A Little Holiday to the Dean Forest Railway

This weekend, as it was a Bank Holiday here in the UK, I decided to take off and visit the Dean Forest Railway in the Forest Of Dean, England.  I’ve written posts about the railway before and you can find one about their 2016 steam gala here.

This visit was not for a particular event but they did have a steam locomotive running and it was an old favorite of mine.  The Great Western Railway small Praire tank number 5541.

Below is a bit of history behind this locomotive (Taken from the Dean Forest Railway Society’s website http://www.dfrsociety.org)

5541 is a 4575 Praire tank engine built by the Great Western Railway. The 4575 class were a popular engine on the GWR, they were versatile and well liked by crew. They were an improved version of the 4500 (or 45xx) class steam engines, the main modification being the larger, sloped tanks.

5541 was built in 1928 at Swindon Works as part of lot number 251. Her original boiler number was 5546. Between June and August of 1930 she was allotted to Swindon shed; however by September 1931 she had moved to Bristol (Bath Road) where she stayed until the middle of 1938. Between December 1935 and March 1936, she underwent general repairs at Caerphilly Works, where she received a new boiler (number 5526). At this time she had covered 237,985 miles.

During the summer of 1938, 5541 moved to Machynlleth where she spent most of the rest of her working life. In the early months of 1945 she underwent general repairs at Swindon where a second new boiler (number 5519) was fitted; 482,639 miles now having been covered. Similarly, over Christmas of 1949 she underwent heavy general repairs at Swindon, necessitating another boiler (number 5505), after 616,385 miles. Another heavy general repair was carried out at Stafford Road, Wolverhampton in July/August 1958, after 839,123 miles. The new boiler fitted was number 3902. During 1960 she moved from Machynlleth to Laira, where she stayed until being made redundant on the 10th July 1962, after completing 921,589 miles.

She was sold to Messrs. Woodham Bros of Barry on the 4th September 1962 as part of Lot L03011/1. Various items had been removed from her between 1962 and 1971, but she had not been moved until being properly prepared for her move from the scrap yard out into the dispatch siding at Barry.

5541 was moved by rail to the Dean Forest Railway at Parkend from Barry, arriving on 10th October 1972 in time for the October Gala Day. Restoration was undertaken by Fund members on the siding behind the down platform at Parkend and was completed, and first steamed on 29th November 1975. On 16th January 1978 in light steam, she joined the movement of stock from Parkend to Norchard and was a regular performer on the short track constructed at the Steam Centre.

On 17 May 1983 she made an historic run over the A48 level crossing in Lydney town centre to collect a large train made up of wagons delivered to Lydney by British Rail. In 16 August 1985 she again went to Lydney Yard to collect the GWR150 exhibition coaches for a weekend display at Norchard.

Following another overhaul and boiler change at Norchard she returned to steam in August 1994. 5541 has made a number of visits to other preserved railways including Bodmin & Wenford, Llangollen, and the Gwili.

The loco boiler certificate expired early in 2004, and the loco undertook a major overhaul until it returned to service in April 2014. During the overhaul, its third on the Dean Forest Railway, the boiler was sent to the LNWR works at Crewe, and the rest of the loco was overhauled at Norchard by our own dedicated crew. The boiler ticket is due to expire in 2023.

Recently 5541 has been overhauled and repainted professionally by Western Steam Engineering at the DFR and I must say she looks amazing.

Here is a short video of 5541 running round its train at Lydney Junction, which is the southern terminus of the line.

And again running round its train at Norchard Low Level platform.  Norchard is currently positioned roughly in the middle of the line, although plans for extension are in hand.

Later in the day I also filmed 5541 doing a little bit of shunting in Norchard yard.

The shunting resulted in the collection of an impressive diesel crane which was built in the late 1950s.  And as this crane, also beautifully restored at the DFR by Western Steam Engineering, is from the western region, seeing locomotive 5541 working with it is very prototypical. Although I don’t think it would have shined as much as this back then!

5541 is regular performer at the DFR and it was a pleasure to see her running again through the forest, even if it was just a short trip over a Bank Holiday weekend.

When Schedules Go Off The Rails…

This week’s post will be a short one as I have lots of Ready-to-Run projects which need my attention so the drawing work, particularly the Union Pacific rotary snow plow, has taken a little bit of back burner while I get on top of things.  However I will have some more to share with you from the drawing side soon.

On a separate note, as some of you may already know there are new compliance rules for the use of personal data, or GDPR, coming into effect this May. I’m in the process of auditing my own process to ensure it meets the new rules, and will be updating the website and contact form accordingly, but in the meantime please keep an eye out in your inbox in case I send an email touching base with you.

I will leave you this week the information that my American N Scale group, from the Gosport MRC, and I will be at the Fordingbridge model railway exhibition this Saturday, the 14th April 2017, with a fair portion of our layout should you be in the area and want to stop by and say hello.

Follow-up on New Releases

Again this week’s post will be a short one.  Although I was at the Bournemouth N Trak Convention over the weekend I have a sprained wrist, having clumsily falling over in the snow, so things are moving a bit slower than intended.  But I’m hopeful that I’ll make a full recovery soon and then I’ll be back to modeling and 3D printing as normal.

Due to my wrist I didn’t take any photos this year at the N Trak Convention but there was one item that I wanted to share with you.  A few weeks ago I showed you the N Scale Architect’s new kit for a Pennsylvania Railroad’s F22 flat car set and Navel gun load.

Well, it made an appearance and did several laps of the Black Diamond’s layout behind a UP S2.

I will have more on this kit soon and will share a link once it is available on the N Scale Architects website. (These photos were kindly shared by the N Scale Architect.)

Although I won’t be there myself if you are in the Abingdon area of the UK this coming weekend you can see my club’s US N Scale layout, Solent Summit, at the Abingdon Model Railway exhibition.  A link to the exhibition can be found here.

Next week I’m planning on showing you some progress on the UP Rotary Snow Plow project.

No News This Week

My apologies but there will be no post this week aside to say that today we lost a fellow modeler, so I know you’ll excuse me if I take this evening off.

Look after yourselves, and I’ll catch up with you all next week.

Following up on Messages

My website has now been up and running since November 2013 and in that time many people have contacted me with all sorts of questions which I try my best to answer, although sometimes I do get a bit behind.

However, every now and again I get a question come through via my contact page which I simply can’t answer.  This is not because I don’t know but because there is an issue with a mis-spelling of the supplied email address and I’m unable to send a reply.

So to help stop this I have added another line to my contact form asking you to re-enter your email, just as a check, which should help with the problem.

Alternatively you can always email me directly at jamestrainparts@yahoo.co.uk.  I do try to answer all emails, even if I can’t get to them straight away, but if you haven’t had a response and you think this might have happened them please get in contact again, I’m always pleased to hear from you.

Small Steps Forward and New Releases on the Horizon

This week’s post will be short as it’s been a busy week.  I’ve made some progress with the UP rotary snow plow as you can see in the image below.  To read more about this project you can find the first post here.

As you can see a lot of the brass details have been modelled such as the grab irons and roof handrails.  Unlike most locomotives or freight cars, which have one point of access to the roof for maintenance, this rotary snow plow is covered in them.  So far there are 86 separate brass parts and there are many more to add.  But I know how much we, as modelers, love detail so if it’s right, it’s worth it.

On a different note; if anybody went to Amherst Railway Society Show, in West Springfield, Massachusetts, over the weekend you may have seen The Scale Architect’s stand with some of their new releases.  For those that couldn’t make it the new release which interested me the most was the ‘Naval Gun Barrel and F22 flatcars’.

This 3D printed kit will be available in March 2018.  Now I wonder who could have drawn that?!  A bit closer to the release date I’ll have some more info and pictures to share with you about it.

Next week I plan to get back to the UP rotary snow plow and I may even have the chassis worked out.