The full time engineering staff have returned to work at Bridgnorth but in two teams at present. One team works Monday to Wednesday and the other Thursday to Saturday with loco department volunteers only on site on Sundays. All this is to preserve social distancing within the confines of the department and therefore we have not yet been able to return to resume work on 82045. However Richard Fraser has the new cylinder drain cock castings at home to machine them as a homework job. Elsewhere Philip Oldfield Engineering in addition to machining the regulator valve components is also machining a new casting of the SSJ vacuum ejector body.
All members were contacted earlier in the month to confirm that it will not be possible to hold a conventional AGM this year. Instead, we will be having a "closed" one on 20th August. No, I can't make any sense of it either: let's just hope that we are able to resume normal service in 2021.
We have had a number of email rejections from the recent mailing, as with recent members' newsletters from those members on our emailing list. If your email address has changed please tell us.
There is an interesting article in the latest issue about the splendid project to build replica Brighton H2 'Atlantic' 32424 Beachy Head, now well advanced but - like everything else, including 82045 - hampered by the current situation. On page 82 of the magazine, a spokesman for the group explains why they have decided not to take the engine on to the main line, and talks about plans for it to visit other railways in the future (though not for a few years after it enters service on the Bluebell), but "definitely....by rail"; therefore no road movements.
I think our group would concur: I certainly do, since steam locomotives were never designed to be cranked on and off road vehicles. Unfortunately, it's a case of Hobson's Choice for locomotive owners thanks to the strict regulations applying to movement of engines by rail, and I'm wondering if the 32424 folks have considered this. Subject to the appropriate checks being made, I can't see any insuperable reason why a loco should not be towed, in light steam and perhaps during the night, over the network.
I might be missing something here, but it would open up some interesting prospects for 82045. As you know, we came to the same decision about main line running a year or two ago, but I still harbour the hope that the engine might be able to do some short-haul work one day - say from Tyseley to Bridgnorth with coal and water stops at Kidderminster. It's hard to build an economic case for this, I know, but never say never!
Back to 32424, I can't help thinking how delighted our late and greatly-missed friend Paul Anderson would be to see the loco in service. He remembered seeing the original, just the once, and as a Southern man (he was a fireman at Nine Elms from 1963 to 1966) was always sorry that it slipped through the net.
This leads me on to my last, rather melancholy, paragraph for this month's notes.
No one needs to be reminded that we are not getting any younger. This is regularly brought home to us when we are notified - almost on a monthly basis - that yet another supporter will not be around to see 82045 in service. We are at present considering how best we should ensure that our departed friends are not forgotten, and would appreciate any suggestions you might have.
Please get in touch with Chris if you have any ideas: email@example.com or post to 'Woodford', School Bank, Norley, Cheshire WA6 8JY. Thanks!
Two photos from early last year when 82045 was moved off its isolated section of track on to the railway. 82045 and Catch Me Who Can on the siding upon completion of 82045's sideways move. Photo: John Pagett.
82045 being moved by the class 08 diesel shunter into the loco yard for the first time. Photo: Peter Line.