UKHH Back on Track

UKHHbannerWe’ve certainly had first hand experience of what the situations illustrated with this post must have felt like over the last few weeks.

You take something out of service to perform a ‘mainline’ upgrade and some routine maintenance and find a lot more than you bargained for which needs sorting before you can put something back into service after what should have been a quick job.

Then you have an unexpected failure of a vital part and are completely at the mercy of the manufacturer and delivery times; a waiting game when something otherwise perfectly good to use is frustratingly dormant.

Add on to this several bouts of illness and family, Rowan and myself all moving house over the past few weeks and it just enters a vicious circle that you wonder how you are ever going to escape, especially if you then throw exams into the mix too…

Sadly, try as we might, the result was that it was impossible for anyone to head up the UKHH in the interim period from the point where Rowan had to stand down until the point at which it had been planned for me to step up this week.

As it stands a lot of hard work from Rowan and the forwarding to me of everything received in early September has brought an Issue 59 which has been tidied up and edited into a September issue which will be released asap. The main thing holding it back is an access issue to the UKHH email account necessary to get the final pieces to complete the issue. Work is currently in progress to try to resolve this.

UKHH Issue 60 is set to follow as a September Autumn Gala Special in a break from tradition in creating a soley SVR based issue at this time of year. Fear not however because plans are afoot for a special SVR 50th Anniversary Edition to appear in time for Christmas, more details to follow.

As a result, I would like to invite all contributions for steam gala and related matters, eg. charters and visiting loco moves to arrive by the usual means before 6PM ON TUESDAY 6TH OCTOBER to allow for contributions from this weekend’s galas on the SVR, WSR and GCR. All being well, issue 60 should be released during the following week.

Issue 61 will thus be an October issue for which the deadline is 6PM ON TUESDAY 27TH OCTOBER to allow for contributions from the major Mid Hants Gala which is taking place the previous weekend. This issue is set to be released in early November.

On behalf of everyone at the UKHH I would like to first of all say thank you to everyone for their enormous patience during this technically and personally challenging interim period, as well as to thank all our contributors for all the great content which we have continually been blessed with, and of course the hardworking members of the IT and editorial team who have really been putting their all into making things happen slowly but surely behind the scenes during recent weeks.

In the meantime, Issue 58 can be found at with the ever expanding website being . There are also a few exciting and ongoing projects concerning events and loco listings which although now in need of a bit of an overhaul, having been completed in August but unable to be published online to date, should see another new service from UKHH commencing soon.

"SR re-built 'West Country' Pacific 34046 'Braunton' touches down at Bury in late October 2011 ready for the start of the final work needed to get the mainline systems up and running on the loco as well as repair the slipped tyres which withdrew the long-troubled loco from service during the period during which the difficult fitting of mainline equipment was being started on the WSR,

The loco is now under overhaul at Crewe having successfully made a return to the mainline and put in several excellent performances accross a good swathe of the country before the expiry of her ticket after a little under 2 years of continuous regular and mainline service due to constant issues with the loco and fitment of the mainline equipment in its first few running years.

Hapilly, 34046 should return to the mainline around Christmas with a full new ticket and finally become a regular sight on our national rail network, the first 'West Country' to do so since 34016 'Bodmin' and 34027 'Taw Valley' in the 1990s and early 2000s."
"LMS Stanier Mogul 42968 sits forlorn at Bridgnorth, impatiently awaiting the day she can steam again during the summer of 2012.

After being re-united with her Fowler 3500 gal tender following repairs to flats which saw 42968 running with 45110's heavily weathered Stanier 4000 gal tender for a large chunk of the previous year; 42968 was blighted by several broken springs which put an otherwise serviceable loco out of service for a couple of months during a summer when the SVR was suffering an acute steam shortage.

With no spares available on site and three broken springs needing to be manufactured and replaced, the loco was wholly at the mercy of the external manufacturers to create one-off and unique parts which then still had to be delivered, fitted and tested before the loco whose boiler ticket was fast nearing its end by this point could return to regular service as the capable and reliable mainstay of the SVR fleet alongside 7812, 43106 and 5164 at the time."