Watercress Line

Tetris

The bogie and trailing truck were delivered to Eastleigh at the end of March and we have been working on getting them fitted to the frames. If I thought getting them there was a logistical nightmare it only got worse trying to get them fitted. To fit the bogie and trailing truck we needed two overhead cranes to lift the frames but we are no longer in a road by ourselves so we needed to tie in with our neighbours and Arlington Fleet Services. After a lot of negotiation and looking at time frames it became apparent that we were going to have to move building to complete the lift. The team at Eastleigh rallied together and on Friday 31st May were down at Eastleigh prepping the loco for moving. CP was set to be moved by Arlington’s the next day (Sat 1st June) so we needed to get the loco ready.

A couple of the volunteers joined me on Saturday afternoon to help Arlington Fleet Services move the loco to the other building. We were all very excited to see it move from its spot in the building. It was a big moment for the team as Canadian Pacific left the building for the first time since 2011! However, as I have learnt CP likes to keep us on our toes and she decided going around corners was not going to happen. This is a problem when you have to navigate a lot of them to get into the other building and some of them are a bit tight. We figured out the problem was the weight of the front end, which was causing the loco not to balance on its driving wheels properly. By this time the team and Arlington’s decided that we would deal with this on Monday morning and so left CP out in the yard. It did look a bit like it had been abandoned (see photo). Monday morning the team and Arlington’s were back at getting her in the building. We decided to put water containers in the cab to balance the front end and this meant she was happy to navigate the track.

Wednesday 5th June saw us undertake the fitting of the bogie and trailing truck. Arlington’s helped us move the parts round to the other building and then using man-power we moved them into place (see photos). Then it was over to Arlington’s who helped us lift the loco with two overhead cranes. The bogie and trailing truck were then moved into position under the loco and then came the job of lowering the frames. Think of it as a giant game of Tetris but you are trying to put two pins at either end of the loco through holes at the same time. Not an easy thing to do. But with the expertise of Arlington’s and the volunteers at Eastleigh we completed it and Canadian Pacific is once again a 4-6-2!

Sunday 9th June saw the loco being moved back into its original building. This time fingers crossed that now with the bogie and trailing truck it would happily navigate round the yard and into the building. However, as always CP likes to challenge us and decided that this was not going to be the case. It became clear that the although the trailing truck was now fitted this did not counteract the weight of the front end enough. This meant that the cab was not sat on the trailing truck properly, so again weight had to be put in the cab. No chances were being taken though, as another train was scheduled to come into the yard and we needed to be out of the way. We took the journey back into the building incredibly slowly with everyone watching a wheel.

I am happy to say that Canadian Pacific is now happily back in her spot in Eastleigh Works with all her wheels. For my health though she won’t be moving again until the boiler comes back – I don’t think my nerves can handle it!

This milestone could not have been achieved without a huge team of people; the volunteers/staff who worked on the bogie and trailing truck and Arlington Fleet Services who helped with the lift and moving the loco. Last but not means least the volunteers at Eastleigh, who worked on their days off to get the loco prepped, worked weekends to move the loco and provided me with a lot of support when things went wrong. Thank you all for helping us reach this milestone.

Thanks for reading, 

Becky (Project Supervisor)

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