News pieces on here have been rather intermittent of late – Pete's blog Weekend Rails carries most of the regular news and has a loyal readership – but once again here is a roundup of the last few months events.
At the Geoffrey Briddon Building, work has progressed on shed interior, primarily the electrical installation with the first of 3 rows of LED floodlights installed. The lights for the other two rows are in stock and awaiting assembly, using a loaned cherry-picker. A 110V transformer now feeds sockets on the rear and western walls, but work on the eastern side is held up by the need to re-position the last internal concrete panels, in turn delayed by access being blocked by a loco on the Matterson jacks. Sealing and painting the floor has almost reached the half-way mark, and a 'big-push' is planned in the near future to get it completed.
The annual meeting of the Class 14 Owners Group was hosted by Andrew in the Geoffrey Briddon Building at Darley Dale, and the opportunity was taken to use the prototype, D9500, as a backdrop for the occasion.
The collection has further expanded with the re-acquisition of Hudswell-Clarke 0-4-0DH 'Claire', purchase of which was completed recently. The loco will return to Darley Dale in the new year for attention to its air braking and electrics. Colas has put on loan the power unit half of a TRAMM (Track Repair and Maintenance Machine – but we have dubbed it a HATRAMM, Half-A-...) which, with its on-board crane and load-carrying capability will be immensely useful once we have got it fully operational and sorted relevant paperwork. An offer for its use on Peak Rail p-way work has been made, but has gone un-answered. So far the engine has been run briefly, revealing that part of its fuel system had been plundered, but that has been rectified.
During the summer, a political situation arose within the AFRPS which resulted in a number of members, including Andrew, resigning from the Committee. Subsequently both Sentinel 10180 'Tom' and the 03 were removed to Darley Dale, accompanied by Yorkshire 1382, an 0-6-0DE which is is in the custodianship of those same AFRPS members, now constituted as the Industrial Diesel and Railway Preservation Group (IDRPG). The IDRPG is using Darley Dale as a base, assisting us on locos (etc) there as well as undertaking jobs on other locos at centres like Foxfield and Rocks by Rail.
In the autumn, we were approached by an advisor to Fox UK Productions about hire of locos for a re-make of Murder on the Orient Express, and subsequently first Charlie and now 03 901 have departed to Longcross Studios, near Chertsey, where filming is taking place. The locos will not appear on film (the story is set c.1934 so they are somewhat out of period) but provide propulsion to a 'dummy' train. The Daily Mail published drone (?) photos of Longcross, revealing the dummy train on one set, and, if you know where to look, Charlie can be spotted on another.
An approach to Tarmac about possible sponsorship towards work on RS8, brought about a far more exciting offer of involvement by their apprentices. It hadn't occurred to us that the transfer of the Avonside (in its 0-4-0ST form) c.1927 coincided with the start of development of Tunstead quarry, and was probably to assist in that work, 90 years ago. The details have still to be finalised and will not commence until March.
On the rolling stock side, conflats Thelma and Louise have completed their contract with Arriva and returned on the 22nd December. A former PCV (Propelling Control Vehicle) has arrived, it is still currently the property of Colas but as soon as certain components have been recovered title passes, technically to Peter, but Andrew has plans to de-convert it from parcels use back to a serviceable passenger vehicle with full driving facilities using an m.u. control system that will then be compatible with one or other of his locos. At present the PCV has no windows (although the apertures were merely plated over) and has roller shutter doors, one set of which may be retained with thoughts of making them access to a bar area....
To make additional space, one siding at Darley Dale, left shorter than planned, was extended using materials that came from both the panels under RS8 at the National Stone Centre, some rails from Spondon (via and thanks to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway) and elsewhere. Once the PCV has been released from this area, it is planned to put the MR bogie well in its place to commence its overhaul.