December 2013 Report

Welcome to the report for December.

The grinding bay is always busy on a Saturday


December has been busy in more ways than one. The Santa Specials are always a very busy time on the K&ESR and if there aren't any locos then there won't be any trains! So whilst of course keeping the fleet going is imperative we have also been in a very important milestone in 25 Northiam's overhaul (see more below).

There is so much work to be done, so many different tasks and projects to be undertaken. None of what we do could be possible without the many hours, we collectively, put in. We tend to notice there is a trend amongst railway media to over emphasise the project itself and ignore the people concerned. Quite simply without dedicated volunteers (and paid staff too!) the steam locomotive / heritage railways would be banished into the history books.

Advent / Christmas is always a time for people to come together in a special way. The Saturday Gang are no different. Many of our members finally get some free weekends in December so its a joyous time for all of us to meet again. It must be said that the Saturday Gang values all of its members, no matter how small the contribution. For many small acts or the odd few hours here and there combine to form a large and valuable good. Of course an added bonus is that the usual biscuits are supplemented with mince pies, chocolates (non alcoholic ones!), sweets and so on. It's a good job we're busy or otherwise we would probably need larger overalls at the turn of the year!

Onwards to the works section:

25 Northiam:



After months of preparation, trials and checks we have made some visible progress during December. All of the horn guides were prepared and within tolerance. Early during the month we re-positioned the rear jacks to allow the wheels to be rolled into position beneath the frames. During this time the motion re-assembly has continued aplenty and is looking far more complete. Just to name a few components that have been refitted, includes the cylinder cock mechanism & brake beam. 

Gently lowering 25's frames onto the wheels
After another short period of preparation we have begun the process of lowering 25 Northiam's frames back onto her wheels. This is a very delicate and logistically complex operation. It involves gradually lowering the wooden blocks that support the main frames and taking the slack on the jacks. It has to be a slow process otherwise undue stress will be placed on one part of the frames. 

DS238 Wainwright: 

Progress continues, the midweek loco dept teams have been doing an excellent job cleaning up the frames. The boiler is still being worked on but is getting there. 

753 P Class:

No progress to report. 

In the works / news

6619: Works are progressing as part of the boiler ticket extension. Repairs are ongoing to ensure the loco operates reliably during this new period of running.

6619 & Charwelton in the shed

14 Charwelton: Receiving some minor repairs / light maintenance. Charwelton is our loco of choice for the driving courses so it's essential Charwelton is back in service in the new year. 

23 Holman F Stephens: We featured 23 in our previous report. Works are completed and 23 is ok to be operated. 

376 Norwegian, 32670, 32678: Winterised. 

65 Maunsell & 1638: in service. 

Videos / Photos: 

Check out our youtube channel shortly for December's video report: Saturday Gang Youtube Channel

Photos as always can be found at: www.kesrloco.co.uk

A 2013 review will follow in due course. 

Many thanks for reading, 

Saturday Gang 


November 2013 Report

Welcome to the report for November.

Saturday Gang Volunteer preparing some platework for use


November was rather quiet compared to previous months. The K&ESR enjoyed a mini winter shutdown which meant all of the locos were in the yard (where we like them!). However to say November isn't a busy month for the Saturday Gang & the Loco Dept would be inaccurate. We have a small window to get our loco fleet ready for an intense period of running in December. The Santa Specials are an integral part of the K&ESR's business plan so without any locos that would cause issues!

November is also a rather grim time of month, it's been cold, raining and the days are short. However this is where all of us show our commitment, rather than pulling the duvet back over the head we get up and head out. We are a self motivated group, we really want to progress and make things happen. Not only that though there really is a social side to the Saturday Gang, the amount of laughter and noise would certainly suggest we're a bit more than colleagues. It's an opportunity for each of us to discuss and listen to others. Our new volunteers who have easily become a part of our group, yes we are a close knit group but that doesn't make us a clique. Really the point here is that its not just our enthusiasm for our work, but also the fun & friendship we have. This is what motivates us to come to Rolvenden rather than do the million other things available.

So if you're at all interested in locomotive overhaul's / maintenance then please get in touch. We are more than happy to show potential volunteers around and / or arrange taster days. You can contact us via email at saturdaygang@gmail.com.

Onwards to the works section.

25 Northiam: 

Saturday Gang volunteers preparing the horn guides for the axleboxes
The progress made was a continuation of what we started towards the end of October. We have been trial fitting the axleboxes, this usually requires a few attempts because as you can see the tolerances are very tight.

Further preparatory work has been undertaken to continue the motion reassembly and ultimately re-wheel (see December's report when it arrives!). Work was undertaken on the brake gear and hopefully this will be fitted during December. This includes tasks such as retrieving 25's springs and cleaning out the grease nipples. Although securely stored it doesn't take much to clog up these small parts.

DS238 Wainwright

DS238 under overhaul
Continued steady progress.

753 P Class

No progress since last report.

In the works / news

23 Holman F Stephens: The boiler washout & mechanical exam unearthed some issues and repairs that needed to be undertaken before Christmas rather than after. We detailed in the previous report many of the issues we had encountered. November saw us finishing off these repairs and re-assembling the loco. We were pleased these were completed at the end of November so 23 will be available for the Santa Specials. 

Two Saturday Gang volunteers refitting 23's dome cover

1638: A 12 month boiler ticket extension has been granted and all the necessary repair work has been carried out. The loco was steam tested and after some fettling returned to traffic. A decision was made to return 1638 to its original BR Black colour it arrived at the K&ESR wearing in 1992. 
1638: Back and in black.

6619: Repairs ongoing. 

Class 2 fleet (32670 Bodiam, 32678 Knowle, 14 Charwelton): Winterised and receiving some repairs / maintenance where required. 

32678: Winterised.

Video / Pictures from November

Below is the link to the video for November's report: Apologies but blogger but can't seem to find it to embed so just copy the link and it will take you to the video:
Saturday Gang Video Report November 2013

We have updated our photo website also so please visit: www.kesrloco.co.uk

If you haven't already please "like" us on Facebook: Saturday Gang Facebook Page

Many thanks for reading, December's report & a review of 2013 will appear in due course.

Saturday Gang