5637 STEAM




Shareholders’ Day 8th April 2015

The first Shareholders’ Day of 2015 was held on Wednesday 8th April. The East Somerset Railway has been extending its running season over last few years which meant that a weekend wasn't available for this spring’s Shareholders' Day. Instead the Shareholders' Day was held during the Easter Holidays when children, parents and teachers were on holiday. This was disappointing for those people who were working in the week, however the weather was warmer than usual as the Shareholders’ Day was held later in the year.

A special guest this year was Arthur Sutton and his wife Linda who kindly sent us the oldest known photo of 5637 with his grandfather, Harold William Sutton, at Cathays sheds.

The original photo is with Arthur’s aunt, only about 2 x 3 inches, and badly damaged. Arthur spent a lot of time doing digital repair work, and the result can be seen in the Gallery (Harold Sutton is on the left). It appears that 5637 was standing at the Cathays sheds, just outside the covered shed where coal and water were taken on, looking north.

Photo: Dick Belchambers
Arthur and Linda recreating the photo with his grandfather

On the back of the original photo is written "H W Sutton foreman and a worker". Arthur managed to get in contact with a relative of someone who worked with his grandfather, and his mum recognised the other worker as Johnny Beck - a "shed driver". Harold was a "yard driver".  He passed out as a driver but was never able to progress to driving outside the yards as it was discovered he was red-green colour-blind. 

Arthur’s father told him the photo was taken in 1951 and looking at Harold that would put him at age 55. As 5637 appears to have been recently painted into its new BR livery following nationalisation in 1948 it's further confirmation that the photo was indeed taken in 1951. Harold Sutton died in February 1959, aged 63 and was still working for British Railways.  Johnny Beck outlived him.  

Shareholders’ Day 1st November 2014

The second Shareholders’ Day of 2014 was again very well attended, though everyone managed to get a footplate turn. The weather was good and 5637 ran perfectly to schedule.

Shareholders were also able to see Ivatt class 2MT tender engine No. 46447 resplendent in the East Somerset Railway's engine shed. This loco had been returned in to service the following Saturday for the first time in 48 years following a two year restoration in the ESR's workshops.

Photo: Jill Tombs

Waiting for a footplate turn on Shareholders' Day

Shareholders’ Day 8th March 2014

This year’s Shareholders’ Day was very well attended probably due in part to the previous Shareholders’ Day having to be curtailed early in the morning. The roster for footplate turns was completely full and a waiting list drawn up to fill any cancellations.

Fortunately the terrible weather we had been enduring all winter came to an end just in time for the Shareholders’ Day. The sun shone and it was even warm at times.

This Shareholders’ Day also saw the unveiling of a plaque in memory of John Hankins with members of John’s family in attendance. The plaque was made in the style of a railway wagon plate and fixed to the side of the fireman’s tool box.

Photo: Paul Lockley

John Hankins' daughter, Tina, with the plaque to his memory

5637 ran perfectly all day thanks to the East Somerset Railway. Special thanks go to Barney and Tom for crewing for us.

Shareholders’ Day 2013 Curtailed

This year’s Shareholders’ Day was held on Saturday 30th November and started well, 5637’s 14 month boiler exam was finished in time and the weather was good.

However, 5637 had completed the first three footplate runs up and down the track and was just on its way back to the engine shed yard for water when suddenly the blowdown valve mounted underneath the loco began to leak. This rapidly worsened with steam and water being expelled onto the track.

5637 was driven over the inspection pit in the loco shed to assess the condition of the blowdown valve and it became difficult to see into the shed from outside. With the huge quantities of steam being released it looked as if a small cloud was trapped inside.

Photo: Paul Lockley
blowdown valve leaking

As it was clear nothing could be done 5637 was driven out into the yard and the fire dropped. This allowed the engine to cool down so the boiler could be drained and the blowdown valve worked on the next day, though 5637 was unable to pull the Santa Special then as scheduled.

It was originally planned to fit a memorial plaque to John Hankins onto 5637 in time for the Shareholders’ Day. Unfortunately both the members of the management committee involved were ill and weren’t able to bring the plaque down to the East Somerset Railway.

The intention was that this year for a change 5637 would give shareholders rides in a guards van rather than train rides. Barney kindly provided guards van rides but towed by Sentinel Diesel PBA 39 instead, so that shareholders didn’t have a completely fruitless trip.

It subsequently emerged that the blowdown valve had become clogged with debris which was causing it to leak. This was rectified and 5637 was expected to pull the rest of the Santa Specials.

Apologies to everyone that missed their footplate ride and seeing 5637 in action and thanks to those shareholders who made donations in spite of the disappointing day – it’s very much appreciated. It is intended to hold a replacement Shareholders’ Day in March next year which we hope will be more successful!

Shareholders’ Day 20th October 2012

The second 5637 shareholders' day in 2012 was held on Saturday 20th October. Unlike the shareholders' day held earlier in the year, this shareholders' day was not oversubscribed and everyone  who wanted got a turn on the footplate.

Photo: Paul Lockley
Jenny takes the controls

Again shareholders lit up 5637 at the crack of dawn and helped prepare it for the days' work. Luckily the weather was good on Saturday and 5637 performed faultlessly throughout the day.

Thanks to the East Somerset Railway for holding the Shareholders Day and particularly to Barney and James for crewing for us.

Shareholders’ Day 17th March 2012

Early morning drizzle was gradually clearing away as two shareholders turned up at 5:30 am to light up 5637 for the day’s work. Supervised by Chris, who was fireman for the Shareholders’ Day, the engine’s boiler gradually came up to pressure and was ready for work promptly at 9am.

Photo: Paul Lockley
David lighting-up 5637 at the start of
Shareholders' Day

The weather remained fine for the rest of the day and 5637 ran smoothly without any breakdowns, unlike the previous year. There was a large turnout of shareholders and their guests this year with every possible footplate turn booked.

Unfortunately the ESR’s Whistlestop restaurant wasn’t open for meals during the Shareholders’ Day this year. However the Strode Arms in nearby Cranmore Village did a roaring trade with shareholders eating there instead. Some shareholders went further afield for food – there’s a good transport café a four miles away off the roundabout at the junction of the A361 and the A359 that proved very reasonable.

Steve Masters kindly supervised those shareholders who took the controls during their turn on the footplate yet again this year. We’re not sure if he enjoys meeting the shareholders and their guests or just that he wants to ensure they don’t break anything.

Thanks to those shareholders who generously made a donation to 5637’s funds.

Shareholders’ Day 26th March 2011

The first 5637 Shareholders’ Day since the completion of the locomotive’s major overhaul and return to service last year was held on 26th March. It had been intended to hold a Shareholders’ Day at the end of October but the very short notice given to shareholders meant that very few of them would have been able to attend so regrettably the event was cancelled.

On the day, 5637 shareholders, their families and friends were able to attend without charge and take turns driving the loco light engine the length of the East Somerset Railway under supervision of an ESR crew.  Two trains pulled by 5637 were also scheduled to enable everyone to travel up and down the line even if they didn’t want to ride on the footplate.

One ‘lucky’ shareholder and his sons had the privilege of getting up around 5am to light up the engine and prepare it for the day’s work, though it's believed they enjoyed the experience in spite of the early start. See the video of 5637 running light engine during Shareholders Day.

Photo: Paul Lockley
5637 about to depart from Mendip Vale during
Shareholders' Day

The weather was being kind to us when one particularly ham fisted shareholder had the controls and a sickening clang of metal was heard after 5637 crested the hill after charging up the gradient from Mendip Vale. After a hurried stop it turned out one of the main loco springs had completely sheared through and the bits of spring had to be retrieved from where they had been scattered down the track.

The engine limped back to the Engine Shed where the workshop crew descended on it as though they were working in an F1 pit stop. Although it was already well in to the afternoon when the damage occurred, the broken spring was replaced with a spare and 5637 eventually reappeared at Cranmore Station. This was to the great delight of two of the shareholders who were determined to wait and see if the loco could be repaired in the hope of finally getting their turn on the footplate.

Thanks to the ESR staff who kindly helped support the Shareholders’ Day and particularly to Steve and Barney who had a very long day crewing and repairing 5637. It's reported that they even carried on working into the evening to provide a brake van ride for an ESR member’s birthday party.



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