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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 13 - September 1972

Business as Usual

The thieves broke into Quainton on the night of Sunday, 23rd July and stole an assortment of fittings from the Locomotive Store. On Monday we found to our dismay that the Beattie's lubricators had been included in the haul and the Beattie was on duty on the following Sunday. During the day frantic telephone calls were made to members of the Loco Department to help list the missing components and by late afternoon the first list was with the Police.

The Ops Committee met that evening and the Chairman's opening remark was, "Well John, what will we have in steam for the August weekend?" This produced the retort from Ray, "Good Heavens, what's he worrying about Bank Holiday for! What about next Sunday?" This set the tone for the evening and the Committee were up until well after midnight, the predicament of the Beattie occupying half the agenda. Incidentally, Roy Miller called in at about 10.45 p.m. with an additional list for the Police.

Tuesday was spent waiting and hoping for a call from the Police with good news. But it didn´t come. On Wednesday Alan Bolton phoned with some more missing items and when this second amendment was phoned to the Police they pleaded for some drawings so that they could have some rough idea of what they were looking for! How do you describe a gauge glass fitting or a lubricator on the telephone?

The weekend suddenly seemed imminent! Someone tried to borrow two lubricators from BR who were sympathetic but unable to help. Another member thought he knew where some could be bought and another believed he could arrange for new ones to be made. But it was now Thursday and there were no lubricators and no news of the stolen goods. Bob Mellish said we could use his Diesel Inspection Car and John Mortham charged the batteries in readiness.

In a resigned way Ray Hedley began drafting notices for public display on the Sunday explaining the reason for the substitution of what is fondly known as the Dinky Toy or Mellishmobile! Then, on Friday the wires went red hot!

Dick Scott had just heard the news of the robbery and of our predicament. He said he would gladly lend the lubricators from his engine as they were nearly the same as the Beattie's. A member dashed across to Waltham Cross, collected the valuable items and delivered them to Ray. Ray took them to Quainton on Saturday morning and rushed round to a Waddesdon garage where they advised him to try a plumber for the necessary adaptors to go from ¾" iron to ¾" copper which were required to connect the lubricators to the steam pipes in the smokebox. Someone had taken the Beattie's whistle for safe keeping and this meant more frantic searching for a reducer and socket so that she could use a borrowed whistle!

Everything was tried on and it all fitted. Sunday dawned and the Beattie was lit up.

Would the central heating fitting stand up to 120 psi? Everyone waited anxiously as it reached working pressure. All was well and by 12.30 pm she was shunting and quite happy with her borrowed fittings. As the day wore on she seemed to drink vast quantities of oil but this was something to do with adjustment. A crew shortage also required some ingenuity but fortunately two drivers came to the rescue and there were enough trainee firemen and third men to make up three pairs for the day. The afternoon, which was so nearly a complete failure was a success thanks to the efforts of those who so kindly came to the rescue.

As we were locking up for the night Ray said, "This must be a ruddy disease or we'd never bother!"

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1972 and so does not reflect events in the 40+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Business as Usual - Quainton News No. 13 - September 1972

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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