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.

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