Firstly I should apologise to everybody over how long its been since my last post ( confession?). I'll say three Hail Marys and hope to be forgiven
The reason is (of course) because we are run off our feet down here as the work continues to come in. Looking over the 12 months since we started this blog we have taken on more staff, laid more track and renovated more buildings and yet we never seem to have enough space. As of next week the yard is officially full until something moves out to make space for new arrivals.
Not that anybody is complaining here. The growth in work allows us to invest in the infrastructure in order to create business in the future. Even the impending world financial meltdown doesn't seem as if its going to harm us here (touch wood) as the spend spend spend school of running our railways notices how much cheaper it is to make older but good reliable vehicles work even harder for their money.
And its nice to know that people are starting to sit up and take notice of what we are doing here. I met up with the council's economic development people on site and they were frankly a bit lost for words at the scale of the growth in business on site. The expansion of the area now in use for railway work here is pretty impressive. In the past 12 months it has almost doubled to the extent that there is only one small part of the main building that is not in use.
For those who came to the Eastleigh 100 event, the area where the stalls were is now being refurbished to allow carriage and wagon overhauls, courtesy of new lines being installed out the back of the Works, where the old traversers used to be. The groundwork has been done and the panels are stacked up ready to be laid.
Even the old Bosh shop has a big hole in the outer wall for a line to be laid over a new deep inspection pit that is being built. The rails are on site and the new pit wall is being constructed next week.
Some of my favourite news is the pending arrival of two new 30 ton overhead cranes for installation into Bay 2 by Arlington. What odds could you have got for this back in 2006? I also am proud of the installation of a short length of 4th rail that allows us to power up underground cars at the Works, something else that nobody could have predicted. I've spent a happy afternoon learning how to make the various automated announcements work on 72 tube stock, another first for me.
The appearance of two old standard stock tube cars for dismantling is a bit sad. These two cars are in NSE livery, having been brought back to the mainland from the Isle of Wight some 20 years ago. These ancient vehicles were converted from standard LuL cars at Eastleigh Works in the 1960s so they have a connection with the Works that goes back a long way. Parts from these two cars will be used to create a working train of standard stock for London Underground so its not all bad news.
The tiny KOf shunters are creating a bit of a stir. We're sworn to secrecy but we may even give them a chance to stretch their legs next year. There is just the small matter of getting them running properly first but one of them is very nearly there.
I'm very conscious that the 5th anniversary of the reopening of the Works is looming this December and we will announce some really good news to coincide with that.
In the meantime we have decided that the theme for the 2012 calendar will be the first five years, highlighting some of the vehicles that have played there part in our recent history.
As before we will be selling copies of the calendar via our website so please contact us via www.rail-services.net if you want one.
I've just seen a 66 on load 8 come past under the window so its time to go and do some shunting in the dark. Still at least its not raining.........