Thursday, 28 July 2011

Work Begins...

Now the hard work starts - the task of getting WOOLWICH back on the rails and moving under her own power again.

We're looking forward to meeting our new restoration volunteers on Sunday, so if you'd like to get involved or simply know more, it's not too late.  Read all about it here, and don't forget to let us know if you're coming!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

JOIN US: Sunday 31 July

From mechanics and engineers to lawn mowers, floor sweepers and everyone in between, we need you!

We are searching for regular volunteers at Crossness Engines to maintain and restore the site, as well as the locomotive.

We're grateful for all help.  So if you fancy taking on some admin or painting the odd wall, we can certainly make that dream into reality.  If you've been thinking about it, then we urge you to make the leap.

We are inviting new volunteers to learn more on Sunday 31 July.  If you'd like to be a part of it, you must let us know in advance: Crossness is on a working site and we are obliged to make the necessary security and safety arrangements.  Email or leave an answerphone message on 0208 311 3711.

*Didn't catch the interview on BBC Radio London?  Watch it here on Youtube.  You can double-click the video to view the images full screen.*

Monday, 18 July 2011

Steam Engines and Social Media

If you need a further Woolwich fix, here's some wonderfully vivid photos of the day she was transported across London.

Thanks to Ian for sharing his Flickr album with us.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Second Chance: WOOLWICH on the small screen

Woolwich has been captivating Crossness Engines visitors since her arrival on site this year, bringing a tangible delight to young and old.

At every step we're made aware of the gravity of this project, particularly to locals with a deep rooted bond to the area: we've heard from people all over the country with a family connection to the Royal Arsenal's railways.

So it is with great delight that we can share the loco's small screen debut.  For those of you who missed the original broadcast, we have acquired the footage shown on the BBC News in May when Woolwich was transported to the Crossness Engines Trust.  Double-click the video to watch it full-screen.

You can listen to a candid history of the Royal Arsenal on BBC iplayer.  This radio programme features a comprehensive interview at about 33 minutes into the recording.  Catch it now - it's only available for the next six days.

We will shortly be inviting the new volunteers to Crossness for a special introduction day - get in contact if you'd like to hear more!  

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

New Posts and Old Brass

The Wikipedia article on the Royal Arsenal Railway has been recently edited by Mark Smithers.  Is there no limit to this man's knowledge?  A big thank you to Mark for taking the time to do this.

We've also got some new images from Ian Bull, a Crossness Engines Trust member and one of the faces behind The Railway Project.  The brass name plate and works plate from the last surviving Royal Arsenal NG loco is shown below.

Monday, 4 July 2011

The fate of THE WOOLWICH

This is the last of six parts delving into the history of the narrow gauge railway at the Royal Arsenal.  Read all six parts here.  Don't miss the next gem: subscribe by email to this blog on the right of this page.   

The only survivor of the class, WOOLWICH was put into storage in around 1954 on sidings at the Royal Arsenal, before being disposed of in 1960 to dealers Messrs E.L. Pitt & Co. of Brackley, Northampton, having been extensively overhauled and possibly a new boiler fitted during her last days at Woolwich.

During her time in the yard at Northampton, the conical spark arrestor chimney was replaced with one of conventional design. In April 1962 she was put back into steam, on blocks by J & W. Gower of Bedford, prior to sale and moved to Devon on 11th April 1962. There she was to assist with track laying and run on the newly constructed 18" gauge line at The Bicton Woodlands Railway.

During her life in Devon an air braking system was fitted to be compliant with HMRI regulations, which is fed from a steam driven Stuart pump mounted on the rear of the cab. To accommodate the air reservoir the rear cab wall has been extended back some 6". The believed original RAR livery of green lined out with yellow was changed to blue with yellow lining.

Unlike so many of our heritage locomotives that have rusted to oblivion, or have been cut up for scrap, WOOLWICH was well cared for in the last 40 years and has now returned to a Heritage Industrial site at the Crossness Engine Trust. It is likely that 100 years of working steam will be witnessed yet again to celebrate the durability of British Engineering in the post Victorian era.

Text (c) by Robin Parkinson and Mark Smithers.