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Author Topic: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive  (Read 5254 times)
Mercury Wells
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« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2018, 07:16:45 pm »

Yes please.
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« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2018, 08:31:35 pm »

I would certainly be interested.
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« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2018, 08:39:43 pm »

Yes, indeed!
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James Harrison
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« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2018, 09:40:54 pm »

That's a resounding positive! 

Right, where shall I start? 

The 567 Project grew out of the Great Central Railway Rolling Stock Trust, which was founded back in the early 2000s to save and restore as many original vehicles of the Great Central Railway as practicable.  Based at Ruddington just outside Nottingham, it's the owner or custodian of nine railway carriages of the period 1880 to 1910. 

I first came across the Trust in about 2005 (I think) and have followed their work avidly since.  A few years ago they joined Facebook and started updating their website on a more regular basis, and around that time they also gave an address to send donations to- since when I've been donating a little every few months.  Back in May this year I received a very nice letter thanking me for my donations with a certificate saying I'm a member of the Trust!  So, having got my potential bias out the way, onward. 

The Trust actually has I think the third largest collection of pre-Grouping (pre-1923) railway carriages in the UK.  However, the two larger collections are gathered from more than one railway company.  So, we're rather unique in having a large collection of railway vehicles all from the same railway company. 

The nine carriages are:

#373 and #946- both six-wheeled carriages dating from the 1880s.  They are third class carriages, capable of transporting 50 people in 5 compartments.  #946 has been restored to museum quality, a process that took 16 years and was completed early in 2017.  It is now on public display at the Montsorrel Heritage Centre in Leicestershire.  #373 was in a very poor condition and at risk of collapse, so the bodywork has been carefully dismantled and flat-packed onto its chassis, suitably wrapped up against the elements and is awaiting restoration. 

I mentioned earlier that the intention is to be able to field complete trains; these two carriages ultimately would form the basis of a rake of four and six-wheeled carriages of 1870s and 1880s vintage, giving a typical Victorian passenger train.  In addition to the pair that the Trust possesses, there are several others in various states of repair around the country that could be gathered together.  There is another five-compartment all-third restored and operation in Buckinghamshire, a four-compartment composite luggage van restored and operational in West Yorkshire, a brake third at the Tanfield Railway in Tyne and Wear, an open saloon at the same location awaiting restoration, and a brake composite at the Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire (this last is literally 15 minutes down the road from my house- I'd be sorely tempted to get involved with its restoration, if an effort were to be made to complete it). 

Moving forward we then have #1663, #799 and what we think is #570.  These are larger bogie carriages dating from the early 1900s.  #1663 is a brake composite; it has accomodation for both first and third class passengers, as well as a guard.  It was rescued having been a grounded body for some considerable time, and has been mounted on a new chassis (from a London, Midland and Scottish Railway carriage).  It is now stored and awaiting its turn for restoration. 

#799 is an 8-compartment suburban carriage capable of seating 80 passengers; work began last year to convert it into a stores and archives vehicle.  The reason this is being done is several-fold.  Firstly; structurally it is largely complete but it has lost most of its cladding.  Obviously this means that the weather can get at it and start to rot the structural timbers.... which would make its eventual restoration a bigger job.  Secondly; we need premises where we can store our archive material, tools, on-going work, restoration materials etc etc etc.  I've mentioned previously how Ruddington is rather a large site and things are stored anywhere room can be found for them.  So the conversion to a stores van actually makes sense; everything we need is in one place, and cladding the carriage in metal to make it a secure weather-proof store preserves the original fabric of the vehicle for eventual restoration. 

#570 is a 5-compartment suburban carriage capable of seating 50, with a guards compartment.  Like #1669 it was recovered as a body only and has likewise also been mounted on a new chassis.  The body had been cut into three pieces in the 1950s, when it was withdrawn from service and sold for use in an orchard.... restoration is in the future for this one. 

These three carriages together will form an Edwardian suburban train. 

The remaining four carriages are #228, #664, #666 and #695.  These are huge, 64' long excursion carriages built in 1910 and nicknamed 'Barnums' after Barnum and Bailey's circus.  The nickname perhaps makes more sense when you consider that these carriages followed American design practice, being the first examples in the UK of the open saloon carriage that is standard today, and appearing in service soon after the circus had performed a UK tour. 

#228, #664 and #666 are of the same design, seating 64 passengers each in two saloons.  At least one of them has run in preservation, and their significance in UK railway history is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that #666 is on long-term loan from the National Railway Museum.

#228 is the Trust's current project.  Work so far has consisted of starting to rebuild the original teak interior.  It's a difficult material to get hold of; you can't get it new any more as the tree is on an endangered list so you have to rely on sourcing it second or third hand.  The teak being used on #228 originally came from warehouse doors! 

#695 is a Barnum brake; the sole survivor of the type and, like so much of the rest of the collection, unique. 

These four carriages will form a typical mainline train from the later days of the Great Central. 

All three sets would be ideal stock to run with #567; the Victorian and Edwardian rakes especially. 

Well, we've restored one carriage, going great guns on a second, and have secured the structural fabric of a third to prevent further decay.  Will we complete all nine?  It's been 17 years and there's an acknowledgement that we can't spend 16 years on each one, so time will tell.  Imagine though, in 2024 or 2025, being able to see sitting at Ruddington Fields station, a Great Central locomotive at the head of four or five Great Central carriages.  It's something that will be absolutely unique and it gives me immense pleasure being a very small part of it.   

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Mercury Wells
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« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2018, 09:56:39 pm »

Thank you Mr. Harrison.
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Banfili
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« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2018, 03:51:02 am »

Yes, James, I would like to see the carriages - they are just as interesting int their own way.
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MWBailey
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« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2018, 08:08:08 am »

I have a question I'd like to ask those of you kind enough to follow this thread. 

Would you like to see updates about the Victorian/ Edwardian carriages that are being restored too? 

I have mentioned them briefly previously and the ultimate intention is to be able to field complete trains (note-plural!) of the period 1880(ish) to 1920(ish)- which is a vision the 567 project grew out of. 

The people restoring the carriages are holding a 'come and see' sort of event again this year (this year, it's timed to coincide with the 567 group AGM, so I'm rather looking forward to a day spent viewing progress on both loco and stock).     





Yes!
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James Harrison
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« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2018, 07:05:54 pm »

It is a little difficult to get photographs of the carriages as those under cover are quite hemmed in, but that said...

On my first visit, back in Ocotober 2016.  



Clerestory carriage #1663 and brake third #570.  These are the two carriages that have been fitted with new chassis; you can see that the chassis under #570 is a little too long.  

It is unfortunate that they have to be stored outside but there is only so much covered accomodation available.  To be completed in the hopefully not-too-distant future is a carriage shed capable of holding four vehicles; I understand the arrangement is that two of them will be GCR-RST stock and the other two will be GCRN service carriages.  

We have use of one road in the main workshops; this can accomodate one of the Barnums and a six-wheeler.  



Still back in 2016 when #946 was in the latter stages of restoration.  There was a tent erected over and around it to permit a high standard of finish to be be achieved-but this made photography even more difficult.  Shortly afterward (Spring 2017) she was brought out of the works and run around in the yard at Ruddington.  



(Image from the GCR-RST website)

Last Summer #946 was transported to Montsorrel and is now on display in the museum there.  

From quite recently, Barnum #228 in the works.  



Image courtesy GCR-RST again.  

Work at the moment is concentrated on the internals, but I notice that the structural framework is covered so (presumably) work will be starting at some point soon on the teak matchboarding below the windows.  Literally 20 minutes ago they posted on their Facebook page that work on the internal cladding is about complete and the next job will be building the internal bulkheads for the toilets and cloak closets.  

At the present we're debating what to do regarding carriage heating and ventilation.  They were steam heated for the entirety of their service lives, whilst the ventilation was tweaked between 1910 and the mid-1920s.  They started off with ventilation ducts above the windows, plus four of the windows were intended to open.  What was discovered however was a tendency for the windows to be left open in bad weather..... so pretty quickly the opening windows were secured closed and until 1923 ventilation was left entirely to the ducts above.  In the 1920s (in LNER days) several of the ducts were replaced with small opening windows... the debate is whether we return it to as-built condition, later GCR condition or LNER condition, and also what we provide regarding heating.  

Concensus on the Facebook page at the moment is to reinstate the heating but the jury's still out on what to provide when it comes to the vents.  To provide neither would give us a carriage for use only on high days and holidays, a situation that I can't imagine the GCRN would be too happy about considering they'd be the ones having to give siding space to a vehicle that can only be used occasionally.  

 

Lastly, the interior of the Barnum (courtesy GCR-RST).  This is work as it stands literally right now!- the interior has been newly panelled out.  The iron strips are where the seats will eventually be fitted.  
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« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2018, 08:58:08 am »

Looking exciting!
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Miranda.T
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« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2018, 02:31:07 pm »

It is really good to see time and resources going into this valuable work; bringing back into service carriages of such a vintage is a rare thing and I agree wholeheartedly it would be wonderful to see entire Victorian or Edwardian trains running.

Yours,
Miranda.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2018, 06:20:56 pm »

The latest issue of Mainline has arrived, bringing with it an update on 567 and the GCR-RST. 

The cut-off date for copy for the magazine is the first week in August, so the GCR-RST update doesn't really bring new information.

The update for 567 describes the delivery of the frames in early June, organising viewing days in July and August and then- very excitingly- talks about how the next step is to start erection of the locomotive.  Not just the frames- actually fitting smaller components to them, bolting and then rivetting together.  The cylinder block is a core element of this and there was mention of work commencing to split the cylinder block to clean the valves, but this is part of a wider works package around getting the loco largely complete to footplate level which is anticipated to last well into 2019.  You may remember I have shown a few times a photograph of the master for the valve spindle- one of the comparatively few castings required for the project- it has now been cast!   

The official announcement for the AGM was made over the weekend on the 567 Group's facebook page.  The hope at present is to have the frames partially erected- also there's an exciting announcement promised.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the write-up in Mainline that the next major component to be looked at is going to be the leading bogie? 

I guess we'll find out in a fortnight. 
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James Harrison
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« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2018, 08:51:22 pm »

September 2018 Open Day. 

I think, to save things getting hopelessly muddled, I'll split this into two posts. 

Last time I visited Ruddington was in early August, a month after delivery of the frames.  Work at that time was just barely beginning; the doubler plates had been fitted but it was still, at that time, a flat pack kit of parts. 

Well....



I mean, that's the money shot, isn't it?  Need I say more?

You may imagine the shrieks of joy uttered a few days ago when the itinary for the AGM landed in my emails, with a very small, pixellated picture of the frames going up.  It feels very real now.  These frames are 27 feet long and weigh 5 tonnes, so I think you'll struggle to come up with a statement of intent louder than that.  We're building a locomotive. 

Let me give you the tour; there's more to come yet. 



The doubler plates and the apertures for the cylinder block. 



Coming around to the front buffer beam and looking down the length of the locomotive, you will note that the side plates are slightly joggled.



Now this is a good one, it shows the cylinder block location and the motion stretcher.  I've discussed (a few years ago) the construction of the stretchers being done in-house at Ruddington, and now that they're fitted you can see what I mean by how small they are in comparison to the complete frame!

Right, between the motion stretcher and the cylinder block location are where the slidebars will fit.  You can see on the motion stretcher the holes that have been drilled to eventually permit the slidebars to be fitted.  Eight sets of holes for eight slidebars.  Between each pair of slidebars are the slide blocks.  These (I've described this before) run between the slidebars and dictate the direction of travel for the pistons.  Now that you can see where it will all fit, I hope my explanations of how it works will make sense!



And then coming further back, the mid-frame stretcher which sits between the coupled axles.  Ahead of this is the crank axle and behind my position is the rear coupled axle. 

From the motion stretcher back to the crank axle are the connecting rods and the actuation to the valves.  Despite the size of the frames, the motion and valvegear fits between them like the mechanism of a watch.  For example, the throw on the crank axle comes within 6mm of striking the mid-frame stretcher.  The rivets on the rear of the mid-frame stretcher will need to be counter-sunk.  If they aren't, the firebox won't fit.  It really is going to be that crammed down there... everything is going to be sitting against everything else in a cheek by jowl fashion. 

That looks a large hole for an axle.... well, that's the hole the horn guides fit into.  The horn guides are huge, 3cwt castings shaped roughly like horseshoes.  They fit around the frames at where the axles pass through, and within them is an axle guide that can move up and down, providing a sort of suspension. 

Four hornguides, sponsored by four people at £1000 a piece.  Delivery from the foundry is expected in the next six weeks or so.  Another big(ish) component souced. 

Today truly did just keep on giving.  Not only did we have the basis of a locomotive to walk around and gawp at, we'd been promised a surprise.  The last update in Mainline had stated that there was a degree of support for building the bogie as the next sub-project.  Well....



Suddenly, miraculously, we have bogie sideplates.  Dressed, drilled and essentially ready to fit.  Once we have the rest of the bogie components, of course. 

Lastly....

Usually the AGM and Supporters Day takes place in late Autumn or early Winter, when the clocks have been changed and the nights are drawing in and (to be honest) by the time close of business comes around at 3PM all you want to do is get home before it gets dark.  It's 60 miles from my house to Ruddington, mostly along dual carriageways and motorways, and I'm not the most confident driver in the world.  Nor do I have the most reliable car.... so usually it's something of a race betwee myself and nature to get home, or close to it, before the night sets in. 

This year though it's taken place at the end of Summer, so there was time and light enough for a ride down to Loughborough and back on the Great Central (Nottingham).  It's a 90-minute, 20-mile round trip.  A short distance outside Ruddington Fields station....



... No.567's tender.  We need to design and build a new tank but everything below footplate level can be reconditioned and restored.

So, what next?

The intention for the coming year is to work on the bogie and the cylinders, valvegear and motion.  It's going to be a lot of work but the hope is that by the end of 2019 we'll have the engine part of the locomotive done. 

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James Harrison
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« Reply #37 on: September 15, 2018, 09:52:46 pm »

Part 2 of the update!

Part of the day's proceedings was the opportunity to tour Barnum #228, currently restoration by the GCR-RST. 



The workshop is quite cramped so it was difficult to get any meaningful photographs of the exterior. 



But inside we had a little more luck.  These are some of the ventilators, sitting over the windows.  Most of them are closed up with wire mesh or timber louvres, in some cases both. 



One or two of them were open though. 



Huge iron or steel stanchions secure the bodywork to the chassis.  Eventually, the seating will also secure to these stanchions.   



Pretty much the entire interior has been re-clad in teak. 



One nice little detail is this timber moulding at roof level. 

I would say that one thing you notice with this carriage is the amount of headroom.  It feels enormous, compared with a modern railway carriage.  I don't know if there will be a ceiling fitted at some point.  Also, loaded up with 30 or so people inside, you could feel the suspension working; the carriage positively bounced as people walked around inside.  There is no doubt to my mind that this is a carriage that wants to come back to life.  The GCR-RST reckon that she;ll be back in traffic in around two years' time. 
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Banfili
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« Reply #38 on: September 16, 2018, 01:55:33 am »

Wow! All looking grand and positive, James!
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James Harrison
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« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2018, 06:13:59 pm »

It is, rather.  We're still hoping for a completion date circa 2024.  We've started work on the bogie, we're progressing work on the motion and valvegear, we've got the tools we need to split and clean up the cylinder block... now that the frames are here we've got the impetus to crack on with gathering together, finishing and fitting quite a lot of the lower half of the locomotive.  I think 2024 is achievable. 
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Miranda.T
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« Reply #40 on: September 17, 2018, 12:02:12 am »

Looking very impressive. Right, date's in the diary - 2024 for a trip on a 21st century Edwardian train  Smiley.

Yours,
Miranda.
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James Harrison
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« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2018, 05:44:40 pm »

The quarterly newsletter has landed; as you might expect not really much to report, considering it comes hot on the heels of the AGM and Supporter's Day. 

There are one or two interesting bits though...

The crank axle, we're going to progress the design and analysis for it.  We've previously done quick design sketches and analysis, now we're going to get it done and signed off professionally.  We need to be able to prove that every piece of the locomotive is, as best as we can make it, absolutely safe.  Now, much of it of course we can just tell the examiners, 'see the original 1890s works drawing' followed by 'the original engines worked into the 1940s without problems', but when it comes to things like crank axles arguments like 'this is how it was done back in the day' don't really fly.  With good reason; you really, really don't want the crank axle to fail. So they have to be designed and made to modern standards.  When I went to view the frames back in August, it was mentioned in conversation that the crank axle is the one part of the project that keeps people awake at night wondering how to get it designed, manufactured, tested and approved.  The boiler- pah!  That's just a small pressure vessel, nothing controversial going on there. 

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