With the completion of daily running, the workshop staff at Eastleigh Lakeside Railway, both full time and volunteers, devoted more time to the overhaul of several locomotives stabled at Lakeside. The A4 No 4498 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ received new tyres to its driving wheels and repairs to the leading bogie whilst Bullock built 4-6-2 No 1001 ‘The Monarch’ had a more comprehensive list of repairs that included replacement roller bearings, reprofiled wheels and springs replaced on the pony truck. Britannia class locomotive No 70055 ‘Rob Roy’ together with Nos 1001 and 1002 ‘The Monarch’ and ‘The Empress’ respectively, both Bullock engines, all had steam tests and boiler inspections.
Being dual gauge, the workshop also played host to some of the 7¼” locomotives in particular 4-4-2 Atlantic No 4789 ‘William Baker’ which was withdrawn from service following the Santa Specials for its complete ten year overhaul.
Meanwhile, off site at Jesse Moody’s workshop, the construction of the 10¼” rebuilt Merchant Navy No: 35004 ‘Cunard White Star’ is progressing well and is looking increasingly like a complete steam engine rather than a massive kit of parts. There is no specific time scale for the work to be completed but it is hoped that the 4-6-2 will make an appearance at Lakeside within the next twelve months.
Despite dismal weather the railway held its Spring Steam Gala during which 15 locomotives were in steam both 10¼” and 7¼” representing British and American standard gauge engines as well as narrow gauge motive power. One of the highlights was the running of the ‘Lakeside Express’ which was hauled by No 70055 ‘Rob Roy’ and banked by No 1002 ‘The Empress’. This train did two non-stop circuits of the track – the first of which was ‘wrong way’ and after completing a crossover outside Parkway Station continued on the second circuit ‘right way’ round. Having ‘The Empress’ as banking engine proved worthwhile, since owing to wet rail conditions, assistance was needed up the 1:50 gradient into Parkway Station. Naturally, as 15 engines were in steam, the double heading of trains saw some unusual combinations for instance 4-6-2 No 2005 ‘Silver Jubilee’ coupled with another Pacific No 6220 ‘Coronation’ but the most intriguing partnership was that of Atlantic 4-4-2 No 1908 ‘Ernest Henry Upton’ double heading with 2-4-2 N: 7 ‘Sandy River’.
A group of engineering students from the University of Southampton Faculty of Engineering visited the railway with their prototype petrol electric locomotive designed as their entry into the Institute of Mechanical Engineers ‘Railway Challenge’ the final of which is to be held in June at the Stapleford Miniature Railway. The vehicle was powered by a small petrol generator which supplied electricity to charge batteries which in turn provided power for the dc lynch electric motors on each bogie.
Transmission to the four wheelsets was through a 5:1 chain drive. Of course, it was also packed with technical wizardry from super capacitor that allowed regenerative breaking, myRio micro controller making it wifi enabled thus making it completely remote controlled. With Siemens being the group’s sponsor, the body work that will be in place in time for the final, is being made to resemble one of the company’s Class 450 units. It was very impressive to see the engine haul a train around the track with no physical contact but being controlled by a passenger using a hand held tablet. Everyone at Lakeside wishes them well in the IMechE competition.