We're disapointed to announce that due to over running repairs, we will be unable to operate our planned Double Header Day this forthcoming Sunday (8th October) and so S160 no. 5197 will be left to operate all services solo.
The Churnet Valley Railway’s Motive Power Department is going through a busy period at present, with preparations for CVR25 now underway following the arrival of former GWR 42xx no. 4277 from the Dartmouth Steam Railway. As part of the hire agreement the railway will be repainting the locomotive into unlined British Railways Black, the first time the locomotive will have been in this livery in over a decade, and so she is now inside the Carriage & Wagon works to enable rubbing down and painting to commence.
Elsewhere the intermediate overhaul of the Polish TKh no. 2944 ‘Hotspur’ continues. Efforts have concentrated on the bottom end, which was showing signs of wear after completing over 20,000 miles solely along the CVR in a little over 2.5 years! The cylinders and valves have been reborn by Bryn Engineering, before the owning group machined the new piston and valve heads. All the motion has been removed and tested for potential flaws, before receiving new pins and bushes ahead of re-fitment. The air pump exhaust system is also being redesigned, in order to allow a quieter operation and ease maintenance. With all this work ongoing, realisation has come that in order to complete the repairs to a satisfactory standard the target of making CVR25 Anniversary will have to be missed. It is disappointing for the line’s volunteers considering the role 2944 has played in recent years, but with Santas also looming it has been decided to ensure the locomotive’s availability is certain for the busy Christmas period instead of rushing the repairs through and risk failing at what is an important part of the year for both the CVR and owning group.
However to replace 2944 we are fortunate that repairs to S160 no. 6046 are looking to be completed in time. Withdrawn in May following reports of a warm bearing, repairs have turned into something more comprehensive following the discovery of significant wear to all 8 crank pins. To rectify this each driving wheel has had to be removed from the locomotive, and the full journal rebored before the crank pins could be replaced. With this work now drawing to a close, 6046 is provisionally rostered to cover 2944 turns on Saturday 21st October – which if successful will then see 6046 swap with 5197 for Sunday 22nd diagrams allowing the locomotive to attempt her first solo trip to Ipstones since February’s Winter Steam Gala. Should any further setbacks occur, then 33102 ‘Sophie’ will cover 2944 diagrams for the full weekend.