Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Weekend of the 25th / 26th April 2015

Restoration Update

In addition to the centenary commemoration at the weekend, there was some activity on the restoration front

Jim and Stuart removing fitted bolts
 By close of play on Sunday, aproximately half of the fitted bolts which hold the cylinders in place had been removed. In the picture above you can see Stuart and Jim removing one of the easier ones! the lower row of bolts are generally easier to remove as they are below the cylinders and have not been corroded by the action of the remnents of smoke box ash reacting with rain water causing severe corrosion of the nuts.

It is likely, we have been told, that it will be likely that the cylinders will be removed within the next two weeks or so. this will only be done once the temporary sretcher has been located between the frames in place of the ballance weight.  Once this happens, the only big thing left to do in the strip down is the splittting of the cylinders.  this will enable us to make a final decision on what we do with them.  It is more than likley at this stage that a new set will need to be cast. Investigations are proceeding, in conjunction with the workshop, who are llooking into the feasibility of constructing a new set for 178, as to the best course of action.

Cylinder Block
The next thing that will be tackled following the removal of the cylinders will be the rear portion of the frames. This will include the cutting of new steel to the correct profile, and size to be able toweld it in place with the minimum of effort.  The Steel for this will need to be purchased and machined to correspond with the design based on the Ashford Works drawing.  The frames will be cut a couple of inches inside the good material, in a position that will give the strongest edge to weld to. The actual position will be carefully measured and marked befor any cutting is carried out!

In addition to the frames themselves, a new drag box and rear stretcher will need to be constructed. The crag box is designed to distribute the load of the train being pulled to the frames of the loco, and can be a fairly complicated item to construct.

A new "J pipe" for 178 is likely to be cast shortly, and we are investigating the possibility of having one made for 27 at the same time. this will hopefully reduce the cost to both the company and ourselves.

The cost of the restoration is being funded entirely by public donations and no funding is available from the Bluebell Railway PLC for this work, so if we don't continue with the fund raising, the restoration stops.  If you would like to help us by sponsoring the steel for the frames, drag box, J Pipe, Blastpipe, the casting of the new cylinders, or indeed any other part of the locomotive, you can.  Please contact us at thefenchurchfund@gmail.com for further details of how you can help.

Just as importantly, if you would like to help the restoration or fund raising team, please also E Mail for details.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Unveiling of the tank from ROD 27

ROD 27 Under Guard at Sheffield Park
We woke up on Saturday  to a wet and dreary day, but that soon cleared!
The day at Sheffield Park started with the disapointment of hearing that SECR 178 had failed and was to be substituted with the BR Class 09 Diesel Shunter on the brake van rides. This did not seem to dampen the enthusiasm of demand!

At 10:30 the troops of the 10th Essex arrived at the front of Sheffield Park Station and paraded before falling out for a bit of R&R. they were back at intervals to give demonstrations of bayonet drill, complete with chilling yells!

A recruitment office was set up on the platform and every time a train arrived a new bunch of recruits were sworn in and took the King's shilling (chocolate of course!). They were then gven some basic drill training followed by a talk on the conditions in the Army.  Finally Capt. Thrush gave a talk about the army logistics and the role of the railways and in particular the SECR locomotives sent to France.

At 2:15 a Guard of Honour was mounted by the 10th Essex prior to the unveiling of the tank to show the livery the loco carried exactly 100 years ago. the ceremony continued with Russell Pearce saying a few words before he and Graham Aitkin (Senior SM Sheffield Park) unveiled the tank. immediately following this the Chaplin read the Exultation, Clive laid a wreath and there was a two minute silence before the Guard of Honour was dismissed.

There was a lot of interest in the Matthew Coussins painting, and we sold 5 prints on the day. there was also a second print showing 27 in four different liveries, this also sold out on the day! if you would like copies of either print, please either see Matthew in the Railway Artists van at HK or we will have a further supply at the AGM.

The Commemorative badge was a great success and many disappeared from the stand during the day. if you would like one of these, we will have them with us on the special train on Sunday, at the Southern at War Weekend (Sunday only) and at the BRPS AGM.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Centenary of War Service Commemoration

P Tanks on the quay at Boulogne (C) M.J. Cousins
Today marks 100 years since 27 and 753 left Kent and travelled to Boulgne by train ferry. It was to be 18 months before they returned to more mundane duties in Dover and the surrounding area.

The painting above is a new work by the renown railway artist Matthew Cousins. It is an impression of the two locomotives on the quayside at Boulgne.  Prints will be for sale for £15 at the Commemoration day at Sheffield Park tommorow (24th April).  The original will also be on display and will be available for sale, should the right offer be made!

We will be unveiling the Right Hand Tank from 27 in the livery it carried exactly 100 years ago today!
the unveiling takes place at 2:15 on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park.

Also available will be the commemorative badges which will be on sale at £5 each, with all proceeds going directly to the restoration of 27.

We are looking forward to seeing you there, thank you for your support

Monday, 20 April 2015

Less than a week to the Centenary

There is now less than a week now until the 100th anniversary of the SECR sending two locomotives to France with the Railway Operating Division on April 24th. A date that should be remembered as it was the first occassion that the ROD requisitioned Standard Gauge locos during the First World War.

Preparations are now in place for the Commemoration day on the Saturday 25th. 
The day will include parades and drill demonstrations by the 10th Essex Regiment (Historically accurate reinactors) who will be cheerily marching to the station at 10:30 ready for "final drill" before joining the train off to the "front" at 4pm. Come and wave them off and wish them well in Flanders.

The Right Hand sidetank from SECR No.27 will be unveiled at 2:15, in the livery it carried exactly 100 years ago when she went off to war in Boulogne. The ceremony will, hopefully, start with an "Edwardian Girl" singing "Keep the Homefires Burning" before the Guard of Honour is called to attention and a few words are given by Society Chairman, Roy Watts before he unveils the tank side.

A commemorative badge will be available to remember the day at a cost of £5 which will help to restore SECR Loco No.27 to working order.

In addition to the badges we will be seling the usual quality items on a stand close to the tank. These include Strawberry Jam, Marmalade, tee shirts, sweatshirts, baseball caps, Fenchurch mugs, tea cans, the list goes on and on!

The tank for display has been given two top coats of plain olive green paint and is ready to be lettered. The lettering will be applied using vinyl letters specially produced by Matthew Cousins, to whom we are most grateful.
The rear of the tank, which no one will see, has been painted in plain black, and the bottom of the tank will be similarly treated before the tank id positioned ready for the ceremony on Saturday.

There was no progress on the frames this weekend as the crew that work on the loco, lead by Stuart Marks, were all involved in either the tank painting or were involved in the organisation of the Deltic Weekend!

The tickets are selling well for the Baxter Special Train on Sunday 3rd May, but there is still chance to reserve your place by sending a cheque for £18 per ticket (made payable to "Bluebell Railway")
to "Project 27, Millfield, Manor Road, Upper Beeding, West Sussex. BN44 3TJ"

Thanks for your continued support.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Articles in Bluebell News

No.27 as Primrose at the north end of Sheffield Park
 The recent issue of Bluebell News (Delivered to me yesterday) includes an article about the war service of the SECR in Boulogne and the part that locos 27 and 752 played in the work. The article also includes a couple of new and interesting pictures.

There is also mention of the test train to be pulled by Fletcher Jennings loco No.3 Baxter with tickets being sold to raise fuinds for No.27. to reserve you seat, please E Mail thefenchurchfund@gmail.com for further details, or see the earlier posting.

Also included is a short biography of Stuart Marks, the new Locomotive Superintendent and the technical lead on PROJECT 27.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Monday 13th April 2015

27 in Sheffield Park Yard - Dave Colwell
The picture above taken by Dave Colwell shows the loco in 1982 or thereabouts. probably just before it was dismantled. although it looked tatty at that point, the loco was in not too bad a condition.

This weekend there was not too much activity on the main part of the project, however, work has continued on the right hand tank. This is to prepare the tank for being painted into the ROD (Railway Operating Division) livery that will be unveiled on Saturday 25th April. The day is now well into the preparation stage and we are hopeful of a reasonable turn out on the day.

We would also like to remind you of the "Baxter" test train Special that is being run for the benefit of PROJECT 27
with the assistance of the BRPS SSC
We are selling tickets for £18 per seat and this includes a Chili con Carne (or similar) either before the 8:15 departure or after the arival back of the 6pm departure.

To book youe seat, please send your cheque (payable to "the Bluebell Railway) to

PROJECT 27, C/O Millfield, Manor Road,Upper Beeding, West Sussex. BN44 3TJ

together with the number of seats requred, the departure time required (6pm of 8:15pm), contact details and any dietry requirments.

Tickets will also be available at Sheffield Park on the Centenary of War Service day on the 25th of April. 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Easter weekend update

Easter Weekend Update 9th April 2015

The locomotive frames were put onto frame stands during the week before Easter which has enabled the team to level the frames in all directions.  Work is now proceeding on the removal of the cylinder block from the frames. The frame stands were kindly passed to us by the Atlantic Project to whom we are extremely grateful.

Stuart Marks can be seen in this picture loosening the nut on one of the fitted bolts which hold the cylinder block in place once the nuts have been removed, pressure needs to be applied to the bolt with a large hammer.  Before the bolts are all removed, temporary fittings will be put in place for safety.  There will also be a temporary stretcher installed between the frames in the place of the large ballance weight that was removed a few weeks ago.

The Right Hand tank was prepared and made ready to be painted into plain olive green and lettered ROD 27 in readiness for the centenary commemoration day on the 25th April.  This event will be at normal prices, so please come along and support us.

Special Train to benefit Project 27

Project 27 has been offered the use of a special train of 4 wheel carriages hauled by ex Dorking Greystone Lime Quarries locomotive No.3 Baxter.  All proceeds going to the restoration of SECR Locomotive No.27.
Tickets are available from Clive Emsley at a price of £18 this includes one round trip on the train with a mal prepared by the Chef of the Bessemer Arms.
Tickets can be obtained by sending a cheque for £18 per ticket to "Project 27, C/O Millfield, Manor Road, Upper Beeding, West Sussex. BN44 3TJ"  indicating your contact details and the train you wish to be booked on (6pm or 8:15pm).

Further information below

Project 27
 Special Test Train hauled by
Loco No. 3 Baxter
Sunday 3rdMay 2015
(Please note that these are tests train and there may be some short notice delay, short working or cancellation of the timetable during the trip)
For a fare of only £18 each you will be entitled to a meal in the Bessemer Arms plus one return trip from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead with a choice of 6pm and 8:15pm departures.

*Bar open at Sheffield Park
*Food included in the price of the ticket
*Travel in the vintage 4 wheeled carriages (no toilets!)
*Unusual motive power for the Bluebell Railway

For More Details Please E Mail
thefenchurchfund@gmail.com  or speak to Clive Emsley
Cheques should be made payable to the Bluebell Railway and sent to
Project 27, Millfield, Manor Road, Upper Beeding,
West Sussex.BN44 3TJ 
*subject to confirmation and short notice alteration to routing and times
† if Baxter becomes unavailable on the day, a suitable substitute locomotive will be used

Centenary of SECR No.27 going to France

SECR No.27 Centenary of War Service
The 24th of April 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of P class Locos 27 & 753 going to France as the first standard gauge
R.O.D. locomotives.
To mark this we will be commemorating
Embarkation day at Sheffield Park on
Saturday 25th April 2015
Events for the day will include:
·      The unveiling of one of 27s tanks in ROD livery
·      The launch of a commemorative badge
·      Attendance by the 10th Essex Re-enactors
·      Brake Van Rides behind 178 at Sheffield Park
·      A display of P Class models in various liveries
 (all subject to confirmation)

New Blog Site

Thursday 9th April 2015

Welcome to the new Blog spot for Project 27. We are a small self-funded sub committee of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society.  Initially we were formed as an administration group to use funds donated following the death of a Bluebell Railway fireman at the tragiclly young age of 22 following an ashtma attack.  At this stage, we were known as the Chip Wood Fund.  We raised enough money to initiate and support the overhaul of LBSCR locomotive No 72 Fenchurch, and we became the "Fenchurch Fund".
Fenchurch was returned to traffic in 2001 and our attentions turned to what to do next. 
SECR Locomotive No.27 had been dismantled in the early 1980s for a "quick" overhaul and has been in pieces ever since! The P Class was essentially an update of the A1x class built by the LBSCR, so this seemed to us an ideal project.
Restoration restarted in earnest in January 2015 when the frames were lifted from the wheels and the last pieces were removed from between the frames.  This is a fairly long term overhaul, and indeed is virtually a restoration as many parts will need to be replaced, partly due to age and partly due to the weather getting into the locomotive following dismantling. over the period of the restoration we envisage spending a great amount of money, which will all be self funded.  As the locomotive does not form part of the core of traffic locomotives, it will recieve workshop space only when absolutely neccesary and space is available.
There are working groups on the locomotive virtually every weekend at the moment, and we are hoping to expand the group working on the project.

Time Line so far

Monday 19th January 2015The frames were lifetd from the wheels and placed in a position to allow work to commence.
Sunday 25th January 2015
Axle boxes removed from the axles - Journals measured - Connecting rods removed from cranck axle
February 2015
Front ballance weight removed - Packing removed from piston rods - New Blastpipe casting delivered
March 2015
Cylinder covers removed - Crossheads removed - Slide bars removed - Pistons Removed - start made on removing fittid bolts to remove cylinders - temporary stretcher manufactured for installation at front on the locomotive
Overhaul of the steam reverser is taking place as part of a college project by a workshop volunteer, and is progressing well.

For further details on these updates please go to the overhaul page on the Bluebvell Railway's web site http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/loco_news/oh_27.html which will be updated regularly.