This month’s newsletter comes from our very own Barry Stratton. Many may not have realised that our Urie S15 499 hasn’t always been at the Watercress Line during her preservation days…
No. 15 Spring 2008
Following an on-site visit in early March to Ian Riley & Son Ltd at Bury, we have reached a decision to return our locomotive to Mid-Hants Railway. Our intention is to re-wheel the engine onto its axle boxes as they stand at present, rather than overhaul them as previously planned. This is due to the fact that the locomotive will have to await the completion of 506 and the axle boxes would start to deteriorate again, in the meantime. Also capacity at Bury is not available in a realistic timescale to do any further work on 499, as there are a number of other locomotives undergoing heavy overhaul in the workshop.
The move from Bury will involve a major logistics exercise concerning Ian Riley, the ELR, a heavy-haulage company, and the MHR, as the locomotive has to be part-assembled and loaded onto transport, not forgetting the other remaining components which need to come back. An inspection of the frames, in a snow storm, revealed two frame fractures that had previously been anticipated from when the engine was at Barry Island. The extra weathering in Lancashire has now made these fractures stand our more clearly. They had been previously welded in BR days, but will now requires major cutting out and welding to a higher standard. The horn block liners were found to be surprisingly good condition and will only require a light machining to true up. The general condition of the major components is thought to be sound.
Back at Ropley, the clack box castings for 499 have recently been despatched to South Coast Engineering for machining and once the locomotive has returned to Ropley, we can similarly remove other parts for overhaul or replacement.