Catch Me Who Can, from the 1808 admission ticket - from a public domain image at Wikimedia Commons


Latest News - 31st August

We are making steady progress on the braking system. The photo shows the completed handbrake screw sub-assembly ready for a lick of paint. This will be bolted to the inside of the buffer beam, below the back of the footplate. The screw will be turned by a long vertical shaft with a handle at the top of the rear railings. While the general idea that the screw pulls the brakes on is simple enough, the details are more difficult to explain and will become apparent as (quite a lot) more parts are made.

This year our stand for the SVR Autumn Gala will again be on Kidderminster station concourse. We look forward to meeting you there.

Progress Report - 22nd May

Here we have a couple of recent machine-shop photos showing work being done on the brakes. The top one shows the brake caliper mounting plates having the large holes drilled, their last machining operation. They are now ready for welding.

The second photo shows the thread being cut on the handbrake actuating screw. For scale, the threaded length is 4¼″ (11cm) long. This is what converts turning the handbrake handle into a linear motion to pull the brake on with a force of up to about a ton.

We are gradually building an accurate computer model of Catch Me Who Can using 3-D CAD. The third image, taken from the CAD model, shows how the mounting plates fit into the brake mounting frame. This frame also forms a front end drag box, with the thick thrust plate at the centre of the frame and a rectangular socket for the drawbar at the front.

Progress Report - 9th March

For the forthcoming SVR Spring Gala we will again have our stand on Kidderminster station concourse. We look forward to seeing you there.

Work has now started in earnest on the braking system. The first photo show one of the pair of commercial vehicle brake calipers we are using.

The calipers will be mounted at the front of the engine on a frame that also forms the front drag-box. The second photo shows nearly all of the cut pieces of steel needed for this frame. There is a fair amount of further work to be done on them before they can be welded together. For scale, the longer pieces of angle on the left are 2' (60cm) long and the U-shaped plates 15" (40cm) wide.

We have also made a start on some of the smaller turned parts for the handbrake linkage.

Progress Report - 23rd November 2017

The drawbar assembly, consisting of 24 items, plus stock fasteners, is now in place, as can be seen in this worm's eye view of the footplate. While some calculation was possible, there was an element of educated guesswork in choosing the size and number of rubber cushions required, and the design deliberately allowed for easy alteration in the light of experience.

As it happens, a movement of the restoration carriages took place the day after the drawbar was reassembled after painting, and for this to happen Catch Me Who Can has to be shunted out of the way first. The meant that we could observe how well the rubber cushions were working. It is with some relief that we can report that the arrangement does seem to have a satisfactory degree of resilience.

With that job done, the brake design is sufficiently advanced that work has started in a small way in the workshop.

We had a good time at Kidderminster at the autumn gala. The station staff could not have been more helpful, and made space for us on an already well occupied concourse, for which many thanks. We sold more than has lately been the case, which made up for our slight feelings of guilt over leaving the engine all on its own at Bridgnorth. We have booked with alacrity a pitch for the Spring Gala.

Severn Valley Railway Autumn Gala, 21-24 September 2017

Visitors to the SVR Autumn Gala please be advised that our sales stand will be on Kidderminster Station concourse this year. The engine remains on view at Bridgnorth, but it will not be manned, so please come and talk to us at Kiddy. Among our interesting range of goods, our jams, which trustees make themselves, are rightly becoming highly regarded, and we again have a good supply. Sadly, this year our damson crop has been pitiful, but we have an excellent alternative of… come and see!

Progress Report - 21st September 2017

The footplate is now completed as far as it can go at this stage. There are elegantly curved brace irons to go on the back of the rear railings, but they cannot be fitted just yet.

The drawbar is made of a piece of high-tensile steel, probably unnecessarily high in retrospect, and this very simple part proved a devil to machine, mainly because of its length and slenderness. It has taken up far too much of our time this year, but it is finished now, and is shown here (with temporary spacer tubes).

These tubes will be replaced with a stack of rubber cushioning rings. These rings are being fashioned out of 25mm thick rubber sheet — another job we have never done before, but for which experience and ingenuity have found a solution. The first attempt is shown, in a photograph for which we apologise, with steel spacer washers and a stub of drawbar-sized steel bar.

Meanwhile, a lot of thought has been given to the physical layout and operation of the brakes. Like numerous other early locomotive replicas, such as those on the Pockerley Waggonway at Beamish Museum, we are fitting disc brakes and making use of commercially available air-brake system components. We have had a kit of commercial vehicle air brake parts in stock for some time, but how best to fit them on to the engine to produce an unobtrusive and effective system has been a challenging design exercise. Ideas are now starting to gel, and we are hoping to have a workable design fairly soon.

Progress Report - 24th August 2016

The railings for the back of the footplate are now welded up, primed and undercoated. The hoops, or 'portholes' according to the Works Manager, are provided to allow better access with fire irons and cleaning tools to the firebox and return flue. The bar for the hoops was much too thick for the small bending rolls, so it had to bent hot, but that meant having something to bend it round. Fortunately the SVR keeps numerous sizes of short cast iron tubes for making piston rings out of. We found one just the right size, and were given permission to misuse it a bit. The actual process of bending was an interesting job, as it required one hand to hold the oxy-propane torch just ahead of the bend, one to steadily pull the bar round the former as it softened under the heat, and one to deploy a copper mallet to remove any bulges. Equipped with but the normal two, your very amateur blacksmith found his hands full. One of the rings was not quite good enough at the first go, so it was given a re-heat and adjustment after welding. Welding the whole thing was entrusted to Brian Humphries of the SVR paid staff who kindly gave up several lunch breaks to do a brilliant job for us.

The ashpan has been installed. There is an enthralling video of the door mechanism in operation on You-Tube.

Progress Report - 18th March 2016

The ashpan and its door mechanism, which was surprisingly complicated to make, are at last complete (almost) and in the paint shop.

So attention has returned to the railings. The parts have been lying around for far too long, and we have at last started joining then together. They are shown temporarily assembled for the Spring Gala. A small number of other parts need to be made before the assembly can be permanently fitted.

The more modern cab of the other Bridgnorth new build project, 82045, is also temporarily mounted in situ, and being conveniently adjacent, provides quite a contrast.