Thursday, 4 January 2018

Wrapping Up 2017

Now that 2017 is behind us we can reflect on CR828's achievements in her first full season back in operation since 2013. In terms of mileage run she finished the year with just under 4000 additional miles on the clock. In terms of number of days in operation we reached 90 days. And how about reliability, you ask? She failed in traffic twice and was unable to leave the Shed on a couple of other occasions. In every case the problem was associated with boiler feedwater injectors. You may recall that we fitted new cones to both injectors in June. This cured most of the problems but left the loco vulnerable to inadequate performance from the injector clack valves. (These are non-return valves that prevent reverse flow from the boiler through the injectors.) Leakage through clack valves is the curse of the backhead injector and this caused a continual headache for Shed staff. Fortunately we have a plan to rebew the clack valves using a better and more resilient material than specified by the Caledonian Railway and this is one of the first jobs on the winter maintenance programme. But apart from injectors the loco was completely reliable and has exceeded all performance expectations.

The winter work programme is anticipated to be relatively light and we expect to open the 2018 running season at Aviemore at the end of March using CR828.

We are starting to think seriously about the next heavy general overhaul that will be due from late 2020. The workscope for this will indeed be heavy. Two of the major items, renewal of the cylinder block and renewal of the loco dragbox, will require that we separate the frame plates. This may lead to a decision to renew the frameplates. This will not be cheap...! In anticipation of requesting donations from friends and supporters the CR828 Trust, the legal owners of the loco, is enacting its entitlement as a Scottish Charity to recover Gift Aid from HMRC. Soon we can expect the Trust to make requests for donations from those interested in keeping the last Caledonian Railway loco of pure JF McIntosh design at work well into the  middle of the 21st Century....

Thanks to everyone who has followed this rather intermittent blog during 2017. Very best wishes to you all for a Happy New Year throughout 2018..




Strathspey Railway Association (SRA) Director Maureen Cuthbertson hands a ceremonial cheque to CR828 Trustee Doug Scott at the beginning of November. In a gesture of great generosity the SRA has donated the proceeds of its annual raffle towards the next heavy overhaul. The sum donated amounted to a very very welcome £4000..!!




On 5th November the Strathspey Railway Company operated a "Supporters Special" as a 'thank-you' to all those who have helped and supported the Railway during 2017. Part of the fun saw 828 lead the special drain to the bridge over the River Dulnain on the extension towards Grantown on Spey. As you can see, she got very close to the existing railhead... 




For the first time ever, CR 828 stands on the new Dulnain Bridge...





A snowy scene at Boat of Garten for the first of ten days that 828 operated the Strathspey Railway's 2017 Santa Express services..



Departing Boat of Garten for Broomhill...




A great shot by top steam railway photographer Jonny Gourlay. 828 dashes towards the bridge at Tullochgorum in very seasonal Christmas weather..






The cold and snowy weather made life a bit more difficult for loco crews but Driver Dave McLaren and Fireman Martin McLeod are cheerful as they get the old girl ready to go off-shed..



Family shot at Broomhill as one of our Elves is given some guidance on operating the camera...



During cold weather we use the alternative supply from our water tower at Boat of Garten for filling the tender tank. This is the view from the operating platform...




Sparkling sunshine at Boat of Garten on a return working from Broomhill to Aviemore...




A typical black face after a dry day on CR 828....

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