Posted by: wrha | January 15, 2017

Weekend of  14/15th January 2017

Saturday was a beautiful day by Whitrope standards, our intrepid band of volunteers had a very hard frost to face first thing, but once the sun rose it really warmed things up; clear blue skies and bright sunshine all day, even a few midges, honest.

Jim decided to start the generator and heat the bothy with the electric heaters so it was nice and warm for snack breaks, as well as giving some light and heat for Alan working in the Information coach.

The digger was coaxed into life with help from some “Easy-Start” and Toyota Motors. Once it warmed up it operated perfectly all day. Not bad for a machine that’s nearly as old as it’s operator!

We quickly decided on the concrete sleeper spacing we would use on the new construction, and Jim set to work removing the track ballast for re-use, and lowering the formation as the concrete sleepers are deeper than the original wood ones.

With ballast removed and the formation levelled, we started to place the concrete sleepers in position, with Andy taking great care with the spacing, and Bill keeping us on the straight and level

In all eight concrete sleepers were put in position before bad light stopped play as the digger has no lights.

There was scheduled to be a committee meeting to discuss the programme and operating details for 2017, but with few members in attendance this was cancelled.

The “Fowler boys” were also a miss, as the track boys were hoping to hear the sound of the loco emerging from it’s long hibernation…

However it turns out the Fowler team were in attendance on the Sunday instead.

A small amount of diesel was put into the tank and primed through, the rockers were lubricated and the rocker boxes refitted and then battery leads were fitted to the starter and the solenoid engaged. The engine fired up very quickly and was run for a short period as the cooling system is still being worked on. This shows that the fuel system is okay, and that the head and block are sealed enough to maintain compression to fire. The oil pressure also was at a satisfactory figure.

Work will continue on the Fowler over the next few weeks.

Picture credits to Baz and Jim

Posted by: wrha | January 8, 2017

Saturday 7th January 2017

After the fog had cleared away the day was very mild and warm, with occasional glimpse of the sun.

Another good turn out of volunteers for the start of 2017.

A rare, but very welcome member was Duncan, who gave his excellent knowledge to George, Rod and Davy and “sorted” the slight problem with the Fowler oil pump, Thanks Duncan.

Unfortunately Jim was not abled to attend until later, and when he did his digger didn’t want to play !

Baz, Andy, Bill and Craig spent the morning working on the concrete sleepers we are laying on our running line, but without the digger it was a no go!

There is also some query to the sleeper spacing to address.

1 The sump was removed to check the oil pickup pipe was ok, and it was.

2 The engine was spun over to make sure the oil pump was being driven via the cam shaft, all in order.

3 It was decided to overfull the sump with oil to ensure the oil pump itself was submerged and after several spins on the engine at long last oil appeared in all the places we hoped it would. We even got an 8psi pressure reading on the oil pressure gauge in the cab.

4 The cleaning process for the air brake pistons was started.

5 The injectors were fitted and torqued down.

6 Next week we hope to fit rocker covers, tube up the injectors and fit the exhaust.

Another good day.

(Words and pictures from Baz Shell – posted by DMS, to be edited)


Posted by: wrha | January 3, 2017

Work parties:

Now that the festivities of Christmas and the New Year are over we are looking at erring back to having at least fortnightly working parties at the site. The biggest job is fettling the track ready for the new season. There will also be work on the rolling stock, and general tidying around the centre and the track. If you are interested in helping then please drop us a line. Please remember that for insurance purposes volunteers must be paid up members of the Waverley Route Heritage Association.

Posted by: wrha | December 24, 2016

Seasons Greetings 

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our members, supporters and followers.

Posted by: wrha | December 19, 2016

Saturday 17th December 

Once the sun rose it was a reasonable day weather wise.

The volunteers stripped down the ex Methil panels so that the materials can be checked and stockpiled. The sleepers will be used to upgrade the running line, with some of the pandrol clips being used here too. The majority of the pads and insulators are life expired and will be replaced. The rails will be put to one side in our storage area, along with others recovered from the southern area ready for future developments.

Various maintenance jobs were undertaken too; with the Permaquip Patrolmen’s trolley given some more checks and a top up of antifreeze and other fluids.

It and the Hymac digger provided much mechanical advantage when stripping the panels, but a tracked excavator would be very handy if anyone has on sitting idle…

Work has also continued on the Fowler and other rolling stock, and preparing the exhibition and buffet coaches for next season.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff to do! If you are interested in helping out please drop us a line (see )- you’d be made most welcome 🙂

Text from Baz Shell, Edited and posted by DMS

Posted by: wrha | December 11, 2016

Saturday 10/12/2016

Andy, Alan and Jim, with help from the Hymac digger began to transfer concrete sleepers from the materials (ex Methil) near the crossing and start to lay them out towards the tunnel in the running line, as part of ongoing upgrade works on this section. Pete was at work near the tunnel with a bushman saw, cleaning out some of the scrub around the portal. Tom was working on the brake van underframe, along with Malc inside van taking measurements and photos to prepare timber replacements at home in his workshop. Joe was tidying up plant boxes ready for the winter. The Gilnockie crossing gates moved into dry store.

After lunch, with cake due to Davie’s birthday, Alan and Bill worked on the exhibition coach, and Davie, Rod, George and Jim continued work on the Fowler with the starter motor being temporarily wired in so that the engine can be spun over for testing.

Posted by: wrha | December 7, 2016

What could have been:-

The class 26 is posed with the Mk2 buffet in the station…

Posted by: wrha | December 6, 2016

Fowler progress

It hasn’t just been track work which has been going on over the last few months. Visitors to this blog may be aware that there is a Fowler diesel shunter on site. A small team has been working on this loco with a view to making it operational again (The engine has been started in the past but an issue with head gasket and a cylinder liner were identified).

Steady progress is being made with the ancillaries on the engine being refitted following refurbishment. Recently the sump was refitted following a weld repair to a small crack which was causing leakage. The fuel system is almost reassembled, and one of the next tasks is to run in new wiring for the starter motor and the dynamo. There are also various pressure and flow sensors to check and wire in to enable the engine to be test run.

The loco is privately owned by a small group, who are also WRHA members.


The paintwork on the Fowler continues to advance although the weather is not helping this year.

Posted by: wrha | November 26, 2016

Saturday 26/11/16

A white frost, but with lots of bright sunshine saw our volunteers tackling a variety of tasks at Whitrope today.Northumbria Rail’s boys planned to change the engine oil and filter on the Permaqiup, plus replacing all the injector bleed off hose on the machine, replacing jubilee clips on the cooling system to try and cure the water leaks.

Rod, George and Davy continued their good work on the Fowler loco, now that the engine sump has been removed and sent for welding things where looking a lot brighter.

Tom continued to work on the guards van, and Peter tried to continue his draining at the tunnel mouth, but conditions where very slippy, so work was halted.

Andy, Craig and Jim started to remove the first section of rail at the crossing where we plan to replace the wood sleepers with concrete ones.

Joe was cutting back some of his plants ready for a blooming display next year and doing a general tidy up.

A good day all round.

Posted by: wrha | November 13, 2016

Saturday 12/11/2016

A good turn out of volunteers, mainly in readiness for the AGM.

The Permaquip Patrolmen’s was given a service by the Northumbria Rail team and has new fuel filters fitted and the coolant topped up with antifreeze.

A run was taken down to the south end of the line to pick up some of the permanent Way materials recovered from Methil. These, along with items already stockpiled will be sorted and and checked so requirements for future plans can be developed.

Malcolm also undertook some work on the brake van so this is a bit more weathertight.

Some work was also undertaken on the Fowler.

Future work on site will involve: The ex Methil track panels being stripped down and the first two panels heading North from the crossing (Main 15 & 14) being stripped and the wooden sleepers being swapped out for concretes. Work on the brake van will continue. Work on the Fowler will continue. Members who are interesting in helping out with tasks will be made welcome; please contact us to confirm the work going ahead.

(Posted by DMS – Edited to try and make photos appear better!)

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