April/May/June/July Update 2021

Dear Everyone,
I am a very embarrassed Minion. I haven’t updated this website in quite some time. I know that a lot of you follow the SETG on Facebook and Twitter, but lets face it, it’s better to read some in-depth reports. In my defence there have been a few things going on in Real Life that have served to make me less able or inclined to write for any length of time. But you lot don’t need to trouble yourselves with such nonsense; you want to know what’s been happening with 3417.

Please find below a pocket digest of the latest developments at Strawberry Hill.
Driver H. Potter, Minion

The last few months at Strawberry Hill have seen some critical progress in the ongoing restoration. Firstly, as many of you will now know, we attracted two high-profile project sponsors in the shape of RealTime Trains and Armstrong Powerhouse. Their support have allowed us to move forward with two separate but vital elements of the overall project; namely refitting stepboards to the unit and overhauling the brake chest and brake controllers on the unit. Richard Salmon of the Bluebell Railway has joined us on-site to begin machining the step board timber delivered in June. Over the next few months this timber will be measured, cut, painted and fitted to the unit. We are indebted to Richard for bringing his work-working expertise to Strawberry Hill. Meanwhile the brake equipment removed from 3417 is in the workshops of Railway Brake Services. We hope to have it returned by the end of the month for fitting and testing.

The final part of the “Fit to Roll Again” triangle is the recertification of the air system on the unit. The main reservoir air tanks on Driving Trailers 76262 and 76263 and Standard Open No.70797 will be checked to ensure that they are fit for use; if these tanks are fit for use, and pending a successful Ultrasonic Axle Exam, then the unit will once again be fit to leave the shed.

While these three jobs are being addressed, our efforts to rehabilitate the passenger accommodation have continued. Maggie and Lynn (henceforth know as “The Trim Shop” have worked tirelessly to reduce the number of water-damaged seat bases, Darren has continued to produce fresh interior window trim, Super-Coops has worked his magic with the SETG online shop and design work for posters and stickers for the unit, Potter has made the tea and occasionally updated Twitter, Trousers has fixed the hole in the floor of 76263 while Buckie, JD, Mick and Tony have continued to wrestle with the re-wire of 70797. At every turn the list of ‘Jobs to Do’ is shrinking. At every turn we are moving closer to the magic moment when we once again carry passengers in service. The gallery below tells the tale in pictures.

Five years ago we had a unit that was unfit for travel, unfit for passengers and something of a wreck. But thanks to some very hard graft and stubborn resolve by a brilliant and dedicated team of volunteers, support from a tiny group of enthusiastic well wishers and a slowly growing reputation for “Just Bloody Well Getting On With It”, the SETG have pulled 3417 up by its bootstraps. The Old Girl is getting there.

We are hopeful that 2022 will finally bring some “outside the shed” news.

In the meantime, please keep up with our progress on our website, Facebook and Twitter. Without your support, we’re stuffed! And one more thing: next year, those who aspire to occupy the Best Seat in the House on 3417 might do well to purchase one of these. Click here or click the picture!