Category Archives: Railways

‘Jurassic’ to Steam on Passenger Trains for Classic Car and Bike Show

Skegness Water Leisure Park, Sunday 17th September 2017

IMG_8959“Jurassic” at head of a two coach train seen in our wooded section returning to Walls Lane station. 19/8/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR)

Jurassic, the elegant and historic steam locomotive on the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway, is planned to go back into service to pull its first public passenger trains in more than 30 years on Sunday 17th September 2017, in connection with the “Classic Wheels” event, the Classic Car & Bike Show, at the Skegness Water Leisure Park.

The Show will raise funds for the Skegness Lifeboat Station and the Lincolnshire Air Ambulance. Entrance will be £2. Train fares of £1 return and donations will go towards the upkeep of the line’s historically-significant collection, much of which is also owned by a charitable trust.

Jurassic is planned to steam on the LCLR’s tracks adjacent to the Show’s venue in the Park, in Walls Lane, Ingoldmells, PE25 1JF. Trains will run from 11.00 to 3.40 pm, with some initial services being operated by or in conjunction with one of the LCLR’s fleet of historic Motor Rail “Simplex” diesels, the design of which dates back to the First World War.

The third annual “Classic Wheels” event will feature

• Private Classic Car Collection displays
• Club displays
• Trophies and Awards
• Classic Motor Cycles
• Trade Stalls
• Refreshments and Bouncy Castle

The historic locomotive has been restored to working order by volunteers from the charitable trust which owns it, financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and donations. The 114-year old locomotive, has successfully operated three days of trial trains, as the restoration neared completion. Work to repair the boiler, smokebox and firebox was contracted out to the North Norfolk Railway”s workshops at Weybourne near Sheringham and some other jobs were contracted to local firms and specialist suppliers.

IMG_4864The boiler returns from the North Norfolk Railway works where it was refurbished, and is carefully lowered into place in the locomotive frames by crane. 25/1/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR)

IMG_4953The team look relieved after the boiler is successfully reinstalled in the frames. 25/1/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR)

She was built in 1903 in Bristol by Peckett and Sons Ltd., for the quarries and cement works of Kaye and Company in Southam, in Warwickshire, together with similar locomotives named after prehistoric geological periods.

Jurassic runs on tracks just two feet wide, which made her a perfect fit for the rails of the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway, who bought her in 1961 to help operate their services linking the bus terminus at Humberston, near Cleethorpes, with the local beach and holiday camp. When that location closed in 1985, she was moved into store and then to the LCLR’s new location in the Skegness Water Leisure Park, close to Butlins, Ingoldmells, north of Skegness. The line reopened to passengers in 2009, since when the historical significance of its unique collection of rails, locomotives, carriages and wagons from the trench railways of World War One and industry and farms in rural England has become more widely recognised.

In 2016, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded Jurassic’s charitable trust, £43,000 for her restoration and for interpretation of her significance to Britain’s economic and transport history.

The first task was to dismantle the locomotive, so that the boiler and firebox could be sent to the North Norfolk Railway.

_MG_6055The safety valves are refitted to the locomotive by Richard Shepherd (L) and Paul Walkinshaw (R) 3/5/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR).

Once these repaired “vital organs” were returned to Lincolnshire, they could be reunited with Jurassic’s frames. Her long elegant chimney has been put back in place; the injectors (which allow cold water to be transferred to the boiler, to produce steam) have been repaired and refitted, as has the connecting pipework for steam and water. The gauge glasses (which show how much water is in the boiler); the regulator (which governs speed); the reversing lever (which controls the direction of travel) and associated fittings, have all been refitted and tested._MG_6152The locomotive has its first test steaming prior to the refitting of the cab and water tank with LCLR engineer Paul Walkinshaw.  31/5/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR)

The large cab (which can accommodate four adults, including the driver and fireman) has been sand blasted to remove 114 years of accumulated soot, grease and grime; the saddletank (which carries reserves of cold water) has been repaired and put back in place. The loco’s insulation, boiler cladding, a new whistle, brass dome cover and other fittings which replace originals stolen several years ago, have all been fitted.

The careful repainting of the whole locomotive – red for the buffer beams, and Middle Brunswick Green for the cab exterior, saddletank and cladding; black for the chimney, smokebox and running boards, has been complemented by lining out in black and gold, producing a strikingly beautiful finish.

Meanwhile, work continues to extend the LCLR by approximately 200 yards, to include a new run-round loop, which will accommodate Jurassic more readily and enable longer trains to be operated. It’s hoped this will be completed in time for the 2018 season.

Railway spokesman, John Chappell, said: “We’re thrilled that visitors to the third annual Classic Car and Bike Show should be able to take a steam train ride with Jurassic – truly a case of ‘Classic Wheels’.”

IMG_8808-2“Jurassic” and two coach train at Walls Lane station (Skegness Water Leisure Park) following its successful performance on the one coach train earlier in day.  2/8/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR)

“Jurassic has been attracting visitors to the railway from throughout the UK, many of whom might otherwise not have been aware of the many attractions of Skegness and our hope now is that she can operate many of the Railway’s services in 2018”.

Full details on the Jurassic story and the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway on www.lclr.co.uk

On This Day in 1855…

The Panama Railway dispatched its first locomotive across the Isthmus of Panama

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Last year, we celebrated the 100th year anniversary of one of the world’s greatest civil engineering achievements – the construction of the Panama Canal. But it was today, 160 years ago, that the Panama railroad was completed and saw the first train travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean connecting the east to west.

The Panama Railroad was of vital importance for the construction of the Panama Canal, constructed 50 years later. But it was the growing pressures of western immigration that triggered the railway’s dawning.

After the United States claimed California as a result of the Mexican War in 1846, only a trickle of American settlers had made the arduous trek from the east to the western coast. After many shelved ideas and propositions, the United States once again turned its attention to securing a safe and quick link between the Atlantic and the Pacific with the prospective movement of settlers to the west.

Panama was the narrowest crossing between the two oceans and offered the obvious and quickest connection from east to west. In 1847 the Panama Railroad Company was set up to achieve just that, and by 1850 work had begun to lay down the tracks.

The discovery of gold in California one year after the railroad plans were made only heightened the importance of its completion to many prospectors wanting to head west in search for their fortune.

The California Gold Rush of the late 1840s saw thousands of people catch “gold fever” and embark on the adventurous journey to the wild west. By the end of 1848 thousands of excited people from the eastern coast of America to as far as Chile planned big trips to California.

Travellers from the east coast had three travel choices: Travel by sea around the tip of South America, take the shortcut through Nicaragua near Panama, or travel by land.

Travelling by sea around South America’s southern tip of Cape Horn was a very popular route in the early days of the Gold Rush with hundreds of ships embarking on the 13,000 mile voyage. But the trip could last up to eight months and ships were jammed with passengers causing discomfort, scurvy and frustration.

Most people opted to travel by land, but this had to be a carefully planned journey at the right time of year if travellers and their cattle were going to reach the grassy plains before others reached the best grazing lands. Many didn’t make the well marked Oregon Trail without catching cholera from the muddy river waters. Even if they survived disease there was still the punishing Forty Mile Desert to endure and many men, horses and cattle became exhausted and perished before completing their pilgrimage.

A dense jungle, humming with swarms of malarial mosquitoes, the temptingly narrow stretch of Panama awaited any brave traveller heading for the West Coast in search of gold. But many wanted to avoid the tropical diseases of Panama, and so to shortcut the lengthy voyage around Cape Horn, disembarked on the east coast of Nicaragua crossing the Lake Nicaragua to then complete the final leg of the journey in large steamers and carriages to San Francisco.

When the Panama Railroad was finally completed in early 1855, it was a far-reaching transport success that changed the course of history and kick-started a migration of tens of thousands of emigrants to the new gold rich western lands. It was by far the quickest and most comfortable means to get to California and as a result Panama’s economy thrived.

Read detailed accounts of the Panama Railroad in The Engineer journals below:

The Panama Railroad – The Engineer 1902/10/10

The Panama Railroad by Percy F. Martin

*No I – The Engineer 1912/06/14
*No II – The Engineer 1912/06/21

Sir Nigel Gresley Remembered with a Statue at King’s Cross

Sir Nigel Gresley

Most of us have heard of the famous Flying Scotsman, celebrated ‘Cock O’ the North’ and the record breaking Mallard, but how many people know of the engineer behind Britain’s most famous steam engines?

Born in Edinburgh and raised in Derbyshire, Sir Herbert Nigel Gresley quickly rose from working as an apprentice at the Crewe Works under F. W. Webb to become The London and North Eastern Railway’s first Chief Mechanical Engineer.

He paid extraordinary attention to railway service demands and awareness of locomotive design development, selecting a ‘Big Engine Policy’ for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) and observing the effect of wind resistance on train performance.

The Flying Scotsman Class A3 locomotive was built in 1923 to be employed on long-distance journeys. Notably it’s now broken two world records for steam traction officially reaching 100 mph on 30th November 1934 and then setting a record for the longest non-stop run by a steam locomotive, running 422 miles on 8th August 1989 while in Australia.

The Gresley Class P2 No 2001 ‘Cock O’ the North’ was completed in 1934 at the LNER Doncaster Works and was the most powerful express steam passenger locomotive ever built for a British Railway.

The A4 Pacific-type demonstrated an aerodynamic design never built before, and in 1938 one train of this type – The Mallard set a world speed record of 126 mph.

This month, it was announced that there are plans to unveil a statue at King’s Cross Station for Sir Gresley. It will stand a proud seven feet tall in the station’s Western Concourse, near to the West Offices where Sir Nigel worked until the outbreak of war.  This memorial will be constructed in cast-bronze by sculptor Hazel Reeves, holding a copy of The Locomotive magazine and accompanied by a mallard – the symbol of his world famous speedy locomotive.

The statue will be unveiled on the 6th April 2016 – marking the 75th anniversary of his death.

References: http://www.lner.info/eng/gresley.shtml, http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/heritage/sir-nigel-gresley-statue-planned-for-king-s-cross-1-3592602 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LNER_Class_A3_4472_Flying_Scotsman in addition to the Grace’s Guide pages.