Fife Heritage Railway Blog: October 2017 – March 2018
Life has been very busy at Fife Heritage Railway since the end of 2017. Super successful Halloween and Santa Open Days have been the catalyst for more themed Open Days for 2018.
During the Halloween Open Day some of the Railway’s buildings were used in a novel fashion. The (then) under construction Ticket Office was decorated in a Halloween theme and photograph props set out for customers to use the empty window frame as a giant “selfie” photo frame. This generated massive interest with many customers joining in the fun and submitting their selfies for our competition.
The Ticket Office is now fully constructed with the windows installed and insulation fitted. The building is being painted in the Railway colours of cream and dark green. The interior is being designed as a vintage ticket office with a period desk and hat stand curated for it. Some old field telephones have also been recovered from storage and could potentially link up the ticket office, platform, and shop to reduce the risk of staff running around on Open Days with messages to each building.
The Platform Shelter has now been insulated and fitted out with a display shelf and storage along the back wall. It is hoped to use the building to store Open Day props as well as exhibitions and some period friendly pieces to serve as a mini museum.
The biggest project for the Railway is, without doubt, the Dubbie Pug. It isn’t just the restoration of the locomotive itself; the sheer volume of yard work required to move the frame of the loco is itself phenomenal. Significant work went into clearing the area south of the compound with signals and sleepers being moved out of the way. The sleepers were inspected and any in working condition were laid in front of the Dubbie Pug frame in anticipation of it being moved.
Many vintage mineral wagons required moving to lay the track towards Dubbie’s frame. Unfortunately, some of these succumbed to the rigours of being moved and had to be stripped down or dismantled completely. It is hoped, due to their provenance and age, that we can look to restore these in the future.
Whilst the yard preparation has been going on, another team of volunteers have been hard a work on the Dubbie Pug boiler. The boiler was inspected by a representative from Northern Steam Engineering Ltd. from Stockport, who deemed it to be repairable. This allowed a hardy team of volunteers to begin work on removing the boiler tubes – all 154 of them! – to ready the boiler for further inspection.
Just before Christmas some of our extremely talented volunteers manufactured a through pipe for our Norwegian coach so that she could be hooked up to the Shark wagon and braking facilities could be provided via the vacuum ejector on Forth. The brake linkage on Shark was freed off for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Ruston No.4 is now out of service and in the shed with her air tanks removed awaiting servicing and certification. The process will involve inspection of the tanks via camera and pressure testing before she can happily resume her shunting duties.