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SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY News 4 October 2017

We are now into the green timetable period on weekdays, although Saturdays and Sundays remain red. The green timetable sees only three return workings daily, the last being back at Buckfastleigh at 3.45pm. The service continues to be handled by L.92, with 5526 currently in reserve.

Kinlet Hall’s BR MkI BFK support coachPhoto © JBrodribb 2017

Hawkesworth brake coaches NO 7377 and NO 1645 are due to come out of service soon because they require extensive work. They will be replaced by newly-arrived BR Mark 1 compartment first NO W17015. In blood and custard livery, this vehicle is the Kinlet Hall support coach and is normally based on the West Somerset Railway. It arrived on the SDR late on Monday afternoon. This change means a slight reduction in the number of seats on the train, as it has four first class compartments instead of 7377’s five mixed class and 1645’s four third class. Talking of Carriage & Wagon BR MkI SO 4785 is due out very soon to make way for its sibling 4805.

SDRE Boilersmiths at work on Bulleid boilers and their throat platesPhoto © JBrodribb 2017

Over on the workshops there is a lot of progress with the manufacture of very large parts for Bulleid Pacifics. The most recent are the inner firebox combustion chamber and throatplate. These fit under the front tubeplate and connect with the side plates. It is a very complex shape which previously SDR Engineering has made out of six pieces. This is far better and saves an enormous amount of welding. They are not very thick (10mm plate) but that’s how steel boxes are, unlike copper inner fireboxes which are considerably thicker.

SDRE has made five inner firebox combustion chamber and throatplates for Bulleid West Country and Battle of Britain owners and now we are doing another one for a Merchant Navy owner. The die set can be used to make either. The Merchant Navy version is only a little bit bigger so it is just a case of cropping a bit off to make the smaller size. Pete Bowden and some of his team are seen looking at part of one last Thursday. Meanwhile significant progress is also being made on 34028 Eddystone’s boiler, with the front tubeplate being hot riveted on Monday. Those involved were Jens Muller (a German student on work placement), Gavin Patterson (heating rivets), Paul Drewett (inside) and Will Friend riveting outside. Work is also continuing on our own 1369 and 1420, not to mention running repairs to the coal conveyor.
SDRE has another throatplate in stock, and also a Bulleid smokebox door available off the shelf. Call Richard Elliott now to secure your parts.

Rail chair bolt tighteningPhoto © JBrodribb 2017

Out on the track the Permanent Way gang have been fully occupied using a nut runner to tighten chair bolts at Buckfastleigh. Work is more or less complete on putting track into the new carriage shed. The loop spur just needs a buffer stop and both tracks need ballast and final tamping.

The SDR S&T Department at work at Ashburton JunctionPhoto © JBrodribb 2017

I was fortunate to be at Totnes last Friday and catch the S&T gang in action. Work there currently involves installing locking and detection on the points which give access to the Network Rail connection, although this has not yet been relaid. When it is done the double disc behind the camera will be brought into use to control the connection. In the photo are Doc Bradbrook, Nick Perring, Chris Stokes and Nigel Weekes.

The new fencing behind the Lee Moor shedPhoto © JBrodribb 2017

Back at Buckfastleigh Nick Wakeling and his team have been working on the fencing around the Lee Moor museum. The temporary netting has now been replaced, and the plan is to remove some existing fencing from between the new section and the building to further improve access. This will then be reused elsewhere to help create a picnic area in front of the museum.

On the subject of the museum September’s visitor numbers were down on the corresponding period for 2016 by just under 3%. It now looks very unlikely that we will show an increase on last year’s footfall for the year.

A quick reminder of this month’s social evening in Buckfastleigh Town Hall: an illustrated talk about the Bodmin & Wenford Railway on Thursday 26 October, although before that is the Big Red Bus trip to the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway on 14 October. Only a very few seats left, and you will need a deposit to secure one. E-mail me or call in to the museum.

Best wishes

John Brodrib
Museum Curator

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© South Devon Railway Association 2017

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