Posted by: wrha | November 11, 2018

Saturday 10th November

A dry and cool day up the hill at Whitrope. A reasonable numbers of members were up and a number of jobs were completed.
The Ruston was use to move the steel wagon from the head-shunt line across the level crossing and into the platform. This will allow a small group that are going to start working on the wagon better access.
More work was carried out inside the brake van.
A general tidy up was carried out with a walk around all the site to check on items and ensure everything was locked away.


Posted by: wrha | October 28, 2018

Fowler Failure

The major shunt planned for today to release the Fowler from the stock siding, unfortunately did not go to plan. The stock was being slowly moved out of the siding when the Fowler suffered a catastrophic engine failure. The picture below show the extent of the damage. Basically the engine suffered a complete breakup of number 2 cylinder and the piston was fired out the side of the engine. The engine is now a complete write off and for the time being the Fowler will be in abeyance until a way ahead can be formulated. This is obviously a huge blow to the team that have put in so much time and energy into the project, but a way ahead will be found and the group will keep going forward.

The Fowler was winched back into it’s original position after an early lunch and David welded the steps access back onto the MK1 workshop coach. Malcolm was also up and continued his work on the woodwork inside the brake van.

Not the greatest day up at Whitrope, but no-one was hurt in the failure and although a blow we have overcome similar challenges in the past and come back stronger.

Posted by: wrha | October 21, 2018

Saturday 20th October

A very dank and misty day saw a good number of volunteers on site working on a range of tasks.

The team working on the brake van were working on the inside, with the weather precluding any exterior work. Malcolm continued carpentry works that is slowly bringing the interior up to standard, ready for use.

The main thrust of the days activities was to carry out preparation works for the shunt that is scheduled for next Saturday. This involved a number of small tasks, which cumulatively filled all of the day. RB004 was run and coupled to the Mk2 coach, then with the air line connected the brake operation was tested. Once the handbrake was released (well done Baz!) this went well. Next the access steps to the Mk1 workshop coach had to be removed. With these out of the way the Fowler was coupled up to the MK1 and gently shunted backwards and forwards a few feet to check everything was OK. With that maneuver completed the Mk1 was coupled up to the class 26 and the formation again moved to check freedom of movement. Once again the Fowler performed faultlessly and even with the wet greasy rails moved the stock without any real issues. It was really pleasing to see the Fowler demonstrate that it can operate under load.

Alan and Bill were also up, but missed the Fowler moves as they headed down into Hawick early to attend the Campaign for Borders Rail AGM.
Joe was also on site doing some grass cutting.

Next Saturday will see all the stock shunted around so the Fowler can be released from the stock siding. This will allow the next phase of the restoration to be undertaken, with running in trails.

Posted by: wrha | October 19, 2018

Sunday 14th October

The working day on site had been put back 24hrs due to the poor weather forecast, which turned out to be accurate as the Saturday was a complete wash out.

Work on the Fowler started with stripping and cleaning a reducer that was causing problems. Once cleaned and reassembled it performed fine. The second set of steps was fitted so the loco cab can be accessed from both sides. The rest of the day was then spent in the cab, rebuilding the control panels.

The brake van is coming together well, with work both internally and externally progressing well. The application of the top coat has really lifted the outside of the van. It will be really good to see this vehicle trundling up and down with the Fowler.

Hopefully over the next couple of weeks a major shunt will be undertaken which will free the Fowler from it’s current spot at the end of the stock siding. This will allow work to continues on the Fowler with some running in turns planned.

Posted by: wrha | October 16, 2018

A Summer Update

First of an apology for the lack of updates over the last couple of months. Hopefully the site will be updated on a regular basis from now on.
This blog will give a quick overview of some of the activities at Whitrope over the summer months, then future posts will give regular updates of works undertaken in the coming months.

The railway has been used on a number of occasions by local fire brigade units for a variety of exercises. We have already had two separate chemical incidents with casualties. One cardiac arrest and one under the Fowler with fractures. They also ran an exercise to recover a casualty form under a train in the platform. It is good to see the railway providing a useful resource for the local community.

A new electrical panel has been added to the generator room and is able to supply 13, 16 and 32 amp supplies. This suits the Oxford welder better and it now has a more stable supply and no longer trips the fuses.

RB004 is again the main traction at the moment although we lost a few weeks when a problem developed which required a lot of head-scratching to overcome. Eventually, the fault was traced and rectified so the unit is available for service throughout the remainder of the season. The permaquip unit suffered a hydraulic leak at the same time as RB004’s fault but replacing a ruptured O ring rectified the problem and it is also now available.

Work is still ongoing with the brake van and it is now looking good with its new safety doors. Most of the preparation has now been completed and the exterior brown paint is being applied.

The team working on the Fowler continues to progress towards completion. The pulley for the air compressor has now been completed and successfully fitted. The unit is now producing its own air to supply the brakes and other running controls. There is still a lot of work needing to be done, but the large shunt to free the Fowler from its current location is getting closer.

The buffet coach now has had a new floor laid in the vestibule and the new displays depicting the flora and fauna to be seen locally, along with a local geology section and weather station, have now been opened.

Members are on site every Saturday, weather dependent, so please feel free to pop in and say hello; you will always receive a warm welcome.

Posted by: wrha | May 11, 2018

Whitrope 5th May

 An update on recent works undertaken at Whitrope. The Northumbrian Rail boys have been up and carried out repairs and service on RB004 so the unit is now available for service again this year.

Work is progressing on the brake van, although it is currently shunted down the bottom of the line which does not make it very convenient. The team working on the Fowler have made excellent progress in recent weeks. The air system is coming together and most of the pipe runs have now been completed and tested. The air system now operates the brakes and gear selection. The major news is that the Fowler has moved under it’s own power for the first time since it’s arrival at Whitrope. A great deal of work still needs to be done, but hopefully we will be undertaking a large shunt to free the Fowler from the current captivity at the end of the stock siding.

The exhibition coaches have been re-worked again for the new season and are looking very impressive.

Work is progressing on a number of fronts with members on site every Saturday so please feel free to pop in and say hello, you will always receive a warm welcome.

Posted by: wrha | February 27, 2018

Saturday 24th February

A long overdue update on the activities up at Whitrope. Work has continued through the winter on a number of projects, including the Fowler, the brake van, track-work and the coaches.

The Fowler has seen steady progress made with a number of jobs now being complete. The recent work has focused on the air system with a large number of components either stripped down and refurbished or in some cases new components fitted. The sandboxes have all been re-fitted and have been tested. The brake cylinders have been refurbished and are now in the process of being tested and adjusted ready for use. Work has also been undertaken on the lubricating system with new wicks fitted to the oil dash pots. These have now been filled with oil and the levels are being monitored. Along with a number of other ongoing jobs good progress is being made on the Fowler with the aim of hopefully having the air system complete some time in the next couple of months.

Work has also progressed on the brake van, with Davie working on the metal work on the side duckets. New metal work has welded on and these have now been primed ready for painting. Elsewhere the woodwork is being repaired and as the weather allows painting has started. The buffers have all been replaced as the ones fitted when it arrived were unfit for use.

Progress has also been made in the exhibition coaches cleaning and preparing them for the upcoming season, hopefully as the weather improves the pace of work can step up.

Elsewhere on site further work has been done on the track-work, which I will report on more fully in the later update.

Posted by: wrha | October 25, 2017

October 21st

October 21st was a dull and slightly damp day, but far better than what had been forecast. First thing in the morning, before work started, the association gratefully accepted the gift of a mini bus from WRHA member Jim Edwards. Bill Renwick received the keys and documents on behalf of the association.

The track team again co-opted Davey to assist in clipping up the last few sleepers of the latest track panel to be built at the southern end of the site.
In the afternoon the voids under suspended sleepers were packed and a test stock movement was carried out – all well.

Davey, being released from the tasks of track work, returned to the continued refurbishment of the 20 ton break van.

Rod and George continued work on the temporarily fitted air pump on the Fowler in an attempt to work out the dimensions of the still-to-be-made pulley. This was independently checked and confirmed.

Posted by: wrha | October 1, 2017

Saturday 31st September 2017

A bright sunny morning travelling up, then the Whitrope Weather Gods took over and “real” rain took over most of the day, sod’s law the sun shines at home time !

A quick catch-up is in order as the editor has been rather busy importing more Swedish Super Models !

We have dug and position another concrete block at the crossing for the post that supports the gates that we hope to place there, this one was a bit more difficult as it was close to the culvert and drains that converge at this point from the formation, hillside and car park road, so space was tight, we will construct a cat ch-pit here when time allows.

The track boys then turned there attention to the trackwork at the turning circle beside the big cutting.

We constructed a while ago a temporary section of sixty foot trackwork  coupled to the running line but with “wide spaced sleepers” this section was taken up and reconstructed with regular spacing, thus extending our running line close to our limit of the present lease.

There could be room for two more panels, of sixty foot lengths, but at present we need to move several lengths of rail that have been stored in this area for quite a while and are in danger of getting buried.

It is interesting to note that this section of the formation was the subject of quite a considerable land -slip a few years ago and was “rebuilt” by the Forestry Commission to allow road access for timber removal.

It was rebuilt not quite to the original formation plans and this is now causing us a few problems with track re


It is essential we keep both road and rail access at this point.

Elsewhere on site work continues on the Fowler loco, and the Methil guards van which is looking good.

The compressor and the air system on the Fowler seems to be a problem at the moment, hopefully these can be sort in the next few weeks.

A welcome visitor to Whitrope on Sat. Was  Tony Cormac who came up with the other portable generator on the back of his wagon.

Tony has been giving the genny a “good looking at” but with pieces missing he was unabled to test it in working mode.



Posted by: wrha | September 3, 2017

2nd September 2017

Once the sun had burned through the mist it was a beautiful autumn day,  with warm sunshine.

With Jim on baby sitting duties he was just available for requests!

The remaining track boys decided to level and pack the track down beside what we call the “turning circle” before it was used as a stock pile area.

Because the guards van and the Ruston where standing on the running line the Permaquip could not be used as our works train, so it was time to awake “Samson” the large Benford 4×4 40TT dumper to convey our tools.

After Jim had breathed on it, the gear was transported to the work area.

We had planned to use the portable generator and the hand tamper, again after a request for Jim to “look” at it!

Both bits of plant worked perfectly so we set to levelling, packing and tamping, and the results look good, THEN like good plant men we stopped for lunch and stopped the generator and refuelled it, of course after lunch it refused all offers to restart it and Jim had left the site.

We continued to pack and level the remaining trackwork until home time.

Rod and George continued to work on the Fowler, which was fuelled and run for a period.

Davy used his moulding skills with filler on the guards van window which is looking good.

Alan and Bill where working on the museum display coach.

Jim had been onsite last weekend and had dug a hole where the support block for the first of the crossing gate posts go and had placed the first block (only three more mate !)

Another good day with all round progress being made.

We celebrated Rod’s birthday in style with cake and candle(s) (one as there was not room for 79!).



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