Watercress Line

Friends of 80150 - This is where it starts!

This is the first in a series of blogs to let you know what the “friends of 80150” are up to – and all this without cake!

80150 is a BR Standard Class 4 Tank Loco, which arrived at the Mid Hants Railway in 2011, in exchange for the ex-Bricklayers Arms turntable, which had lain in store at Ropley for many years.  80150 was built in 1956 at Brighton, withdrawn in 1965, and sent to Woodhams in Barry. It wasn’t the preferred choice of preservationists due to a large patch in its inner firebox so it remained at Barry long after most of the locos had departed, eventually becoming one of the “Barry 10” – heavily stripped and rather unloved.

Since it’s arrival at MHR, a number of parts have been made or obtained but it really is a very long road to restoration – partly due to it’s condition, and partly due to the workshops being fully committed for several years to come.

When it is restored, it will be the ideal loco for our railway – it was built by BR with exactly our kind of trains in mind.

The idea of “the friends” was conceived a couple of months ago in a chance conversation with Martin Orford in the Ropley mess, and since then we have gathered a small group together and formed some very specific goals:
- Protect the loco from further deterioration
- Prepare the loco to be moved to a location where further work can be done and the loco put on display
- Gather a supporting group who can conduct fund-raising, PR and engineering activities
- And do all this without diverting attention from other projects

The first goal is being addressed by making wooden covers to stop any further rain from getting into places where it’s not wanted.  Various people are helping to turn off-cuts into these, and they will be installed shortly.

The biggest obstacle to moving the loco is that it has an unfortunate tendency to de-rail on curves and pointwork.  This is caused by a lack of springs, poor weight distribution, and the rear bogies’ side-control mechanism probably being seized.  So this week, a working party did some scraping and cleaning on the bogie and poured a bit of oil into the side-control gear to start on freeing it. 

It’s clear now that the part of the bogie beneath the bunker has been fairly well-protected, and the surfaces there are not much worse than we’d see in a normal overhaul.  The parts of the bogie that lie beneath the cab have been rather less fortunate.  There is an accumulation of rust and scale caused by the absence of a cab floor and a roof, not helped by debris and vegetation. It’s this part that will need most work, so the team are considering how to free it, or if all else fails, how to remove the bogie.

Another problem that will make its eventual move difficult is that the axleboxes have all had their underkeeps removed – these are essentially brass oil trays with pads that wipe oil onto the axles to lubricate them in the axlebox bearings.  These would be difficult and expensive to replace, so “the friends” have designed wooden substitutes that would be sufficient to allow the loco to move a few miles – very carefully!  We’ve also identified a couple of life-expired springs from 75079 that can be fitted to the bogie, and a set of buffers have already been located and overhauled by the 75079 gang and await fitting.

We expect all this preparation work to take some time, and work will continue through the spring and summer, with a view to moving the loco during the 2017/2018 winter.  Once it’s in a  better location, there will be plenty more to do, and we expect to make it accessible to our visitors so it can be used to show what’s involved in restoring a loco from Barry scrapyard condition.

If you want to help with any aspect of this, contact “the friends” at mhr.friendsof80150@btconnect.com. 

Colin

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe

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