As always, this time of year is busy behind the scenes. Work is currently well underway on stripping JUSTINE so she can have a visual assessment of the work required for her ten year overhaul. 1091 has now been fitted with a newly manufactured ashpan, there wasn't much left of the old one. TOURSKA's annual boiler certificate has expired and is now being prepared for inspection early in the new year. CHAKA has been stored for the winter. Both line diesels are in working order and will be put to use with the winter PW maintainance.
Justine in the shed
The GRCW Wembley carriage is estimated to need at least £2500 to complete its restoration, including £540 just for the 16 grab handles that are required! The coach will also require new canvas for the roof, Oak running boards along the full length of the carriage, bogie pins and a pair of stretcher bars will also have to be manufactured. Any donations to help restore this rare, locally made carriage would be greatfully recieved.
Leaves on the line
Work on the permenant way will also take a few man hours over the winter. Removing the leaves, spoil from industrious rabbits and the never ending battle with the Brambles. If you fancy some extreme gardening why not come and join in! There is also the need for a few sleepers along the line to be replaced. Not least on the runround loop at Toddington Station where the platform is also to have some remedial work done.
Our main running season during the summer months was mostly well supported both in passenger numbers and volunteer help and we would like to express our gratitude to you all. All three working steam locos saw use on special events and bank holidays, while the Simplex diesel proved its worth on ordinary Sunday and Wednesday trains. The 32mm live steam garden railway has been running on most operating days, having been improved over many months and is a great attraction for both young and old.
A driver experience day with 1091 for a small pre-booked group was enjoyable for all concerned, and is the kind of event that we intend to develop further. Chaka was in use on the Classic Car day on 11 September, which also saw high vistor numbers for our narrow gauge line.
Looking ahead, Chaka and Tourska are rostered for Thomas the Tank on 24 and 25 September- these tend to be our busiest days, requiring two locos and plenty of volunteer help.
Also a late addition to running dates is the GWR Diesel Gala on Saturday 8 October and Sunday 9 October, which the narrow gauge will be supporting. Both the Simplex and Hunslet will be operating, trains may be doubleheaded. The Lister and/or the Ruston will be running in the loco yard and it may be possible to visit the storage 'garage' to see two locos not normally on view to the public. Keep an eye our Facebook (link at the top of this page) for updates. Please note that entry to the whole site will be by ticket only, there is no free entry. Your site entry fee during this event includes a ride on our line too. More details on the GWSR website
For the forthcoming May bank holiday weekend, the narrow gauge will be operating on Sunday 1 May and Bank Holiday Monday 2 May. Scheduled steam power will be Chakaskraal No.6, Hunslet 0-4-2T. This will be her first public steaming in her lined out livery. We hope you can come along for a ride and get some photo's.
1091 works away from Didbrook towards Toddington during the 'Wartime in the Cotswolds' weekend on Saturday 23 April 2016
The 1940's "Wartime in the Cotswolds" event was well attended and many took a ride on the narrow gauge line at Toddington. Our first train, hauled by Henschel No. 1091, was at 10am, the last at 4:30pm. A long but enjoyable day for our volunteers.
The "Wembeley" coach now on bogies. Photo by Malcolm Ranieri.
Our historic Gloucester R C & W carriage which last worked at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924/25 has taken another leap forward with bogies being fitted. However it is nowhere near finished yet with stretcher bars, footboards, grab handles and refelting of the roof still needed. Not much will be done now until we raise the estimated £2500 needed to cover the cost of these jobs. All contributions gratefully received, please get in contact if you can help.
Remarkable film taken at the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley in 1924/25 has recently been published by the British Film Institute. The coverage lasts around twenty seven minutes and features many shots of the Gloucester built carriages in use being hauled by a variety of Roadrails locomotives. Absolutely fascinating!
Our carriage is the only known surviving piece of equipment from that system and the film really does help emphasis its historic significance. You can watch this film at the BFI Website.
Our restored 'Wembly coach' body on temporary wheels.
Be sure to visit us at Toddington to see the progress made to date on restoring the carriage from the wreck which we acquired in 2011. Work continues on the bogies, with the braking system being fitted, after which the restored body will be located on the chassis. Around £2500 is estimated to be needed before the carriage can be placed in service, so work on the coach will now stop for a while until the funds are raised.
1091 and 'Chaka' passed their annual visual boiler inspections last month and will be inspected in steam shortly.
'Justine' is the rostered loco for Easter Sunday and Monday trains, the start of our operating season. This is likely to be the last time 'Justine' will run for sometime as her current 10 year boiler 'ticket' expires shortly after these dates. Be sure not to miss out on a train hauled by this wonderful little engine. Visit our facebook page for late updates.
A team of volunteers have been steadily cutting back lineside growth over the winter, which is opening out new views. Hopefully it will reduce the amount of such work needed during the running season.
Easter Sunday and Monday 27th and 28th March will mark the last workings by 'Justine' before expiration of her ten year boiler ticket, so please come along and see this 110 year old locomotive in steam.
Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance
1091 and 'Chaka' are ready for their annual boiler inspection whilst work continues on 'Tourska'.
The carriages have received a lot of attention this winter. Work on our main set has included fitting new slatted side facing seats in carriage 1, doing away with the old bus seats which were life expired. Doors have replaced chains at the entrance.
The entrances to carriage 2 have been widened by rehanging the doors to open outwards. The footsteps have also been raised. All this makes for ease of access by wheelchairs and pushchairs, as will new, lighter, ramps for boarding from the platforms. Carriage 2 has also had one set of bogies refurbished.
Carriage 3 will be next to have doors fitted, hopefully before Easter.
Carriage 2 bogie out for refurbishment.
The bogies from Apedale have been completely stripped down to component parts, de-rusted, cleaned and painted and are now being reassembled. After fabrication of new pivots and rollers they will then be placed under the Wembley Carriage later this year.
Replacing sleepers and other minor track work on 'better' days.
There are thoughts about making more use of the smaller diesels for demonstration purposes this year.