So, today is the day we had planned to celebrate 499’s centenary. Sadly no big party with 506 giving footplate rides to all and sundry, no rose garden to celebrate Robert Urie’s second passion and no stories from Barry and the other members of the team describing all the pitfalls of restoring a 100 year old steam locomotive……but let’s not be downhearted, we are the ULS! Why don’t we have a socially distanced, virtual celebration??? Look back over your books for stories of Robert Urie and his engines; sneak an hour watching You Tube, you’re bound to find some gems about our engines hidden in there; delve into British Pathe and cast yourself back to the 1920’s; re-read our website and any old copies of Stovepipe you may have to remind yourself of just how far the group has come; and if you are lucky enough to have a rose garden maybe stand by it and imagine Robert Urie spending the weekends tending his roses after a hard week in Eastleigh works.
As part of our virtual open day, let me also promise you that those of us in the engineering team are not sat on our laurels! We all have various bits of loco at home so have taken the opportunity to disappear into home workshops and garden sheds to crack on. Certain members of the team have even found time to sit down with laptops open and – are you ready for this – start what amounts to project planning; now there’s a phrase you never thought would be associated with the ULS!!!
Some of the jobs in hand are:
- A comprehensive list (by our standards) has been prepared of everything required to complete the restoration of 499.
- Pattern making
- Technical/3D drawings for the new tender
- Working with our supplier for pre-folded steelwork to form the tender raves
- Cleaning up steel beading for use at the top of the raves
- Arranging drawings and quotes for fitted bolts for the motion brackets
- Initial discussions for new eccentric rods, most likely we’ll get profiled blanks
- Considering options for machining above, will probably wait until ‘normality’ returns and send them off with the coupling rod blanks
- Fettling the new smokebox door
- Work on pressure gauge
- Rough out new gudgeon pins
We may not be physically in attendance at Ropley right now, but our minds most certainly are. We will be back, and when that time comes we’ll be there with passion, vigour and dogged determination by the bucketload. I repeat what I have said many times, 2022 is in our sights and by god we’re going to go for it; the Urie Locomotive Society will NEVER be beaten.
Thank you to all our members and supporters for all you do, you are the backbone of the Society and you give us the drive to make things happen.
Before we can all get back together we must get through these awful times, and there are some very special people working tirelessly to make that happen.
To the carers, the essential workers and most of all to everyone in the NHS, the Urie locomotive Society say: