Saturday, 7 May 2011

Getting Back To Work

The bumper period of bank holidays has almost passed and we can now get back to the mundane job of earning an honest crust at the Works.

The biggest recent news is the christening of the new extended Arlington area in bay 3 by the arrival of the Speno grinder for its annual overhaul. For those of you who remember the Works under it previous owners, or who saw it during the E100 celebrations, this is the former wheelshop area which was left as a large derelict area full of deep holes in the floor after Alstom had sold all of the equipment.
Arlington has spent large amounts of money relaying the tracks and filling the holes and consequently now has a workshop that is over 250 yards long.

The Speno grinder has been a regular sight on the network over the past few years and has previously used Effingham Junction's former carriage washing shed for maintenance. However its a complicated bit of kit and working under a low roof with no cranes had made this a difficult operation. Originally we planned to let Speno use a track in bay 4 near where Siemens carry out their unit overhauls but once they saw what was possible at the Works, the job just snowballed and it made sense to put it into the Arlington area. A joint team from Arlington and Speno has been working on the grinder which has been split into its constituent vehicles (try doing that with jacks !) and is undergoing extensive overhaul.

I showed a BBC filmcrew what was happening in the shop from one of the overhead cranes and they were completely dumbfounded at the amount of work that was going on.

"I didn't think that this sort of thing was still done in Britain any more" one of them told me.

Wrong!

The other development on site is the growing presence of class 66 locomotives. On one day last week we had 8 of them on Works, 6 for warm storage, one for fuelling and the last for wheelset and bogie overhaul.

Finally we said farewell to 33012 this week, when it left on its mainline test run to Swanage in convoy with 73136 (an old friend as first loco at the re-opened Works and the newly painted 73205. When I first agreed to let 33012 be overhauled at the Works I had little idea of how good a job would end up being done on it, with help and input from its owning group and many of the companies on site. It looked breathaking in the sun as it purred out on what was to be a troublefree run to Wareham at speeds of up to 75mph.

I'll miss having a Crompton on the Works.

Meanwhile it promises to be an interesting few weeks coming up with deliveries from London Underground expected to feature strongly. Must get round to laying down the 4th Rail

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