A warm Waverley Route welcome to Mk2f BSO no. 9538. Collected from MOD Kineton this morning (20/9/12), Northumbria Rail’s latest acquisition arrived in Newcastleton for the customary photoshoot by tea time, with offloading at Whitrope likely to be first thing in the morning. The coach is currently in faded ex- Virgin Cross Country livery, but blue and grey to match fellow 2f no.1215 is planned.
A “brake end” means loco hauled passenger trains are on the cards just as soon as the Fowler is up and running. In fact our two Mark 2fs between them represent a small but perfectly formed passenger “rake”, offering accomodation for both first and standard class passengers, a compartment for the guard, a cage for luggage etc and of course a fully appointed buffet/ kitchen.
For once there was no rain, the midges didn’t eat us alive, we managed not to succumb to sun-stroke and it wasn’t blowing a hurricane. It’s not often the weather is “just right” up at Whitrope.
The main task for the weekend was building our stock siding, although we also managed to extend our headshunt (our embryonic run-round loop) by a couple of panels. It was quite a physical couple of days, with a lot of lifting and shifting of rails, sleepers and baseplates employing our usual collection of hand tools, jacks, track trolleys and wheelbarrows. If anyone out there would like to lend or donate a road/ rail excavator with a full set of attachments, just drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elsewhere on site, Ian Crooks was busy filling and sanding the east side of the exhibition coaches, Joe was strimming and spray-applying weedkiller and Pete, Tom and Davy were busy on the locos. We had a fair number of visitors on both days, all ably looked after by host/ booking clerk/ shopkeeper/ trolley dolly Alan Maule. The railbus was in operation giving rides, with Paul Brennock acting as guard/ TTI on Sunday.
It was interesting to hear that pupils at one of the Hawick primary schools are doing a project on the Waverley Route, with a number paying a visit recently to take a look at our exhibition and enjoy a run on the train. In fact, one lad had his first ever train trip at the weekend: its easy to forget that the Scottish Borders is one of the largest areas in the whole of the UK devoid of railways. With one of the Association’s constitutional aims being education, its nice that we can tell the story of the old Borders lines to the latest generation.
Out of the news a bit recently, restoration of our ex- Hartlepool P.S. Fowler 0-6-0 continues on site, with a start made on removing the air tanks for inspection and testing. Thanks to our friends down at “Rocks By Rail” (formerly the Rutland Railway Museum near Oakham), we’ve acquired a new cylinder liner and replacement piston and these will be heading north in October. We’re also grateful to the guys at Ketton Cement Works near Stamford for unearthing a manufacturer’s service manual for our power unit (the sister loco which donated its power unit to our loco was based at Ketton). For the record it’s a 275hp, 900-series, 6 cylinder, 15.177 litre diesel marketed as a Leyland Albion and manufactured by British United Traction Limited. We understand that lower rated horizontal versions of these engines were commonly used in first generation BR DMUs: if you can add any further information please feel free!