Posted by: wrha | December 9, 2018

Saturday 8th December

A busy day at Whitrope saw a large number of tasks undertaken.

After some assessment over the last couple of weeks it had been decided that the LMS wagon was a better prospect for restoration than the steel wagon. The first task of the day was therefore to swap the steel wagon for the LMS wagon so work could start on this wagon. The shunt was undertaken using the Ruston and we soon had the LMS wagon sitting in the platform.

With the wagon in the platform Davie and a number of others set to work removing some of the perished timbers ready for replacement timbers to be ordered. The steel work on the wagon is in fairly good order and will all be cleaned and painted before the new timbers are fitted.

Jim, Andy and Duncan continued work on the foundations for the lever frame, with a foundation level of blocks laid by the end of the day. The rain that started after lunch came in handy for this job where a dry mix was laid for the foundations and the rain did a good job of watering this in.

Elsewhere painting of fence panels was underway in the shed and some more work was done on the guard’s van.

New volunteers are always welcome, so if you fancy something to get you out of the house and in the fresh air, pop up and pay a visit you will always be made welcome.

Posted by: wrha | December 5, 2018

Jellicoe and Frost

On Friday a group gathered at Hawick leisure centre to witness Captain Chris Smith Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland unveil a plaque to commemorate the Jellicoe Express’s. The service ran between London and Thurso carrying naval personal during both the first and second world war.

Saturday was a wet affair at Whitrope, with limited outside work possible so volunteers on site concentrated on inside jobs. Some cleaning was undertaken with both the Fowler and RB004 receiving attention.

A frost Tuesday morning saw a number of member’s up at Whitrope for a meeting about the Fowler as we explore ways of moving the project forward after the recent set back.

Posted by: wrha | November 28, 2018

Saturday 24th November

A small team did some work on the Fowler checking the air system and making sure the drive systems were operating. The air system was charged using an external air compressor and checks made that the gearbox was still selecting and disengaging. This all proved ok, so the focus now is to try and locate a replacement power unit.

Further work was carried out on the steel wagon with some areas of the body work cleaned up and primer applied. There is a long way to go but at least a start has been made.

Jim continued to work on the foundations at the end of platform and has most of the first set of digging complete.

The team working on the brake van continued the jobs inside.

Joe has stripped the flower beds out and planted up some flowers for the spring.

Posted by: wrha | November 21, 2018

Saturday 17th November

A bright pleasant day at Whitrope with a reasonable number of volunteers on-site.
Some preliminary inspection work was carried out on the steel wagon to ascertain the amount of work involved in getting it back into working order.
Jim was working in the area at the end of the platform to establish some levels for foundations for an on-going project that will improve the signal display in the station area.
With RB004 in the platform area the opportunity is being taken to work on a number of jobs during the closed season. Baz started off by giving it a bit of a wash and clean down.
Joe was up for the weekend and is working on various horticultural jobs.
The team working on the brake also continue to progress the work inside the van.

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.

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