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Tag: Clearwell Caves

Works and events taking place at Clearwell Caves.

✂️ Clearance at Clearwell ?>

✂️ Clearance at Clearwell

As part of the Open Weekend of 14th-15th May, volunteers from the Lea Bailey Light Railway Society went to Clearwell Caves to service and run the Hunslet Flameproof locomotive No. 7446 and to take a look at some of the other rolling stock stored outside. Despite having not run since last year, the locomotive started on the first attempt, and performed several demonstration runs for visitors, much to the enjoyment of the café staff who had come to empty the bins.

Another job which was started was to cut back some of the hawthorn, brambles, and other assorted undergrowth on the elevated siding at the top of the incline to allow the rolling stock stored there to be moved for the first time for many years. We hope to be able to do a little bit of cosmetic restoration to prevent these items from deteriorating, with the eventual aim of a proper restoration in the long term, although some of the items may end up as static exhibits.

Of immediate interest however, is a compressor mounted on a 4-wheel bogie, which despite being outside for some time, has already been made to turn over freely. An end-tipper wagon will be very useful for track work here and at Lea Bailey, with an initial inspection showing that it will only need minimal repairs to some corroded platework. Of course more cutting-back will be required before these vehicles can be retrieved.

The single-bladed point leading to the siding had been heavily overgrown with grass and other greenery and a thin layer of turf had to be removed from the top of the rails. The resident artist-blacksmith MissFire was in the process of loading equipment into a large van as part of her move to larger premises, and so our work on this part of the track took place in between trips from the workshop to the van using a small 4-wheeled wagon.

Once the point was free to move — a process that also involved the removal of a surplus dog-spike — the Hunslet was summoned to push the W227 up the incline and onto the siding. Because this set of points is notorious for derailments, particularly of the WR5 locomotive, the final few yards was done by hand using crow bars and pieces of angle-iron as levers, and a not inconsiderable amount of brute force. The W227 is now clear of the running line and perhaps the sunshine will allow a coat of red oxide to be applied to protect it from the less pleasant weather that is sure to return soon enough?

Open Day at Clearwell Caves — June 2014 ?>

Open Day at Clearwell Caves — June 2014

Underground at Clearwell
Hudson u-skip wagon underground at Clearwell

This was the first  time that ‘advertised’ trains had run at Clearwell Caves for very many years. Apart from our own Wingrove & Rogers battery-electric locomotive we had a visitor from a private railway near Gloucester in the form of a rather travel weary small Lister — sensible because the tracks at Clearwell are a bit rough after years of disuse.

The Lister arrived on Saturday afternoon and after unloading was taken on a proving run or two, as you can see from the picture, it wasn’t just the track that was a bit rough.

The Eimco Rocker Shovel had recently been recovered  from inside where it had been stored for quite a few years and from time to time it was moved up and down. It will need new cables and probably air pipes before it returns to service.

On Sunday, the Clearwell Caves electric winch was in action moving tubs up and down, which  were then run out into the open. The plan was to do this hourly but that proved optimistic, especially when the heavy traffic took its toll on the track. At which point the webmaster made his excuses and left.

Important lessons have been learned and everything should go much more smoothly in September. Thanks to Rob and John Needham for supplying the pictures.

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