As if we haven't enough to do, the forlorn looking Scammell Mechanical Horse has prompted Mick and Bob Brown to make some progress with its restoration. It was originally restored way back in 1974 by Paul Fathers and Mick Yarker, the unit and trailer belonging to them at the time. (They subsequently donated the lorry to the Friends.)
Its considerable age, however, makes it worthy of care and attention and as it now has a dry home in the storage shed any work done now will last a considerable time. It is a sobering thought that the vehicle was less than thirty years old on arrival at the S.V.R but is now sixty three!
The first job was to remove the cab so that it could be rebuilt from scratch as it was too far gone for piecemeal repairs. The frame is from Ash and the floor from Iroko. The new timber is now on hand. The metal framework for the floor was rotten due to water ingress and has had new sections welded in. A bodge where a section of frame was once cut out to enable the engine to be removed was put right this time round. Paul and Mick had previously left it. The bonnet has holes rusted through which need new pieces welding in. This is an ideal job for Bob who has considerable experience welding metal into classic cars!
The windscreen frame is well past its best and presents a problem, but worse are the side windows which were lost in the disruption caused by the destruction of the Road Motors Building. They are very tricky to replicate as they have a complicated folded metal frame. It may unfortunately be necessary to make something that "looks similar".
Once back on the road this vehicle will compliment our G.W.R Thornycroft. The Scammell is very important in the evolution of today's articulated lorry, being its first successful forerunner, and was once very widely used by railway companies worldwide.
Reading back through my last report from May I am pleased to say that progress has been as good as I had hoped for. The troublesome front axle has now been replaced and all components machined and fitted allowing the whole front assembly to be put together. The relined brake components are fitted and all the front piping will be completed this month. Additionally all the handbrake components are fitted and complete with new rods and yokes. Once complete this will just leave the rear axle to have its brakes and rods finished, this is my next milestone.
The front nose woodwork is in the final throws of being completed. The softwood template has been completed, fitted adjusted and tweaked to ensure it was true and square. The final version has also been made out of the somewhat more expensive European Oak (£190 raw materials) and is soon to be fitted.
The front grille has become a stumbling block as the competitive quotes were being returned at around the £1300 mark. This is just not an option so we are going to remake the grille ourselves. It is possible but tricky and time consuming.
In the last couple of months we have made good progress, considering all the other projects that are being done too.
G.W.R Pul-syn-etic Drum Clock
Malcolm Broadhurst recently let us have an original G.W.R double sided drum clock from Wolverhampton.
Steve has been masterminding the restoration of this clock for use under the concourse roof at Kidderminster. He has designed replacement illuminated dials to replace the modern 24 hour clock versions fitted sometime in the clock's more recent history. I re-glazed the bezels, while our resident clock restorer Mark Ryan has restored the movements which seem to have had no maintenance, ever. It appears that one side of the clock had been out of order for a considerable time.
The clock has now been suspended from the concourse roof by a bracket and four tubes, two of which will act as conduits for the power supply for the lamps inside, and for the electric pulse signal that drives the hands forward at half minute intervals. At the time of writing these supplies await installation so the clock has tape across the glass to show that it is not in use. It will certainly look good once it is running.
This clock will replace the oversize one mounted on the ticket office wall which is too big to be fitted at that height. However, it is intended to reunite the big clock with its fancy scrollwork brackets and mount it high on the outside of the concourse so that it can be clearly seen along the length of the platforms. This should look just right and allow staff and passengers to see "Railway Time" so that everyone knows when the train is due out!
Unfortunately the scrolls have been utilised to mount boards with "Platform 1" and "Platform 2" onto a lamp standard part way along the platforms. These will have to be replaced by an alternative arrangement first.