The FR van has made a Giant Leap Forward by being re-united with its bogies this weekend. The bogies were dismantled for overhaul and to have the wheelsets machined, since FR wheelset dimensions are different to our own. Consequently, the van – when first delivered – had never seen much of the railway at Apedale. There was a teeny, weeny, nagging doubt that the steps may have been out of gauge. A quick trip up and down the line showed that there was nothing to worry about. A passenger, seeing the vehicle arriving in the station platform, asked how much extra he needed to pay to get a floor, sides, roof and seats. We had to explain that, to fall in line with the fares policy on other UK railways, the ticket is only for the journey and that such things as seats cannot be guaranteed. He seemed happy with that state of affairs. So, the van duly trundled back to the workshop where a start was made on the roof – the only major poorly bit left. The roof has always been something of a conundrum, since parts of it looks like a lace curtain, yet one cannot see the sky. A few minutes with Mr Angle Grinder indicated that the vehicle actually has a double-skinned roof. It looks like the original roof was welded on, and then a new skin rivetted on top of that at some stage. Double-skinned roofs were popular on locos to be supplied to tropical climates, so one can only assume that the FR adopted this roof construction in anticipation of post Global Warming climate change.Their foresight is awesome.
Meanwhile, two of the fleet have been on yet another awayday; Motor Rail No.21 and Ruston Pluto were loaned to the team at the Amerton Railway for their diesel gala – and all concerned seem to be agree they they ran very well. It seems that returning No.21 in particular is going to be a tough moment for at least one of the Amerton team, but return it must, because it’s in our stockbook.
Finally, a quick reminder – steam trains next weekend at Apeale, probably using Stanhope, so reliable operation is assured. Ashere.
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