Monday, 30 October 2017

Forthcoming activites

Southern Railway No.A27

We are now entering a busy period now that the frames have arrived.  We need to get the parts drilled and the angles cut to length before we can start the assembly of the frames.  To this end, we have arranged some working days for slightly larger groups to carry out the jobs that need a larger workforce.  These jobs will include finishing the painting of the wheel sets, continuing the stripping of the old frames, together with temporary works to keep the frames safe.  There will be priming and drilling of all of the new parts for the frames and associated angles, as well as plenty of cleaning and painting of existing bits.

We have a growing list of volunteers on the project and I would like to welcome Cameron Maxwell to the "Villarettes" support group, all help is much appreciated from all.  If you would like to join us, please E mail me at the address below and I will forward your details on to the Project Leader and Project Engineer. there are various short safety presentations you will need to attend before starting work, but these are fairly short.


We will be attending the West Sussex 'N' Gauge Group Model Railway Exhibition on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th November 2017.  ( This is an exhibition of all gauges (including 12 inches to the foot!).  The venue is Angmering School off Station Road Angmering.  As well as our stand, the Bluebell Shop will be in attendance, as will our supporters Harrison Brown Models and Morris Models.
We will be showing pictures of the cutting and delivery of the parts to construct our new frames.  We will also have the usual selection of items for sale on the stand and you will be able to ask any questions you may have regarding the restoration of the loco.

We look forward to speaking to you there!


Harrison Brown Models have also opened a webshop page for us, so you can get various items via their website. The link for the Project 27 shop is :

Not all of our regular items will be available via the web shop, especially items in jars, but most of the range can be bought via the link.

Thank You

Clive D. Emsley
Chairman - The Fenchurch Fund
Project Manager - PROJECT 27
A Sub-Committee of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
For on line donations:

For Text Donations: text "FENC72 £10" to 70070 To donate £10
    - you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 just by changing the amount in the text massage.
    - you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
    - your operator's standard text charge applies.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

The frames have arrived!

The frames plates and other parts we have had made by Tata Steel have arrived at Sheffield Park.
The lorry arrived around 10:30 on Monday morning and was unloaded by forklift shortly afterwards.
the frame plates and other profiled parts along with some lengths of angles (Matt Holloway)
Yesterday (28th October) a visit was made to Sheffield Park to see the progress of the work as we now have designated working days (the programme for these will follow shortly).  The smaller angle seen in the picture above had already been cut to size and placed on a pallet to await the machining of the holes and edges.
A pallet of cut angle with then part number written on to avoid confusion later! (Clive Emsley) 
The profiled plates that were supplied by Tata Steel have been pre marked with the centre lines of the holes that need to be drilled and reamed to size.  these will need to be checked and centre punched before they can be drilled.
X marks the spot! the centre lines marked on the plate work. (Clive Emsley)
The largest of the angle was being cut into 12 inch lengths during the visit. These are for using as brackets between the buffer beams and the frames.  It proved to be a logistical challenge getting it mounted on the power hack saw due to length and weight!
Right lads, all we have to do is get it through the small door!
With the aid of supporting rollers and careful fork lift driving it was manoeuvred into place
Making sure it is lined up with the vice jaws
Once the angle was in line on the rollers it was a fairly easy job to align it square with the blade and to adjust to the length required.
Adjusting the roller for alignment
adjusting the vice and checking squareness to the blade
The angle was then marked out and checked twice before cutting the material to length.
Matt measuring the position of the cut
Adding a line square to the angle
Finally the angle was ready to be cut.  This was done using the Bluebell Railway's power hacksaw thanks must go to the Bluebell Railway workshop staff for their assistance with this.
The saw starts it's work!
Making easy work of cutting the angle accurately to length.
Please keep popping back for further updates on the restoration, there is likely to be a fair amount of news in the coming months!
Next weekend (4th/5th November we will be having a sales and information stand at the West Sussex N Gauge Exhibition in Angmering, together with an "official" Bluebell Shop stand.  I will add further details shortly.
Of course we still need to pay for these items,  especially as we were not initially expecting that the frames would need replacing!  If you are able to help us please E mail us on the address below, or use the My donate site or text donation also shown below.

Thank You

Clive D. Emsley
Chairman - The Fenchurch Fund
Project Manager - PROJECT 27
A Sub-Committee of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society

To donate £10 text "FENC72 £10" to 70070
    - you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 just by changing the amount in the text massage.
    - you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
    - your operator's standard text charge applies.


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Trip to Tata Steel and Premier Patterns


Tata Steel Profiling

Yesterday (16th October) a small group of Fenchurch Fund and Project 27 volunteers went to see the progress on the frames and polystyrene patterns.  We arrived at Tata Steel mid morning and the first sheet of material was set up on the plasma cutting machine.  This was one of the thinner sheets of steel for items such as the valance ends and plates to go behind the buffer beam.
Georgina, Matt, Ben, Carl Lammin (Tata Steel) and Jim (all photos Clive Emsley)

The first cut! (all pictures Clive Emsley/Project 27)

Discussing the "nesting" of the pieces on the sheet of steel with one of the machine operators
Cutting the side Valance ends and Buffer plates
The first Valance end piece with rivet hole centres marked
The plate with the remainder of parts yet to be lifted out 
The 22mm (7/8th) plate for the frames has arrived!
Cutting out the rear horn opening
The first frame cut out!
The frames cut out and waiting for delivery!

Premier Patterns

From Tata Steel we moved on to Premier Patterns to look at the process and progress on the cylinder pattern manufacture.  These are being made from casting grade polystyrene using a robotic rotary file, and making much artificial snow in the meantime!
The CNC rotary file being used to produce segments for the second cylinder pattern
The computer that is guiding the CNC machine
Matt inspecting the first cylinder pattern
Preparing to join the segments using a strong double sited tape
Exciting and historic times are upon us.  We Are still buzzing following the trip to see the work being done and we now realise that it really is happening and we need to pay for it!

If you would like to help us this is how you can.

On line donations can be made at

Text donations can also be made To donate £10 text "FENC72 £10" to 70070
    - you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 just by changing the amount in the text massage.
    - you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
    - your operator's standard text charge applies.

We can also accept cheques or cash for any value either with or without a gift aid declaration.  If you would like a gift aid declaration form please contact us by E Mail

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the project, hopefully you will see the fruits of everyone’s labours in around 4 years or so.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Progress on the Axle boxes

With the poor weather last weekend (7th/8th October) a start was made to remove the old white metal from the axle boxes.  This involved placing the axle box over a suitable receptacle and heating the white metal up to it's melting point to allow it to run out into the receptacle. The white metal was collected and weighed to give us an idea of how much will need to be ordered for replacement. The boxes will, in the fullness of time, be re-metalled and machined to match the journals on our wheel sets that were turned true last year at South Devon Railway Engineering.

We have also made a start on removing yet more of the fitted bolts and rivets on the old frames and fitting temporary bolts in their place (the blue ones!).  This enables us to keep everything together in one place until such time as we're ready to assemble the new frames!

Heating up and melting out the old white metal

Matt at the helm of the torch!

All the white metal has been melted out and now sits in the tray underneath.
By comparison our little axlebox is sitting on the right, the one on the left is from the Schools Class.

The frames showing the progress unpicking old fixings and putting in blue temporary bolts.

Horn guides ready to be removed in the future.
I have had a couple of pictures sent to my by Andy Beaton, ex fireman at Sheffield Park and now proprietor of Ragstone Models which show 27 in the (then) newly applied SECR livery in (it is believed) the summer of 1963.  The one below shows the loco at Sheffield Park.
Freshly repainted SECR No.27 at Sheffield Park in 1963 (Andy Beaton Collection)
Don't forget that this weekend you will be able to see the progress on the loco and be able to talk to the chaps doing the work (on Saturday).  We will be there on both days with the usual selection of goodies and a display of restoration pictures.  We hope to see you there.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

With regret

it is with regret that we need to cancel our sales and information stand at the Deltic event this weekend due to illness.  We are aiming to be at the shareholders weekend on the 14th and 15th.  You will be able to see progress on the loco,