Since we established ourselves in 2012, the Hawthorns Tunnel (Euroclydon Tunnel) site at Drybrook has been little more than a source of track for Lea Bailey. Now we have decided to establish a proper presence at the tunnel. The culvert that carries a small stream past our access gate had collapsed and that meant some initial hard work so we could get equipment down to the tunnel.
Another headache is the fact that the trackbed outside the tunnel is now several feet higher than the tunnel floor which is largely concreted. Also, when the stream overflows, water pours through the tunnel. Some digging out will hopefully have brought this under control. Our new skip (the result of an exchange for a former Coleford Brickworks wagon) has been pressed into service as can be seen. Inside the tunnel we shall lay track from that stored there for many years until it runs out.
Although the tunnel is very damp, should we so wish, we should be able to keep and operate the Hunslet here as it has no electrical system. However, that would mean bringing in a small compressor to start it every time it runs.
Administrator’s Note: Work in the cutting has been put on hold whilst matters relating to ownership of the land are put in order. Our access to the tunnel itself is not affected.
If cost is everything then for an entry-level locomotive you need look no further than a battery powered machine. We inherited our first one in more or less ready-to-run condition and have since taken delivery of two more.
The latest additions — no less than four of them — will be much more of a challenge. Given the cost of the heavy duty batteries needed to power them, I doubt we shall ever see a run past of all of them working simultaneously.
Clayton 1¾ ton 4wBE w/no 5961C of 1972.
Has no motor or brakes. Stored in Littledean. Bought from Ian Bendall, Wigston, Leics. Industrial identity ‘EL9’.
History not yet known:
One option is to fit two 24v lorry starter motors (one to each axle) and power with four 12v auto batteries.
This loco is of same type as one brought to Lea Bailey open day in June by Gareth Rees.
Logan ¾ ton 4wBE, w/no LM 1066 of 1951.
Complete apart from battery and battery boxes (but very corroded due to over 40 years stored OOU outdoors at Llechwedd, North Wales).
To Edmund Nuttall, Sons & Co (London) Ltd, no location known. Sold to Mitchell Bros, Son & Co Ltd, Tickhill, Doncaster in 1965; given plant no MBS236. Employed on Mitchell’s Tilbury Power Station contract, before moving on to their LT Victoria Line, Vauxhall Park contract. By February 1972 the loco was at Mitchell’s Tickhill Plant Depot, Doncaster. Sold to Llechwedd Slate Quarry & Tourist Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, moved by April 1972. Not used, put on static display. Sold to Alan Keef Sept 2014. Bought for LBLR and moved to storage in Littledean, 24th October 2014.
Longish term restoration project (for dry weather)
Needs two battery boxes making (there is a complete example in North Wales on which to measure the boxes). 96v so will need eight 12v auto batteries.
Wingrove & Rogers WR18 4wBE, w/no 7888R of 1977.
Complete apart from battery and brakes (but battered and corroded from use and outdoor storage).
New to Stanhopeburn mine. 6/1978 as No 3 moved to Cambokeels mine. By 16/10/1988 moved to Frazers Grove mine. C4/2004 moved to Broadwood Processing Plant for storage. Bought for LBLR and moved to Lea Bailey 27th October 2014.
Wheels and motors rotate (but are stiff). 72v so will need six 12v auto batteries. Although handbrake, blocks and rigging are missing this loco appears to have a transmission brake.
The WR18 is an upgraded version of W227 as used on the George & Charlotte mine tramway at Morwellham.
Wingrove & Rogers WR18 4wBE, w/no 7964 of 1977.
Complete apart from battery and brakes (but battered and corroded from use and outdoor storage), battery box is not original (too small).
New to Redburn mine. By 11/3/1978 to Stanhopeburn mine. After 7/1979, by 12/10/1980 moved to Cambokeels mine as No 4. By 16/10/1988 moved to Frazers Grove mine. By 19/12/1989 moved to Cambokeels mine. By 17/11/1990 moved to Frazers Grove mine as No 1. 12/1999 moved to Broadwood Processing Plant for storage. 8/7/2004 sold to I Hughes, Langwathby, Cumbria. Then sold to R Etherington, Shackerstone, Leics. Bought for LBLR and moved to Clearwell 24th October 2014 to be restored for use as shunter at the Caves.
Wheels and motors rotate (easier than on 7888). 72v so will need six 12v auto batteries. Although handbrake, blocks and rigging are missing this loco hopefully has a transmission brake as on 7888.
N.B.Redburn, Stanhopeburn, Cambokeels and Frazers Grove mines and Broadwood Processing Plant were all parts of the (now defunct) Weardale fluorspar industry in County Durham.
The other Forest of Dean September Open Days were lower-key than in2013 as the Alan Keef works was ‘between projects’ and the Vintage Train had left Perrygrove. Nevertheless, a constant stream of visitors arrived at Lea Bailey many directed from our stall at Lea Lines which was much busier than the pictures suggest — you can’t take photographs while you are talking to potential visitors. The numbers at Clearwell were a little disappointing and next year we shall probably only operate there for the Summer Open Day.
At Lea Bailey, the W&R battery loco blew a fuse and retired, but the centre of attention was the newly restored Eimco rocker shovel which was taught how to throw bricks using a specially hired compressor. On the Sunday, we were very pleased to welcome some of Alan Keef’s weekend guests, maybe next year they will bring one of their steam locos with them. As the picture shows, they had to work for their entertainment as the Eimco derailed itself.
Apart from the very welcome publicity which will raise our profile, we collected some £300 in donations and sales.