A Good Day at the Hill

ood Morning, Friends of the VEP. For those of you that haven't been shamelessly and obsessively following us on Twitter and Facebook (For shame! Naughty you! Hold your head in sorrow & embarrassment and stand in the Naughty Corner), the Bluebell Railway came a'calling on Saturday. To say that we have been nervous about this impending meeting would be an understatement. For myself and Oscar it meant meeting some VIPs, for Bucky it meant meeting the men who were the BR Top Brass when he started as a spotty apprentice in the early 1980s. So where two of us were nervous, one of us was transformed from a confident depot manager in charge of a multi-million pound fleet of machinery into an overawed teenager, but more of that later in Bucky's…
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Work Report 04/03/2017

Good morning, Reader! Herein lies the tale of work carried out on 04/03/17, submitted by Trousers himself. Enjoy! Potter "Thin on the ground number wise due to holidays, running errands for fellow preservationists and most importantly running errands for us but I was still able to get a fair amount done. We have received a kind (and large) donation of lighting inverters but were not told if they were any good or not so the first job this morning was to set about testing them to ensure they were suitable for our use. Success! One was tried in the B compartment of 76262 and it worked perfectly. We now have full lighting in this end. As tempted as I was to carry on through the unit and get more lights working…
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Work Report – Saturday 25th March 2017

Editor's Note: Owing to holidays (mine - very nice, thank you) we have a few reports to catch up on. Apologies for the break in service!   WORK REPORT 25/02/2017, or "LETS DO DUST & STRAINING" Arrived at Strawberry at 09:00. Shed heaters turned on and Section 4 Sub section 6 amendment (a) of depot operating instructions carried out. As some of you may be aware rules and regulations have to be reviewed from time to time to ensure that the rule is still fit for purpose. Section 4 sub section 6 is still fit for purpose, including the optional Bacon Butty but to ensure that the rule remains relevant for the railway in the 21st century, Amendment (a) has been added. This gives the option of Bacon Butties to…
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Work Report For Sat 11/03/2017

Good morning everyone. This should bring us up-to-date on the work reports. Thank you for your patience, but as you can tell from the live Twitter and Facebook videos, us drivers have to steel ourselves before dipping our toes in the murky waters of Being a Fitter for the day. It's not easy, folks! Before we get to "Wot I Did With My Spannerz" by Chris Buckland (written in crayon, available in all good dustbins), an update on the fundraising effort. As of today we have 180 backers on JustGiving who have pledged a total of £5,580. We still have 22 days before the appeal finishes on 3/4/17 (see what I did there?!) - the price of a pint will help us immeasurably. The price of a round will help even more.…
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Work Report 11th and 12 February 2017

Good afternoon, everyone. Today's report has been submitted by our Chief Engineer. “THIS SATURDAY WE ARE BEEN MOSTLY FIXING TRAINS! Another cold and grey day at Strawberry Hill but another day getting the unit ship shape and Bristol fashion. First job of the day: sign in & get the heaters on then brew up the tea. Railway work cannot start till tea is consumed; the local induction procedure Section 4, Sub section 6 states :- ‘Before any work is carried out on rail vehicles, staff must ensure that they have consumed at least two cups of steaming hot tea. It is optional to have a bacon buttty with the consumption of tea but this is not a mandatory requirement for rail vehicle maintenance to be carried out.’ So tea was…
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Fundraising News

As some of you will be aware, we have launched a crowdfunding effort via the JustGiving website to raise funds to further the restoration of the unit. These funds will be controlled by the SETG and spent exclusively on No. 3417; as of today we have already raised nearly £3,000. With the private sponsorship mentioned in our latest Work Report, that total climbs to nearer £4,500. You can also donate funds for No. 3417 directly to the Bluebell Railway,  the details of which can be found here. Your support is vital to allowing the unit to run again; all we are asking is a cost of a pint of beer. Can you spare £3.50 for the VEP? £3.50 isn't much, but a few of them soon adds up to something much bigger…
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Full Work Update

After the hectic weekend we have had time to regroup, calm down and take a deep breath. First of all, we are absolutely delighted with the reaction to the video we posted of No. 3417 on Saturday. To hear the shed filled with the noise of a running MG and Compressor, a noise that hasn't been heard on the Southern Region since 2013, was a wonderful thing and we are very very pleased to have seen the positive reaction from so many of you. All credit has to go to our Chief Mechanical & Electrical Engineer Chris Buckland and his team of fitters (Darren Franklin from Southern Railways and Steve Trower of SWT) for the magnificent job they've done to this point. What this proves that the mechanical fabric of…
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Latest from Strawberry Hill Depot

This was taken at Strawberry Hill a few hours ago by our Chief Mechanical & Electrical Engineer Chris Buckland. As you can probably tell, he's rather excited. We all are. Today has been an astonishing day. [video width="800" height="450" mp4="https://www.setg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_3741.mp4"][/video] Today is the day No.3417 was energised for the first time since 2013. We are very, very proud of what you're about to see.
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Strawberry Hill Work Day – Sat 21 January 2017

At Last! AT LAST!! We're into Strawberry Hill depot! Last Saturday marked the first work day we've been able to arrange for nearly 12 months. I won't bore you with the drawn-out story of Why and Where, but suffice it to say that we have been impatiently waiting to finally regain access to 3417 for a very long time, and working very hard behind the scenes to make it happen. To illustrate where we are at this moment, and where our restoration project starts from, we should explain the current state of the unit: The unit is stabled inside Strawberry Hill Depot - for the benefit of clarity, the doors of the shed are classed as the London-end, whilst the buffer stops are the Country-end. From the London end, the…
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Bombardier Ilford Depot Visit 29/05/2015

On Friday 29th May representatives from the Southern Electric Traction Group visited Bombardier's Ilford Carriage Works to assess progress on the restoration of the Bluebell Railway's unique 4VEP EMU No. 3417. As those of you who are following the unit's progress on Facebook and Twitter will be aware, the first vehicle - Driving Trailer No. 76262 - has already been processed through Ilford's state-of-the-art paint facility. Bombardier have informed us with a wry smile that this first coach required "more prep" than they were expecting. It also acted as the test bed for the vehicles yet to be processed so that the rubbing down, prepping and undercoating can be carried out as efficiently as possible on the remaining three coaches. To say that we are impressed with the results would…
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