A great deal of work has gone into the wagon fleet in preparation for the Branchline Weekend which will see a rake of
(mainly) bauxite wagons in service. Time has also been spent through-piping a couple of wagons, re-roofing and repainting
1300 arrived safely this week and has already seen attention to its appearance with plenty of polish in action!
65 came back from the SVR requiring work which delayed its return to traffic. 65 will be heading back to the KESR to cover
for their loco shortage this Summer, so this May Bank Holiday Weekend will be the only gala appearance it will make.
Beatrice's trunk rod guide casting has been returned and machined, with the bushes now being sorted out, and it will
hopefully be ready for the Branchline Weekend.
Timetables have now been published, but are subject to alteration, depending on the outcome of various elements of work on
65 & Beatrice 28/03/13
Following a lot of hard work by a number of people, 65 was completed, test-run and dispatched to the SVR's gala. Hopefully
there will be some photos to follow! The modifications that had been previously made to the locos valves made the job much
harder than it ought to have been, and other problems were discovered along the way. The new rings should improve its
performance, and it looks better for some heavy-duty cleaning and painting!
Beatrice ran successfully under test following the slidebar & crosshead work which Tom spent so long on. Unfortunately another problem was discovered
with the cast trunk rod guide being cracked. This will need replacement, but hopefully will not take too long. It never rains
but it pours!
Autocar Update 20/03/13
Received from Simon:
The engine housing assembly has been delivered to our base at Loughborough. This has the engine and generator installed,
together with some of the electronics necessary to control their functions. The chassis is also at Loughborough and is
shortly to be strengthened. The motor bogie has been moved into place under the chassis.
Apologies for the rough photography but I find it tricky to hold a camera perfectly still for up to a second at a time...
At Embsay, work continues on the autocoach. The overall picture (courtesy Alan Chandler) shows the progress made: most
panels painted in primer, allowing the beading to be tacked into place. The droplight frames are being worked on and are
mostly complete, ready for varnishing and glazing. Some doors have been removed and are being worked on in volunteers’
workshops at home. We expect to canvas the roof and start glazing the windows this spring.
The non-engine room end of the autocar is also being restored, Alan Chandler is recreating the beading and gutters around
the cab. Most individual components are curved in two dimensions and are real works of art...
Andy Booth's Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway A Class tender engine will be coming to the Railway in time for the
Branchline Weekend over the May Bank Holiday Weekend. The engine will be staying for 12
months, but will make a trip elsewhere within that time. We are looking forward to seeing this engine arrive in April.
Bolton Abbey station 24/02/13
A small team tackled the second gable at Bolton Abbey over the half term week, stripping off the old cladding and replaceing
it as we had during August with the first gable. We made great progress, and had the luxuary of good weather as well! Hopefully
this will hold long enough to allow painting to be completed.
More tree wars 28/03/13
Another successful session was had, clearing more unwanted linseide growth with a good team of volunteers. We also
discovered that freshly chipped wood did not want to burn on the brakevan stove without making a mess!
Steam Locomotive news 10/02/13
Following the Santa's Specials, USA tank No.65 was withdrawn for a piston and valve examination as it has not performed as
well as was expected. Subsequently the valve rings are being replaced and a new lubricator has also been sent up as this
was also found to be defective. The opportunity has been taken to repaint the smokebox and cylinder cladding. Work is well
advanced and it should be back in traffic very shortly.
Whilst 65 was operating the Santa's Specials, Norman was seeing further attention to replace parts that were kindly lent to
it to get it running, with its own refurnbished or new components. Prior to this, Norman also saw the blastpipe realigned
and the reverser mechanism bushed and re-pinned. More mechanical work is planned later in the season.
Beatrice has had the front end dismantled, new crosshead slippers sorted out, whitemetalled and machining awaits once the
slidebars are set up. These have almost been machined, and lots of measurements were being taken in order to set everything
up. The end is in sight, and Beatrice will hopefully be put out on some running-in turns soon.
Illingwoth's boiler has seen all the stays put in, having had the holes tidied up and re-tapped. They now await rivetting
over and then we should see some further progress towards finishing this engine.
Despite fairly good quantities of snow falling prior to this weekend and previous, we suffered no disruption to services. It
looked very nice, but during the Sunday it had virtually all melted away!
The work done on the steam heat systems in the two Directors' Saloons paid off very nicely as they were lovely and warm!
Clearing the Lineside 17/01/13
Great efforts were made by a large team of volunteers from all departments to clear some of the lineside back to the way the
line was maintained until the 1950s. This effort was necessary to improve the view to passengers and people in the area alike,
prevent damage to structures and remove the need for lots of pruning to make sure there is no growth foul of the loading gauge.
Hopefully you will notice the difference when you next visit! More sessions are planned in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately whilst in use on the train, 36 suffered an engine failure, thought to be very similar
to the previous one. This is being investigated, but work to rectify it will have to wait until other projects are completed.
Diesel news 24/12/12
Quite a lot of work has been happening to the diesels behind the scenes. The Class 37 has seen the rotten bodywork cut out,
all traces of foam filler removed and corrosion of the structural elements dealt with whilst exposed. A lot of new metal has
been welded in, and the body is currently being filled and primed as appropriate, with the unaffected areas having been
taken back to bare metal.
31 119 has been the standby locomotive and seen little work required, but it will be withdrawn in the New Year for various
jobs to be carried out. Its fellow Class 31, D.5600 has had some pipework replaced under the cab which necessitated mass-
dismantling of the cab to reach. This is now largely complete, and next up is the traction motor blower that has been
The Class 14 has had refurbished injectors fitted, and runs better as a result. The new starter motor
has also improved matters, and plenty of work has been carried out to make this more reliable.
The 04 has received a new coat of paint and is now resplendant in BR Black, just awaiting its number
(which will be 11103) to complete the effect. The task of fitting new brake blocks was made significantly difficult owing to the variety of sizes of
the pins. Various alterations have been carried out to allow it to take standard blocks to avoid having to drill every single
36 has had the brake cylinder overhaul completed and is back in traffic, along with
Meaford which has also had work carried out. Fowler H.W.Robinson has had the gearbox
lifted back into the frames in between all the other work taking place.
Some of the diesels will feature in the Branchline Weekend for 2013 over the May Bank Holiday Weekend - Saturday 4th
- Monday 6th May 2013.
January & February 21/12/12
Travel in Edwardian splendour for the price of an ordinary return fare at the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.
During the months of January and February you will be able to travel in Edwardian style every Sunday at no extra cost.
The normal service train will be made up of Directors saloons representing two of the most famous ‘pre-Grouping’ railways –
the Lancashire and Yorkshire and the London and North Western Railways.
Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (LYR) No 1 was built at Newton Heath, Manchester, in 1906 for the LYR's Directors allowing
them to travel all over their railway in very comfortable surroundings.
This saloon was recently used in the theatrical production of ‘The Railway Children’ at York.
London and North Western Railway (LNWR) 5318 was built in in 1913 for the LNWR Directors and served the same purpose.
This carriage has been completely restored from derelict over a period of several years. It has some Royal pedigree, having
seen service as an extra vehicle on the LNWR Royal Train.
A lot of work has recently gone into upgrading the steam heat in both vehices with all radiators stripped down and
reassembled before pressure testing and so forth. One interesting discovery made was that one of the heaters had been
incorrectly assembled at some point in the past and so could not have worked in that form! (It will now...)
Santa's Specials 17/12/12
Santa's Specials are going well as we near the final weekend, with most trains throughout the season being sold out. The
attention paid to the steam heat and the carriage electrics has been greatly appreciated for the warmth and light we have
enjoyed! Below is a clip from yesterday's services.
Following 6619's sale to the KESR, USA tank No.65 has arrived at Embsay to operate the Santa services. It will remain on the
line for some time, which should offer some interesting oportunties. We are very grateful for the opportunity we were afforded
with 6619 on the Railway - it is a cracking loco and will be much-missed!
No.65 arrived and saw a couple of test trips along the line prior to the services starting so that crews could familiarise
themselves with its operation and we could get a better handle on the requirements operationally.
Signal & Telegraph round up
The S&T department have been working away steadily at Bolton Abbey to commission the groundframe that will control the
West end of the station for the time being. The acquisition of a Josslock conversion enables us to drive the air machine
via hydraulic power, from the groundframe and current efforts are focused on doing just that with the installation of two
location cabinets and groundsignals. Longer term, this will all be controlled from the signalbox, but when switched out,
it will be possible to run round via the groundframe.
Work has also been carried out at Embsay to rewire and upgrade the East Yard location whose fuse holders were the initial
cause for concern.
Time has also been spent by Jim at Bow Bridge to tidy up the installation there and give it a much
needed coat of paint - it looks a lot better for it! Mr Holl's new nameboard finally got installed as well (the perspective
of the photo doesn't do it justice!).
Stoneacre has had some LED lamp conversions designed and installed, with a view to using solar panels to charge the batteries
and switch the lights.
Work in progress around Embsay:
Signal & Telegraph go to Prescot
We were granted permission fairly late on in the day to acquire the 1943-pattern lever frame from Prescot signalbox which was
being demolished by contractors. This meant a series of hurried phonecalls to assemble a team and hire a van. Two trips later,
and we now have a 30-lever frame. This became necessary folowing the theft of the baseplate castings from the ex-Stanlow &
Thornton frame we had previously earmarked for Embsay's replacement. We are, however, still on the look-out for suitable
Many thanks to all those who made this acquisition possible.
Bolton Abbey - Running-in Board
Following a generous donation towards the project, a lot of time was spent drawing up the running-in board, using old
photographs and a partial set of drawings that were published some time ago, but with a lot of data omitted or simply
inaccurate! We have subsequently re-drawn the plans for a Midland Railway Running-in (station name) board and had it made
and delivered to Bolton Abbey. It now awaits painting and it is hoped it will be in place early next year. What ought to
be a simple project has produced something 10'6" tall and 23' long!
Work on the Autocar has been progressing well with a large amount of progress seen on the trailercar and the chassis, which
has now left for Loughborough for the metalwork to be completed, engine mounted and more.
Digging to Australia?
Recent work at Bolton Abbey has seena large hole appear. What started out as a minor scratching of the surface has turned
into a full-on (almost-) archaeological dig to locate the weighbridge pit - successfully too! The ash that had been used to
backfill the pit when the weighbridge was disposed of (date unknown) filled the sandbags for the 1940s Weekend, and has
subsequently been used again on the Hambleton Valley Miniature Railway extension! The pit has now been fully excavated and
fenced off for the time being. We would like to reinstate the weighbridge as part of the works at Bolton Abbey, but to do
that will require most fo the brickwork removing and resetting / repointing as there has been some deterioration over time.
There has also been a trawl through our archives to attempt to find a picture of the weighbridge building itself, but we have
been rewarded with a bit of a mystery. There have been various buildings in the vicinity, and trying to work out which is
which has proven difficult. We seem to have landed at the conclusion that the building pictured on the left is the one in
question, and that the suggestion at the very edge of the photo (centre) is the same building but misleadingly looks as
though it could be of stone construction. The wooden building beside it is thought to be one of the contractors huts which
also appear in other shots such as the contractors' train which will appear once we find a copy to scan!
Over the past couple of Summers we have been trying to improve Bolton Abbey station with much painting internally and
externally being attempted. The weather has not helped, with conditions proving to be obstructive towards painting attempts,
and at the same time causing more rot and damage to the building. Fortunately this Summer, a team of volunteers timed it
just right to renew the cladding on one gable to a slightly different design which should make future maintenance easier and
improve the durability of the finish. During the two (largely) dry weeks that WERE the Summer, the bulk of the work was
completed in just 4 days, and next year should see the other two gables treated in similar fashion, before the back of the
station gets some attention.
Progress with the first gable:
Beatrice in traffic!
Over the Summer, Beatrice was able to haul some trains on running-in turns which went very well indeed. The repaint was then
completed and little jobs attended to.
LMS carriage fleet
Further progress towards the creation of an LMS set of carriages has arrived in the form of another set of LMS bogies from a
vehicle that was scrapped at the ELR, in exchange for a set of bogies we were not going to use for any of our stock. We can
now fit standard guage LMS bogies to both ex-MR carriages that were brought back from Ireland and still have a roller bearing
set for spares / another vehicle, depending on how plans / surveys go. The additional bonus with this set are the sections of
underframe that go with the bogies. These (once dismantled) will allow the proper reguaging of the Irish vehicles as the
buffers were also moved out and there is some wasteage of the metalwork.
Hambleton Valley Miniature Railway extension
The Railway has seen an extension open that has more than doubled its operating length and has proved popular throughout the
Summer. The station's overall roof (see previous article) has also proved popular in the inclement conditions of the Summer.
Further extnsions are planned - why not get in touch and come to help out?
Holywell Halt bench back
The banch name from Holywell Halt that was stolen several years ago turned up on ebay, and we must thank all those who
spotted this and informed us. As a result, we were able to have this item withdrawn from the sale and returned to us. We
would like to express our thanks to the seller who was very helpful (and completely innocent)!
Sadly the station building at Holywell has recently been subjected to vandalism and decisions as to its future are ongoing.
Branchline weekend photos 12/05/12
The event went well with a more varied timetable than we have previously been accustomed, and the opportunity to witness
goods trains passing. Sadly the Class 14 did not behave on Saturday or Monday, but on the positive front, Sunday went as planned. And that was when I was able to get some
photos in the course of guarding one of the goods trains!