COVID-19 Update: 20th April 2020

Firstly, all of us at the SETG hope that everyone reading this update is safe and well.

We are continuing to act on government guidelines* so naturally work is on hiatus at Strawberry Hill for the foreseeable future. As those of you who have been following our progress will know, Non-Driving Trailer 70797 is now ready to begin its train heating re-wire. This will mean stripping the trim from the coach to allow access to the under-seat heaters, so Motor Brake Standard Open 62236 will be receiving a portion of the good trim from 70797. Darren has done his usual superb job of restoring the internal window trims, so 62236 is ready to be re-fitted internally. This work alone will keep us busy for several months at least – the 70797 re-wire in particular will require a minimum of a month to complete, probably longer. We remain hopeful that the lockdown restrictions may be eased in the next few weeks so that we can get back to some practical work on the unit.

There will also be a small spot of maintenance to be carried out on our facilities when we can once again get back on-site. Firstly we need to kill off an invasive buddleia plant that has made itself far too comfortable on one of the shed walls and (hopefully) start sorting out a leak in the portacabin roof which has started to become a nuisance.

This railway preservation stuff doesn’t just stop with the train!

We are continuing to gently fundraise for the unit, but as you will all appreciate in the current climate it is slow going.

But let us drop this one thought; the unit has, between Facebook and Twitter, 4,766 people following its progress. If every one of those people committed £1 per month to the unit via our Donations page, we could raise more than £50,000 in one year. That would pay for new step boards, a brake overhaul and an air system overhaul and leave a healthy lump of change for modifications like GSM-R and OTMR.

As has been said by the Minions, “Never mind a pint for the VEP, all we need is everyone to buy it a packet of crisps.” If that idea appeals, clicking this paragraph will take you to our donations page.

Away from the depot we are continuing to build towards opening our SETG shop, where discerning customers will be able to purchase all that’s best in 4VEP related merchandise including t-shirts, mugs, keyrings, posters, and strictly limited edition “used bits”. There will be more on this in the coming months as our suppliers begin to recover from the COVID-19 Hiatus.

On a related topic, we’ve received some very welcome support from one of our Twitter followers, @TheGasMan1985, who has been selling “Church of the Third Rail Stickers” on our behalf – all the money raised will be donated to the SETG. We’re very pleased to see how popular they have been, and are hugely grateful for the support.

If you would like to get your own sticker, follow the link on the picture below!

That’s all we have for you at the moment. Once again, thank you for your continued interest and support; without you, 3417 would not be where it is now. Here’s to the future, when we can once again get outside and enjoy a railway journey on a classic train just for the fun of it.

Stay healthy, stay safe.

  • “Government Guidelines”
    Bin bags over the heads, oranges in mouths, being caught on Hampstead Heath in compromising positions, brown envelopes from the Hamiltons, that sort of thing…