Jan 24 2017
After a traffic free journey from Wiltshire to Helston in the southern tip of Cornwall, Julie Haycock and I, Director Mike Gorringe made ourselves comfortable in readiness for the next day to visit the local friendly Helston Railway and view progress on the locomotive William Murdoch.
It was residing in various places within the yard at Helston Railway under the governance of Operations Chairman James Packman and his number two, Malcolm Lightfoot. Rolling frame was at Prospidnick Halt (awaiting return of its cab and boiler tank).
The cab and boiler tank were nowhere to be seen as they were three miles away being sandblasted in readiness for a brand new paint job. William Murdoch (WM) is to be sprayed with zinc primer and undercoat, prior to its final coat of gloss black, with white lining, as it was used back in 1977.
The removed boiler was out in the open, now minus its 150 boiler tubes, cut out by the hands of James and Malcolm. Removal of these tubes gave indication of wastage and wear in the front plate and rivets at the bottom. The ring around the front closure of the main door was badly corroded and will likely need replacing.
All the above is to be investigated shortly by the local boiler inspector and reported back to ourselves for general information.
Further investigations indicate some additional work for it to carry out its duties hauling rolling stock up and down the mile long track. This includes adding thick spacers to the buffers to take up slack in the connecting linkages. This saves unnecessary wear on the buffer springs. Vacuum Brakes will be fitted to this loco’ but only once the locomotive is completely reassembled. This gives a definitive run of pipes to be out of sight as much as possible. A new catch bracket is also needed for the boiler door.
In our discussions with James, he indicates his determination to have WM in steam for the forthcoming Easter weekend commencing mid April 2017 and expects it to complete thirty to forty steamings during 2017 and also requests they use it for at least three years, maybe more!
James and myself discussed the possibility of being able to contra the work costs against part of the steaming fees and this is to be finalised.
After the locomotive is complete and steaming, Helston volunteer workforce will be erecting a new engine shed, midway down the line at Trevarno Station platform location, together with a replica GWR Water Tower.
Other work being carried out is the construction of a new platform at Truthall Halt at the other end of the track, which is being extended too!
Mike Gorringe, Director and acting Chairman – January 2017