Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Tales of the Andrew Briddon Loco collection

Elsewhere - www.andrewbriddonlocos.co.uk - you can see the "official" face of the locomotive collection my son has built up. Here on "Weekend Rails" you can read a blow-by-blow account of our work in restoring and improving them.

Of "Pluto", Teesmaid" and "Libby"

28th August 2011

And so another August Bank Holiday is upon us. Andrew was away on Saturday, but was anxious that I went up to the DVLR, partly to deliver two radiator elements as spares for Trevor and Vince – owners of D9523 – and partly so that I could make up a fresh drawing of the vac brake linkage on “Pluto” with a view to replacing it with a more rigid one.

Of a wet Sunday

17th July 2011

Surprisingly, both Andrew and I were in different places on Saturday, and neither of them railway oriented (well Andrew spent a time on a platform at the Mid Norfolk, but that’s another story) and I was at a 95th birthday party. But by Sunday we were pretty much in the same place at the same time and so loaded up the van to return to Rowsley.

Of best laid plans

31st July 2011

A couple of weeks ago I said that the departure date for Pluto was the 25th and could not be deferred. I was wrong. All it needed was the driver to ring in sick and Heanors have no spare man available because of holidays. Peak Rail’s Rob Sanders and I had been waiting 45 minutes before we learnt this of course, and after a flurry of phone calls, we re-scheduled the move to Friday.

Of bits and brakes

15th August 2011

We already knew that Andrew would be away on Saturday attending a birthday party. so I was to have one of those extremely rare things, a free weekend day. For once I was to escape rail activity, but to make up for it, we slipped over to Rowsley Friday night in order to reposition a few locos to make them more readily accessible for a long day on Sunday.

Of Bombs and burns

7th August 2011

Our plan, as we thought it was at this time last week, was to spend the weekend at Rowsley operating the Drewry “WD72229″ at Peak Rail’s Forties event. But we already knew that the original plan for a “Troop Train” had had to be scrubbed and as the week wore on, Andrew announced that he would therefore drop me off at Rowsley on Saturday and head on elsewhere. Of course, Steph and my daughter Jennifer were committed, as for several years they have run a stall (”Make Do and Mend”) at the event which started off trying to educate the younger visitors on what life was like for kids in that decade, with such practices as peg-dolls and knitting – quite alien to a generation brought up with the concept that anything involving entertainment involves the movement of electrons.

Of brackets and bouncing batteries

10th July 2011

Saturday: Andrew arrived back from a few nights inspecting stock down at Norwich mid-morning on Saturday, and after a brief recuperation and lunch, we set off for Rowsley to pick up where we left off. After 4 days of hectic PR at PR, the station appears to have sprouted commemorative plaques all over, a “Roll of Honour” is now up on a wall in the shed (where only volunteers will see it – probably best as it fails to indicate whether the names contributed financially to the shed or records those wiped out by some sad catastrophe) and the shed itself looked conspicuously tidy.

Of brakes and brackets

11th September 2011

Andrew decided that, as he was going to be away on Saturday at his girl friend’s (and Steph and I were therefore heading back south to resume sorting the contents of my late father’s bungalow, scouring for essential bits of paper that the modern legal system considers essential) he would take Wednesday afternoon off and head over to Rowsley to resume needle-gunning “Libby”. Thus he found himself on a 5-car Meridian heading back from Derby to Sheffield rather than the HST he would normally opt for.

Of coal and corrosion

21st August 2011

I was back at Rowsley for Andrew on Tuesday, to meet with two gentlemen from a company who repair traction motors and generators and for whom we had brought the Brush over to the shed late last Sunday. With the aid of the Drewry, and Gary Hibbs who was conveniently available to act as shunter (thanks!) I put the loco over the inspection pit. Regular readers may recall that just over a year ago we had Bowers in to look at the motor, but they never confirmed their price and as Andrew is now considering making a “serious start” early next year it was time to plan ahead.

Of Cummins and cancers

4th September 2011

With Andrew on hols, much of this weeks’ instalment revolves around his activities, for reasons which will also come clear.

On Tuesday, as he headed south to Wansford, I departed north to Batley to pick up the latest profiles from my supplier. These included the bracketry for the revamped train brake control for the Drewry, and bits for the alternator, rad filler, compressor intake on “Libby” plus a few bits for “Pluto”.

Of exhausting days

3rd July 2011

As I was saying at the end of last week’s blog, my next stop was Rowsley to investigate the report of Charlie’s alternator “screaming”. It was quiet enough when I started it up, but it had had time to cool so I took it off anyway and sure enough it was very stiff and probably had a bearing problem. So I hunted out a spare from the VBA, swapped pulleys and got it going again, ready for Matlock duties, though for a day or two Rob was using the HST’s 08.

Of final preparations

24th July 2011

Saturday: With “Pluto” set to move north on Monday the 25th, this was the last weekend we had to complete the vac fit and other outstanding matters. So once Andrew had arrived back from a week of night shifts in darkest Norfolk, we packed the van and set off for Rowsley. The motive power situation had apparently been a bit eventful at Rowsley. Ever since the extension to Matlock opened, the lack of run round loop has meant that all trains are top and tailed, which usually means the Austerity (68013) on the Matlock end and the class 31 at the Rowsley end to pull it back.

Of wagons and D2128

18th September 2011

It has been a busy but sad week in the run-up to my father’s cremation at Bournemouth. We were surprised at how many came – the chapel was full to overflowing – and in the “wake” afterwards we learnt how many New Milton area residents were on his publicity circulation list. It seems that he had a group of avid readers of all Andrew’s press cuttings, and I was asked “you are the one who was on Scrapheap Challenge, aren’t you?” by people I’d never met before.

Of welding skills and broken drills

25th September 2011

You must excuse me, I’m a little pooped. An awful lot of miles this week down to the south coast and back, combined with loading personal possessions for the trip to what we all prefer to call “recycling” nowadays. Just what did my Father want with 4 electric shavers of the Phillishave type?


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