagues in the Steam Department and 'Foremarke Hall' which had just arrived at Toddington (from Broadway) when the rescue call went out and, luckily, was still in steam rather than fire up another diesel. We are quite lucky at the GWSR that locomotive failures are quite rare on both sides of the Motive Power Department. The Brush Type 4 had suffered a Load Regulator failure meaning that current couldn't be transfered to the Traction Motors efficiently enough to move the locomotive. 37215 was hastily rostered to work the services for the rest of the week while the Brush Type 4 group (owners of 47376) arranged replacement of the damaged equipment ready for the loco to work its rostered services on the PINK timetable over the weekend of 14th/15th April, thus being the first loco from the diesel department to run a public passenger service into Broadway station. The repairs were completed in time and the loco worked as rostered.

47376 'Freighliner 1995' passes Buckland on the first, public diesel hauled service from Broadway (1050 to Cheltenham Racecourse) on the 14/04/2018. (Courtesy of Malcolm Ranieri) 


Departing Toddington heading up the extension to Broadway on 14/04/2018. (Courtesy of Malcolm Ranieri)
I was rostered Secondman on the loco on the Sunday, getting my first taste of a full service train over the extension. The '47' performed well throughout the day, making light work of the new 8-coach rakes. In the glorious April sunshine the new station looked impressive, some excellent views, and the formation being testament to the skill of our follow volunteers in the P'Way Department.

The view forward from Broadway. 15/04/2018.
Briefly travelling back a week, Sunday the 8th April saw a lot of activity at Toddington MPD. Having been pulled out of service 'Peak', 45149 was shunted over the pit on Road 9 to undergo it's B Exam. Mark B and Andy D took on this mammoth task on the 139 tonne loco. The pit isn't the most salubrious of places to work - least of all when it is raining - but, with the DMU fouling the Parlour Road, the steam locos were using these pits for disposal as well! Nice!

A 'B Exam' would, under British Rail standards and depending on Class, normally be conducted every 250 or so engine hours. This is the length of time the engine has been running and is indicated by a clock, usually found in one of the cabs. In preservation with locomotives running less frequently the exam 'clock' doesn't really apply so a more applicable routine is needed. At the GWSR an 'A Exam' - a basic, in service exam, that is similar to a minor service on a car - would be conducted mid-running season to check that all major components are in place and running appropriately. A 'B Exam' is more is tune with an MOT and major service on your car and would take place at the beginning of the running season prior to a loco entering service. Also called a 'Fitness to Run' exam, this exam will look across all areas of the locomotive and will take in fault rectification, brake block checks and adjustment/replacement and, changing of filters, wipers and other consumables.

Andy D receives instruction from under the loco courtesy of Mark B. 08/04/2018.
Both of our Class 04 shunters were receiving some TLC on Road 8. 11230 has always had a recurring problem with its batteries not holding a lot of charge as well as a long running issue with its gearing. With the new Class 04, D2280, now on site a comparison could be made to see whether there was any physical issues. It also afforded the owner of the new arrival to continue with the restoration.

Spot the difference!!! BR Class 04, D2280, and its near identical, industrial sister, 11230

The Gardner 8-cyl, 4-stroke 8L3 prime mover fitted to both D2280 and 11230. It develops 204hp at 1200 rpm, connected to a Wilson-Drewry CA5 R7, 5-speed epicyclic gearbox. 
The first bogie overhaul is nearing completion for Class 24, 5081. The springs are now all in place and the bogie has had the supporting chocks removed. The brake rigging is nearing full fitting and, by the 15th April, most of the top coat had been applied. This only leaves the Traction Motors and mounting plate to be replaced (requiring heavy lifting) before the brake blocks and calibration can take place. It is then on to removing the 2nd bogie for the same treatment. It is likely that the Class 24 will be back in service during 2019.


Pic #1 taken on 08/04 shows the bogie still jacked up as the brake rigging is almost fully refitted.

Pic #2 taken on a week later on the 15/04 and the bogie is now resting on its new springs with all four brake cylinders in place. Slack adjusters are just out of shot awaiting fitting.
Steve M was busy attending to his Class 20, D8137, over the weekend completing some minor repairs prior to completing the loco's B Exam ready for its first rostered turns over the weekend 21st and 22nd April - again on the PINK timetable. The Class 20 was , along with Steve's other loco E6036, the first locos to arrive at the new Broadway station way back in December 2017 when employed on the P'Way trains. The Class 20 has enjoyed its winter slumbers since then and needed a fitness to run exam prior to resuming passenger duties. Steve was able to complete all of the required B Exam during the day ready for the Class 20's rostered duties. All that remained was to give it a wash and spruce up, which was completed the following weekend.

Steve and Andy discuss moving D8137 outside to continue its B Exam on 08/04/2018

After being shunted outside, D8137's B Exam can continue. 08/04/2018 

On the 15/04, D8137 gets a wash and brush up in the April sunshine.
Also on the 8th April, Dean and I were given the task of giving Class 37, D6948, a much needed clean. Not the most glamorous of jobs, but having been used during the early part of the season on passenger and ballast jobs, the Green Machine had been covered in a lot of dust and dirt. Luckily, most of it rubbed off with a damp cloth however, the roof area around the boiler exhaust had been dowsed in a coating of dried, brown boiler water. This needed a bit more elbow grease - courtesy of Dean - to remove. With the loco not due for use for another couple of months there will, no doubt, be another cleaning required before then.

Not the most flattering of shots - Dean gets to grips with D6948's roof.
Elsewhere, 'Doctor' George was out and about working on the DMU fleet. On the 15/04, George could be found working on the both DMBS vehicles, W51360 and W51363 running up all four Leyland engines ready for its first rostered turns to/from Broadway. No major faults were found and the unit was run up and down Siding 1 at Toddington to check for any faults. Over the recent weekend (21st and 22nd April) the 3-car unit took a back seat as more work progressed on the 'Bubble' car. With the weather fine and the body work pretty much complete, W55003 made a sojourn into the yard at Toddington. The Class 122 was placed over the pit on Road 8 to check for any underframe issues and to complete the underframe exam. Both engines were also started up to check for any fiurther issues after their rebuilds. With everything running satisfactorily, George took the decision to see if the 'Bubble' would take power from the rebuilt souther-facing cab. You can find out if it did or didn't on the CDRG's website here.
The 'Bubble' Car sees daylight for the first time in a long while! (Courtesy of the CDRG/GWSR DMU)
On the flip side, Class 117 DMS, W51405, hasn't faired so well since its arrival at Carriage and Wagon, Winchcombe. Our colleagues at C&W are incredibly thorough (we wouldn't have such amazing rakes of coaches to haul around, otherwise!) and, during assessment of the carriage, they identified the presence of the dreaded tin worm! What was seen as a quick turnaround with a coat of paint has turned into a major rescue operation with a lot of cutting and welding going on before any thought of repainting and outshopping can be completed. It is likely to be at Winchcombe for some time yet.

More good news came from the 'DES' camp. The ex-ASW, Cardiff, shunter has been laid up since early last year with a major problem with its centre axle. After what seemed like a long drag of sourcing items and the owners expending huge amounts of money, a metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel can now be seen that may see 'DES' back in use a lot sooner than envisaged. After a search for a welder who can effect the necessary repairs to the axlebox, a member of the Steam Department has offered their welding skills to complete this onsite. New spacers and abutment rings are due to be sourced allowing the wheelset to be reassembled, followed by the welding of the axlebox. Once all are in place then the whole set can be be re-fitted and 'DES' prepared for a return to service. 

'DES' sits in the yard awaiting its centre wheelset back in March 2018. 
Finally, during the week commencing 9th April, our globetrotting BRCW Type 2 (Class 26), D5343, returned to Toddington from its unscheduled visit to Roberts Road Wheel Lathe in Doncaster following its time away at the Mid Norfolk Railway. With the tyre turning completed, Simon made a start on changing the old brake blocks and readjusting the brake tolerances. By the end of the day on the 15th April, the Class 26 was being run up and down Siding 1 to check that everything was all in order.

As April runs into May we see the amount of Diesel loco running days drop, but the DMU makes a start on the midweek BLUE timetable. We also see one of the Class 37's (likely 37215) operate the first of our highly successful (and completely SOLD OUT) Driver Experience Days. This year sees a return to the format of using the whole length of the line including the new extension to Broadway. It is also hoped that the initial details of the 2018 'Return to Broadway' Diesel Gala will be confirmed in the coming month.

April/May 2018 Diesel Roster (subject to the usual caveats):

Light Blue Timetable - Broadway - Cheltenham RC - Broadway (Class 117 3-Car)

  • April - 24th /25th /26th
  • May - 1st /2nd /3rd /8th /9th /10th /15th /16th /17th /22nd /23rd /24th
Red Timetable - 1600 Toddington - Cheltenham RC; 1705 Cheltenham RC - Toddington

  • May - 5th /6th /7th  -  EE Type 3/Class 37 No. 37215 
  • May - 20th  -  EE Type 3/Class37 No. D6948
Red Real Ale Timetable - Special DMU shuttle operation in addition to standard RED Timetable 

  • May - 19th  -  EE Type 3/Class37 No. D6948 and Class 117 3-Car
Green Timetable - Broadway - Cheltenham RC - Broadway 

  • May - 12th /13th  -  Sulzer Type 4/Class 45 No. 45149 (Cotswold Bricks and Trains)
Purple Timetable - 1535 Toddington - Cheltenham RC; 1630 Cheltenham RC - Toddington
  • May - 29th /30th /31st  -  BRCW Type 2/Class 26 No. D5343
Special Timetable 
  • April - 28th /29th  -  Class 117 3-Car (1940's War in the Cotswold Event)