Buckinghamshire Railway Centre Logo

BRC Website Home
Quainton Virtual Stockbook
Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 18 - December 1973

Rebuilt LSWR 0298 Class 2-4-0 Well Tank No. 0314

Preparing the Beattie for her Centenary - Mike Hanscomb

qn_18_01.jpg (40,193 bytes) qn_18_02.jpg  (61,084 bytes)

John Rawlinson - The Beattie 'Crazy Gang'
Mike Hanscomb - Danger- Men (some) at Work

That 'ignorance is bliss' I think we would all agree. That a rude awakening usually awaits us is probably the experience of most of us. Certainly had we been fully aware of the problems we would encounter when we started to dismantle the Beattie it is more than likely the project would never have been undertaken. Now that we have begun the actual dismantling, the job presents us with a challenge we are all the more determined to meet. Also, the race is on to see which engine steams first - 'Bodmin' or Beattie! An interesting race because both were Southern engines (the Beattie had, of course, begun its life on the LSWR) and both have been at Eastleigh.

We began with a team of eight which has grown to fourteen consisting of the following people, in no particular order: - Dick Weeks, John Rawlinson, John Carreras, Steve Hicks, Chris Battye, Bill Jessop, Chris Osborne, Trevor Chalmers, David Elson, Martin Gurney, Peter Stanbridge, Steve Clark, Chris Hanscomb and Tony Reed with Frank Boait as the Loco-Sub Committee member in charge of the mechanics, while I am in charge of 'admin'. Of course, everyone can't come every weekend, in fact, Steve Clark, Chris Hanscomb and Tony Reed can come only rarely, but we think we now have a big enough team for there to be between three and six members at work nearly every weekend and luckily there are some with engineering experience.

Taking anything to bits is always much easier and quicker than putting it together again, but on Beattie it isn't even easy to take things to bits. You can't take 'A' off until 'B' is off, but you also can't take 'B' off until 'A' is off, without a heck of a lot of "heave and struggle." Our main problem now is jacking her up high enough to get the wheels out without everything collapsing in a heap. One begins to appreciate the warnings that have gone out from time to time from such august bodies as the ARPS, about it not being 'roses all the way' when there is an engine requiring even a relatively simple overhaul.

We started on 30585 with the comparatively easy job of removing coupling rods, cross head guides and the lagging and cladding. We then went on to rubbing down the copper firebox and oiling it. This was a foul job as copper oxide is not pleasant stuff, even though we were using face masks, which were essential. Next the boiler barrel had to be thoroughly cleaned before being painted with Apexior. We began with wire brushes, sand paper (and sanding discs whenever a generator or air compressor was available). We soon learnt that this was not enough as the first lot of Apexior, which had been applied to the front section of the boiler barrel, began peeling after two weeks. We were advised by Les Sherman to use coarse wet and dry sand paper, as wet as possible to prevent clogging, and found we got a much better finish with less effort. Also we had not been applying the Apexior thickly enough.

We have nearly finished painting the boiler and the problem at present being tacked by our "Mechanics" is how to raise the engine high enough to get bits of it out and people in, without then having to take bits of people out!! For instance, while in the initial stages of jacking we decided to remove the awkward transverse spring from the rear driving wheels. One side was disconnected while the other was still under compression, and we were continuing to raise the engine. At that moment we had a most welcome visit from our new Loco Sub-Committee Chairman, John Mortham, who wanted to see how we were getting on. He achieved his aim most spectacularly, for, unknown to us he took a brief look under the engine, only to find one transverse spring making its way rapidly earthwards. We have to announce that the spring missed him and his services will be much valued when we put the engine together again. Only he knows how the transverse spring fell out!!

The engineers of the team are :- Dick Weeks, Chris Osborne, Steve Hicks, Bill Jessop, and, of course, the Rhino Park 'duo' from the Whipsnade Umfolozi Line, Pete Stanbridge and Frank Boait. I am classing "Engineers" as those who have had sufficient experience on engines generally, whether on "external" or "infernal" combustion!

The photographs show some of the team at work and if you feel you would like to join the "Crazy Gang" you will be very welcome indeed.

Congratulations to our Carriage and Wagon Department for preparing the dining car for the visitors and for giving us two trains for the August Open Days, which kept Queues to a minimum. The service ran very smoothly and it was good to see the LCDR four-wheeler and Great Northern six-wheeler running together for the first time. The Locomotive department had a very busy time. On Saturday Coventry's injectors wouldn't work and the fire had to be dropped. Luckily the Pannier was in steam and she took over the footplate rides while Del Etheridge, Geoff Fulcher and Ralph Turner stripped down the injectors, while Bob Randall and Graham Bocking had the nasty task of scraping and washing out the tank. By 10 o'clock on Sunday morning 'Coventry' was up to pressure again and she gave no trouble and worked all Sunday and Monday. On Sunday the Pannier's lubricators for regulator and cylinders had to be stripped down by Del and Simon Field and this job was finished by Monday morning. As reported by Anthea in the Worksheet, we had 5000 visitors during the August Open Days, 2200 took steam train rides and 476 passengers came by the dmu from Aylesbury. Thank you very much to all those who came to help at the Open Days blessed by fine weather almost to their close.

We were privileged to be the venue of a rally of the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club on 30th September when sixteen beautiful cars with their distinctive radiators gathered in the Brill yard. Veteran and more modern RR's stood in glorious sunshine while their owners had a picnic (champagne) lunch, followed by train rides behind No.3. All our visitors showed great interest in our efforts probably because they are, like ourselves 'preservation minded'. The Rolls party stayed for several hours and were keen for a return visit next year. We will be very pleased to welcome them again to Quainton.

On 21st and 28th October we had schools' visits and parties of Scouts and Cubs to our depot. A group of twenty boys and a master from a school at Walthamstow was making a tour including our neighbours at Leighton Buzzard, and the waterways museum at Stoke Bruerne.

qn_18_03.jpg (47,724 bytes)

Mike Hanscomb - From the Cab Roof (and a view of the yard from a novel vantage point)

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1973 and so does not reflect events in the 40+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Preparing the Beattie for her Centenary - Mike Hanscomb - Quainton News No. 18 - December 1973

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Email Webmaster
Page Updated: 21 October 2017