Heritage Railways with Busy & Well Respected Engineering Departments?

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theflyingcuth

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Hi folks,

I'm just wondering if you've got any insight into heritage railways with busy and well respected engineering departments? (I'm thinking locos as well as carriage works, I don't know if they're often separated by organisations?)

I'd be interested to hear about how they worked pre-covid times and also what's been happening during covid with these teams?

I would also be curious how much the departments rely on unpaid volunteers vs paid staff?

Another query I had are they doing work for their own lines as well as others? I'm guessing some pooling of machinery and resources happens across the sector.

Many thanks!
 
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Have a look at the Blogs on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire website, they have individual blogs for each department and are well worth a read
 

Flying Phil

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I think most operations have separate Locomotive and carriage operations but some equipment may be used by both. The Great Central Railway has the locomotive shed at Loughborough with a large machine shop. They are contracted by the NRM for work to be done on three NRM locomotives (70013, 777 and 63601) so must be well respected. Pre covid there were paid employees and regular teams of volunteers working. During the lockdown(s) only essential paid staff worked I believe. The Carriage and Wagon works at Rothley operate on a similar basis but with only about 4 staff.
The locomotive dept has done some "outside" work. I'm sure there are quite a few examples of sharing across the sector in one form or another.
 

EbbwJunction1

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The Vale of Rheidol Railway do quite a bit of loco and carriage work for other narrow gauge railways. I'm not sure how or whether this is separated from their work for the railway itself, though.
 

the sniper

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The Ffestiniog/Boston Lodge have got to be up there. They've had quite a number of paid staff. The long news videos on the F&WHR YouTube channel often featured a lot of news of work going on there.

The Vale of Rheidol Railway do quite a bit of loco and carriage work for other narrow gauge railways. I'm not sure how or whether this is separated from their work for the railway itself, though.

Surprising how much work there seemingly is to go around in UK narrow gauge!
 

Tim M

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The Ffestiniog/Boston Lodge have got to be up there. They've had quite a number of paid staff. The long news videos on the F&WHR YouTube channel often featured a lot of news of work going on there.
This illustrates the capability of Boston Lodge works. There are currently two heritage carriages being built with one nearly complete in the paint shop, plus a new Super Saloon for the FR. On the mechanical side a Contract to construct an underframe for a Blackpool tram has been awarded, the ability to work with a mix of imperial measurements in the design and metric materials was an advantage. This is in addition to routine overhauls of loco’s and carriages and the new build Double Fairlie ‘James Spooner’.
 

JonathanP

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The Severn Valley has a quite a large engineering setup. The previous general manager often liked to remind people that the SVR had a strategy of doing overhaul work in-house, but this is not the only possible strategy, and the engineering departments had to deliver in order for this strategy to continue.

There is a loco works which employs a number of paid staff. As I understand it they have one paid staff team which does running repairs on the fairly large operating fleet, and another which focuses on overhauls. They are assisted by volunteers.

They have a seperate boiler shop which does in-house & contract work including brand new boilers(currently five new boilers are being built for Isle of Man locos). Specialists are employed here, but volunteer loco groups can also work under supervision.

There are also two seperate Carriage works. One does the regular overhauls on the large operating fleet(although these can be quite big jobs), whilst the other does contract work and more involved jobs like bringing into service carriages that have never previously run in preservation. Without outside work, the second carriage works would apparently not be viable. This is a mix of paid and volunteer staff.

Wagons are yet another seperate team which is fully volunteer, and there is also a Diesel Maintainence Depot, again this is fully volunteer.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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This illustrates the capability of Boston Lodge works. There are currently two heritage carriages being built with one nearly complete in the paint shop, plus a new Super Saloon for the FR. On the mechanical side a Contract to construct an underframe for a Blackpool tram has been awarded, the ability to work with a mix of imperial measurements in the design and metric materials was an advantage. This is in addition to routine overhauls of loco’s and carriages and the new build Double Fairlie ‘James Spooner’.
It'sworth remembering that as well as Boston Lodge the FfR also carries out engineering work at Dinas on the WHR.
 

MackTen

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Riley and Sons seems to be quite famous as both a fully professional outfit, and for taking on way more work than simply the upkeep of their own associated line's stock (East Lancs?).

There's Pete Waterman too.
 

trebor79

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Riley and Sons seems to be quite famous as both a fully professional outfit, and for taking on way more work than simply the upkeep of their own associated line's stock (East Lancs?).
Mmmm. The railway I worked at bought a loco from East Lancs. Part of the deal was that Riley's overhauled it prior to delivery (it had been out of use for several years).
Let's just say there were a number of things we needed to do get the loco working properly, and it was out of use within a few years. Things might have changed in the intervening quarter century of course!
 

geoffk

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"Steam Train Britain" on the Yesterday Channel (1st Feb) had an item on the South Devon Railway's commercial engineering subsidiary, South Devon Railway Engineering Ltd. We saw how a driving wheel tyre (made in South Africa) was expanded using a kind of giant gas ring (someone will know the correct name), then the wheel fitted using heat shrink techniques. It's a skilled workforce and they undertake work for other heritage railways and TOCs, being one of the country’s specialists in wheelset repair and wheel retyring.
 
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BigB

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South Devon Railway Engineering also make a lot of parts for Mk1 carriages, including carriage end skins, gangways etc. Well made kit too, and - amazingly considering they are going on things made by various BR workshops - the parts always fit!!
I had 8 Gangway Footplates made there in my garage for final machining until Sunday, as we are trying a different bolting technique from BR to see if it reduces wear.... probably won't see the benefit for a few years but I do like a challenge....
 

SeaKing

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"Steam Train Britain" on the Yesterday Channel (1st Feb) had an item on the South Devon Railway's commercial engineering subsidiary, South Devon Railway Engineering Ltd. We saw how a driving wheel tyre (made in South Africa) was expanded using a kind of giant gas ring (someone will know the correct name), then the wheel fitted using heat shrink techniques. It's a skilled workforce and they undertake work for other heritage railways and TOCs, being one of the country’s specialists in wheelset repair and wheel retyring.
'Gibson Ring'
 

geoffk

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The Gibson Ring is the "circlip", which is sprung into the recess in the back of the tyre, while still hot, so it's not the actual gas ring which is used to heat the tyre before the wheel centre goes in. I'm just going by what I watched on the TV and read on line!
 

Parham Wood

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The East Somerset Railway have a carriage bodywork repair business which also does locomotive bodywork (33s for example) and DMUs. Paid staff. They also do one contract locomotive restoration or 10 yr overhaul at a time for other railways, unless the workshop is being used for an overhaul of a loco for its own services. Not main line running locos up to now. These are all volunteers. Each overhaul is around two years or under depending on the work required.
 
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