Joined: 07 Jul 2003
|Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:30 pm Post subject: Restoring non passenger stock
|This post follows from a discussion in the general forum on creating a new SVR Wiki site. The new SVR Wiki site is now in operation and looks great, especially the rolling stock page with vehicle descriptions and links to what appear to be very recent photographs.
Looking at these has prompted some personal thoughts on the future recording and management of the restoration of non passenger rolling stock.
Although goods vehicles are a minority interest they were the reason the railways were created, and the lifeblood of the economy for over one hundred years. There were over one million goods vehicles on Britain’s railways so the handful of survivors surely deserve some consideration.
So my rave being here.
On the question of a new stock book I suggest we should have both. The Wiki page is a convenient central repository and can (hopefully) be readily updated by observers. This seems to be the logically way to go, rather than rely on ad hoc forum postings or outdated official SVR sources.
However a printed stock book is still a good idea, not just for the quality of the photographs but also as a permanent snapshot in time of the state of the fleet.
Recording Restoration Status
While the format of the stock register is an excellent start, it could be further enhanced by additions to the stock condition column.
The notations already in use include ‘restored’ and ‘operational’. Although the latter term may be ambiguous, since judging by the photos most of the service stock in particular looks cosmetically quite unrestored, so ‘operational’ is no guarantee of condition.
The national goods wagon database has multiple measures for internal, external and chassis condition but to make life simple, possibly a more basic set of restoration categories would be sufficient for the SVR database. Maybe the wagon restorers have some thoughts (or records?) on grading vehicle condition and potential restoration effort.
As a suggestion the classifications on condition could include – restored, superficial restoration required (i.e. basically just a repaint), detailed restoration required (as in significant body repairs), or derelict.
Re Restoration Strategies for Non Passenger Stock
With only a handful of volunteer wagon restorers the current backlog of restorations seems unmanageable. While it is hard to tell from the photos on the wiki stock list, of some 130 or so items, their condition would seem to break down approximately to – restored 45, needing cosmetic restoration 54, needing deeper restoration 25 and derelict 6. This excessive backlog raises important issues for consideration by the Railway.
The following suggestions are of course made without any knowledge of the nature of agreements with the existing vehicle owners or any existing management plan. Just ramblings by a long term remote member.
Reducing the workload on the current restorers would seem a logical first step by focusing their efforts on the most historic stock. Possibly there may be some excessively duplicated items or those with no SVR links which could be disposed of to a good home.
A category for discrete treatment would be the 9 tool vans plus those other vehicles currently used for ongoing storage/accommodation etc. Could some equitable arrangement be made for the occupiers to maintain them in a presentable condition?
The service stock, particularly the ballast wagons, are never going to look pristine, but ongoing maintenance is still required to avoid expensive rebuilds. Should the cost of such essential plant maintenance be paid from the PW budget as a necessary ongoing expense, even to the extent of using outside contractors?
Funding initiatives could be explored such as specific mini funding appeals (even cloud funding) to restore either –
The 15 or so wagons/vans now over one hundred years old, some of which only require superficial restoration, or maybe
The handful of unique items which have some specific public appeal. A particular example would be the grounded Horse Box at Highley, which was built in 1888 and is I think the oldest rolling stock item on the railway. Also such items as the fruit vans and tank wagons may have attractive paint scheme options.
If there are a number of stock items that only require repainting, perhaps there may be sponsorship opportunities with say a paint manufacturer – I could think of no better example of demonstrating paint durability than on timber wagons which are not only exposed to all weathers, but also constantly moved and banged around for decades on end. Or possibly apprentice training opportunities, or adopt/sponsor a wagon, or help Thomas fix the troublesome trucks. Just thinking outside the box. Dare I even suggest selling period style advertising on appropriate vehicles.
This leads me finally to the derelict stock. The chassis only items including BR Brake 955243, SR Bogie Brake 56291 and LNER wagon 225641 (is there some mysterious destructive force in the Bermuda - sorry Stourport triangle, considering those vehicles once had bodies before they ended up there?). The Iron Mink body 57976 also looks too far gone. They should all be struck off the wagon register, as should the disintegrated wagons at the Kidderminster Museum.
However the remaining vehicles at the Kidderminster Museum would seem still restorable for the present. But in their current location not only do they present a significant eyesore to most visitors to the railway, they appear to serve no purpose at the museum, which is focused on signalling, and should be removed.
If the museum wants a couple of vans as examples to park by their loading platforms, perhaps they should be given the two metal BR goods vans 200176 and 201056 which, if they are now not required in the diesel sidings, would be more durable. They are also historic relics in that they represent the last gasp of the fixed wheel base goods wagon, and have a provenance dating back to the wagon ways of 2000 years ago.
Sorry for the lengthy post.