With work steadily progressing at Washford this week’s blog sees another member of the Trust Board, Andy Norman provide an update.

Tuesday this week saw the Chairman, Ian Young and myself taking a trip to the Mid Hants Railway as a part of forging the new partnership between the two organisations. Time was spent with the MHR CME and General Manager discussing some of the forthcoming opportunities and working through the various work streams underway and allowing the S&DRT Team to meet some more of the wider MHR family. 

It was a busy day on the MHR, lots or people visiting with parties of school kids and coach trips, as everybody was socially distancing on the platforms it looked very full a few times and at one point we had to wait for about 5 minutes to walk through the entrance gate as a coach party walked through, its amazing how everybody has automatically got used to face masks and the 2 metre rule without thinking about it, just automatically doing it. The cafés and shops also seemed to be doing a good trade and nobody went short of breakfast or lunch, and it seems the Shunters Breakfast was very important and well-advertised at Alresford. The fact that the MHR General Manager was also on station shunting duties was just a coincidence of course!!

Moving the collection

Work is due to start soon on displaying the S&DRT Museum items. These are going to be displayed in various places along the line with an initial focus on the Trust’s BG Coach and the Goods Shed area in Alresford. The Burnham on Sea signal box soon to be moved to area overlooking Ropley station and yard where a new base awaits it. More of the trust rolling stock is due to arrive at MHR in the coming days and weeks and planning is starting on some larger and more longer term projects which are being considered as a part of the partnership. 

Can you spot the difference in the pictures below?

Trust Locomotives at the MHR

The trust owned 7F 53808 could be seen in the yard at Ropley taking a rest after several days of working following recent maintenance work. The work programme was well documented on the Ropley MPD facebook group with photos and videos of the white metalling process being a personal highlight. The photo was taken from a location close to where the Burnham Box will be sited.

Kilmersdon was inspected and the rapid progress on its overhaul was reviewed. Work is well advanced with the locomotive dismantled, the smoke box removed and the boiler tubes also removed. One thing that has been discovered is that it seems its smoke box door is in the wrong place!! Currently it sits right in the middle of the front of the smokebox. However a keen eyed person on the MHR spotted that in fact it should be set lower and slightly ‘off-centre’. A quick view of old photos reveals this is the case, it seems in a previous overhaul a new smokebox front plate was made and the hole was cut in the wrong place, most likely because it looked better being dead centre. In fact it stops the bottom row of tubes being taken out. When Kilmersdon was made by Peckett it appears they placed it lower for a good reason to make tube replacement a lot easier. A bit more research will now take place and the S&DRT & MHR will consider if this is a good opportunity whilst it’s apart for overhaul to fix the issue and get it back to a more original look.

Volunteering with the S&DRT

Ian and myself also took the opportunity to meet a S&DRT Member Roger who lives locally to the MHR. It’s too long a trip to Washford for him now and wants to get involved as a S&DRT volunteer on the MHR as part of the new team. Joint S&DRT/MHR working is one of the things being organised and the MHR are looking forward to welcoming S&DRT Volunteers to join in. If anybody wants to come along and get involved in any aspect of loco work, cleaning, overhaul, museum set up/manning or anything else please get in touch there is a lot to do going forward. Information can be found on how to volunteer can be found here: https://www.sdrt.org/volunteering/

Don’t forget the Progressing our Future appeal. The appeal is vital to support us moving forward and to ensure we are able to continue to preserve what has been built up over 50 years. Please consider giving what you can. Details can be found here: https://www.sdrt.org/appeal-for-the-future-of-the-trust/

Andy Norman

Director & Company Secretary