Monday, 29 June 2015

Bluebell Railway Modellers Weekend

Activity this weekend

The fund raising team had a stand at the Bluebell Railway Modellers weekend which was a worthwhile use of the weekend! We sold many items of model railway equipment and other items (as well as taking donations of stock to replace that sold).  The team consisted of Clive and Claire Emsley, Andrew Waller (who travelled down from Northamptonshire for the day), Stuart Bardouleau and Jim Turtle.  Thanks must go to them and also to those who supported us by buying or donating over the weekend.

On the restoration front, Stuart Marks spent Sunday locating and reinstating datum marks on the frames.  He used a pair of dividers located in known datum marks to re-locate some that have been lost over the years.  Once marked with the dividers, the mark was centre punched so that it becomes "permanent" and available during the erection stage of the restoration.  This is a precision job and one that cannot be hurried. If the marks are in the wrong place, the loco will not be assembled correctly and therefore will not work correctly.

If you would like to help us there are various ways of donating, including our "Just Giving" page at

Or for Text donations Simply text "FENC72 £10" to 70070 to donate £10
    - you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10;
    - you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
    - your operator's standard text charge applies.
We are just about to update our Standing Order Forms in conjunction with the Bluebell Railway Trust, so if you would prefer to donate by Standing Order, please bear with us.

Thanks for reading this far.  Pictures will follow in due course.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Another dirty Weekend!

Plenty of wirebrushing going on this Weekend 

No. 27 as "Primrose" sitting on the pumphouse siding at Sheffield Park - Photo The Fenchurch Fund Collection
 This weekend's activities consisted of plenty of scrapers in use together with wire brushes and a chipping hammer. The 9F club spent some time on Sunday morning scraping an accumulated built up "crud" from the outside of the frames before they moved onto other projects. Following their departure, the attention switched to the inside of the frames where the Project 27 team used an electric wire brush, chipping hammer and other manual tools to remove some of the corrosion round the area of the cylinder location.  Care was taken to identify any datum marks on the frames during the process. These marks assist in the erection of the locomotive, and will be invaluable as time goes on to provide an accurate location for various items, including the cylinders, axle boxes and motion. To look at the area of work after the day I would not expect anyone to notice any real difference, but the begining of the preparation of a good quality restoration has begun. This project is being treated as a restoration rather than an overhaul due to the loco being out of traffic longer than, and in a similar condition to, some of the "Barry Wrecks" that are now working on various railways (including ours!). 

There is plenty of, un-glamourous hard work to be carried out before we can start putting the loco back together, so if you are at a loose end any weekend, please contact to see how you can help us.

This weekend, we were given a kind donatation from someone who wishes to remain anonymous of a reasonably substantial amount of money. A huge thank you is sent to the donor from the Fenchurch Fund Committee.

Next weekend we will be having a "monster" display and sales stand at the Bluebell Modellers Weekend. We will be located in the Birch Grove Suite at Sheffield Park.  This location is quite appropriate as loco 473 (Birch Grove) has our whistle on it! We will be showing a selection of Bluebell and other locomotives including a selection of P tanks in various liveries, terriers also in various liveries and a couple of 009 gauge layouts plus a few dioramas. If we can arrange it, we may be displaying some of the parts removed from the loco for restoration, and a few new parts that have been made ready for putting onto the loco at the appropriate time. Please come along and have a chat with one of us on the stand, who knows, maybe you will leave with a jar of marmalade!!  If you would like to lend a hand on the stand preferably on Sunday, but either day, please send an E Mail to the address above and I will let you know the details.
Thank you for reading this far and don't forget to keep popping back for the latest news.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Project 27 in Print

Off to the Front!

Off to the Front by Clive Emsley
A report appeared in the latest Railnews, that was submitted by your culprit, regarding the 100th anniversary of the SECR's involvement in the First World War.  It included the picture above and another together with a short description of why we held the event.
It is good that the article will be seen industry wide as it is available in most Network Rail, and their suppliers offices, and it will hopefuly get the word out to a wider audience.
Thanks to the editorial team at Railnews and the press office at the Bluebell Railway for their assistance.
If you would like to help us either financially or physically, please E Mail the fund at for further information.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Restoration Update

A few notes and pictures from the weekend

With the blanking plates removed from the orifices in the cylinder block, it has been possible to see what is going on inside the block.  Also a preliminary check has been made of the dimensions of the block.  Full use of the block will be made for taking measurements to produce a drawing for a casting pattern as soon as it is possible to clean the surface corrosion away from the block and split it into the two halves.

Cylinder block with the exhaust port blanking plate removed      (Photo by Clive Emsley) 
In the picture above it can be seen that the corrosion affects all areas, although slightly less on the inner surfaces, however, it is possible to see the perforation in the exhaust port wall. All of the studs are also severely corroded, which made the removal of the plates difficult in places.
The Exhaust port with the blanking plate removed   (Photo by Clive Emsley)
In the picture above it is possible to see the fitted bolts (and nuts) which hold the two parts of the cylinder block together at the top.  A similar arrangement holds the block together at the bottom. In this view it appears that there is little corrosion in this side of the cylinder block, but initial looks may be deceptive!

The inlet port with the cover removed    (Photo by Clive Emsley)

In this veiw it is possible to see the amount of corrosion sustined to the inlet port anf the face of the connection. the corrosion on the surface of the machined face is about 5mm thick in places, there is much to clean up before being able to carry out an in depth survey of the block. It is also possible to see the differences in corrosion of the studs! The loose corrosion will be cleaned away to allow a meaningful survey to be carried out.

Looking into the valve chest    (Photo by Clive Emsley)
The accumulation of corrosion has been cleared from the valve chest.  It is not entirely possible to see the full amount of corrosion in this picture, but it does not appear to be beyond use as a reference for the production of drawings for a pattern.

ROD 27 Tank on Platform 1
 The plaque has now been added to the tank which has been placed on display on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park. 

Other work carried out this weekend was a start on the refurbishemnt of the "Villa" the small workshop between the Tesco building and Atlantic House.  This is in need of a thorough tidy and reconfiguirement to make it suitable for future needs and to improve the working conditions of the gang .  There are a few minor safety issues to be improved also.  It is planned that the right hand side will be turned into a small "office" and a painting room with a door or curtains to keep the dust etc from the workshop area adjacent out. The workshop area will also benefit from some reconfigurement.  A number of steel cupboards and drawer units have been kindly donated by a local civil engineering consultancy to help with the job, and they are much appreciated.

The fund benifited from the sale of the painting by Matthew Cousins of 27 and 753 on the quayside at Boulogne.  This was auctioned in the annual sale on Sunday at Atlantic House. Thanks go to them for allowing us to use their sale to our benefit.

We will be having a "monster" stand at the Bluebell Railway Modelers Weekend on the 27th and 28th of June this year.  We will be in the upstairs of the Bessemer Arms along with a couple of other layous and a trader.  We will have a large sales stand, together with a collection of models on display, the highlight of which is a newly built diorama inspired by a picture in the Bluebell Archives of 32636 (Fenchurch) heading a small goods train on the Cuckoo Line in the late 1950s.  There will also be two 009 "tail chaser" layouts on display, one working and one being built. I will also have a full size drawing of a proposed layout of "Cowfold Station" on the imagined line from Haywards Heath South Junction to Gay Street Junction on the Mid Sussex Line.

If you would like to lend a hand at the Modellers Weekend, or on any other sales stand or on the restoration of the loco, please let me know by E Mailing thefenchurchfund@gmail .com

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Important, but not impressive work!

Plaque placed on the tank and other work weekend 6th / 7th June

The plaque recently installed on the ROD tank at Sheffield Park
  The plaque shown above was fitted to the tank of the loco that is on display in ROD livery outside the shop at Sheffield Park.  The plaque was kindly sponsored by one of our senior members in recognition of the hard work so far carried out on the loco.  It was fixed by Jim Turtle at the weekend.

No work was carried out on the frames, but nevertheless, things are happening.  Matt took the blanking plates off the cylinder casting to see what it looked like below. Much as susspected, the cylinders are not in the best of condition! A start was made on photographing and measuring the existing cylinder block. These photographs and measurements will assist in the making of drawings to produce a pattern for the cylinders. For the quantities of cylinder castings required, it appears that polystyrene patterns are the way to go.

This comming weekend (13th / 14th June) The Atlantic Fund are having an open day at their workshop. This means that it will be possible to see the progress on the restoration of No.27 as you walk to Atlantic House.  If we can, we are hoping that there will be people on hand to show you the progress on the frames and cylinders of loco 27, but this cannot be confirmed at the moment.

We will be having a large display of information, models and other items at the Bluebell Model Railway Weekend on the 27th and 28th of June, and again if possible we would like to be able to show you the restoration "on the ground", but again it is dependant on the number of volunteers available. We will also be having a "monster" sales stand there!  If you have any model railway or railwayana items you would like to donate to us, please contact us via the following E Mail address:

Thank you for your interest

Monday, 1 June 2015

Latest News!

Saturday 30th May 2015

Firstly, I must say that I will add some pictures tomorrow, I forgot to bring my "everyday" camera with me today :-(  (here is one of my holiday snaps to be going on with!)

I have now updated this post with some pictures of the activities on Saturday.

Brussels to Zeebrugge train at the juntion with the Blankenberge line
Well, following my trip to study the delights of Northern Belgium I spent the day on Saturday at Sheffield Park. This was not to commemorate the 75th anniversary of my Grandfather comming off the Mole at Dunkirk, but to do something meaningful on the loco!
After uncovering the frames on Saturday Morning, I met with the members of the SECR Society and Southern Railways Group to show then round the restoration of the loco. 

Members of the SECR Society and the Southern Railways Group
They were interested to see the work being carried out on the frames and hearing our plans to replace the rear section of corroded material.  They also saw the cylinders and ballance weight that are awaiting works to refurbish, in the case of the weight or for measurement, in the case of the cylinders.  They were interested to hear the possible cost of the restoration and particulary the cost of the cylinder castings and a new boiler. One of the questions asked was the usual one regarding the livery of the locomotive following restoration! Whilst this is a long way off we do need to have a selection in mind and a "preferred" livery.  Currently the livery, preferred by the restoration team and the Fenchurch Fund, is early Southern lined green with the number A27 on the tank sides. As I have said the livery is a long way off and this is not set in stone!

They also took the opportunity of taking pictures of 178 and 263 from the "wrong side of the fence" whilst they were with us.  They went onto have a talk about the railway from Roger Price before travelling behind the C class 592.

Following their visit, I spent the day wire brushing and chipping rust away on the inside of the right hand frame, to be honest, if you looked at it, you wouldn't notice where I had been! 

Area between the frames after using a chipping hammer and wire brush
 I did have a little excitement using a "wizzy gadget" to burnish the holes in which the fitted bolts were located! Once cleaned to shiney bare metal, the holes were greased for protection until the day comes that they are required to locate the new fitted bolts to hold the new set of cylinders.

Some of the burnished holes

The holes having been "greased up"

The wire brushing, chipping and general cleaning up work will continue for a good while yet, with a good coat or two of quality primer following on for protection. Whilst this is not the most glamorous of jobs, it is vital for a good foundation to a top class restoration.

If you would like to help us in this vital work please E Mail me at for further details.  We are always looking of new ways to help pay for the work we are carrying out, so if you have any ideas, please let us know and we will see if we can use them.  The items so far that need paying for include: a set of blast pipe castings, paint and sundries, whilst in the near to medium term we will need to consider how we pay for a set of cylinders and a new boiler!