Posted by: wrha | February 9, 2020

Saturday 8th February

After a couple of early showers we had a cool windy day that allowed outside jobs to be done.

The team working on the 26 removed a number of the control cubicles to allow access to the body work behind. Again areas of heavy corrosion were cut away to be replaced by new steel. It is amazing just how much corrosion is present within the cab. This side of the cab is starting to come together although there is still plenty to do before re-assembly can start.

Ian carried out more work on the repairs in the buffet coach with the doorway partition in place.

The locking frame was put in place on the signal frame along with the covers. Once this was all secured the top covers were put in place. This is the signal frame complete for a moment.

One of the level crossing gates was retrieved from storage down by the Saxa van. It was transported up to the compound on one of the pw trolleys. These gates are very heavy so the least amount of lifting and moving is the order of the day. The gate will be repaired and painted before hanging on one of the restored gate posts.

More work was done on the generator, unfortunately this was not meet with any success, so it is back to the drawing board.

All being well new stock should be arriving during the week, so the blog will be updated when they appear. The railway is featured in an article in this Sunday’s Scotland on Sunday.

Posted by: wrha | February 3, 2020

Saturday 1st February

A grey but mild day with some drizzle saw another good turn of volunteers attacking a number of the current list of ongoing jobs.

In the coaches Ian and John progressed the work they have been doing to repair the damage caused by water ingression in the buffet coach. The boards that were cut and glued last week were fitted.

The site tidy up team continued their work to get the site looking as good as possible an removing some of the potential trip hazards there are around the area. There was no fire this week as the steady rain put paid to that.

The 26 crew continued there work in the cab, the amount of steel-work going into the cab must surely be helping the ailing British Steels balance books! Further work was done on the cab door area. Most of the work is now done on this area and the steel work will be primed and painted before the focus changes to the other side of the cab.

The generator on the hand trolley was stripped to try and identify the problem that is causing it to fail to start. Despite a number of components being removed and checked nothing was really identified as being at fault so the investigation is on-going. All a little frustrating but we will get to the bottom of it.

The smaller section of the locking frame was cleaned up and then trial fitted back on the actual frame. The top covers were also put in p[lace on this part of the frame and it looks really good. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks the whole thing can be assembled.

Whilst all this was going on a shunt of some of the stock in the siding took place so that everything is ready for the fore-coming stock delivery.

As the day was drawing to a close the sun came out and the rain clouds drifted away, such is the delights of working at Whitrope.

Posted by: wrha | January 27, 2020

Saturday 25th January

The volunteers were again out in good numbers of a dull grey January day.

Further work was carried out on the new signal hut with two new windows cut which will allow much improved lines of sight for the signal person. The plan is to cut another set of windows to give the best possible view of operations for the person on duty in the signal cabin.

George applied a coat of primer to the gate post that was moved into the hut at the end of the platform last week. He then moved onto the 26 to continue work in there.

The general site tidy up continued with one of the containers sorted out and more waste cleaned up. A shunt of some of the stock in the siding also took place to ensure items were in the right place before the new stock arrives in the next couple of weeks.

The mild weather so far this winter has allowed us to progress jobs well so far. Hopefully this will continue so we can get through as many jobs as possible before the new season starts.

Posted by: wrha | January 22, 2020

Saturday 18th January

Such a wonderful day for outside work, especially only being mid-January. Unfortunately, the Hawick crew were later in arriving having traveled via Bonchester Bridge to collect the latest order of cut steel to progress the work currently ongoing with 26040.

As a direct result of the exceptional Border Life programme last week, a new member / volunteer from Carlisle joined before heading on to the shops. He is looking forward to returning next weekend as a volunteer. For those that missed the programme it was shown on ITV on Tuesday 14th at 19:30. I’m sure it will be on catch up and is well worth viewing.

The first two restored level crossing gate supports were moved from where they had been stored and transported to the crossing so that the concrete bases could be marked for drilling. The third post, having been cleaned, was then moved indoors to properly dry prior to painting. Alan then started to remove paint and rust from the last gate support to be restored. The drilling of the concrete base had to be abandoned as the portable generator refused to start. A rethink and a plan was formulated so that the work can be progressed next weekend.

Ian and John were busy fabricating the new timber to replace the rotten timber in the buffet. Tom and Pete continued tidying the site and removing any unwanted items currently stored in containers.

The 26 received some of the new steel delivered today, the rusted metal door and window frames were replaced and the whole cab side made more robust. The cab door was removed so Ian could measure it up for the timber that is required.

As some of you may have seen in the on-line railway press we have purchase two of the recently withdrawn pacer units. These should hopefully be arriving up at Whitrope soon. They are fully operational, so we will be able to start driver training on them straight away. If things go to plan these will provide us with further stock for passenger operations this year. To help with the transport cost for these units we will be launching an appeal so please look out for that and any help would be much appreciated. With the arrival of the new stock there will be even more demand on our volunteers so if you want to come along and lend a hand please pop by, you will always be made welcome.

Posted by: wrha | January 13, 2020

Saturday 11th January

A good number of volunteers braved atrocious conditions to be on site. Heavy rain and wind meant that there was a focus on inside work.

The team working in the class 26 were removing sections of corroded metalwork from around the door frame and replacing it with new material. There is still a large amount to do, but it is pulling this side of the cab back together well.

Further work was completed on the locking frame with most of the components cleaned and the frame partially reassembled. A start was also made on cleaning up the second section of the locking frame. Meanwhile John applied black top-coat to the two cover plates ready for when it goes back on the actual lever frame.

The other jobs around the site were put on hold as the weather remained miserable.

Posted by: wrha | January 6, 2020

Saturday 4th January

Hello and Happy New Year everyone.
A good turn out of volunteers, keen to start the new year with a bang. A number of different tasks were undertaken, with work progressing on most of the current projects.

In the morning while the weather was slightly better work was carried out on the level crossing gate post, cleaning off the rust and flaking paintwork.
Some work was carried out on both the bug and RB004 to ensure that they are both fit to run.

The team working on the class 26 had a busy day removing the insulating from the inside of the cab roof. This allowed access to the metal framing and new metalwork to be welded in place to help re-construct the door frames. This will go a long way towards making the cab more water-tight.

Further work was carried out on the new signal cabin to improve the weatherproofing and prepare for additional windows. These will help improve the line of sight for the signalman in the cabin. More work was also carried out on the locking frame which will hopefully be fitted to the signal frame in the next couple of weeks.

It is the start of what promises to be another exciting year, with a number of the current projects coming to fruition. If you are interesting in coming along to help, please come along you will always be made welcome.

Posted by: wrha | December 26, 2019

Saturday 21st December

A dry forecast for Saturday 21st prompted Alan and Jim to visit the site with the intentions of applying a coat of wood preservative to the new signal cabin before winter really sets in. Other small jobs, but none the less important, were also carried out including erecting a fence between the new signal cabin and reception hut. Silicone sealant and packing were added to the footings of the cabin to stop the ingress of water. The cabin was built with sleepers as a base but they are all slightly different thicknesses so still had to be properly sealed.
Chris arrived mid-morning and was engaged in weeding some of the track near the tunnel.
Arrangements had been made for a Christmas get together at Wetherspoon’s in Hawick, later in the afternoon. Nine of us enjoyed the “blether” and some tasty food.


Posted by: wrha | December 16, 2019

Saturday 14th December

A good turn out of volunteers for what will be last working Saturday of the year.

Work continued on the signal cabin and frame. Guttering was put up on the signal cabin which will hopefully help keep the rain out of the doorway. The old plastic sleeves on the levers were removed and the top of the levers buffed up. This makes the whole frame look much smarter.

The team working on the cab of the 26 continue to make progress. The air tanks were removed from the roof of the cab. This will allow access to some of the framework to restore areas affected by corrosion.

The exhibition coaches also received further attention with all the guttering cleared of the autumnal debris, which will hopefully help reduce the water ingress issues.

Overall a really good day with all the ongoing projects advancing a little.


Posted by: wrha | December 8, 2019

Saturday 7th December

A good turn out of volunteers saw numerous jobs undertaken across the site.

The team working on the 26 were out in force and continued to progress the repairs to the cab.
Baz was up with a new starter motor for the bug, that he had to import as there were none available over here. With the new starter fitted the bug was run up and given a quick outing to ensure everything was operating correctly.
The Ruston was also run up, as she had not been run for a while. This also allowed anti-freeze to be added to the cooling system ready for winter. Once started she was left to run for a while to ensure that the anti-freeze was well mixed into the coolant system.

The members on site got their first view of the new shed, which will act as the signal box with the recently fitted frame. With the frame protected from the weather, the job of the day was to fit electric lighting in the box. This was successfully completed and by the end of the day the light in new signal box shone out brightly on a very dreich afternoon.
Work on the interlocking mechanism also progressed and hopefully we will be able to fit this back on the frame fairly soon to allow the completion of this part of the project.
There is still still ground works to finish off around the signal box, but overall everyone is really pleased to see the excellent progress on one of the main projects we are currently undertaking.
Overall a very good day with a great deal achieved, despite the wet afternoon.

Posted by: wrha | December 2, 2019

Saturday 30th November

A bright clear day saw a good number of volunteers on site.

The main job of the day was to connect up the signal to the lever frame. This was achieved by shortening one of the wire runs and fixing a bottle screw in the line to allow further adjustment. Then it was testing the run and seeing the signal bounce up into the raised position. It was a good reward for the team that have put in so much work to get the frame to this point.
The interlocking mechanism was retrieved from one of the containers along with it’s covers. These will be the last part of the frame to be restored. There are no plans to use the interlocking mechanism, but it is going to be restored to working order before we fix it to the frame. It is an interesting exercise to see how the mechanism works and how we will be able to repair it.

Further work was done inside the cab of the 26, although there is still a huge amount to do before this area is safe to use.

Elsewhere work continues on the Fowler down in Darley Dale. The bodywork has been removed, as has the power unit. There are a few hurdles to clear now before the new power unit can go in. We are still hopeful that we will see her back at some point next year.

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