By the time you read this, the Severn Valley Railway will be a complete railway again with normal service having been resumed over the Easter weekend. This is wonderful news, of course, and as far as the 82045 project is concerned we now feel confident about moving forward again.
In this connection, the latest item of news for you is that a contract has been placed with The Boro’ Foundry Ltd for the drilling of the frame plates for 82045.
The plan is for the frames to be moved from Eardington to the company’s premises at Lye as soon as possible (probably late April), and then to be returned to our site at Bridgnorth so that a start can be made on creating the frame assembly for the new locomotive. It is anticipated that the move back to the SVR will take place in June.
Associated with this, we have also commissioned the construction of a reinforced concrete apron for our site, ready to receive the frames on their return. Measuring approx 40’ x 12’, this will provide a firm, dry surface for work to proceed on the frame assembly without our having to grovel in the muck! It will also present the public with a more attractive, business-like frontage for the 82045 project.
The importance of having the frames drilled cannot be overstated, as this is the key to building a complete frame assembly. We are also pursuing, via SVR pattern-maker Brian Oldford, the creation of patterns for the hornblock for the centre driving wheels and the horn guides for the leading and trailing driving wheels. These are the only items of the frame kit that require patterns, the others being fabrications. Brian has started work on the patterns for the front and rear buffer beam corner brackets, which are castings on the Class 3. Last but not least, we are looking at the possibility of using the existing pattern – this is not the property of the SVR and is kept elsewhere - for the pony wheels. Thanks very much, Brian, for all your enthusiastic support!
So, as you will see, we've been busy behind the scenes. You, our members, are the first to learn of the latest progress, and an announcement will shortly be made to the hobby press re the frame drilling contract, By the late summer, we hope to have an attractive display at Bridgnorth with the frames appropriately painted and with front and rear buffer beams and buffers painted and mounted. It’s quite true that “nothing succeeds like success”, and we hope that this very visible sign of our progress will attract increasing support.
Not surprisingly, all this activity has rather depleted our financial resources, and any further offers of help will be most gratefully received. 82045 couldn't have got this far without the generous support of a number of our members – thanks indeed, once again! The overall cost of the loco is likely to be in excess of £1 million, but each step forward diminishes the size of the task. Make no mistake, the 82045 project will succeed: the frustrating factor is, as always, funding, as the engine could easily be up and running within two to three years. One relatively painless way of helping the new loco is by setting up a monthly Standing Order, and a number of Fund members have already decided to do this. A form is available for downloading, or have a word with Chris.
Later this year, it is intended to mount a major appeal for funding for 82045. The plight of the SVR over the past twelve months or so has inevitably put some of our plans on hold, but we are eager to press on now and to justify the faith that you have placed in us. It is certainly true that there is a rising groundswell of support for us on the Valley: people there can see that we really mean business, and it is becoming more and more widely recognised that the new locomotive is an eminently practical new-build project which will be an invaluable addition to the running fleet. All that is necessary now is for some of this hard-won support to be translated into hard-earned cash and we will be home and dry!
Finally, the Fund’s 2008 AGM will be held on Saturday 13th September in the upstairs Library at Kidderminster Railway Museum, starting at 2.30 p.m. There are a number of items for discussion, such as the Constitution, an increase in subscription rates (for new members!), funding and the setting up of a committee to take the 82045 project forward. We are trying to keep postage costs down by not sending out agendas nearer to the date, but do check the website for an update, or, again, ring Chris or drop him an email. Please come along and support us!