Heading West! - Day 1
By the early afternoon of 24th September things were going to plan. The low-loader that would move 26040 and the rest of our railway rolling stock was due the next morning and all we had to do move a few of our road vehicles temporarily for the duration of the unloading. Then we got a phone call! The low-loader was already in the area and its driver wanted to know how to get to Methil Power Station. So I went and met them, and guided them there.
1. To start with, here is a picture
of the low-loader going into the heavy access entrance of Methil Power Station,
ready to start the move at once!
2. Having shown the crew of the
low-loader where the stock was parked in the power station, I dashed back
round to the lorry yard so that Alistair & I could get on with moving
our road vehicles as a matter of urgency, since 26040 would be arriving a
day earlier than expected. Once we had done this, we went round to the
power station, and found that 26040 was just being towed into position to
be loaded, as seen here.
3. Here is a view showing 26040 at
the very foot of the ramp up onto the low loader, with the crew of the
low-loader carefully checking everything before starting the heavy-duty winch
on their tractor unit. The hole left by a missing roof-hatch is very evident
from this angle, which we had been unable to do much about at the power-station.
(We tried putting a tarpaulin over it, but despite being tied down thoroughly
it vanished in a gale!)
4. The loading is under way, albeit
slowly. Since the wire rope went round a pulley and the winch was typically
slow to start with, things didn't go at all quickly. I had expect this of course,
and was able to take plenty of digital pictures and camcorder footage.
5. This picture looks much the same as
the last one at first glance, but 26040 now has one bogie completely on the ramp.
Just to emphasis how many pictures I was able to take, the last page showed my
16th picture of the day, while this one is the 23rd! (Many of the others are
near-duplicates or weren't very good, which is why I am not using them all, but
some are not relevant to his feature and might be used elsewhere.)
6. Liftoff! 26040 is now completely on
the ramp! The person in the foreground is my preservation partner Alistair Douglas,
who co-owns 26040 and at the time of this move had been planning its restoration
literally for years...
7. The final stage of loading, as 26040
creeps slowly (what else!) over the back wheels of the low-loader. While I don't
normally advertise or endorse on this website, it is possible to read the name
of the specialist haulage company we were using, and thoroughly recommend their
expertise to anyone that has a locomotive that needs moved by road... (Doesn't
8. Having plenty of time during the
loading of 26040, I naturally spent some of it taking a few pictures of the
rest of our rolling stock. Most of these I plan to keep until I get the time
to set up new sections of the 'J-Files' to feature them, but here is a sample
picture of all three of them, taken while 26040 was being chained to the deck
of the low-loader to keep it in position during the move. Since it was now
late afternoon they were not due to be loaded that day and so had to sit
patiently for one more night.
9. All aboard! 26040 is now loaded
and secured for the short trip to Methil West. All that is needed now is for
the tractor unit to attach to and pick up the deck of the low-loader.
10. Ready to go! While the tractor
unit is clearly very powerful (and I was told by the driver that it was an
expensive re-build of an already powerful unit), the trailer does not look
too impressive in these pictures, but is in fact quite impressive in its own
right as the whole back third is all wheels, and they all steer!
11. The low-loader carrying 26040
starts to reverse away for the loading area. I didn't hang around long after
taking this picture as it was making steady progress! The man walking
alongside was actually using a hand-held unit to steer with, which made things
so easy they reversed the length of the power station non-stop, which meant I
couldn't stop for long to take pictures!
12. Having been 'chased' by 26040
right down the power station site, here is a picture of it approaching the
front entrance, which is behind the camera. The low-loader is of course about
to use the heavy-access entrance again, which is down the road to the right
of the camera. It steers so well that its crew were able to reverse right
round this corner, despite it being sharper than a right angle!
13. Back at the heavy access entrance,
with both the low-loader and 26040 leaving by the same route they arrived, albeit
nearly 8 years apart! You will have to take my word for it, but despite the sharp
corner the journey is still non-stop!
14. Out onto the road, still non-stop!
The wheels at the back of the low-loader can just be seen to be steering in this
picture. 26040 is now only a few yards short of being able to set out for the 1
mile journey to Methil West. We drove ahead of course, to make sure nothing was
in the way at the other end.
15. A mere 5 minutes later and the
low-loader has arrived. It is seen here coming into the yard at Methil West.
From this distance, 26040 didn't look too bad, as the broken windows and the
missing roof-panel are not too obvious, but as you will have seen in the
earlier pictures, there is much work needing done, and this is the place we
are doing it!
16. The last picture I have in this set
is of the low-loader preparing to drop its deck for unloading.
Although the last picture was taken only a short time after the one before, it can be seen by comparing the two that the light was failing fast, and I have no pictures to show you of the unloading as it was dark by then! Oh well - can't win them all! 26040 had been moved successfully before we had even expected the job to begin - could our luck hold?