Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Grabbing a Garratt (2)

Unloading the Beast ...
As regular readers will know, fbb gets all sorts of of things dropping into his confuser's system, including extracts from various Railway Twit sites. Of these, a regular contribution comes from the Vale of Rheidol line which runs, picturesquely, from Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge.
Two recent pictures are stunning. Here is a loco making the huge effort needed to get its train moving from the terminus ...
... and below, the photographer has scrambled up a lump of the Rheidol hills and is looking down into the picturesque greenery of the river valley.
And there is the little train chugging away just as it has done for the last 114 years.

By the time the railway was ready to open in 1902, lead mining in Ceredigion was in steep decline. However a significant growth in tourism was under way, and the carriage of passengers soon became the principal traffic of the railway. It opened for mineral traffic in August 1902 and for passengers on 22 December 1902, using two 2-6-2T locomotives built by Davies and Metcalfe and the aforementioned Rheidol, built by Bagnall.
Since the 1920s the line has been in the hands of three "new" engines, still in use today.
But the company's web site lists a whole shed load of other motive power that have been classed as "visiting engines" over the years.  Winifred popped in for a cup of coal and a glass of water in 2015.
And there are (whisper it gently) d**s*ls that live on the line and help out in various ways. fbb met this one out in the country when he rode the line a couple of years ago ...
... whilst No 10 did a bit o shunting in the yard at Aberystwyth.
But it was recent arrival No 60 that needed unloading.
NG G13 Garratt locomotive No 60 was delivered to the Vale of Rheidol Railway, Aberystwyth, Mid Wales on 17th July 2017. It has just completed an 800 mile journey from its former home at the Schinznacher Baumschulbahn in Switzerland. 

Now all you have to do, lads, is lift it off the lorry and on to the track.

Fortunately the V of R recorded the unloading on video.
Straightforward! Presumably the unload was done slowly because dropping a Garratt loco, even a small-ish one, off the rails could present even greater problems. But he slowness means that the video lacks dynamic interest, so fbb has taken a couple of screen shots.
Slo-o-o-o-o-o-wly does it, chaps!
Phew! Nearly there.

Safely unloaded, this monster is visiting for some engineering work and possibly to offer visitors a spectacular experience. fbb does not, however, know whether it will be used in public service.

So what is "SchBB"?

Die Schinznacher Baumschulbahn ist die einzige Dampfeisenbahn der Schweiz mit einer Spurweite von 600 Millimeter. In einem gem├Ąchlichen Rundkurs fahren Sie mit der originalgrossen Dampflock durch eine Baumschule und eine herrliche Parkanlage mit See. Erleben Sie eine unvergessliche nostalgische Fahrt mit dem Wind im Gesicht, dem Stampfen der Lok im Ohr und dem Geruch des Kohledampfs in der Nase.

You can have a "nostalgische Fahrt" (journey)
mid dem Wind in Gesicht (face)
dem Stampfen der Lok in Ohr (ear)
dem Geruch des Kohledampfs in der Nase (nose)

Baum (tree) schule (school) actually means tree nursery, i.e. where trees go to school to grow up! The line is similar to small estate railways that existed in the UK for the purpose of getting agricultural freight to the main line. Schinznach is the name of the village.
The Baumschule web site is more helpful about the future use of the loco; well helpful thanks to Google Translate.

On the later afternoon of 11 July 2017 the Garratt steam train Drakensberg left us for a new home for ever. 

fbb's "O" level German was inadequate for the task.

The association Schinznacher Baumschulbahn has decided to take this step, since the use of this locomotive in the tree nursery is excluded in the medium and long term for various reasons. As soon as the Drakensberg is back in operation, we will of course communicate this at this point again. We would like to wish the locomotive and its new owner all the best for the future and we would be happy if the locomotive were to have a lot of people at the locomotive again.

So, a steam ride round a tree nursery in Switzerland ...
... at a price!
An there is a plan of the full line.
There is a Gartenzentrum, a Baumschulesee ...
... a Rosenfeld and, of course, an Alpenblick. Of particular interest is the Gysiparkplatz, a word which baffles fbb and Google Translate. This little line appears to have loads of intriguing locos and is obviously worth  a visit.
The whole site is big!
But fbb still cannot quite understand whether the Garrett is to be used on the Vale of Rheidol or being fettled up for someone else.
The loco (seen here outside the Gartenzentrun) was originally built for the South African Railway network; which might take us back to the Welsh Highland.

No doubt someone "out there" can explain.

Tomorrow, dramatic news from Leicester!

 Next groovy Groby blog : Wednesday 26th July 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Grabbing a Garratt (1)

No Not HIM!
Jack Lord played Steve McGarrett (with a Mc and an "e") in several million episodes of the TV series Hawaii 5-O. Our Garratt had no Mc and an "a".

Herbert William Garratt (8 June 1864 to 25 September 1913) was an English mechanical engineer and the inventor of the Garratt system of articulated locomotives.

Garratt began his engineering career by serving an apprenticeship under John Carter Park, then locomotive superintendent of the North London Railway, from 1879-1882 at the North London Railway Bow works. Garratt transferred to the Argentine Central Railway in 1889, where he became Locomotive Superintendent in 1892, and between 1900 and 1906 he worked for railways in Cuba, Lagos, and Lima (Peru). In 1902, Garratt was elected to membership of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. He returned to England in 1906.

So what was his big idea?
Effectively, two locomotives (heels, cylinders, brakes etc) share the same boiler. Because it is slung between rather than above the wheels, it can be bigger and heavier. The two sets of wheels can negotiate sharper curves and spread the weight over a wider area; this making the concept popular for narrow gauge railways in difficult territory with winding steeply graded routes. the coal bunker and water tank sit on the wheeled sections.

Herbie's first effort was small and sweet!
Here is a Garrett from South African railways at work on the Welsh Highland Railway that runs from Caernarfon to Porthmadog.
They are hefty and powerful beauties and do go round some sharp corners as at the loops near Beddgelert.
The London Midland and Scottish Railway built 33 for the full sized system. They, too, were huge in every way.
The correct designation for the wheel arrangement is 2-6-0+0-6-2 and they were used for heavy coal and stone trains. The last one was withdrawn in 1955 and fbb has no recollection of ever seeing one. You now elderly blogger was probably too young to know what he was looking at even if he did see one.

The London and North Eastern Railway built just one in 1925.
Latterly numbered 69999, it was even bigger than the Midland's with a 2-8-0+0-8-2 wheel arrangement. It was built to haul heavy coal trains up the Worsborough Bank. Sometimes these trains needed four locomotives. Here are two banking engines (at the back) and there are another two at the front.
Even when the line was electrified, four locos could occasionally be seen.
After electrification, this monster was tired out on the steepest bit of main line UK railway, namely the Lickey incline but was not satisfactory and it, too was scrapped in 1955.

Elsewhere in the world Garrats can be even bigger. Here is a Russian locomotive ...
... 2-6-4+4-6-2! Wowsers.

Sadly, no main line UK Garratt was preserved but a model was sold for a while.
Sadly, when Airfix/Kitmaster models were taken over by Dapol, the tooling for the Garratt was scrapped. Boo!

Recently, you could buy a working OO gauge loco. Commissioned by Hattons from manufacturer Heljan, this loco was a magnificent replica of the huge original

Sadly, but not surprisingly, these have all been sold out and second hand models attract a premium over the as-new price of £199 ...
... or greater premium premium if you are offering a new one!
As fbb is wont to say - "OUCH!!"

You blogger began enquiring into the world of Herbie's spectacular locomotives when he read this little heading to an Twit message that popped into his in-box.

It read, "How do you unload a Garratt?"

Intrigued? fbb was, so the rest of the story is revealed tomorrow.
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Snippet
fbb is often castigated for his sloppy proot cherking and spelong mistooks. Quite right too, but blogs are often composed in a sweaty panic, hence a bit of excusable slop?

This, from Stagecoach in Sheffield, out-fbb-ed fbb.
As well as being pretty well incomprehensible as a message, the double misspelling of Oughtibridge is a delight.

Ouibridge - A corruption of a "little bridge" as misunderstood by a French tourist

Outibride - Rejected at the altar.

Oughtbridge - a village between Sheffield and Stocksbridge Say "OOT-EE-BRIDGE"

Oughty Bridge - designation used by the Great Central Railway
A Sheffield Transport service 18 at Oughtibridge, its terminus.
Under First Bus' take-over regime, now numbered 68.
Given up by First, now a Stagecoach route ...
... with the former "main road" 57 diverted via the 18/68 Worrall road.
The half hourly frequency is due to be cut to hourly from 3rd September. The main road is covered by Supertram Link buses running every 10 minutes ...
... so Oughtibridgers (?) still have plenty of buses to go at. The 268 is infrequent and visits parts that other buses don't reach!
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 Next Garratt blog : Tuesday 25th July 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

More Somethings

Get Lost - Go To Yeovil
Two years ago fbb visit the Yeovil Model Railway Group (YMRG) on their annual open day. It is not a public exhibition, admission is by invitation only. The club's collection of layouts is all set up and in working order and members, dressed in club sweatshirts, are busy running their trains. Tea and buns were available for a small charge and visitors were invited to proffer a donation to help the eternal roof repairs of the large but elderly building.

Despite painstaking research after the debacle of his route of two years previously, fbb got lost again this year and inadvertently drove past the gateway to their building three times!
Either YMRG need larger signs or fbb needs a larger brain!

The Yeovil folk are building a new layout, based on Aynho Junction on the line from Oxford to Birmingham.
It doesn't look like a "normal" model railway. Where is the baseboard? There isn't one. The scenery is "terra-formed" on plywood cut outs and the track, and later the trains, will run along strips of ply which burrow and curve around the hills. Skilled stuff, but giving an idea of the railway within the countryside, not the countryside rolled dead flat for the railway.

An older layout,based on the former Yeovil Town station is being converted to automatic computer control.
There's a long way to go yet, but fbb was well impressed with what he saw. A goods train was trundling around with the loco pushing the guards van which should have been hooked on the back.
Of course the wagon has become unhooked and picked up at the front next time around. That's the sort of think that happens on fbb's layout.

The highlight, as always, was the club "O" gauge layout based on just a little chunk of the Settle and Carlisle line. The members were running freight trains ...
... long and lumbering, just like the real thing. fbb only had to half-close his eyes and ...
... he was there with his little notebook copping the 2-10-0. Magnificent.

Another layout went in for lighting in a big way. The town bit was obviously enjoying Late Nite Shopping ...
... and the residential area was partying the night away.
All resident is Model Railway Town are superb gardeners with no sign of a weed anywhere!

Two bits of quirk caught fbb's eagle eye. here was another Hornby Dublo heritage layout, small and table top ...
... built just like so many were in the late fifties and early sixties. Younger visitors were invited to have a go at the original Hornby Dublo controller (top centre). Note the Airfix kits painted garishly as per the instructions on the packet; fbb has just bought the "modern" shop unit kit seen to the left of the Dinky Toy bus for his low relief townscape.
What will it look like when the aged modeller has finished "kit bashing" it? Who knows? fbb certainly has no idea until he grabs razor saw and tube of glue.

Joyously the layout had a working mail bag "pinger" ...
... seen here with the Maitre D' attaching little plastic mailbag to hook. What was excellent was that younger visitors were invited to push the button (below left hand) and make the pinger collect and ping the mailbags.

It was introduce by Hornby in about 1957
And yes, as fbb watched, the mailbag missed the metal "net" and flew across the clubroom floor. fbb's used to do the same.

The other delight was this layout.
A couple of your lads (ages 13-ish) were in charge as representatives of the Junior members. the layout (read the small print) was based on Wallace and Grommit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit. It was a private estate railway running on very narrow gauge track. The boys were keen to show off what was a very small layout with some "Wallace" characters and a familiar train driver.
Other character were in attendance. The "juniors" we keen to point out that they had scratch built the rolling stock from the obligatory "bits and pieces" on surplus OO gauge chassis.
Sadly (?) no sign of the Were-Rabbit itself ...
... but what n innovative idea for a free-lance "beginners" model. Joyous.

"And," continued the enthusiastic attender, "the grass is made from hanging basked liner." Well done!

thanks again for the invite YMRG. Next time I might not get lost. Now let me see ...
... is that the turn.

And an Apology
The last couple of days have been more frantic than usual for reasons which fbb will no doubt share with his readers in due course. But it looks as if GoTimetable is about to get its desired breakthrough. The team will know more by this time next week.

Because of this, blog writing has had to be somewhat curtailed and the item on unloading a Garrett is postponed.

And, talking of timetables, still not a dicky bird about the revised services from Axminster for the forthcoming Waterloo partial blockade.

Exeter, Bristol, Yeovil and Salisbury to London Waterloo  - Table 20 * This timetable is still being finalised and will be posted as soon as possible 

They have forgotten us.

 Next load of unloading : Monday 24th July