Monday, 23 April 2018

A short round up

Just a short round up of the last 6 months or so of progress.

As you are probably aware we are now in possession of a new set of cylinders and a new set of frames for the locomotive.  The frames and associated parts are currently being carefully drilled and machined where required.  This is being done "in-house" under rather less than ideal circumstances at times by Matt, Ben and the usual suspects.  the smaller parts can be drilled inside the Villa, but the frames will need to be done outside.  This process will be dependant on the weather and temperature to enable accurate measurement and drilling.

The frames being cut at Tata Steel
The cylinders were cast from poly patterns and were delivered to Sheffield Park in the autumn of last year.  these have had around 6 months of seasoning in the outside atmosphere of Sheffield Park and are currently at Statfold Engineering for machining into useable items.  We are hopeful that the cylinders will be returned to us around June/July of this year.
Cylinders loaded up for dispatch to Statfold Engineering
We are also having all of the fitted bolts and a few other items machined at the same time, thus saving valuable machine shop time and volunteer resources at Sheffield Park. Once returned and the frames are drilled, it will be possible to plan the erection of the frames, currently planned to be carried out in the open air on the concrete area adjacent to the Villa.

This progress has not been cheap, but it has been necessary to progress the restoration.  Indeed this work has cost the Fenchurch Fund just under £20,000 and this has created a hole in the bank account, of course, this is money well spent.
One of the tanks that need replacement being tidied up for display on Platform 1

Our next expenditure will be the tanks and bunker plus repairs to the cab, though this cost will be mainly for materials.  As The Fenchurch Fund is entirely self funded, to allow work to continue, we must keep the funds rolling in!

Of course there is a big item we will need to fund in the not too distant future, the boiler!  This will include a full survey of the two P class boilers that are not in the working locos to see what can be used from these.  Additionally it is already known that there will need to be a fair amount of new boiler plate required to make sure we have a good boiler that will last many years.  It is likely that the boiler work will cost somewhere in the region of £100,000. 
A P class boiler (Currently in  No.178) The ones in store are not so good.
We will need to be able to pay for this when the time comes and currently we will fall short by a considerable sum.

So, how will we go about raising this money? I hear you ask.

Well, we will shortly be commencing a new monthly donation scheme by standing order directly to the Fenchurch Fund's account, or via the Bluebell Railway Trust if gift aid is appropriate.

If you are interested in helping us in this way, please send us an E mail ( and we will let you have the correct form as soon as the final loose end have been tied up, hopefully we will be launching the scheme in time for the BRPS AGM next month.

You can also donate via the link to the BT MyDonate page as shown below.

We need to especially those who have made donations large and small recently, it really does make a difference.

Thanks for your continued support and interest in the project, we are now seeing some really tangible progress on the restoration thanks to you, our supporters.

Please remember that this work can only continue with the donations, support and interest that is forthcoming from all of our supporters. 
If you would like to help us to continue this work with a donation, please go to our BT MyDonate page
 or use the QR code below.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Dates for your Diary

Just a quick note to give you some dates for your diary.  There should be an update shortly, and certainly after the next "official" working day at the weekend. 

The Project team headed by Matt Holloway and Ben Dingley are holding monthly working days throughout the year, the next being next Saturday (14th April).  the working days are held at Sheffield Park and are centred on the Villa workshop just by the main works.  The dates for the rest of the year are:
April 14th, May 5th, June 16th, July 28th, August 18th, September 8th October 20th, November 10th and December 9th.
If you would like to join the group, Please email us first on so that we can let Matt and Ben know and make sure they know you are coming and have the right job for you.

We are also running a few sales stands this year and these are expected to be as follows:

19th & 20th May
Branch Line Weekend
Sheffield Park Platform 1
19th May
BRPS AGM (members only)
The Burgess Hill Academy
23rd & 24th June
Model Railway Weekend
Sheffield Park Birch Grove Suite
11th & 12th August
Steaming through the ages
Sheffield Park Platform 1
1st September
Burgess Hill Model Railway Show
Burgess Hill School for Girls

22nd & 23rd September
Worthing Model Railway Show
Durrington High School
13th & 14th October
Autumn Steam Gala
Sheffield Park Platform 1
3rd & 4th November
West Sussex N Gauge Group Model Railway Show
Angmering School
It is possible that there will be a few more dates, but this is a good idea of what we are doing.  For further information on the external model railway exhibitions please click on the links.

Please remember that this work can only continue with the donations, support and interest that is forthcoming from all of our supporters. 
If you would like to help us to continue this work with a donation, please go to our BT MyDonate page
 or use the QR code below.
To contact us please E Mail us on

Thanks for you interest
Clive D. Emsley