EASTER’S HERE – COME AND SEE PRINCE GEORGE

Our locomotive moved back into the Crewe Heritage Centre Hall Hall yesterday (Tuesday 26th March) and will be open to Public Viewing from Friday 29th March .  The Heritage Centre will be open on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays till  the end of October.

See Crewe Heritage Centre | A Great Day Out For All The Family (crewehc.co.uk)  for details of events and opening times.

Come and see our locomotive, the only pre-First World War express locomotive intended for main line use.

If you can possibly afford it, please contribute via the Donate Online Button on the Home Page.

AGM AND LATEST PARTS

Our AGM almost two weeks ago now.  We had a fruitful meeting, and it was good to involve members in the affairs of the Trust.  Perhaps next year we will have more members and if we can, on-line participation.  After the completion of the very formal official business we had an informal open meeting with a brief introduction on our plans for the immediate future.  Our understanding is that our locomotive will be on display in the Hall from Easter, but that we may not be able to remain in the Heritage Centre for 2025.  The Centre itself has got very big changes in prospect, so there is some uncertainty.  However we would be wise to try and find an alternative low-cost site.   Somewhere close to Crewe Works would be ideal!

Our construction plans are focussed on permanent assembly of the frames.  Taking advantage of recent generous donations, we are considering changing our immediate focus to purchase of the motion plate and frame stretcher.  These are castings, and there will be a fairly long lead time for the three stage manufacture: pattern-making, casting and machining.  During the summer we plan a fund-raising drive to coincide with a major article in the Heritage press.  The hope is that we can exhibit our locomotive during 2025 as we accumulate the rather expensive materials necessary.  At the end of the 2025 season  it is hoped we can dismantle our locomotive and build the permanent frame assembly.

Manufacture has not been entirely forgotten, today I have collected our cab handrails from ACE Stainless Fabrications.  They have welded the top plate and bottom boss to the tubular rail, and as you can see the weld quality is superb.  One would never know that the rail wasn’t machined from solid bar incorporating the big bottom boss.

Cab Rear Handrails - Upper

CAB UPPER HANDRAILS

   

BOSS WELDED TO TUBE                    FLANGE WELDING AT TOP OF HANDRAIL

We expect to order the cab footsteps very shortly, and then to seek quotes for the cast frame members mentioned.

It’s a busy time, and we have to generate all the paperwork for approvals for our planned purchases.

Wishing all our members and supporters a happy Easter, enjoy the Easter egg and if at all possible make a donation to help our big push for frame assembly.

Wash & Brush up for Prince George

It’s March, and time to give Prince George a wash and brush up for display for the the 2024 season at Crewe Heritage Centre. Well, perhaps some gloss paint to make for a more attractive display.  Paint was bought for the job last year but time ran out and Prince George had to be shown at Crewe with just a single coat of black primer, a contrast to the smartly painted and lined left side splasher and lower cab side.  Today (2nd March 2024) Ken Wood of the LNWR Society, a noted painter of heritage vehicles, painted the inside of the upper cab and the outer facers of the cab side, valance and the front buffer beam.  Unskilled support was provided by our Engineer.

Conditions in the unheated hall were hardly the best for painting due to the cold weather (There was a quite nasty sleet storm that morning) but Ken did a great job.  Thank you Ken!

Just this one day required a lot of preparatory work, with two days at Crewe to put the platform in place, plus time for purchasing material as well as many hours in the Engineer’s man-cave working up the raw timbers into a kit of parts for the platform and the safety rails around it.

The cover in the second picture is to protect our frame plates from the weather while Prince George is outside for the next 2-3 weeks,  This is unfortunately necessary because the Hall is booked for two events this month.  No doubt the wash and brush-up will be required once Prince George goes back in the Hall.  It’s not a huge job, volunteers please!

Terry McMenamin

Engineer

AGM Notifications

By the weekend all our members should  have received their notification of the AGM on 16th March either by post or email.  Two will be posted today after email delivery failed.  Please note that membership is defined as those who give regularly or equivalent lump sums.

If you are a donor and haven’t received your papers, please get in touch and we will make sure to send them to you.

If you are not a donor but want to get involved, please go to the buttons at the foot of the Home page.  According to the rules members should receive notification of the AGM no later than this coming Saturday, 24th February.  If you want to vote, apply now!

Our intention is that  getting the membership involved will increase involvement in the project and provide the future leadership.

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at Crewe on 16th March.

Terry McMenamin

Acting secretary

Getting Ready for a Spring Clean

 

 

 

After the long drag of the winter, we need to get No. 2013 spruced up and ready for the second season’s display at Crewe Heritage Centre.  First the locomotive needs to be made fit for a short sojourn outside as there is a weekend exhibition occupying the whole of the Hall.  One vulnerability to our spring weather was the miscellaneous standard bolts we used at the rear end of the frames.  The bolts have to be high tensile  countersunk ones to clear the back flange of the wheels, and withstand the loading.  Unfortunately these are not stock items, and were not available in time for the loco’s delivery to Crewe.  Whatever standard bolts were to hand were used, with large washers covering the countersink of the bolt hole.  This left a cavity under each bolt head which would be liable to moisture ingress and corrosion.  With the expensive proper bolts now on hand, they have now been snugly fitted to eliminate that risk.  There are 22 holes per side, so not a 5-minute job!

The photo is taken from inside the frames at the rear end, showing the temporary structure with the left side main frame bolted behind it. Part of the temporary dolly wheel can be seen under the frame, and the rectangular beam from the centre of the picture to the bottom mid-right carries the weight of the loco on a pivoted axle enabling it to steer.  It would be lovely to order the actual dragbox to replace the temporary structure – all donations gratefully received (it will cost £15-20k)!

 

To enable painting of the cab we need to make sure our volunteers are safe.  One element of this is the platform in the cab shown below, made as economically as possible with timber from a reclamation yard.  It needs some kick boards and waist-height safety bars before use.  We need to beg, borrow or steal a tower platform to paint the outside of the cab.  Failing that we will hire one!  The left hand side of the loco is partly finish painted and lined, this just needs a wash and shine job.

 

Come and visit our loco during the exhibition season starting at Easter, or better still become a member and come to our AGM which will be announced shortly and which will include an tour of the locomotive with the opportunity to speak to the team.

Engineer’s Christmas update

Christmas is almost on us, and while things have been relatively quiet on construction there has been much activity in building the Trust’s systems. Our Box.com archive and document management system is being set up and much of our documentation is now stored there. Setting up the new system is time-consuming as it forces consideration of how best to organise it. We have yet to set up the automation of things like purchase order and payment authorisation.

As if that wasn’t enough of an IT challenge our CAD design is being migrated to a new computer, which inevitably throws up a few challenges.

We would welcome any help with our IT, please contact us if you can assist.

Our Chairman Derek Buckles has been busy with membership matters to be contacting supporters directly.

The New Year will see big changes with more supporter involvement – watch this space.

Wishing all our supporters a Very Happy Christmas

Terry McMenamin

Open Meeting 11th November

The day of our Open Meeting, Saturday 11th November was blessed with some nice warm sunshine after a chilly start.  Sadly, the M6 had one of its bad days with a one-hour delay.  Nevertheless a select group assembled in the ground floor room of the old Crewe North Box.  After the usual technical hitches connecting laptop and large screen, the presentation got underway.  We had a very good discussion, touching on frames, cylinders, bearings, the boiler and many other parts of the locomotive.

Afterwards we toured the locomotive with further discussions.  Even our LNWR tool box got a bit of attention, on its first day of duty as our small parts and tool store.

It was good to see the Coal Tank back in the Hall, only a few hundred yards from where it would have been built.

This coming Saturday is the day of the LNWR Society luncheon, which we will be attending.

In a short while we expect to announce our plans for some further work to be carried out on the locomotive.

Christmas is coming, please don’t forget to include a gift for Prince George in your shopping list.

Terry McMenamin

 

 

Meeting on Saturday

Tool Box partly cleaned

Our open meeting is this coming Saturday, 11th November at 2pm in Crewe Heritage Centre’s former Crewe North signal box.  The gate will be shut, please open it to drive in and close it behind you.  There are facilities to make hot drinks, and possibly if Heritage Centre Volunteers turn up, the maybe a small snack like a toastie.  However the Centre is not otherwise open to the public; so that might not be possible.  We owe thanks to the Heritage Centre for permission to use the facility.

Our LNWR tool box will be arriving on Saturday to use as our store for small items.  It’s got lots of battle wounds from its long life, and unfortunately I painted it in fading light which combined with my lack of painting skills resulted in curtains.  At least it’s cleaned up now, it was a mess as you can see on the left.  At least it’s now clean. as the photograph below.

I’m looking forward to  meeting supporters (and any friends who might like to come) on Saturday, answering your questions and having a good discussion about all things about the George the Fifth, also to show you round the locomotive.  We have some new information about the class relating to George Hughes’s period as CME, which will be part of the presentation.

 

Hoping to see as many as possible of you on Saturday,.

 

Terry McMenamin  Engineer

Tool box as repainted

Looking forward to seeing you

Our Open Meeting at Crewe is coming up fast, please come and join us if you possibly can.  It’s on 11th November at 2pm in the old Crewe North signal box in the Crewe Heritage Centre.  There will be a talk with Questions and Answers after, then a walk round the locomotive in the Main Hall.

Our LNWR tool box will be delivered that day having been stripped of the old flaking paint and painted with fresh black gloss paint.  With a sturdy lock on it it will serve as our tool and small materials store for now.

We hope to start setting up our new online Trust document centre in the next few days.  We will be using BOX.com, so we can keep all our records in one place and use its automated routines for authorisation of orders, payments and such like.  It will help us manage the Trust’s business and to be able to demonstrate to the Approvals body that we have followed the rules.  If you think it’s boring stuff, well yes it’s true but necessary.

Now I had better get back to that tool box and give it a coat of undercoat!

Hoping to see you at Crewe

Terry McMenamin

Engineer

A date for your Diaries

 

We will be delighted to welcome our supporters and friends at our open meeting at 2 pm on Saturday 11th November at Crewe Heritage Centre.  There will be a presentation and question and answer session in the LNWR Society’s room on the ground floor of Crewe North old signal box, followed by an inspection of the locomotive in the Main Hall.  The meeting will finish by 4.30 pm at the latest. 

This is an opportunity to meet the team and put your questions to them.  We would be delighted to welcome any new volunteers, and look forward to meet our friends and supporters. 

Thanks to our friends at Crewe Heritage Centre and the LNWR Society for use of their facilities. 

Getting there 

Address 

Crewe Heritage Centre, Vernon Way, Crewe, CW1 2DB 

What3Words: tracks.basket.sits 

By Train 

  • The Heritage Centre is about 15 minutes walk from the station. 
  • Leave the station via the Nantwich Road exit and turn left towards the Royal Hotel.
  • Cross at the pedestrian crossing and continue past the Royal Hotel until you get to the ‘Cheshire Inn’ public house.
  • Turn right and walk down Mill Street and Continue past Costa Coffee and Lidl.
  • Once under the railway bridge turn right at the roundabout and continue along Vernon Way until you see the entrance to the big Tesco.  Follow the sign into the Heritage Centre behind Tesco. 
  • By Car
  • From M6 junction 16 with A500 if coming from East or South. Take A500 west as far as the first roundabout , take the third exit to B5472 signed for Weston, Crewe Hall and Enterprise Park, At the next roundabout turn left onto Weston Road signed for Crewe Centre. At the next roundabout take the second exit to A532 Town Centre.  Pass alongside Crewe station on the left, at the roundabout take the third exit to Macon Way, signed Crewe Town Centre.  At the next mini-roundabout take the first exit left onto Earle Street, then second exit from the roundabout soon after, finally at the next roundabout turn left to pass alongside the big Tesco to the Heritage centre at the far end.
  • From M6 junction17 coming from the North  take the A534 to Crewe Green.  After about 5 miles take the fourth exit of the big Crewe Green roundabout on to Hungerford Road.  After about ¾ mile at the roundabout carry straight on to Earle Street A532, and at the two immediately following roundabouts keep on Earle Street A532, then immediately left alongside the Big Tesco to the Heritage Centre
  • From the Nantwich and West, use A500 Shavington Bypass to RB3 roundabout.  Take the first exit to Jack Mills Way and stay on this for 1¼ miles.  At the cross-road with Nantwich Road carry straight on into Mill Street A5019.  At the roundabout take the second exit to Vernon Way A 5019/A532.  You will shortly come to the Tesco roundabout, where you take the third exit and keep on to the Heritage Centre at the end.