The main focus of attention continues to be the pony trucks. The swing links for the rear truck have now been case hardened, painted and the bushes pressed in. The front truck has been partially assembled although not yet completed. The lubrication arrangements for the various moving parts of both pony trucks has yet to be attended to before the units are fitted under the loco.
The brake hangers are temporarily in position but at present are awaiting lubrication arrangements for the bottom bearing to be dealt with. Various pins and bushes for the brake rigging have been made. The pull rods and adjusting nut are in the course of manufacture at Stephenson Engineering.
The regulator J pipe and the seating for the stuffing box on the outside of the boiler barrel are being machined off site as are the regulator top casting and both regulator valves.
The SSJ vacuum ejector box casting has also gone away for machining.
Look out for an article called "Penny Wise", plus an appeal leaflet, in the next issue of Severn Valley Railway News. The main drift of the article is the need to ensure a secure future for 82045 as a working locomotive, and the appeal leaflet relates to the ring-fenced Future Fund which was set up exclusively for this purpose.
You may remember that we originally launched the Future Fund on the occasion of the memorial train "Waterloo Sunset" which we ran in honour of Paul Anderson in September 2017. With hindsight, I think we were a bit premature in doing so then, but the situation is very different now. Excellent progress is being made on the loco, and with the encouragement and support of Neil Taylor, we are hopeful that the first fire will be lit in about two years' time. Neil has estimated that the assembly of the firebox and boiler will take 15-18 months (please keep everything crossed that all goes to plan), and has said that the SVR want to see the loco ready for service six months after completion of the job. We are therefore looking at the final quarter of 2021 or the early part of 2022, and I have got together a little working group to throw around a few ideas as to how best 82045 should be launched. We will be holding our first meeting in the New Year. Of course, there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip, as my engineering colleagues often remind me, but let's hope for the best.
In what is an increasingly hard world, I think the the more self-sufficient we can be, the better. We are hoping to attract some new supporters for the locomotive, but hope also that our existing members - or as many of you as possible - will be prepared to continue to support 82045 after it enters traffic. The plan is that we maintain a healthy income, made up of steaming fees (both on the SVR and on other railways, a number of which have already expressed interest in hiring the engine) and also of the contributions of a hardcore of members who are anxious to ensure that the future does not lie in being a static exhibit at Highley. I hope that you approve of this plan, and would be very happy to discuss it with you if you'd like to get in touch. I've done the sums and have a fair idea of how much we need to be aiming for.
I am very sorry to report the passing, after a short illness, of yet another 82045 stalwart. Gerry was a generous and enthusiastic supporter of 82045, despite his first love being the LNER Gresley B17 class which he remembered with affection from his youth in north-east London.
He was probably best known on the SVR for his act as "Smart Alex" the spiv, in which guise he could be seen at 1940's Weekends sporting his battered suitcase and Joe Walker-style moustache and accosting astonished ladies to ask if they might be interested in buying knicker elastic and other such accoutrements of a bygone age.
Gerry was a good-natured and upbeat chap, and none of us had any idea that he was seriously ill. Rest in peace, old lad.
A view of the front corner of the loco on the fireman's side showing steam chest cladding and refreshed paintwork. Photo: Tony Massau.
A view of a brake hanger temporarily in place. Photo: Tony Massau.
Two views of the front pony truck partially assembled. Photos: Tony Massau.
Gerry sharing his enthusiasm for 82045 back in 2014. RIP Gerry.