Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The View from My Window

The weather may not be that good today but the view from my window over the Works yard is very interesting.

As well as the usual Class 508s, Mk2 DBSOs, and a diminishing number of ex-London Underground vehicles, I can see seven Class 57s, a Stoneblower and an MPV between de-icing duties. Oh, and not forgetting the workhorse of this place, the Class 07 shunter!

Five of the NR Class 57s are now on site with three arriving last night and one departing. 57301, 310 and 312 arrived late evening yesterday and 57305 departed to Tonbridge. 57303 is now outside, alongside the Fareham line, with 57306 in the middle of the yard, 57310 near the old Training School and 57301 and 312 on the fuelling point.  DRS 57002 is sat outside the Paintshop and 57010, having been repainted and had new wheelsets, is also alongside the Fareham line.

Just out of view from my window is 71000 DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, alongside the Fareham line.

Stoneblower DR80215 arrived earlier this week and work is already underway preparing it for repainting.

Also in the Paintshop is 57307, in the process of being transformed from red and silver into dark blue.

Mendip Rail 08650 is now on replacement wheels.

Siemens are working on 450001 and Wabtec are working on 455809 in their respective areas.

Wagons continue to come and go with 66534 collecting a rake of repaired FLAs, KFAs and a KTA yesterday.

The last C Stock vehicle on site (5532) is being processed and should be ready for scrapping very soon. There is one 1972TS DM that requires a bogie swap and then it too can go for scrap. That leaves us with four more 1972 vehicles and two Standards, one of which is ex-Isle of Wight no. 44.

That's all for now....

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Update - 29th November 2012

The rain has finally stopped (at least for a while) and we have had a lovely sunny day here today, although it is bitterly cold...can't have everything I guess, at least it's dry.

Bruce's latest acquisition arrived on 15th November from the USA in the form of a 16" gauge steam engine. The loco needs a lot of work to return it to use and will be a project for our staff during the quieter months.

As always, quite a lot has been happening over recent weeks so here's a summary;

57010 has been repainted in DRS Compass livery and has had new wheelsets.
66743 has arrived for fuel tank repairs and painting of the cab interior and is due to leave this evening.
57306 and 57310 arrived back from RHTT duties on 26th looking suitably grubby! They have since been washed and 57310 was involved in an MPV drag yesterday.
Units receiving attention from Siemens have been 450560, 450546, 450101, 450559, 444027 and Tuesdays arrival 450548.
455830 was completed but failed with an MA fault when it was due to leave. 455813 arrived as the next unit for overhaul and towed 455830 back to Selhurst on 22nd. 455813 returned to Eastleigh later that day and is now being overhauled by Wabtec.
Ex GLVs 68501 and 68504 departed behind 73141 for Tonbridge Yard yesterday. 68505 is still being worked on.
Component recovery is still underway on Mk2 TSOs 5908 and 6136.
DVT 82126 returned behind 47841 on 7th for further work and departed behind the same loco the following day.
47501 arrived with Mk2 BSO 9525 and TSOs 6117, 6008, 6122, 6001, 5810, 5971 for overhaul for DRS. Five of these (5971, 6001, 6008, 6117 and 6122) have been lifted off their bogies and work has already begun.
66420 was used on the Freightliner trip on 29th October, bringing in KTA 97726 and departing with completed KTAs 97747, 97743, 97737 and KFAs 92562, 93314.
66588 collected completed FSAs 608353, 608349, FTAs 607037, 607032 and KFAs 93367, 93364 on the 19th.
The MPVs based at the Works have been busy day and night on RHTT trains in the area. With the RHTT season drawing to a close they will be re-equipped for de-icing duties.
The Niteq Mini Mover 1500E (B168) that arrived from Neasden a few months ago has been  moved into the scrap line.
The first C Stock vehicle to be processed is 6532 which was scrapped on the 16th.
Work is continuing on conversion of the two ex Victoria Line 1967 stock vehicles for the AIT.
Two more ex Victoria Line 1967 vehicles arrived on 10th, 3061 and 3161. These two are for the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and are training vehicles based at Acton. They have arrived for Asbestos removal and component swapping with the AIT vehicles. Both have been completed and will be returning to Acton in the next few days.
Two of the 1972 vehicles stored in the car park some months ago due to lack of space in the yard have been moved into the main yard. 3319 and 4319 were moved on the 10th. In the next couple of days, the other two (3219 and 4219) should also have been moved, all being well.
1972 vehicle 3221 was moved into the scrap line this afternoon.
As I said before, quite a lot happening!
Cheers for now,

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

7th November Update

Test Trains continue to be in and out like the proverbial yo-yos. As I type, 37409 and 37682 are moving up to the gate to depart having been replaced on the RSC yesterday by 37423 and 37259. Plenty of clag when the two were started up a short while ago.

Last week, two DVTs visited for wheelset swap. 82101 and 82126 arrived on Tuesday 30th October behind 47802 and 47501. Following lifting and swapping of wheelsets the two DVTs departed on Thursday 1st November behind 66423 which had received new wheelsets whilst here.

57010 is in the Paintshop, having DRS decals applied.

NR 57s on site today are 57301, 57303 and 57312.

The three NR de-icing GLVs are being prepared for Winter duties.

450555 departed on Tuesday 6th and was replaced by 450546.

455816 departed Thursday 1st November and 455830 arrived on the 2nd.

The last A Stock vehicle on site, 5119, was scrapped yesterday (6th). The two 1962 Tube Stock vehicles NDM 9533 and DM 1532 have also been scrapped. Attention has now turned to the seven remaining 1972 Tube Stock vehicles on site, of which 4221 and 3221 are in the workshop being processed.

Mk2 TSO 6016 was scrapped on 29th October. 5908 and 6136 should follow in due course.

The white Kof loco, 323 539-7, is progressing well with the new cab roof completed and is now in green primer in preparation for a full repaint.

That's all for now....


Thursday, 18 October 2012

It's been a while.....

It's been a while since the last post here but much has changed in that time!

Many of you will have read in the railway press that Knights Rail Services has been sold to Arlington Fleet Group who have been on site here since the beginning and have been growing steadily since then. Arlington have plans to grow the activities and services that they offer at the Works.

Knights Rail Environmental Services will continue on site carrying out train decontamination and component recovery and storage activities.

Going forward, It's my intention to use this blog as a way of highlighting the activities that are going on at the Works so here's a summary of some of the recent activity;

We've recently had half a dozen or so  warm store runs to Winchester and back (and even one run to Basingstoke and back) for a class 508/3 but that program has now stopped.

Our last LU A Stock train arrived w/c 1st October and is currently being processed, all the trailer cars having been disposed of already. The first C Stock train (or part of, as it's only four cars) arrived this week. The main program of C Stock processing is due to start in 2013.

The LU Asset Inspection Train (AIT) has arrived on site for conversion of the two extra cars.

Two Colas Rail Freight 66s arrived this week for A exams, 66846 and 66850.

57010 is in the Paintshop.

66423 is receiving new wheelsets.

NR 57s continue to be based here.

1923 vintage London Transport electric loco No.12 'SARAH SIDDONS' arrived on 18th September.

455816 is almost half way through its interior refresh and repaint.

This week has been busy with NR Test Trains coming and going at all hours. We had four Test Trains here at the same time on Monday;

37682 and 37688
31465 and DBSO 9703
73138 and 73107
73205 and 73207

As always, photos of most of the activity can be found on my website


Monday, 23 April 2012

As rain lashes the land that is supposedly undergoing a drought (!) our final Works visit comes to an end. Well in fact it was two as we also had a visit from the various Mayors in Hampshire the day before. I've been asked why we have stopped doing the visits, as everybody involved agrees that they have been a complete success. The simple answer is that we don't have the time any more to devote to this pleasurable but decidedly non core activity. ( Gosh, that sounds a lot like Corporate Speak) In fact its the complete truth. We are busy. No, in fact we are very busy. Very, very busy. Its sobering to report that we are not having to turn away vehicles from the Works on the basis that we don't have enough room to house them all. The casual observer may have noted the abundance of underground cars facing their final maker as the splendid new S Stock comes in line in greater numbers. Then there are the hordes of class 57s and 47s that seem to multiply every time I turn my back. And EMU's seem to stop off at the Works in ever greater numbers. Of course I won't ever complain about this. After all, its what the place was built for and its a very nice problem to have. However we do spend a lot of time installing new facilities, only to see them fill as soon as we can build them. Regular followers will recall the new tracks being installed by Arlington at the back of the Works. Well they are complete and the newly connected Bay 1 is chock full of rolling stock. We have at least two major EMU overhaul projects in the offing, with contractors staff already doing the enabling works ahead of the first units arriving. Without a lot of fuss the newly installed 4th rail test track has been in use for some months to keep LuL vehicles in good fettle. Now if only we could link it up to the rest of the system, that would be some tube line............ There is also talk of installing a purpose built diesel servicing bay in one of the buildings that we had earmarked as surge capacity for the train disposals. I wouldn't bet against it happening. With all of this going on, something has to give and in this case its the conducted tours. Messers Watson and Knights sadly regret that they will no longer be able to provide their much appreciated service to the discerning members of the rail community and would like to thank their long standing clients for their valued patronage. On the other hand, if its a train to be stored, repaired, painted, rebuilt, refreshed, cleaned or even disposed of, we know a man who can. Now, how soon can they get Cheltenham running so that we can recover the workshop space?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

blast from the past

Something a bit different this time.........
I've been spending a bit of time away from the Works over the past few weeks and this has involved overnight stays in hotels. I often take something to read with me and found a very ancient copy of Modern Railways dating back to November 1964 in my case. Reading old magazines provides sobering lessons in how massively things can change in a relatively short time, and how true it is that today's news is tomorrow's chip paper.

Still, here are some gems plucked from this magazine that are relevant to a follower of the Works

Firstly the front cover. This has a split image ( black and white of course) of a close up of Bulleid valve gear from 35011 General Steam Navigation (Eastleigh built) over a BR Mk4 motor bogie with shoegear, as fitted to myriads of Southern region stock. Whats interesting is that even in 1964 there were rivetted repairs along the bottom of the Mk1 steel body.

Skimming the pages I found an advert for "Go Ahead Brush", trumpeting their new type 4 diesels. We've got a couple of them on the Works at present undergoing overhaul.

There's a big article about the electrification of the Bournemouth services and news of Cardiff Canton diesel depot opening. Sadly approval for abandonement of the lines between Scarborough and Whitby and Taunton - Ilfracombe also appears in the issue.

However things get relevant to Eastleigh again on page 351 where there is a picture of a new BRMk2 coach at Dover Marine forming the up Golden Arrow. I now own one of these coaches in the shape of former Serco Test Car 6, which lives at the Works.
Then on page 365 is a picture of LSWR B4 Granville sat in the Erecting Shop, having been restored back to LSWR condition for display at Butlins.

In the motive power pages, the last 2 W class tanks have been withdrawn and a convoy of withdrawn locos is being towed to Stratford Works, including ex Southern locos Lord Nelson, Cheltenham and Sir Lamiel, all of which have returned to us over the past few years.

The Workshop section reports that 306 EMUS from Shenfield ( I worked on these as an apprentice) are arriving at Eastleigh for overhaul. However on the steam front the Works is reported to only be overhauling Bulleids and BR standards, including former Crosti boilered 9f 92028.

The thing that strikes me about the magazine is how informative it manages to be, despite the simplicity of its layout and imaging. Modern magazines could learn from it.

Still its been a pleasant excursion to a different age. Eastleigh Works had 42 years of managed decline to put up with before we could start the fightback.
And whilst we won't ever be able to turn the clock back to the heady days of the Beatles and bowler hats, we can at least report that the Works is once again doing varied and interesting work, like that reported in MR's November 1964s edition

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Little and often

So I had to tempt fate by gloating about how I'd managed to blog more often.
Then we hit a really busy period and my feet haven't touched the ground meaning that the blog has been neglected.

So lets catch up on whats been going on at ZG.

Firstly I'm glad to say that we got to the bottom of the errant clutch on 01508. It turned out to be damaged splines on the ex MOD friction plate that meant that it wouldn't travel quite far enough along the shaft. Replacing the plate with another we had in stock has solved the problem and the loco is back in one piece after some 4 year's stripped down. Now all we need are some new brake rigging parts and control cables and we are back in business. It will be nice to have a second working Ruston on site, although the presence of the KOF means that the 07 has been taking it easy of late.
The Kof is a great piece of kit for moving underground stock, something we do a lot of lately. Not only can you see really well from it, but its also quick and easy to start and ready to move almost straight away.
The brakes are the latest item to receive attention and they now do what they are supposed to, having previously been either all on or all off.
The lads have fitted it with a whistle that sounds suprisingly like an underground train. No prizes for guessing where that came from!

Arlington is pressing on with the tracks out back and Bay 2 is now fully connected, with the start being made on Bay 1 on Thursday. The big cranes are both in place and very nice they look too.

There always seems to be something in the paint shop and recently it has been 66s for GBRf. The standard that Arlington manages to get is very impressive, which is probably why they keep winning work.

The LU owned TC is on the shops now, ready for work on its bogies, whilst the inspection saloon looks like a skeleton as the old skin has been removed.

From nowhere, we seem to spend a lot of time doing work for LU these days and long may it continue.

It was sad to see our MP Chris Huhne in the news this week for all the wrong reasons. Whatever my views on his politics, I am in no doubt that he has been a friend to the Works since we've been there and for that reason I wish him well.

I'm trying my hardest to find a home for off lease units over the coming weeks and will have to leave the Works in the capable hands of other people. I'm sure I won't be missed too much and that everything will carry on as normal.
Toilets will still block up, delivery drivers will get lost on site and Eastleigh Panel will still phone up with trains to come on site that we knew nothing about.

There are a number of visits planned for March including a delegation from Russia, that should be fun. I hope we will get to see 73119 back with us as well, if only for a few days.

Meantime I have a job to do in Edinburgh next week, as well as surveying a new site closer to my home.

Nobody ever said it would be easy, this job..........

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Good News

KRS is pleased to announce that we have secured a further five year lease on the Works at Eastleigh, up until 31st December 2016.
This gives us a good secure basis to continue our expansion and is in line with the requirements of several of our key customers who have asked to use our facilities until then.
Given that we have only just celebrated our 5th anniversary on site, we can now look forward to celebrating our 10th in 2016.

On a less vital but very pleasing note, our newly acquired micro shunter (the KOf) is bedding in very well and has surprised everybody with its capabilities. Not only can it pull a four car train of 67 tube stock around the yard, but also during the first site tour of 2012 it was seen pulling a 120ton class 57. A very bizarre sight but its a sign of how well the little thing is behaving. We will keep trying it with heavier loads it until we find its useful shunting limit, but we have already found out that it can fly along when needed. We ran out of track to find its top speed but I would expect it to be about 25-30mph.

The other bit of shunter news is that work has resumed on ex MOD 428 ( 01508) which was purchased from the MOD as a source of spares, having been derailed and had its brake rigging cut off and its rods removed. 428 now has a full set of side rods and looks like a proper loco again, whilst the fitters have been making progress in determining why the clutch and torque converter seem not to have sufficient clearance to be assembled correctly. Something silly and obvious will turn out to be the problem and we will find it. After that, its straightforward to bring the loco back into working order, the engine having already been overhauled and the missing brake rigging acquired.

The work Arlington is doing in putting back the tracks at the South end of the site is progressing nicely with a temporary line between bays 3 and 2 already in situ. The first of the two cranes being installed in bay 2 has already seen use with the second due to be installed next week.

The rate of change on site is very evident and people are noticing. Apart from seeing Micheal Portillo on the tv last week being shown around bay 3 and the van shop, one of the visitors on the last tour had already been round once in November and was very surprised how many changes there had been.

Its going to be a good week for Cheltenham up as the boiler comes back for fitting to the frames. The progress with the project has been very impressive and its on line to be back in steam in the late Spring.

Finally the retaining wall for the new inspection pit in the former bosh shop has been installed and its getting closer to time to lay the track into the building. The bosh shop occupies the site of the roads that used to run into the original LSWR paint shops, so its another example of reinstating something that went before.

and so far I have kept to my new year's resolution to blog at least twice each month.
Can't be bad!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Mystic Freg examines her crystal ball

So 2012 is already underway by three days, and its come in with another big blow meaning that my poor roof gets another battering from Mother Nature.

Still it is traditional at this time of year to dust of the stargazing charts and make predictions for the new year. This time we have employed the talents of that Diva of the occult, Madame Mystic Freg.

So without further ado, and before she drinks too much of the sherry , lets hear what she has to say about the Works over the coming months........

Cravens will inhabit the Works if a Canadian soldier can ever make good his promises.

An overweight man from far away will have sleepless nights as his gold is boiled by frogs to move platforms in the West.

The short stranger from foreign lands will be taken for a journey to the sea and will bring much happiness

Much red gold will be sold to foreign merchants

Five years of good harvests will be announced to the World

An old friend will appear with a new suit of clothes but his good name restored

Pilgrims will come to the temple to see old ways, bringing gold for the elderly

A school will rise and fly the nest in the spring

What was three, will be four and will grow

Wise men from Russia will pay homage to a Scotsman's palace

An old soldier that was wounded will be returned to health and given work

Men from Wales, Italy and Poland will talk with flamed tongues

Peopletrucks will continue to multiply

A leaping black cat will do or die

All of which may or may not happen, if the mad old bat is to believed.

Still, here's one of my own.

In 2012 the bastard son of the DFT known as IEP will be laid to rest. And about time too.

By the way, the first person to email us with the correct version of what all of that really means, or even the most correct answer, will win a personalised tour of the Works

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Hopefully everyone has had an enjoyable Christmas and we're all looking forward to a rewarding New Year in 2012.

2011 finished much as you might expect with surprises right up to the end! Three Class 59s arrived just before Christmas for heavy maintenance by Arlington. With all the 57s about and a 31 on a Test Train it's looking more and more like a diesel depot!

Also arriving before Christmas was Peppercorn A1 'TORNADO' with its support coach. Built in the 21st Century to a 1940s design, it's certainly an impressive machine.

What can we look forward to in 2012? Well, that's the big question and one that few of us really know the answer to but it is fairly certain that there will continue to be interesting and even exciting things to see happening at the Works. Don't blink, you might miss it!

All the best for 2012.