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National Railway Museum

South of England Group
Vice Presidents: Richard Hardy; Sir William McAlpine Bt, FRSE, FCIT, FRSA

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Monster Moves

Andrew Goodman

8 November 2010

Twenty Two members and guests were present when Andrew Goodman of Moveright International addressed the group at its November meeting. Andrew described some of the challenging jobs he has undertaken.

One of his first jobs was a GW 2-8-0 - this was the first engine out of Barry and was removed using a Foden Steam Lorry. He was then working with an insurance Co, with a link to railways through helping the B.R. Staff Association at Birmingham. Another early job was at Cheddleton where he abstracted an L.M.S. 4F. This was challenging as it was in an isolated spot only accessible down a twisting country lane. He had to do the job in two stage – first the tender came out to be transferred to a second low-loader, then the first went back to collect the loco. Even with full rear wheel steering, it was still tricky and several trees had their branches removed along the way.

It's not all railways. Another job was to transfer some ex-Hong Kong trams from Southampton to Birkenhead. The paperwork said these were 17 ft high but without bogies 16 ft 6 ins. When they arrived and were measured, they turned out to be 19 ft 6 ins high! By coincidence, the Royal Navy were also moving a gun turret that day, so they tagged on behind and made use of the special clearances, such as using the right-hand carriageway round the Newbury bypass as that had higher bridge clearances. It was then a winding road north via Bristol, Birmingham, and Wolverhampton.

Aircraft also sometimes need moving by road. A Phantom F4 had been donated by the USAF to an air museum at Coventry and needed moving from Upper Heyford. The plane was 28 ft 6 ins wide, even with the wings folded and the Department of Transport were not happy! It took Andrew several months to convince them that he could do the job. By that time the trees on the road to the airbase had grown and there was only 25 ft clearance – at least until they passed through! The route involved travelling along the M4, which the police closed specially for them in the early morning.

The international part of the name, dates back to 1981, when he was asked to repatriate an 8F from Turkey and, shortly after, a USA dock tank from Poland. The latter was described as being only 35 tons. The low-loader was passed for this load, but shortly after the scheduled start, Andrew received a call from the driver to say he had gone through all the spare tyres. Andrew crammed 12 spare tyres into his Ford Granada and set off to rendezvous with them. In the subsequent journey to the port in Belgium they managed to get through all 12 tyres. Arriving in UK, when the loco was unloaded they found the side tanks were still full of water – so much for 35 tons!

Turning to the NRM, he has recently moved the SE&CR 4-4-0 from within the Station Hall. Unfortunately it was on a line with no immediate external access and had to be moved laterally to the next line using an improvised traverser. This and Lord Sutherland's coach were then to be moved to Bo'ness. Andrew's link with the NRM goes back many years, he was involved in the movement of Agenoria from the Science Museum to York.

One of the strangest moves was of a Grade II listed granary from Andrew Lloyd Williams' house to a rural museum. They were refused permission to dismantle the building for the move, so it had to go in one piece. On the back of that experience, they have moved a number of other delicate buildings. One such followed a telephone call from Chicago – unfortunately not involving a trip across the Atlantic, but an American who wanted a barn at his house in UK shifting so he could have a better view of the countryside. They got a follow-up call a few years later when the new owner wanted it moving again it's now probably the most travelled barn in the country!

Moving such sizeable loads does involve some interaction with the police. Normally cooperation is good, but not always so. One such occasion was at Kennford just past Exeter on the A38. They were moving a J94 and had carefully calculated the positioning of the loco so that it was within the vehicle's axle load. This didn't convince a rather zealous policeman who had them move to a weighbridge where one of the axles was found to be over the limit. Despite offers to correct this by moving the engine a couple of inches along the trailer bed, he wasn't having it, and refused to allow them any further until another vehicle came. Andrew though nothing more about it until 5 months 29 days later when a summons appeared in the mail (there is a 6 month legal limit). Following a full discharge with costs awarded to them, he found out that the policeman involved was having a bit of a vendetta against heavy transport. Another near miss with the police came when he was collecting a Class 14 diesel-hydraulic loco which could only be picked up in the very early morning. He arranged with the pub landlord that the house alarms would not be set so he could creep out before dawn. Unfortunately, habit prevailed and when he open the from door everything went off. Luckily he managed to get away before the police arrive as he doubts they would believe he was breaking out with a bag full of tools – hammers, crow-bars etc.!

In 1989 he had to take the decision whether to carry on with his job in the insurance industry of move full time to heavy haulage. What tipped it was securing a contract from BR to move rolling stock around the Loch Ness bridge which had been severely damaged in floods. While this was excellent business, he didn't have a suitable trailer. A ring round showed that there was a second-hand trailer in Turin. It was too wide for Italian road so had to be moved on its side on another trailer. It took a further 2 days and nights to service and refurbish it ready for the start of the BR contract.

Andrew described many other incidents when moving engines and rolling stock, too many to described in full here. Many involved extracting the item from seemingly impossible surroundings, such as a Class 08 at Fowey Docks sandwiched between the staff tea hut and shed, neither of which could be moved. He did it, following his company motto “There's always a way”. It's not surprising, therefore, that he is kept busy. He has even worked with the film industry, providing support for the James Bond and Harry Potter films. His connection with the NRM continues, though, as was shown by the recent move of Woolmer to the Milestone's museum. We are likely to see his company involved in many more such heavy, yet delicate, moves.