Saturday, 20 February 2010

Green Badger country

Tuesday last saw me set off bright and early for Hampshire again, this time to visit Knights Rail Services at Eastleigh Works, check on Woolmer at Milestones and then on Wednesday represent work at the opening of the Mid Hants Railway's new workshops at Ropley. An early afternoon arrival at Eastleigh in the rain, and after a cup of tea and chat with Bruce Knights, he gave me a quick tour of the works on a very busy day. Plenty of potential for working together in the future, especially for some of our Southern Region vehicles, but great to see such activity going on in a works which was until KRS took over, a sad empty reminder of Eastleigh's railway past. KRS have over 50 staff now on site and a lease on the buildings for 40 years - and hopefully a bright future. Here is a 444 unit on jacks undergoing work.
Whilst KRS are fully engaged in main line railway work, a small space in the works is given over to the 71A Loco Group's class 33 D6515, a very thorough overhaul is being undertaken, more details on:
Another link with the past is 4VEP unit 3417 "Gordon Pettit" owned by the Bluebell Railway, but stored safely under cover at Eastleigh and occasionally operated on the 3rd rail (or "juice") within works limits, one of only two units to remain operational in heritage ownership.
Outside was the works shunter, 07 007 (originally D2991), now main line registered and resident at Eastleigh under both BR and KRS regimes, and here for over four decades - still in daily use. Parked next to it is Bruce Knights' own class 73 Electro-Diesel "Borough of Eastleigh", also still live on the juice.

Several Direct Rail Services locomotives are stored or maintained here, this is 47 841 outside the Test House, with the former works offices behind it.
I'd like to conclude this blog with thanks to Bruce Knights for his hospitality and time taken to show me around this amazing facility. I hope it grows and prospers, it was good to see rail engineering carrying on into the 21st century at this historic site.

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