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Feedback from Kidderminster open day.
This was otherwise billed as the ‘L&NWRS 41st Anniversary Meeting’, following on from last year’s successful 40th Anniversary event organised by Ted Talbot. On Saturday 2nd August I arrived at Kidderminster Railway Museum in brilliant sunshine, after a journey through tropical monsoons. It was after the first talk of the day by Bob Essery and Peter Davis. Some members were taking their lunch in the downstairs snack bar while others were chatting in groups or perusing the items on the stalls and stands. [see photos]
I was able to sit in on the 1pm talk about the ‘George the Fifth Project’. Brian Hayes welcomed Paul Hibberd (one of the original directors of the project) and Tom Mainprize, but stressed for the LNWRS members that the quest to build ‘a big model’ was financially totally independent of the LNWRS.
The unique project proposition is that this is a pre—First World War design for the mainline. The class had the highest HP output per ton weight of any loco on the WCML up until the end of steam. So it ought to be able to haul an economic load on tours. The smokebox door was started in 2013, as a physical embodiment of the LNWR essence. The front frames are on order (from the front buffer beam to just in front of the driving wheels) strengthened from the original 25.4mm to 30mm. There has been one enormous piece of luck, in that The Cambridges named their first born George and they agreed to the loco being named ‘Prince George’, so long as this was done “after he attains his first birthday”. The plates have subsequently been fixed to the cabside plating and look superb. [See photos and other news item]
“The National Lottery won’t touch new-builds, but we use Gift Aid and have (private) 100% match funding for what we do raise.” A lot of help has been offered by other groups. The SLS managers of the model ‘Orion’ have offered help with the Joy valve gear. There is a lot of debate about the inside axle bearing (removed in their later lives), but “we are firmly of the view that the carrying structure was very important to the frame integrity, whether or not we fit the bearing. We need a reliable and faithful George!” The presentation wrapped up on time at 2pm. Time for a late lunch — good sandwiches from the snack bar.
I browsed the displays of models, projects, history, artefacts and catch up with members I had not seen for a while. As billed, it was a good day out.
Plus more photos.
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