Along with the LNWR whistle kindly donated by Mr Robin Dean, the Trust has now procured another authentic component to be fitted to the completed build – a Simplex Vacuum gauge from a LNWR class locomotive, which was originally procured directly from British Railways by the husband of a widow who, upon his passing, then donated it to the GCR. This information narrows the potential donor class down considerably (almost certainly a goods class such as a Super D). Fortunately, identical vacuum gauges were to be found in the George the Fifth class.
Andy Lowe of the Great Central Railway kindly offered the gauge to us on the condition that it would be used in a suitable engine. As this is an authentic item and a necessary part we certainly couldn’t pass up this great offer. The gauge still registers and so with calibration, cleaning and a check, it will easily be fitted to the completed loco and as the manufacturer (Budenburg, formerly Budenberg & Schaffer until World War I) still exists and is located at Irlam, Manchester, a service shouldn’t be a problem. And so, while air-brakes will be required to conform to modern mainline running, a vacuum brake is required for running on heritage lines and this gauge will do its part on a completed engine.
Andy also kindly donated a number a number of copies of George drawings including engine side, tender side and birds eye views, centre bearing dimensions, and various views illustrating both cab fittings and the front end. Andy is a fireman on the GCR and WSR and thus there was much to discuss with him on the gauges’ suitability from the tender diagram he provided. Moreover, being a bit of an LNWR fan himself he is building is own George, in 5 inch scale!
Tom and Paul were there to meet Bill Ford, the General Manger of the Great Central Railway for a small handing over ceremony at the GCR on the 30th November. The photos show Bill (left) Tom and Paul receiving the gauge in front of a rake of Gresley teak coaches, earing the legend of the principal stops from London (Marylebone) to Manchester. Among the other people we met were Bill Carr who discussed their engineering with us in depth and showed Tom and Paul round their works. They were also privileged with a a ride on the line and the driver turned out to be ex-BR Nuneaton where he had experience of the Super Ds. He’d also driven the Super D on the GCR in preservation and was very complimentary.
We of course would like to thank everyone at the GCR for a wonderful day and for giving us first refusal on this gauge, which takes us ever so slightly closer to our goal. We would of course like to remind everyone that the GCR is currently undertaken a massive operation to ‘bridge the gap’ between the two extant parts of the old GCR mainline. Barely 500 metres is missing at Loughborough crossing the Midland Mainline however once completed, the united halves will provide over 18 miles mainline heritage line running, which would be eminently suitable for an engine such as a LNWR George!
To support this endeavour and to find out more, go to Bridge to the Future the GCR’s website. And don’t forget, for us to build an engine capable of running on a unified GCR or indeed for mainline running, your donations are vital. We are rapidly drawing close to fulfilling the required amount for our second tranche of £5,000 from our benefactor but require your support to get us over the line. Links to information on how to donate can be found at the top of this page.