Mar 10 2009
Report in Southall Semaphore – March 2009
As at the month of February we await documentation from Network Rail in which details of our new site “Three Road Sidings – South Side” are being prepared enabling the transfer of all our stock currently still housed in the Wheel Drop Shop and enclosure.
To this extent Network Rail have extended the date of our occupation of the Wheel Drop Shop and surrounding leased areas from 31st January 2009 by 6 months, principally due to the fact that new tenants have yet to commence the alteration to the inside track which is now necessary (due to the withdrawal of the original head shunt facilities) before any mainline locomotives can occupy the building, which also prevents certain items of rolling stock of the GWRPG from leaving due to the reason of their length.
To this extent the delay has enabled the work on locomotive “Birkenhead” to continue under cover and to which initial steaming of the locomotive is scheduled for the end of March. This extension will also give us time to complete the external restoration of our TSO Carriage No 3961 to which it is intended to be put in use at the recommencement of our passenger carrying service over the new location.
Within the period, assessment has been made in respect of the considerable items of duplicate equipment we have collected over the years and to which disposal of unwanted items are being advertised as available for purchase. This goes without saying that a certain amount carried from previous locations will be disposed of by other means. It will be clear that with initially limited covered accommodation the only essential items for our future development will be stored as far as possible in any number of covered wagons.
Turning now to our new location “Three Road Sidings – South Side” we have been allowed to commence work initially on the clearance of vegetation in the area after many years of non use and at the same time, the debris left by previous occupants.
The Two Road track work primarily is concrete sleepers and is suitable for operational work, with the third track with timber sleepers needing attention, principally some areas will be put to use for display of vintage stock.
We have been very encouraged in actions so far achieved and also for the support we have received from Network Rail officials who inspected both the track work and are arranging the supply of an amount of replacement materials which are required before operation use.
Clearly our target is set to vacate the Wheel Drop Shop as soon as possible with the aim of being in a position to be open to the public at the earliest opportunity this year obviously with the necessary facilities available for public use.
In due course more details have to be prepared both in respect of covered accommodation and the essential facilities both in the short and long term. Currently other parts of the site are occupied by an assortment of tenants which do not give a good aspect to the location; however we understand changes are to be made shortly.
There is much to do and we would like every member to become involved in one way or another in the project that is set before us.
Whilst initially the site will be leased for a period of three years we have been informed by Network Rail that they will be prepared to dispose of the land to our organisation after this period – so essential to our aims of providing London with its only location of operational steam locomotives and other historical stock with the long term aim of Brentford Branch operations.
In support of the above we are entering the 2009 season with at least three steam locomotives and one diesel railcar and one diesel shunter, both of these providing operation power.
Recent weeks has seen some of the worst weather conditions for years but this has not perturbed the local members to the purpose and all members are asked to consider how they can help in the work ahead.