(F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

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(F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby Ian Bull » Sat Jun 18, 2011 3:54 pm

Hello everyone,

Over the past few years I've communicated about the Royal Arsenal Railway's 18 inch system with several members. There's now a real chance that the RAR will resume, in a most appropriate place.

Thanks to the good offices of the Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills Trust the surviving RAR equipment is being loaned for a generous restoration and operation period to the Crossness Engines Trust.

The Crossness site is adjacent to the Royal Arsenal and all the rolling stock would have worked well within sight of its new home. On 18th May Avonside 0-4-0T 'Woolwich' was the first item be transferred. She was briefly displayed within the Royal Arsenal and former employees were on hand to re-aquaint themselves with her. She'd been away for 53 years. Excellent press coverage was obtained including several minutes on BBC TV news.

On Sunday June 26th Crossness pumping station will be holding a rare public steaming day.

All are more than welcome and this will be the last chance to see 'Woolwich' before she is dismantled for overhaul. A visit is worthwhile as the pumping station houses the four largest rotative beam engines in the World and the interior's decorative ironwork is utterly remarkable. Many visitors gasp when they enter the engine house for the first time. There's information about the open day here...

http://www.crossness.org.uk/

... click the 'visit' tab.

The railway project has its own 'blog' containing both news of current progress and RAR history. The author Mark Smithers is currently contributing a history of the Avonside 0-4-0Ts. See...

http://www.therailwayproject.blogspot.com/

There are additional photos of the move from Waltham Abbey back to South East London here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ianbullsph ... 767521099/

This will be an exciting and worthwhile project and there's a great deal of local public support. We also have superb engineering facilities but, we do need new members!

I hope this information was near enough to Gn15 to be of interest.

All the best

Ian Bull

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Postby Steve Bennett » Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:22 pm

Thanks for the info Ian, it's good to see that there is progress being made with the collection.
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Postby Ian Bull » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:56 pm

Hello everyone,

The RAR project's blog has recently been updated with links showing 'Woolwich's' move to Crossness. There's also a radio interview illustrated with some RAR content. See:

http://www.therailwayproject.blogspot.com

The dismantling of Woolwich is showing her to be in remarkably good condition given her originality and 95 years of age. So far the only components found to need replacement are bottom plates of her tanks. We have superb facilities so she should be running again in 2013.

All the best

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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby henrix72se » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:14 am

I did just check the http://www.therailwayproject.blogspot.com/ site but it hasn't been updated since July 2013 ..

Could anyone fill in current status, would be nice to know ?

Is the loco getting any closer to restored, has the restoration of the wagons started ?

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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby Ian Bull » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:48 am

Hullo Henrik

Good question!

I write the blog you've mentioned and it's maintained by the daughter of one of the volunteers. I sent her a very large update a month ago and I've twice since reminded her to upload it. Meanwhile, here's what's happening.

About 70 to 75% of the work needed to restore WOOLWICH has been done but about GBP50,000 is required to finish her, most of that going towards the boiler. WOOLWICH belongs to the Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills (WARGM) but she is being restored by the Crossness Engines Trust (CET) for use on a railway at Crossness, the width of a fence from the Royal Arsenal. Last year the CET made an application for funding to the UK's Heritage Lottery Fund. The application was refused as the CET do not own the locomotive. Approaches to all similar funding bodies have resulted in the same refusal. Simply - no money for locomotives you don't own, irrespective of the importance of the project.

WOOLWICH is now in an excellent state of conservation as all ferrous components have been taken back to bare-metal and well-painted, she won't be corroding.

No work has been done on the RAR Powder Wagon although it has been carefully covered with a heavy tarpaulin with allowance for ventilation. It's spent its 101 year life in the open so should now be dryer than its ever been before. A restoration grant has been offered to the wagon's owners, the Royal Arsenal Woolwich Historical Society. This hasn't been taken-up because sufficient volunteers, including me, won't return to the project until finance is available for WOOLWICH and dismantling of this historic wooden vehicle must not be contemplated unless there's absolute certainty of completion.

Personally I'm unhappy with the lack of progress, more than unhappy, but there are good reasons to see a much improved situation in 2015.

Firstly, thanks to a generous donation of excellent rail, with more to come, there'll be enough to complete the initial 700 yards of railway that's proposed.

Secondly, a large number of standard gauge sleepers have been donated about half of which are very good. Again, there are many more to come, possibly enough to complete the initial 700 yards.

Thirdly, the route of the proposed railway at Crossness, itself a former standard gauge line, has been cleared and levelled ready for construction. A new footpath which parallels the hoped-for line is complete and has been designed specifically with the railway in mind. It has otherwise unnecessary curvature to accommodate platforms and passing loops at either end. This cost some GBP300,000. Alas none of that money could be diverted to WOOLWICH.

Fourthly, and most importantly, and Gnatterbox has a 'scoop' here, two weeks ago the WARGM agreed to consider applying for funding to restore WOOLWICH in their own name. If they are able to do this I think there's a good chance that the GBP50,000 needed will be forthcoming. If it is, the locomotive could return to steam by the end of 2015.

I hope that the blog update will be with everyone very soon. It contains 48 images including detailed plans of the proposed 18 inch gauge railway. It also has some images from an interesting exploration that uncovered about 100 feet of original RAR mixed gauge track!

All the best

Ian Bull

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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby rue_d_etropal » Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:20 am

Sounds hopeful.
One of the problems with the Lottery Fund system is that it is a classic 'tick box' system, and as long as you tick the boxes, you get the money, however worthwhile the project. It is good the owners are now considering applying for the money(or a better idea is to apply in their name, as I suspect the preservation group know how to word the application).
We are lucky that most of our railway preservation has been done without the hazzle of jumping through too many hoops to get the money, but enthusiasts are getting older and therefore there is less money around from these sources, so the only route open is the bureaucratic one. Bit it does come with a price unfortunately.
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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby henrix72se » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:10 pm

thanks Ian,

sorry for my late reply. Wrote the initial question during some free time, after that and xmas, work took back most attention .. :?

Glad to hear that progress is being made, even if so slow. It's about the same here in Sweden, funding is a constant struggle to get the 'right' people to understand what's being done and what's needs to be done..

Anyone thought of starting an internet donation site ? A quick button with a fiver or so which directs to paypal. If enough people makes donations, it at least shows the decision people the publics interest. Plus, that in some cases it actually builds up pretty fast. It might not make enough for the rest of what's needed for the loco, but "many streams make a big river" ..(swedish saying) .. :P ( I think you say "every little makes a mickle", our rimes to if written in swedish)

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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby Ian Bull » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:20 pm

Thanks to Henrik for his useful suggestion, we'll be thinking about that. Meanwhile, at last, our blog is being updated. See
http://www.therailwayproject.blogspot.co.uk/
Unfortunately only about a third of the photos and their captions have appeared so far. I'm pressing our 'Webmistress' to do this as soon as possible. It might well be worth looking again in a few days as there's quite a lot of good news to show!

All the best

Ian

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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby Ian Bull » Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:50 am

Hullo again everyone

The remaining photos have now been added to the albums accompanying the latest update to the Royal Arsenal Railway blog. There are now about 60 available and at last include new PWay/MoW materials and a look at some mixed gauge that hasn't seen a train in over 50 years. See...

http://www.therailwayproject.blogspot.co.uk/

UK residents might like to listen to BBC Radio 4 at 15.00GMT today when the 'Open Country' programme will carry some RAR content. If you miss it you can listen online here...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b051vr34

Outside of the UK you might need the services of a 'proxy' server to hear the above online.

All the best

Ian Bull

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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby henrix72se » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:16 pm

Another year passed since last update on the blog...

Ian, or anyone - any progress since last time ?

Henrik
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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby DuffieldBank » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:30 pm

Do any sort of drawings exist for the bogie wagons?

royal arsenal railway RAR woolwich.jpg
royal arsenal railway RAR woolwich.jpg (132.8 KiB) Viewed 1305 times


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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby henrix72se » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:03 pm

See my site at the following pages :

Drawings

Powdervan started

Powdervan finished

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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby tebee » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:21 pm

There is also drawings in the new book http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Roya ... ck/p/11816
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Re: (F) Royal Arsenal Railway - Preservation

Postby tebee » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:21 pm

There is also drawings in the new book http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Roya ... ck/p/11816
To know the meaning of life you need not to be dealt a good hand, but rather to play the worthless hand you have been dealt to the best of your ability.


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