Hopefully you have been keeping up-to-date with what is happening at Lea Bailey Light Railway by reading the regular updates on this website and on our Facebook Page — but now is your chance to come and see for yourself. With a compressor wagon now on site, our resident Eimco 12B rocker shovel will once again be put to work alongside a rock drill on the open air demonstration line to show how these machines would have worked underground.
The Eimco compressed-air locomotive 401-216 and Motor Rail 21282 will be in operation, with four different types of Wingrove & Rogers battery-electric locomotives on display — all at different stages of restoration. We are also hoping to demonstrate the large Eimco 24 rocker shovel each day at around 3:30pm. Don’t forget to visit our sales stand where refreshments will be available including home-made cakes. ?
Since its arrival in November 2017 the Eimco 24 rocker shovel has been inspected and found to be in excellent mechanical condition, despite its flaky paint and rusty wheels. In January this year, the control levers were freed off with the aid of Nick’s large socket set and a generous spray of WD-40.
On Sunday 3rd February, replacement pneumatic hoses were fitted and temporarily held in place with cable ties. The air motors and runing gear had the oil filled up, and the drive chain was sprayed with WD-40 and given some attention with a hammer to loosen the links.
The temporary track which had previously been used as a loading ramp to the arrival of the Eimco 401 has now been dismantled, in preparation for our next project. The track between the mine points and the container will be completely re-laid with new sleepers and granite ballast. Whilst the track is lifted, the area leading down to the inspection pit will be re-graded and a new set of points will be added to allow access to a second track which will be laid afterwards.
Planning is under way for the next Open Day on 19th & 20th May 2018. We will have our compressor wagon on site. Our resident Eimco 12B rocker shovel will once again be put to work on the open air demonstration line to show how these machines would have worked underground. We are hoping that compressed air locomotive Issing Sid from Statfold Barn Railway will be able to visit again (subject to confirmation).
Resident locomotives Simplex № 21282 and Eimco 401-216 will be operating throughout the weekend, and four battery-electric locomotives will be on display along with a number of different types of wagons. Visitors can also try their hand at panning for gold. Refreshments including home-made cakes will be available.
For a taster of what to expect, you can watch Rob Needham’s YouTube Videos of the September 2017 Event:
Many other attractions can be found around the Forest of Dean, all within a half-hour drive of our site at Lea Bailey. A number of links can be found below.
The Eimco 24 is a larger version of our Eimco 12B rocker shovel which has been restored to working order at Lea Bailey Light Railway. This particular example has been stored outside for several years and is in need of restoration. Other than the operator’s platform and guard rail, the machine is complete. The air hoses and steel cables will need to be replaced with new ones and the bucket drive chain will require some work to free it off. Until our volunteers have had a chance to look closely at the condition of all the mechanical parts this Eimco 24 will remain as a static exhibit.
One interesting fact about our particular machine (which bears the number 45299) is that it has been converted to right-hand drive; most Eimco rocker shovels being built as left-hand drive models. We believe this was so that it could work with another machine in a wide tunnel to allow the two operators to work side-by-side.