Monday, 27 June 2011

KRS Website Updates

After a bit of a lull, so much going on there's not been time to keep the News page updated!

Now bang up to date, the KRS Latest News page gives an insight into what's happening and links to some pictures and videos

With so much more in the pipeline I'll try and keep the News page updated more regularly.


Saturday, 25 June 2011

All Change please

June is turning out to be an interesting month in our corner of Hampshire. Not only has Test Cricket arrived at the nearby Rose Bowl (it rained, quelle surprise) but there has also been a game of musical chairs with the rolling stock at the Works.
The Observer Corps contingent on Campbell Road bridge have seen a variety of comings and goings, some by rail and others by road. Apart from the usual swap over of wagons for repair and overhaul, we have also seen some long stored wagons leaving for further use. Freightliner,DBS, DRS and GBRf locos have been on site to collect rolling stock and a number of wagons have been scrapped for component recovery.
Even one of our long stored 508s had a day out to Working recently, in company with the sparkling Arlington liveried translators and a GBRf 66.

But perhaps the most telling sight has been the delivery of ex Victoria Line tube stock by road. Unlike previous deliveries of mainly derelict vehicles, these ones are straight out of service and in good condition.
Without going into commercial details, we are expecting quite a few more of these over the coming weeks and are preparing the site to accept them, including providing new sidings. Although this is not the first time we have laid new tracks, in the past this has been limited to putting back pieces of line removed by Alstom. Now we are investing in some serious new facilities including 250 metres of under cover roads in what used to the the Works machine shop. Two brand new turnouts are being manufactured in Wales for us and these will arrive on site shortly.
To be honest the old machine shop area (or C1 road as it was recently known) has been a bit of a dead space for us since it was stripped of useful equipment in the Alstom closing down sale. Now a 120 x 15 yard space has been prepared for the new roads to be installed, with one hundred years of accumulated dust and rubbish being removed.

Less spectacular but just as useful, we are also reinstating two sidings at the bottom end of site that used to serve no2 traverser (long gone).
The investment by Knights Rail will top £100K for these new works and is a further sign of our confidence in the business at Eastleigh. I've even moved into a new office in the main office block. Of course its a complete coincidence that the room is the one that Mr Drummond had for his own use in 1909 (yeah right). It is very useful to be able to look out of the window and see what is going on in the yard.

So its all go at the Works, with new trains coming in and other long standing residents leaving us. One I will be both sad and happy to see leave this week is the NRM owned 306 unit, which is going back to the heart of the Great Eastern. We've even managed to get it moved by rail which means it will enjoy a scoot on its old stamping grounds through Shenfield on Tuesday evening. My first job on BR was working on these (we called them rattlers) so its good to have been able to help this historic survivor find a good home. I will of course have to visit it at the famed Chappel Beer Festival in September. Only for research purposes, you understand.

There's still a lot to do in the coming weeks. The contractors move in shortly to start digging up the floor to take the new tracks in the C1 road and our forgotten ex MOD Ruston LSSH will be seeing the light of day for Arlington to do their magic on it. Having used an 08 recently I appreciate what a good design the Ruston is and two are always better than one.

So a long post this time as there's been a lot of news to cover. We've got a visit by the great and good from the NRM coming up shortly and maybe even some more steam news in the offing. Meanwhile its back the mundane work of sorting out the latest leaks in the roof (I blame the cricket for the weather) and doing our bit to keep the trains running in the south of England, just as the place has done for 100 years.

Monday, 6 June 2011

And now for something completely different (cue a large foot descending from Heaven)

Two things happened in May 2001 that were personal milestones for me and that had a direct bearing on the long journey that eventually ended up with me taking on the deserted Works, with its rusty tracks and rows of Ford Transits back in 2006.

Firstly on 11th May I said my last farewells to my Dad at his bedside, after he had been through a long illness. It was Dad who first kindled my interest in railways as a kid. He had grown up a stones throw from Kings Cross in the 1930s and had seen all of the Gresley pacifics, P2s and even no. 10000. I was dragged along to just about every fledgling preservation centre in the 1960s and was just old enough to remember being shown steam at Waterloo in 1968. Little did any of us know then..........
In fact if you look closely at the crowd shot of 4472s non stop run departure from Kings Cross there is a short trousered lad who looks surprisingly like me.

As they say in the King James Bible, in the midst of life we are in death, and I'd like to think that my old Dad will be looking down approvingly at what we are doing at the place that maintained and built the engines I saw on the narrow platform ends at Waterloo all those years ago.

Well played old un

Another happier date was the 10 year anniversary of the founding of Knights Rail Services Ltd which passed on 31st May. Unless you have run your own business you can't really understand how proud you feel when dates like this come along. Lots has changed since we started, not only with Knights Rail but also with the whole rail industry. A colleague of mine suggested that putting my own name on the business was a dangerous move because if it went bust people would associate it with me personally. I disagreed and with hindsight I think I was right. Having my name up there on every letter, invoice, bill and contract made me focus on how important it was to make the thing successful. I still marvel at how often other companies change their name. Perhaps if the directors had their own names in the company they might be in it for the longer term.

So a different sort of post this time; a bit more reflective than usual.

Normal service will be resumed shortly as we come to terms with what looks like being a crazy time for us as business takes off. Too much to write about here (always leave em wanting more Darling) but you know its a good sign when we are laying new lines both inside and outside. Oh and for a clue, watch the number (not the length) of conductor rails on site