Just in case you were getting bored with the same old format for 'The Friends' Newsletter, I decided to give it something of a facelift. The cover design is pure Great Western and dates back to 1922. The material shown on this web site is an abridged form of our Newsletter detailing recent progress only, and omitting colour pictures of the projects, plus the historical item 'Taking a Look Back' which looks at various aspects of railway operation which are rarely covered elsewhere - no front three-quarter shots of steam engines as featured in 'The Boys Book of Trains' here!. If you would like to know more please write to the chairman or you can join 'The Friends' for a mere £2 per month minimum. The money raised pays for materials for the enhancement of Kidderminster Town Station and the labour is provided free by 'Friends' volunteers which makes every penny raised go a long way.
I recently sat in at a meeting of the design committee for Bridgnorth Station Building and agreed to produce a few detail drawings for fixtures and fittings to help ensure that the designs are in accordance with G.W.R standards. There is no point in producing items that are incorrect on purpose, after all.
I am very pleased to see that the new building has a hundred percent Great Western feel to it, diametrically opposite to the modern 2000's style first proposal.
It is necessary to produce about six lengths of speartop fencing for this project, which will form a boundary to the paved area outside the restaurant. Needless to say the repaired panels, which we have now become accustomed to making, are ideal and represent a huge saving as against the cost of replica panels, so once again the 'Friends' speartop team have been requested to produce them!
Martin Mackenzie has pointed out that the long service GWR First Aid medal in his possession is silver and not gold as I stated in 'Taking a Look Back' in issue 64. The article I produced was based on information in the Great Western Railway Magazine, and I did not check its accuracy. However, Martin's medal is indeed silver and I have been checking Ebay and certainly some 25 year medals were made from 9ct gold. As my article pointed out, the first aid courses were very popular so perhaps later medals were silver to save cost. Web site readers will have no idea what I'm writing about. Sorry.
A little has been accomplished on the Scammell since the last Newsletter. The electrics are now almost complete and the remaining area needing scraping and painting - under the floor - has also had attention. These small jobs bring the Unit ever closer to completion, and as it stands it is perfectly suitable for display. We have not had the engine running yet, but even if we had it would not be possible to get the Unit out of the storage shed without moving the Pole Carrying Trailer which is positioned blocking the doors. It is easy enough to move the trailer with two or three people pushing but it now has nowhere else to go as the compound has much more scrap awaiting disposal, and the corner where the trailer used to stand is now occupied by two spare Stones boilers for diesel locomotives!
However the major repairs to the Pole Carrying Trailer are also mostly complete. I made a mistake interpreting a photograph of a G.W.R trailer of this type and positioned the stays for the jockey wheels incorrectly, and the mistake is yet to be rectified. Otherwise the small job remaining is applying the lettering which I'm sure will transform the look of the trailer. A good example of such a transformation was applying the lettering to the museum's Brake Van which looked astonishingly bare and unfinished without it. It is surprising how this can produce such an impact at the end of a restoration job! (A photo of the Brake Van appeared in the October 2014 edition of this Newsletter.)
The other lorry project, the Thornycroft, has also had a small amount of work done to it. A visit to a Classic Car and Autojumble show has yielded a pair of 'D' shaped rear lights and some small reflectors. Originally the vehicle had just the one 'D' rear light incorporating the rear lamp for after dark with a side window for illuminating the number plate, and an auxiliary bulb for a brake light. No indicators or reflectors were fitted. As we are hoping to get this vehicle roadworthy we have fitted a second 'D' lamp on the near side and also reflectors to the lamp brackets. These extra items can be removed if the vehicle is to go on static display as we also wish to be able to demonstrate just how the vehicle would have looked back in the 1940's.
The front lamps have proved to be a bit of a nightmare. They are a larger size than usual and replicas are not obtainable. Originals are like hen's teeth but by cannibalising numerous old lamps in various stages of decay we have been able to make up a matching pair. However, we need to get two reflectors re-silvered and one of the bezels re-plated. We have managed to find bulb holders to fit which have two contacts and an earth to enable dipping headlight bulbs to be fitted. I think that originally the offside lamp would dip by mechanical means (a solenoid tipped the reflector down) and the nearside lamp would go out! This arrangement is no longer road legal, of course.
The side lights have so far proven to be unobtainable. The original lamps appear to be 3¼" in diameter, by scaling their size against the lettering on the front number plate in a photograph. The standard side lights manufactured by Lucas for commercial vehicles are about 2" diameter and reproductions and originals are easily obtainable. Until we obtain a pair of large side lights some smaller ones have been fitted.
Progress is slow, but the lorries remain a fill-in job with station work the priority.