January saw the disposal of our RBR restaurant car to the GCR(Northern), who were keen to acquire an air braked vehicle of this kind for their fleet. Although a potentially useful member of our own fleet, the coach required a considerable amount of work, and was rather far down our ‘to do’ list. In return we obtained some BR 16T mineral wagons, a type hitherto missing from our collection, although literally thousands of these would have appeared at Dunaskin in the steam era.
RBR leaves Dunaskin.
(Photo Andy Arnot).
Mineral wagons at the platform. It is intended that one will be returned to running order and at least one other will be cosmetically restored.
(Photo. Andy Arnot)
Work continued on the restoration of the ‘Johnnie Walker’ palvan, No. CLV 211. This was considerably expedited by the arrival of a new volunteer, who was able to use his skills to construct a new pair of doors, instead of patching up the old ones, as we had previously attempted. This allowed us to get on with undercoating and top coating the van body, although we are not entirely satisfied that the finished colour is exactly the same as when the vans were in service.
This vehicle should be ready to form part of our proposed demonstration freight train by summer 2012.
(Photo. Andy Arnot)
The Group has been looking for some considerable time for a short chassis passenger coach to run on public open days. A short vehicle is necessary to fit inside our covered shed, which can only accommodate vehicles of less than 60′ overall, and after considering various alternatives such as non-gangwayed stock or DMU centre trailers, I discovered that there was a former LMS officer’s saloon, which might be available. We entered negotiations with DBSchenker, the owners, and eventually purchased the saloon in August.
Although in fairly good condition, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done on it, starting with the glazing, which has been attacked by vandals. The coach arrived at Dunaskin in late October, and has been stored ready for work to start in the New Year.
The Group has had enquiries from members of the Wickham society, as to whether we would consider parting with the two trollies in our possession. Although one trolley had been partially restored, there still remains a great deal of work to be done on it, and it was not a priority for treatment. Accordingly, and as the prospective purchaser promised to restore at least one to full working order asap, we agreed to dispose of them to him.
The first trolley left at the end of August, and the second vehicle, which is to be used as spares, is due to follow shortly. These trollies were originally used as inspection vehicles on the West Highland line, before finding more general work with BR’s Civil Engineers.
(Photo. Andy Arnot)
Additionally, some of the other rolling stock on display has been tidied up, without major work being carried out. These and other items will be worked on for restoration to running order, or for public display during 2012.
Steam open days will recommence at Dunaskin at the end of May. For a full list of dates, please click on the button above.
Our popular steam-hauled brakevan rides will be in operation. The cafe and shop will be open, as will our museum room, complete with G-gauge live steam model railway.
The season of monthly meetings is now upon us. Please click on the button above for full details.
Finally! Welcome to our new all-singing, all-dancing website which we hope will keep you, the public, up to date with all that goes on in the ARPG. In particular, we hope to revive the mailing list, to which some of you have already subscribed; this will be used to draw your attention to updates which have been posted here.
Recent locomotive news and information about open days will be found in other posts.
Meantime, the Group must express sincere thanks to Jamie Thom, who has designed this website for us and can be relied upon to iron out any difficulties, despite living on the other side of the world!
Number 10 has been stripped down for its annual boiler exam. It is on track to be ready to steam on the first open day in May. Plans are in hand to repair leaks in the water tank, and hopefully this year will see a complete repaint.
Work continues on the Fireless locomotive. Unforeseen problems were detected in the course of stripping down, and this has prolonged the restoration process. New parts have had to be fabricated for the brake gear. However, it is hoped that the steam receiver will be hydraulically tested on the same occasion as Number 10′s annual boiler exam.
The Powfoot diesel continues to receive attention to its gearbox. Once again, new problems were discovered both on stripping down and while attempting to re-erect. New bearings have been ordered, and it is hoped this locomotive will be a runner again soon.
The “big Barclay” (BP Number 7) is a runner, although the vandalised dashboard can be difficult to work with. There are also signs of a radiator leak developing, which is bad news. It is hoped to give it a coat of paint this summer, which will go some way towards repairing the ravages of all those years spent in the open at Minnivey.
The Sentinel is also a runner, but there are still problems with its air supply system.
Locomotive Number 10 (AB 2244/1948) passed its steam test on 26th April and was ready to enter service the following week. It has been a long process, starting with the exchange of boilers between Number 10 and Number 19, through the extended period when the boiler was away at two different boilermakers, to the re-assembly of the locomotive once the boiler came home. It has also been a very expensive one; we reckon the total cost at over £30,000. A substantial proportion of this cost was generously funded by East Ayrshire Council.
Work has now started on restoring the fireless locomotive to steam. Shell Refinery Number 8 (AB 1952/1928) was the last working steam locomotive in Scotland, and came to the Group in working order when the refinery at Ardrossan closed down. It last steamed in 1995. At the present moment, all the cladding has been removed, revealing that only a small amount of work is required on the steam receiver itself. A new sparge pipe will be fitted. One cylinder was found to be loose on its mountings; repairing this has necessitated dropping the rear wheelset, so the opportunity has been taken to skim the journals. New bolts will have to be specially made to re-mount the cylinder. When the cab floor was lifted an old bird’s nest was found. More seriously, the exhaust pipe from one cylinder was cracked all round. A similar break has obviously been repaired on the other side at some time in the past. Specialist copper welding will be needed here. Again, a grant towards the cost of this restoration has been received from Cumnock and Doon Valley Minerals Trust. It is hoped to have the loco back in steam by the end of the year, when we think that it may be the only working fireless locomotive in Europe.
The cosmetic restoration of Number 19 has been put to one side in the rush to get Number 10 finished and the site ready for public opening. We hope to get back to it soon.
Some work continues to be done on the diesel fleet. The Sentinel locomotive continues to have a clutch defect which defies diagnosis or repair. More work will obviously be needed here. However, Powfoot No 1 (AB 347/1941) has had its gearbox successfully adjusted and now runs in all three gears. A new air pressure safety valve has been fitted.
On Sunday May 4th 2008 the Scottish Industrial Railway Centre (now relocated to Dunaskin Heritage Centre) opened its doors to the public for the first time in six years (apart from a short spell in August 2005.)
71 visitors came; not enough to set the heather on fire, but enough to prove to us that we are indeed back in business.
A full season of summer Sunday running has been planned!
On Saturday 13th February 2010, Barclay 0-4-0ST Number 10 was steamed, and the diesel locomotive which had remained at Minnivey since our initial move was successfully started.
Four trips were made on the Scottish Coal line, the first using the diesel, and the other three with Number 10. At the end of the day, the only items of standard gauge stock left at Minnivey were the large steam crane (which was too wide to go through the gates at Chalmerston), 0-4-0DM : AB 366/1943 and the remains of R & H 0-4-0 DM 421697/1959. The latter two could not be moved because of missing sleepers in part of the siding where they were stored.
There still remained the old Killoch narrow gauge diesel and manriders, some tipper waggons, plus rails, turnouts etc.
Boilersmiths from the firm of Israel Newton, of Bradford, will be at Dunaskin at the end of this week to replace two rivets on the steam receiver.Once this has been completed, work can begin on putting the locomotive back together again.
Meantime, the replacement steam exhaust pipe has been fitted, the steps have been straightened out, and the external exhaust pipe has been removed for cleaning. A new sparge pipe is ready for fitting and new cladding plates have been rolled.
We are still hopeful of having the locomotive in steam at some point during the 2009 season.
Dunaskin Ironworks Museum, whose site we share, went into liquidation in August 2005. With the agreement of the liquidator, we were able to run brakevan rides in summer 2005, but were unable to do so during 2006 because of locomotive problems. Since October 2005 we have been in negotiations with The Coal Authority and Scottish Coal with a view to taking over the part of the site which we occupy.
At a recent meeting we were given a verbal assurance by a representative of Scottish Coal that we would be given a long lease of that part of the site which we currently occupy. So also will other site users, such as Dunaskin Doon Band.
Given that assurance, the Group has felt able to begin to “personalise” the site by the installation of new signs and by preparing certain buildings for a season of open days.