I couldn’t resist, it should be Potable Training more of which below.
For the last few years LMSCA members have helped Peak Rail at Rowsley by ‘watering up’ the various charter trains that arrive from the main line. Given that these are much longer than the normal Peak Rail rake there is much laying out of hoses and reels to reach the far end of the train which is well out of the platform. The priority is always to get water into the kitchen car which can take from 45 minutes to over an hour depending on how much they have used on the inward journey. The charters usually stay for about two hours so it’s a rush to get water into every coach and the procedure is to give each tank 10 to 12 minutes ‘on the hose’.
However, I wonder if our services will be surplus to requirements in the future as we hear that the new TOC Saphos Trains is using potable water in all its vehicles, with a tanker of such being sent to servicing points on the journey. We don’t know if the other charter operators will follow suit, but it’s a possibility.
What of the three chaps in the photo? Well my keen photographer wife took the picture while waiting for 70013 Oliver Cromwell to leave Rowsley with the RTC Peak Forester last October, and left to right are myself, Ben Riley and Harvey Coppock – unfortunately my baggy overalls disguise my racing snake figure! We don’t usually get time to watch the loco being turned and serviced but we do get a grandstand view of the departure – and as you see have to be kept behind barbed wire to protect the public.
Incidentally when my wife first showed me the photo I said “Ah, the three amigos”, to which she replied “More like the three reprobates”, honestly, what a cheek!
It’s a doubly good start to 2018 for us as we have just finished the restoration of CCT E94630 which will become our upholstery workshop, plus after a bidding process, ownership of Medical Examination Car 10825 has been transferred to us from the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.
The CCT is one of three donated to us by in 2001 by Jarvis Rail, and had been kept in the goods shed at Wakefield Kirkgate for many years along with a LMS BG which was also donated – unsurprisingly they were known as ‘the Wakefield Four’. E94630 was used for storage at Peak Rail and although we were keen to restore it events overtook us, and it was left on the back-burner. Then an idea was put forward to use it as an upholstery workshop and work started in earnest, especially as much rotten steelwork had to be cut out and new steel welded in. Everything has been done to a high standard including the interior which has new LED lighting and a full electrical installation. It was wheeled out of our workshop on 30 December and is now in its new position just awaiting the access steps to be built. The video shows the rollout and some of the team involved.
The Medical Examination Car 10825 was built by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway as a corridor third at Newton Heath in 1910. It was converted to a US continental ambulance staff car in 1917, then rebuilt by the LMS as a staff medical examination car numbered 10825 in 1923. It would have toured the LMS and London Midland Region conducting eyesight tests etc. It was eventually withdrawn in 1971 and initially preserved by the Historic Rolling Stock Group at the Severn Valley Railway, it then moved to Dinting Railway Centre in the care of The Bahamas Locomotive Society, then to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester in the early 1990s. A group of museum volunteers carried out a high-quality restoration, and a full repaint in early LMS livery. The then museum management wished the public to see how a carriage was constructed, and one end and a 10ft length of one side were therefore left unfinished.
10825 will be transported to the Rowsley to complete its restoration. Fortunately many drawings, including the bespoke furniture, are available, and as much as possible of its history and fabric will be preserved. It has one large central saloon and two smaller saloons one of which has longitudinal seating, while the other has transverse seating. The large saloon has no fixed seating so is a completely flexible space, it also has double doors each side. There are two toilets, one of which originally contained a stand-alone Dargue-Griffiths heating boiler, and two small changing rooms. The flexible large saloon will have appropriate seating and in conjunction with the smaller saloons will allow daily running with disabled access, dining, private parties, education and training, hospitality, and filming contracts. The disabled access provided by the double doors means we will not have to modify another of our vehicles.
Last Thursday I set off for my normal volunteering duties at Rowsley and was pleasantly surprised at how light the traffic was. A good and productive day was had in the carriage shed with the always welcome bit of socialising and putting the world to rights. Then off to Tideswell for some delicious fish and chips, taken to eat on the platform at Millers Dale station, where (old age does have some benefits) I recall steam days when there seemed to be a freight train through every few minutes, usually with a Fairburn tank doing the banking for the northbound ones taking their coal to the hungry Lancashire mills. Back to reality and the Peak District looked stunning with the sun casting long evening shadows as I drove home. On arrival I opened the post and found a letter from one of our supporters who lives ‘north of the border’ – and enclosed was a cheque for £500 towards our LMSCA efforts.
Makes it all seem worthwhile!
PS the photo was taken at Millers Dale on 10 April 1964, shortly before Rowsley MPD closed.
The week commencing Monday 15th February saw a long held ambition of mine realised – to ride in an LMS coach on part of the old Midland main line.
After many years of restoration by LMSCA members, the National Railway Museum’s 1925 Derby built LMS Third Open 7828 was shunted out of our shed, turned on Peak Rail’s turntable, and added to the rake in the platform at Rowsley South. After a few checks a short steam hauled run to Church Lane crossing took place, followed after return to Rowsley South by running over two sets of crossovers including the tightest one on Peak Rail to check the action of the adaptor gangway with the Mk1 RBR that 7828 was coupled to. All seemed to be OK although the amount of sideways movement is a bit alarming to watch close up!
7828 remained on the running set during Peak Rail’s half-term midweek running with further checks carried out by carriage manager Harvey Coppock, then on Saturday 20th a group of working members boarded to carry out some snagging jobs – nothing major mainly missing or loose screws – and importantly to enjoy a longer ride, this time to Matlock Riverside. Everyone was of the same opinion – a smooth ride, perhaps slightly more bouncy than a Mk1, but LMS coaches are softly sprung; the steam heat worked and after some initial warm paint odours settled down; the brakes work – essential; the seating is very comfortable; and perhaps most important 7828 seems to make a big impression on all who see her, including the owner of a well known railway modelling company at Darley Dale who saw 7828 going past, had to come and have a look inside, and was most impressed.
Further work to ease some of the droplights is needed, and the dynamo needs attention but otherwise 7828 should be fit for its first revenue earning run as a dining coach on Mother’s Day 6th March.
Our next project at Rowsley is a 1935 Third Open No.9125, just ten years younger than 7828 but with large windows and art deco interior very different stylistically which fits well with the aims of the LMSCA to show the development of the LMS coach.
Well more like the finger of Bob really, Bob Matkin that is, who with yours truly finally managed to plumb in one of the drop-down sinks into the NRM’s LMS Third Open 7828. Much adjustment of feed and waste pipes was required but I think the work was worth it with Ken Paige’s cleaning efforts on the sink showing to good effect. Just need to connect up the toilet pan now and we’re all ready to go – err but not in the shed or the station please!
Here’s the thing, we want the lovely LMS Period 1 Third Open 7828 we’re working on to have working toilets, but with Period 1 and 2 coaches you have to scramble up on the roof with a hose to fill the tanks, not a good idea. So we brainstormed a low level filling system – the first version attempted to fill via the drain but we found the internal pipework gave a ‘virtual head’ of water causing the fill to take the easy way out of the breather pipe – it worked if someone went on the roof and blocked the breather with their finger but you’re back to square one. OK so version two was to cut a hole fairly high up in the tank and fit a bog standard 15mm compression brass tank fitting (£2.17 from Toolstation). But, how are we to get it through the hole we’ve drilled given that the roof filler is too small to get a hand through into the inside of the tank – unless you can borrow a small child? This is where a piece of wire comes in and the good Dr Ben Riley says this is like a medical procedure.
So it went like this, first a 22mm hole was cut in the tank, as far as possible in line with the roof filler and avoiding the baffle in the tank. Then while I was up the ladder Bob Matkin pushed a length of electrical wire through the hole and I hooked it out from above and tied it off. Then the tank fitting was given some sealant and threaded onto the wire, and Bob below told to standby. The fitting was released and by some miracle shot down the wire and straight out of the hole! By the time I had come down the ladder Bob had already screwed the retaining nut on and there we have it! We had a backup plan to use a couple of ‘L’ shaped hooks to pull the fitting through the hole but didn’t need them in the end.
A ‘T’ piece and two non-return valves will be used with concealed hoses down to solebar level to enable the filling. It doesn’t happen very often but now and again things do work out nicely!
LMS Period 1 Third Open 7828 has been residing outside the LMSCA shed at Rowsley for a few weeks to enable the chassis to be cleaned and painted. This has also been a good test of its waterproof qualities, and despite some heavy downpours no leaks have been detected – apart from self-made ones when testing the toilet water system. Its being outside has enabled BR Mk1 Restaurant Car (RBR) E1970 to have a repaint and emerge as M1970. Today the M1970 was coupled up to 7828 to do the shunt required to get it back in the running set, and I must say they looked well together!
John Lennon’s line from ‘A Day in the Life’ is reputed to refer to a newspaper report he saw about the state of the roads in Blackburn, well the LMSCA can beat that. We have done a ‘high-level desktop exercise’ as used in the HS2 cost estimates, OK the back of an envelope actually, and we reckon each side of the LMS Third Open 7828 at Rowsley has received approximately 3,000 1.5mm holes drilled in the beading to receive the pins which attach it to the bodyside, so about 6,000 in total. Just a few feet of beading remain to be fitted, and boy will we be glad when all the holes are filled and sanded! We are not sure how many holes remain in Blackburn’s roads…