In April 2022 Sir Nigel Gresley returned from an overhaul which took more than six years and cost about £800,000 plus about £100,000 for the support coach. If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of this overhaul please click on the donate button.
Clicking on the images will display a larger version.
Clicking again will close the window. Where an 'X' shows bottom right of the image, click on this (or use the 'f'' key) to display full size.
(You may wish to maximise your screen for this)
|Jul to Dec 2022||Jan to Jun 2023||From Jul 2023|
|Overhaul Reports 2015-2022||Return to Home Page|
From July 2022.
The loco wasn't left for long before we had to bring it round for an early start for the trip from London Victoria to Bath. The previous days prep meant there was only the last minute things to tidy away and for the siphon oil feeds to be topped up.align="left" hspace="10" alt="Membership">
We were mostly hauled to Victoria so the loco did little work. At Victoria the fire was built up and the water level raised. Soon after leaving, the loco blew off and lifted the water filling the cab with steam. On the trip there was some waiting around so it was some time before the loco warmed up, but as soon as we started some longer running spells at higher outputs the water was seen to be foaming in the gauge glass. As a result the water level was worked down, and the exhaust was carefully watched for priming.
After stopping at Newbury for water the loco accelerated away and soon lifted the water again. This time it resulted in a blow from the right cylinder. At Bath we quickly went to the front of the loco and inspected. We took a spanner and tightened the leading drain cock, as during our Lincoln trip we had lost a gasket from this drain cock and with it missing this will remove the tension in the securing studs leaving the cock loose.
The loco proceeded on its way with a blow from the right cylinder to Bristol where we went to the East Depot for servicing. At the depot we did a steam test to the right cylinder and found a blow from the joints of both drain cock joints at the cylinder. The gland was also blowing.
There was nothing we could do about the packings, and it didn't seem significant, so focussing on the draincocks the operating rod was unpinned and the two draincocks released. Both joints had been blown out. One completely and one partially. It was a relief to find that the joints had blown, however there was still the chance that other significant damage could have been done and we still weren't over the priming problem, so the loco would have to be operated very carefully.
As a precaution two new draincock joints were cut earlier in the support coach on the journey, and this now saved us time. The faces were cleaned off and prepared, the new joints fitted then the drain cocks and operating gear refitted. Meanwhile the fire was cleaned and the tender filled with water. After refitting the draincocks they were tested and were tight.
The coal we were to take was late arriving at Bristol causing a significant delay, but the loco was ready for time.
On leaving the depot we were hauled by the diesel into Temple Meads with the draincocks open as much as possible. The driver and fireman aware of the foaming troubles were very cautious. We used diesel assistance from Temple Meads and with SNG on reduced power the boiler still foamed. Fortunately the coal was now significantly better so at least getting the superheater hotter would be a help.
On the way to Bath we primed a number of times and eventually it caught us out with a heavy blow, again from the right cylinder. At Bath we jumped down to examine the right cylinder to find the leading draincock stuck hard open. I gave the spindle a knock with a large adjustable but it wouldn't move. The draincock gear looked a long way out of position so the concern was the reliability of the gear and the operation of the draincocks when the loco was prone to priming.
Back on the footplate it was decided to proceed with diesel assistance and reduced steam chest pressure, and resigned ourselves to listen to a heavy blow all the way home. Once underway the draincock gear was operated a number of times to feel the operation and to hear the other draincocks blow and seat. However, with the A4 arrangement of Bowden cables there isn't much positive feel.
After resigning myself to having to listen to a heavy blow all the way home, and to have the view forward obscured by a cloud of steam, suddenly all went quiet as the draincock closed. A little time later the driver commented that the sound of the exhaust had sharpened up, indicating a drying of the exhaust. The water in the gauge glass was also stable, so the driver increased the steam chest pressure gradually and the loco responded with no foaming. From here the fireman raised the water level in the boiler to a more satisfactory level and the diesel assistance was reduced then removed. For the first time since our York run the loco ran under full power, with a hot fire and a good water level.
Reflecting upon the running, we had very bad coal at Southall before the Lincoln trip, then similar at Lincoln. And we had a batch of bad water at Lincoln. After Lincoln the loco foamed until returning to normal after Bath on our return journey. The foaming wasn't that pronounced after Lincoln as the loco was worked at low pressures as the coal did not permit full power working, though was sufficiently bad to blow a drain cock gasket. Whatever was in the boiler it had eventually dissolved sufficiently or been thrown up the chimney or out of the draincocks by a little way past Bath.
We got back to Southall in the early hours to start again the next morning for our trip back to Crewe. The fire was relit as we had decided to totally remove the fire until we could reliably predict the quality of the coal. It was another really busy day with the coach to also prepare for our return. As we used the LSL support coach during our trips we had our tools and belongings to put back in our coach. Thankfully our run back to Crewe was uneventful.
Back at Crewe, and after a full night's sleep, the cab was tidied and as it was cold, and forecasted to be cold, the tender was drained and the valves left open. The boiler still being full should keep the loco warm until our planned move in to the boilershop for washout, before being moved in to the paintshop.
The coach tanks were also drained, the coach being left outside.
We also started to clean the outside of the loco below the footplate with a start on the right under the cab going forward. The next day this was continued. The worksplates were also removed for the cab sides to be painted.
Meanwhile we went in to the paintshop to examine the BR Express Blue paint that had been delivered for us. We found that the paint, though correct to the part number quoted to us by the manufacturer was incorrect, very incorrect by the look of the colour.
Contacting the supplier there seemed to be some confusion as to the correct paint colour so a batch of paint has been purchased from an alternative supplier and this is now at Crewe, and has been inspected and looks right. The paint is the same as used on 60163 when in blue.
The loco steam gauges were removed from the cab for calibration. The loco toolboxes were emptied, the oils, and the spares and equipment kept in the lamp cupboard removed. The items were listed so we have an inventory of equipment to be carried on the loco. This will be reviewed. Our collection of large spanners in the support coach is also being sorted through and we plan to improve their storage.
The cab labelling that we want to replace was measured for new.
The filler in the smokebox door number plate and shed plate holes was removed ready for painting.
The square drive used for the air pump lubricator and the square on the hot water washout cock were measured and special tools for these are being made to make them easier and safer to use.
The loco was then moved in to the boilershop so that the bodywork could be cleaned before going in to the paintshop. While waiting for the cleaners the boilershop removed the cab roof cover to access the safety valves which will be removed for their annual examination. We examined the spark arrestor and discussed the modification LNWRh want to carry out to lock together the neighbouring plates that form the primary screens.
The gauge glass nuts, new at the last overhaul, were removed as they are tight on some flats. The nuts were taken and their flats skimmed to specification and are now an easy fit on a standard gauge glass spanner. The nuts have now been returned to the loco.
After its brief stay in the boilershop the loco was shunted in to the paintshop. A meeting was organised with the painters and our contractor who will do the final lining out and apply the transfers. The painters had already made a start and the loco was being filled and painted with our rejected blue paint to show up any surface defects. It was a useful meeting and a specification for painting was worked through. The lining paints have now been ordered and a quote has been received for the transfers.
The loco was prepared at Crewe on the prep pits at the north end of the shed for its move to Southall for a series of mainline trips. The tender axleboxes and Cartazzi were examined and oiled while steam was being raised. The drain cock operation was checked and adjustments made to the middle linkage and they now feel better for operation. The air pump was prepped and the lubricator filled. The atomisers were examined and the inboard LHS cleared as it did not have a strong blow.
The outside cylinder piston packings were examined and were judged to be OK though would soon need re-gapping. The right was inaccessible due to the loco position but the left could be accessed so these were reset by LNWRh. The gaps were restored and the packings put through the surface grinder to ensure they were truly flat.
The FTR was conducted by LNWRh with no faults found.
The bottom end of the loco was cleaned while the coach tanks were filled with water. The other routine activities were attended to, such as putting the loco electrics and the high intensity headlamps on charge, and the sanders were filled.
Just when we thought we had finished it was noticed that the gauge glasses were exposed at the top of the gauge glass protectors. There are spacers between the gauge glass nuts and the frame seals which space the nuts off the frames. The nuts usually extend in to the protectors. As this was the first steaming after washout it was thought that perhaps these spacers had been missed out as when the old seals are removed they are stuck hard to the old seals and are blackened by the heat so are difficult to identify as not being part of the old rubber seal. However, when the gauge frame was isolated the spacers were correctly in place, but a new type of seal is being used by LNWRh. The new seal has a thinner collar so when compressed the nuts go further on to the frames and expose more glass. Four new bronze spacers were machined and these fitted.
Next day we finished the last minute preparation of the loco with the filling of the oil siphon boxes, took in the chargers and we were ready to go. We double headed the coaching stock and trailing diesel with 45231.
After our arrival at Southall we had 1 clear day before our first tip which was to York. We did our usual preparation and the FTR was carried out. It was found that the speedo unit required an additional security wire and a small leak from the soldered joint at the right injector delivery pipe flange where secured to the injector body. The leak amounted to a small drip. We tried to seal the leak with a little light caulking but this was unsuccessful. The pipe was then removed and more silver solder ran into it. The pipe was refitted but the leak persisted. It was decided that as the leak was small we would run with it for this trip.
Unfortunately we couldn't clean above the footplate due to working at height rules as we had no suitable access equipment. Fortunately the weather turned out to be wet so you couldn't tell on the day of the tour.
The loco has been holding water and pressure well so preparing the fire and raising steam has been relatively easy.
The trip to York and back went well though it was noticed by a driver that the speedo was sticking temporarily around 40mph. The RO, who is also an electrical engineer at LNWRh checked the connector on the back and found it to be loose, so tightened it and we haven't had the problem again.
On this run, and the following runs to Lincoln and Bath, the temperatures of the bearings has been checked and I can't recall any being above 30C except the inside, protected from cooling air, sometimes gets in to the 30's. The oil consumption is also noted with the middle big end oil consumption being recorded after each trip. The oil consumption of the bearings is satisfactory.
Throughout our running water samples are taken and the quantities of additives are adjusted to achieve the correct levels of pH and Tannin in the boiler water. This has been carried out by LNWRh. The TDS (total Dissolved Solids) is also measured as the TDS rises the boiler water is more liable to foam which can lead to the boiler priming.
After the York run the injector deliver pipe was removed and sent to Crewe for a permanent repair to be carried out. The pipe and flange were separated and brazed. It was then hydraulically tested. The flange was also scraped to improve it's flatness, a new gasket was cut ready for reassembly.
Our ex-service AWS sunflower was given to LNWRh for examination. A fault was reproduced on the bench, and it was put down to dirt in the pivot pin on which the sunflower indicator rotates. When reassembled the fault couldn't be repeated so we think it is worth refitting. In the meantime we have obtained a spare unit from a railway memorabilia shop, which we will test and keep as a spare.
At Southall the firebox was cleaned out by LNWRh, who removed the grate sidebars and cleaned out the ashpan shelves as instructed by SNG. The loco was then shunted inside the shed at Southall to wait for it's next trip.
With the successful operation of our new injector cones in the right injector, the outstanding order for new cones has been completed and the cones drilled for locking screws. The new set will be held in store for now as we continue to run with a set from 60532 which are performing well.
We soon returned to Southall to prepare for our next trips. The loco was moved to a raised staging area so it could be cleaned above the footplate. The loco and tender sides were polished and the results were really good with the black polishing well.
The expansion link bottom pins have been tight but upon inspection the RH has freed off well.
The next day the loco had to be turned. This can't be done at Southall so the loco has to go over the network to be turned. For this we still have to do a full preparation and fitness to run examination. At the examination it was found that the ejector exhaust pipe had come out of the elbow on the smokebox side. The pipe moves in the cab ejector joint to allow expansion when the boiler warms. The pipe had to be moved to refit it. The pipe is now marked at the elbow so we can see when it is about to pop out. A pipe clamp has also been added butting up against the leading stanchion to prevent the pipe moving back.
When the steam sands were tested there was a blow from under the cab where the steam sands pipe runs. The steam pipe was tightened though a special tool had to made made to access it. This is an original pipe run and fitting, and is now less accessible due to the later additions of air pipework. The steam pipe was then tested and is tight but the drain from the steam sands valve is blowing so the valve will be examined.
The brakes were adjusted. I am pleased with the amount of brake block wear we have experienced on the engine. Before going to London we prepared a new set of loco brake blocks as looking at the wear so far we thought we'd need new blocks before our return to Crewe. The small amount of brake block wear indicates the train is braking and the loco is not over braking. It also shows that most of the of wear was picked up with the vacuum braked stock while running on the NYMR.
The TPWS train stop override pushbutton did not illuminate correctly on test. When the enclosure was accessed it was found that a cable had come disconnected. It was pushed back on and the spade type connector tried with a pull test. It seems good and we haven't had the fault again. Perhaps it was disturbed during the changing of the sunflower indicator unit.
The steam heat seal on the tender connector was found damaged so was replaced. This is disappointing as the damaged seal was new this year.
The right injector delivery pipe was refitted and when tested all is tight.
Next day we ran to Lincoln. The coal was very poor with the fireman having difficulty making the loco steam. At the water stop at Huntingdon clinkers were taken out. We were away from Huntingdon just to be delayed due to a reported trespasser.
At Lincoln we were hauled back in to sidings for a servicing stop. The fire was entirely remade as the bed of the fire was choked with ash. The tender was filled with a new delivery of coal, which looked pretty much like what we had already been using but perhaps with fewer very large pieces.
While at Lincoln the smokebox door was opened to examine if we had a fault with the loco which would reduce steaming. But we found the spark arrester screens relatively clear and when steam tested all was tight. So it definitely wasn't the fault of the loco.
After servicing we proceeded to the station and awaited the right away with the crossing and footbridges in front of us filled with spectators. Upon moving off it wasn't far before the loco slipped and lifted the water. The priming caused damage to one of the draincock seals and the loco proceeded with a blow from the draincock joint. We didn't know at the time that it was the drain cock joint so as soon as we arrived at Newark, where we were booked for a 20min stop, we went to inspect. With steam blowing out it is difficult to judge where the steam was coming from, so the cosmetic cylinder cover was removed to examine the main cylinder cover. The cover appeared to be OK so with the cosmetic cover refitted we completed our journey.
When we got back to Southall the fire was raked through, but it quickly went out showing how little combustible material was in it.
We now had a weekend to prepare for our trip to Bath and Bristol and in addition to the usual prep routine we attended to some other repairs. The small ejector handle was given an additional round of packing and the main manifold shut off gland was tightened.
The safety valves were given some steam oil as when blowing off they had also taken water which upsets their operation.
A steam test was carried out to the right hand cylinder and it was clear that the right leading drain cock was blowing where it meets the cylinder casting. The linkage was dismantled and the valve removed. The faces cleaned and a new gasket fitted. No other damage could be seen. The reassembled cylinder was then retested and appeared tight.
With the loco in steam in the shed at Grosmont, LSL Crewe conducted a FTR on loco and coach. The examiner found a couple of things to keep us busy as the loco pressure slowly rose.
Some of the hornstay bolts on the coach were found to need tightening, which was quickly done. This isn't the first time we've had to do this so this will be looked at in greater detail when we have the time.
It was also found that one of the tender water hoses, where it connects to the loco, was loose and this was tightened.
Meanwhile the loco was prepared for the next day's move back to Crewe. The usual oiling, greasing and cleaning being carried out by our volunteers.
With steam pressure rising the air pump was started but first the auto drain at the back of the pump was removed and cleaned out. It was noticed that this was blowing the last time we ran the pump. This time the auto-drain on the bottom of the governor continuously blew. The governor controls the upper air pressure at which the pump cuts out. This drain was removed and scale was removed and the drain operated satisfactorily.
Upon first run up the vacuum did not rise with the air brake pressure so the DV2 valve which controls the proportional application of the loco vacuum brake was vented, and then all worked correctly. This was done with a dedicated pushbutton in the cab but now is done with a valve between the frames. This modification was suggested when we were setting up the air brake at the SVR. In practice this system doesn't work as well as the pushbutton so we are planning to restore the control in the cab. However, once vented the air brake and vacuum operates correctly and repeatedly.
With the air and vacuum brake operating the various isolation valves were security tagged and their numbers noted. The loco was then coupled to the support coach and moved outside and the safety valves tested.
After the NYMR service trains were finished with Grosmont station the loco was moved down the station from the MPD and stayed overnight in Platform 2. The fire was pulled back, the boiler filled to the top of the glass and we grabbed a few hours sleep in the support coach.
Back up in the middle of the night we found the pressure and water nearly as we left it so there was little to do as we had pressure to run the loco systems. The fire was built up and spread while the lamps were put up and the battery chargers taken in. With the pressure we had this enabled the air system to be run up early and checked well before the crew arrived.
When it arrived we backed down to the water column and topped up the tender and then waited for permission from Nunthorpe signaller to start our journey back to Crewe. It was sad to leave the NYMR as we had such a good time there.
Mechanically the loco and coach ran well back to Crewe with remarkably large crowds coming out to see us. However, we had two electrical issues which we discussed with our loco electronics consultant. Back at Crewe, we download the journey record from the OTMR unit. This caused the unit to flash its health status lights, so we thought we had a fault. But apparently it was due to a non-compatible memory card and after a download was taken with a laptop the unit decided it was healthy.
Examining the download it located the area of the electrical problem. We have loaned a component from NELPG and it has been fitted in our loco. The surrounding wiring and connections have been checked for continuity and no faults have been found. The electrical systems were powered up and operated a number of times and all worked correctly. I am very grateful to NELPG for loaning us the electrical components we needed.
Upon return to Crewe, we examined the engine and came up with a list of small jobs to attend to, meanwhile we also moved our gear left in the boilershop from the summer, back to our toolbox location in the repair shed.
LSL carried out an audit on the loco as part of their acceptance process. This involved supplying them with copies of work records from the overhaul. LSL also raised some minor issues they require to be resolved, including the painting of stripes across the joint between wheel and tyres. You'll be pleased to know that these have been applied to the inside. The bogie and coupled wheels have previously been dealt with.
One of the jobs we identified concerned one of the fireman's side gauge illumination LEDs which had failed and the internal connections required re-soldering. This was done and the light refitted.
In the coach the steam heat drain pipe in the guards compartment was found to have a small hole near the floor. Upon examination our Piping Team Leader condemned the pipe as wasted. He has now fitted a new pipe. The pipe was lagged and refitted to the guards compartment wall.
After returning to Crewe the loco was due a boiler washout. This has been carried out by LNWRh, but to save time we removed the firebox plugs and the primary spark guard. To remove the left cab side plug the pocket needed cutting back slightly to allow the plug socket on to the plug. Indicating the cab and boiler relative positions have moved slightly since reassembly of the cab.
While removing the primary spark guard the plates were marked up for some modifications to make them a better fit, as since they were originally fitted the smokebox pipework has been removed and refitted, which has altered slightly the pipe runs around the plates. After the washout the plates were refitted and secured with clips which makes their removal and fitting much easier and quicker than the previous bolts. The gap around the middle steam pipe has been closed with an additional small piece of plate. A stainless steel screw was welded in to the main plate so the small additional plate is easily fitted, as the main plate has to go in first before the filler plate. Up the side of the main plate there is still scope to add an additional filler plate and a screw has been welded to the main plate to allow this to be fitted later.
Also in the smokebox, the door liner plate has had its bottom side plates fitted. The plates were welded on to the outside of the liner plate. The assembly was then removed and taken in to the adjacent boilershop to be welded round the inside. The projecting sections of plate were then cut flush with the outside face of the liner plate and the edge ground smooth. The liner plate was refitted and the door checked to make sure that it closed satisfactorily.
There is a bolt in the upper left side of the smokebox which helps secure the cladding. If it is pulled too tight it pulls the cladding in, so to secure the bolt from loosening we have fitted a locknut.
With the washout complete and the smokebox reassembled the loco was steam tested. All was satisfactory apart from a leak on the right gauge frame which LNWRh will attend to.
The firehole baffle plate or scoop needed straightening out which was done with a large hammer.
We have also been working our way through previous LSL FTR observations. The cab air system push-button removed at the SVR has a pipe running inside the loco frames. This was tied up as a temporary measure. Now it has been secured with a bracket and the nut on the end of the pipe secured on to a fitting.
It was also observed that the axlebox lubrication hoses were contacting the horn stays or spring hangers in places. It has always been like this and caused no trouble, however we have now fitted protective rubber sleeves to the contacting area on the hoses.
In way of preparing the loco for its next period in traffic the air intake filters on the air pump were removed and cleaned out.
Back at Crewe the coach hornstay bolts were checked to be tight as they have been found to work loose. A couple took a bit more torque but all were found reasonably tight.
Before running we also clean the grate and the sides of the ashpan beneath, which are very shallow.
To prepare for our next outing the support coach workshop has been thoroughly sorted out. Additional new shelving has been made and fitted under one of the work benches which has provided us with a lot more storage space. We need it as we have now stocked the coach with oil, sand and fire lighting materials. Sorting the coach also included sorting our existing materials in the repair shed and we took a car load to the storage container.
We have also put six coupled wheel brake blocks in the coach as we may need these before we return to Crewe. The holes for the pins being cleaned out to make sure they will easily go on the loco brake hanger pins.
It was noticed that the leg on a split pin on the drip valve on the loco leading steam heat hose connector had broken off so a new split pin has been fitted.
While looking in to smaller details it was noticed that the right union link has just been touching the head of the locking screw on the end of the cylinder release valve. The valve position will require adjustment.
This report begins at the start of our first three day NYMR Gresley Event with the LNER teak set. Upon return to the shed at the end of the first day it was decided to trim back the cylinder lubrication by adjusting the mechanical lubricator pumps. We had been running with high levels of cylinder lubrication during our running in and after. As the loco was clearly running well the lubrication can be backed off.
While in steam we have had a continuous leak at a couple of locations around the foundation ring. From time to time other leaks or blows develop and then disappear. These are being monitored. One is over the left Cartazzi which drips continuously and is contaminating the lubrication.
During our first Gresley Event running period, at examination, the right crosshead oil pot was found to be emulsified so the top was taken off the pot and the oil replaced. We have had no issues since.
After our first Gresley Event the loco was disposed of and given a little cleaning to make our next prep day a little easier. The grate was also cleaned. The left trailing most handrail knob has been rotating by itself, the danger being that the handrail could pop out. The knob has been re-aligned before but it starts to creep again. So a spacer was made and put under the knob so that it can be further tightened at its required angle to retain the handrail.
At the end of our first three days the loco was examined the day after running and we found a number crown stays leaking in the firebox. Mainly in the rear left corner. Some were the stays that had been caulked on the outer crown at Crewe earlier in the year when we were in the boilershop. The job now was to remove the old protecting crown stay nuts, caulk round the stay, die nut the stay to ensure the threads are good, and refit new nuts, all without disturbing the other end of the stay in the outer wrapper. A purchase order was provided for LNWRh Crewe to come and do the work. As the nuts are a special thread they have to be specially made. After trying the NYMR and a number of contractors the number of nuts we required meant that only LNWRh were able to supply them within the day and a half we had to have them manufactured.
It was agreed with the NYMR that the work would be carried out in their shed and that gases and compressed air would be made available us. We also used one of their air wrenches for die-nutting the stays before the new nuts were fitted.
The old nuts were burnt off and the rest of the work carried out. The stays treated have given no further trouble. Straight after the new nuts were fitted a warming fire was put in the loco for the start of the second period of three day running. We were back in service in time for the second period of the Gresley Event and worked throughout so that no passengers were disappointed.
During this preparation session one of our trainee engineers was trained in checking and oiling the Cartazzi and tender axleboxes, a routine preparation activity. The grate was pulled up along the sides, and the sides of the ashpan cleaned off while the ashpan was carefully washed out. The loco was also given an all over clean and the brightwork polished.
We were now using the steam heat, and the tender joint looked to be blowing a little, so new seals were fitted to the hose connectors at both ends of the loco.
Another routine activity during running is to adjust the brakes, which we have been looking after.
Throughout our running we have managed a full roster of SNG footplate reps which has allowed many of the Engineering Team volunteers to experience the footplate in steam and motion.
While the loco was running we were also preparing for the coach to go to Pickering carriage and wagon for jacking off its bogies so that we could do some work on the coach underframe. Some cleaning was carried out to the underframes at Grosmont, while the underside of the coach was measured up for cable sleeving and steel sheet to cover exposed wooden flooring above the bogie wheels.
At the end of our scheduled NYMR running we were permitted to use 4498 to move the coach and use the trip as a training day for our more experienced engineers. This gave them an opportunity to fire and drive under the instruction of a NYMR inspector. Now that some of our workshop engineers are comfortable in leading loco preparation activities their training has moved on to make them more proficient footplate reps and operations leaders.
At Pickering the coach was moved in to the Pickering carriage repair shed and put up on stands. We have had excellent cooperation from the NYMR and the manager of C&W, who has been a great help.
Under the coach the old tatty insulation was wrapped and tied up. Our experienced electrician spent a couple of days examining and generally tidying up the underframe cabling. The cable conductors are generally sound as is their rubber insulation. Prioritising with the time available, some older cabling was wrapped or covered with a split flexible conduit. Some conductors were found broken by fatigue where they pass through clips and brackets and these were repaired or replaced. Old disintegrating wrappings were removed and replaced with new. Overall the result is very tidy.
The other major task while the coach was on stands was to fit steel sheet above the bogie wheels where there was exposed wooden flooring. This is to prevent brake block sparks from setting fire to the floor; very unlikely but it has to be guarded against. Galvanised heavy steel sheet was purchased cut in to widths that bridged the gap between outer and inner frames. Battening was than fastened to the coach floor and the steel trimmed, drilled and screwed to the battens. If any tiny gaps or over laps could be seen they were finished with high-temperature silicon sealant. In some places pipes come through the floor and sheet was carefully cut to be a close fit. In the end a good job has been achieved. Thank you to those who turned out to do the work as it's hard on the thighs to work over your head not quite stood straight.
While we had access to the coach the Piping Team sprung in to action. The flush hose connections to the CET were extended to the outside edge of the tank and are now supported by clamps to prevent the copper pipe taking the load of the flush hose. In the guards compartment the steam heat pipe from under the floor to the ceiling radiator is to be renewed as it has a pin hole near the floor. The pipe has been measured and new pipe will be fitted.
Immediately after we got the coach finished a small group of us travelled to Grosmont and carried out a water change on the loco. While draining, the grate firebars were pulled up the ashpan sides cleaned out.
With the boiler empty a hose was dosed with boiler treatment and the boiler filled through the LNER washout cock. With a filled boiler a warming fire was then put in for next days preparation for an extra working with the LNER Coach Association.
During prep the atomisers were checked, something we are now doing less frequently as they have given no trouble. We found the left inboard appeared to be blocked to steam so the restrictor was removed. No contamination was found but when reassembled steam was present. Some do blow harder than others, the steam preferring to take the easiest path.
The regular examination and oiling of the axleboxes was carried out. The Cartazzi and leading tender axleboxes are wearing in very well with contamination of the oil noticeably reducing over the last few examinations. The Cartazzi slide top oil boxes were contaminated with water so they were drained and refilled with new oil after the trimmings were removed and cleaned.
A steel locking spacer for the whistle was made to replace a stack of washers, and it was to be fitted during this prep day. Coincidentally I received a phone call from one of our supporters who asked if he could try three other LNER chime whistles on the loco and have them blown. I told him to come straight to Grosmont as we would be working on the whistle that afternoon. This gave us the opportunity to blow whistles reputedly from Quicksilver, Sparrow Hawk and Woodcock. Paul Middleton (Piglet) also turned up with a Southern bell whistle and we tried that on. Quite authentic for wartime A4. www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HRGqGMIDiE
After the fun we did as much of a steam test as possible under the Grosmont MPD roof, with all systems working well.
Next day we worked the LNER CA trip from Pickering, leaving the teak set in the carriage sidings at Pickering that afternoon. We then collected our coach which had been put in a siding and returned to Grosmont MPD. Upon arrival the coach was shunted off and connected to mains power, while the loco was disposed. The coach had been previously put back on to its bogies by NYMR C&W, who oiled and greased the bogies before reassembly. The NYMR have been incredibly supportive during our stay.
While the smokebox was being reassembled the cab was also reassembled. The spectacle windows were fitted while the side windows runners were secured after the wind shields were fitted. The bottom pivot for the left wind shield was modified to allow the wind shield to fold forward in to an indent like the right.
With reassembly of the smokebox being carried out the final fitting of the regulator was done. The reassembled pilot valve is secured with a castle nut and split pin. The nut was skimmed to line up the slot in the nut with the existing pin hole in the centre bolt. The pilot valve was then refitted to the main regulator valve and a new split cotter pin fitted. The valve was then put in the valve body and the actuating bean and arms pinned. With the valve fully opened by the regulator handles in the cab, the height of the valve was measured to ensure clearance under the dome. There was plenty so the dome was refitted, with a new gasket.
The safety valve shrouds recently repaired were refitted, though the drain pipes, which are of little practical use have been left off for now.
The worksplates were also fitted. The boiler band in front of the left spectacle was filled and painted and also the fillet pieces at the footplate of the boiler band at the front of the firebox.
At the tender rear bufferbeam the left buffer area was repainted where tank sealant had leaked through and ran over the bufferbeam.
Meanwhile the snifter valve was refitted to the superheater header with a new gasket. The surrounding sealing plates were then fitted, packed and sealed to ensure the maintenance of the smokebox vacuum.
With the smokebox shell assembled the streamlined casing was refitted under the boilershop crane shortly before being shunted outside for the steam test the following day. That evening the remaining smokebox pipework was refitted, the atomiser/whistle steam supply pipe, blower pipe and ejector exhaust pipe drain.
The Kylchap cowls were fitted then the support fins mounted in the chimney bores. With the blower fitted and the Kylchaps in place the blower would be functional and a warming fire was lit.
Next day the steam test was completed to the satisfaction of the boiler inspector. Before and after the test the reassembly of the smokebox streamlining continued. The nameplates were secured to the boiler cladding and the leading boiler band was secured with it's side bolting. The chimney cowl was refitted, and the final bolts fitted that fasten together the leading and nameplate sections of streamlining. The bolting for the leading streamlining was packed out to align with the cods mouth door and the door operation tried. The operation and alignment were very good, a relief as it had taken sometime when first assembled at York.
Also on the day of the steam test, now we had left the boilershop we started to sort and tidy our vacated work area.
Meanwhile in the cab the gauge lights were refitted and the electrical connectors attached to the TPWS, GSMR and OTMR units and batteries. Their operation was checked as satisfactory.
After the steam test the loco was moved from in front of the boiler shop to the prep pit area for an FTR before the test run to Chester. The joint between the leading and next sections of streamlining were filled and painted as were some other areas where previous filler had broken during stripping and reassembly in the boilershop.
Still with some pressure on the pressure gauge the steam heat valve pepperpot in the cab was adjusted as it was operating a little high.
During preparation for the test run the atomisers were examined and the mechanical lubricators filled. The regular examination of the tender and Cartazzi axleboxes was carried out.
The Chester test run was successfully completed while some of the Team stayed in Crewe tackling some FTR snags on our support coach, the loco running with a LSL support coach. On the run the loco steam chest pressure gauge was not indicating correctly so upon return the pipe run was blown through, by steam from the steam chest end and by air from the gauge end. There didn't seem to be any significant accumulation of contamination but when reassembled the gauge appeared to read correctly and has continued to do so. The snubber fitted previously was removed, but this did not remove the initial fault, but for now the snubber has been left off.
The day after the Chester test run we ran engine and support coach to Grosmont. It was a very early start and between finishing the Chester test run only gave the Team a brief spell to recover. The trip to Grosmont over the Pennines during sunrise was spectacular and we were warmly received at Grosmont NYMR. It certainly felt like a homecoming and was such a relief after the effort put in to get the loco ready in time.
Next day was spent cleaning and preparing the loco for the gala. The usual prep of examining atomisers and checking axleboxes was carried out. A loose bolt was found in the left streamlining above the nameplate that goes through the smokebox. The nut being behind the primary spark screen was difficult to get to especially in a still hot smokebox but we got a turn on it.
In the cab the joint between the left clackbox and boiler began to leak after arrival at Grosmont. It was at the point of having to take the clackbox off and remake the joint. However we decided to keep it under observation and after a couple of steamings it stopped and hasn't given any problems since.
The loco performed well and was extremely well received by visitors and NYMR crews and staff. We had a very successful Gala with very high, if not record attendances. It has also been a joy to be back at the NYMR and we have been very well looked after.
With our experience of running we have adjusted the position of the tender trailing vacuum connection and the loco front steam heat connection. The leading steam heat cock blows if in the fully open position so has to be backed of a little. The valve was dismantled and the internal vent valve rotated to see if would seal any better. It's much the same, which is irritating but we can live with it for now.
The rear most left handrail has developed a habit of rotating itself with the danger of the handrail popping out. The knob was rotated back to where it should be.
We've had an irritating occasional blow from the RH piston rod packing so it was removed for examination. It seems to not have bedded in as we had hoped so was exchanged for another ex-service set, which is better, but we will have to see if this set beds in.
The M8 air brake handle has been replaced by a repainted handle. The old one was looking a bit used and was in original diesel cab grey. The one now fitted is black to suit our cab.
The ejector exhaust pipe had caught in the ejector body and when the boiler expanded pulled the pipe in the elbow on the smokebox side. Sometimes this resulted in a steam leak from the elbow. The pipe was loosened at both ends and pulled forward in to the elbow and resecured. It hasn't moved since.
The steam valve in the ejector body sticks on occasion so it was removed and examined. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with it so it was oiled with steam oil and reassembled. It has given no trouble since. This is a known characteristic of the unit.
The ashpan spray valve appeared to be passing, The valve was taken apart and the valve seal renewed.
Before the Gresley and LNER teak event the loco was steamed and taken down the carriage sidings at Grosmont and coupled to the teak coaches. It all went well and then we returned to shed. With the engine in steam and most of the day in front of us the opportunity was taken to replace the fireman's side injector cones. Our new injector cones that we have had for a while now still needed to be fitted and tried out on the loco before we ordered the next set. The cones come without a locking screw that the original manufacturer shows in their diagrams, and as fitted to our other sets of cones, so the new set were machined and fitted with a specially machined locking screw. At the same time a couple of additional screws were made. The cones were fitted after the Gala in the fireman's side injector and work very well and cleanly. The order has now been placed for an additional set for the drivers side.
We then prepared for the AGM day and cleaned the coach for its naming ceremony. Nameplates were fitted to the support coach ends. We did our standard preparation on the loco with the addition of the mechanical lubricator meshes being cleaned. The meshes stop contamination getting in to the lubricators that could damage the pumps and in the case of the steam oil block the orifices in the atomisers. The cylinder lubrication has been turned down and the atomisers have been contamination free for at least 3 consecutive examinations so will now be left for periodical examination in place of daily.
Back at Crewe before our departure, in the coach new 240V LED lighting has been fitted to all compartments, and a big improvement it is. All compartments are also now fitted with double mains sockets mounted on brackets made by us as described in my earlier report. Along the corridor we now have concealed lighting and the old white trunking has been removed. The cabling from the lights to inside the kitchen has been concealed by new woodwork stained to match the existing coach panelling. A new light switch in keeping with the BR light switches has been fitted and the old switch hole covered by stained wood, again matching the existing panelling. All compartments have now been fitted with fused spur points ready for the fitting of heaters.
The coach was FTR examined for the move to Grosmont by LSL before our Chester test run. They identified some electrical work required to the low voltage cabling and required documentation for the CET and associated modified brake pull. The CET design contractor was contacted and sent the documentation through while our electrician made a special trip to Crewe to tackle the electrical repair while the rest of us were occupied with the steam test.
After the successful NDT of the steam pipe welds, the pipe was moved back in to the boiler so that the smokebox tubeplate flange could be prepared for welding. To get the pipe in to the boiler the regulator had to be released from the end of the pipe. All the studs were removed from the flange so that a chamfer could be put round the steam pipe hole. This being done by LNWRh boilershop.
With the flange prepared the pipe was repositioned with the regulator assembled on the pipe in the boiler so that the steam pipe was correctly located in the tubeplate flange. It was then expanded into the flange by LNWRh. After expanding, it was seal welded and the small amount of pipe projecting was then ground flush with the flange.
At the smokebox steam pipe flange the tapped holes for the studs were cleaned out ready for the studs to be refitted.
The bracket arrangement for pushing the superheater header back in to position was welded to the smokebox front top. Meanwhile the blanking flanges for the superheater header hydraulic were prepared and a rubber gasket for the snifter blank. The regulator clamp used to keep the regulator closed during hydraulic was also prepared for use.
The copper gasket for the header to tubeplate joint was annealed by LNWRh and then cleaned ready for reassembly.
The new swing bolts for the steam pipe to regulator clip were collected from contractors and drilled by the Engineering Team for split pins. We used contractors due to the urgency of getting these parts.
Returning the regulator assembly to drawing required lock nuts for the swing bolts. LNWRh machined some standard nuts to lock nut sizes specified by our CME.
After the main steam pipe was welded in place the regulator was again removed from the steam pipe and the new swing bolts fitted to the clip. The regulator was then refitted to the pipe. The work being done by an LNWRh boilersmith and some of our volunteers.
The main regulator valve and pilot valve faces were then given a light lap to clean them up and given a smear of silicon for the forthcoming hydraulic test. The clamp to keep the valve firmly closed was then fitted and finally the dome cover with a graphite gasket as the dome would remain on until after the steam test. To close off the atomiser/whistle stub pipe on the smokebox tubeplate the pipe to the valve with the valve on the end were temporarily refitted.
At the cab end to prepare the loco for steam test the cab was removed after it had been put back on the loco to check its alignment. Though new plates have been obtained to make levelling shims we have not had time to progress this. The plates will be machined when we have time and they will be fitted in the future.
The main boiler pressure gauge was temporarily refitted for test. As the plan was to steam test outside, the OTMR and TPWS enclosures were bagged to protect them from the weather.
The boiler was then hydraulically tested in the boilershop and the steam pipe smokebox joint was examined, as was the steampipe to regulator joint as far as possible looking up the pipe. All appeared tight. The firebox was also inspected and except for a few insignificant weeps all was OK to proceed to steam test.
At the firebox end the modified ashpan sprinkler arrangement was refitted. New brackets for the pipes are now fitted to the grate support bars. They were on stands welded to the ashpan and this has caused some ash to collect behind the stands. Removing the stands will also make accessing the back corners of the ashpan for cleaning easier. The pipes have also been modified to spray a curtain of water by replacing the previous holes with slots. This is Crewe practice and we are told works well.
The grate support blocks, some of which are new, were welded in place before the fitting of the grate support bars and firebars.
The loco was then shunted outside for the steam test. The boiler was partly drained so that the water level was in the gauge glass, and then a warming fire put in.
Next day the loco was brought round until the safety valves were blowing. The smokebox was dry. Some of the crown stays received some additional caulking but the steam test was successfully passed. With the engine still warm it was shunted back in to the boilershop and left for the weekend to cool to allow the refitting of the superheater.
The superheater was then jacked back on to the smokebox tubeplate. First the tubeplate flange studs were refitted. When the header was near the flange the gasket was refitted taking care to centre the gasket. When closed up the studs were nutted and the assembly tightened. It was found that one stud had to be fitted with a postwar nut as a spanner couldn't be got to the pre-war size.
The large front middle superheater cover was then refitted and the blanking plates where the smokebox steam pipes are attached, so that the superheater could be hydraulically tested.
The dome was removed and the regulator valve removed, leaving the valve body in place, suspended in the boiler and clamped to the steam pipe. The dome was then refitted with a rubber gasket and the boiler was then refilled with water, filling the superheater. The boiler was then pressurised but unfortunately we had a leak up a stud at the header smokebox joint. This required the superheater joint to be remade. This was very disappointing, however as we now had a method of moving the header, and we would only need enough access to the joint, it did not take long to get back in to the joint. The test did show that the elements had remained tight in the header after moving, and that was very good news. Due the work being carried out at the same time refitting the cab, moving the header and remaking the joint was left to LNWRh.
While LNWRh worked on fine finishing the tubeplate flange, we lapped the lens ring in to the middle steam pipe stub in the smokebox.
We had reused the old header gasket, which like the header had large holes in it. It was decided to get a new gasket with smaller holes as the tubeplate flange studs. This would make locating the gasket easier and give more sealing area. The gasket was made within hours in the North East and collected by one of our volunteers on his journey to Crewe from home.
The new gasket was fitted and the superheater refitted, the boiler again filled and hydraulically tested. This time the joint was dry. The boiler water was then drained sufficiently to allow the temporary cover plates to be removed from the header. The dome cover was also removed and the rubber gasket removed. The regulator faces were cleaned of silicon and the valve refitted.
It was found during reassembly of the regulator assembly that when linked up to the regulator reach rod the pilot valve would not fully close. We can only put this down to a change in position of the regulator valve in the boiler. As we know the regulator is now correctly positioned it implies that when clamped up to the old steam pipe that the pipe was a little short and the regulator was pulled forward when secured. To correct the travel of the pilot valve it was dismantled and a stainless steel washer put under the centre bolt head. An existing bronze washer in the middle of the assembly was skimmed to space the bottom of the pilot that lifts the main valve. This corrects the travel of the pilot valve and gives us the main valve travel as the previous setup. The pilot was reluctant to come apart but surrendered after heating by our skilled pipe fitter, being careful to keep the heat from the case hardened pin hole at the top of the pilot valve bolt.
The smokebox liner plate has progressed. The plate was trial fitted and the clearances checked around its edge to ensure the side plates will be clear of the smokebox front plate when the door is closed. The top and side plates were then fitted and tacked in place as was the centre tube through which the dart passes. The plate was then removed and the plates given a continuous weld, and the excess material cut off and ground flush. A closing plate still needs to be fitted along the bottom of the door, but that will have to wait until we have the time.
To allow us to proceed with the cab reassembly with all hands, we let LNWRh remove the framework from the front of the smokebox used for jacking the superheater header.
Work also progressed on the lapping in of the lens rings as time and access permits. The last to be done in the front of the superheater header after it was moved back on to the tubeplate after the successful hydraulic.
With the superheater header back in position a start has been made on the smokebox reassembly with the refitting of the primary spark arrestor upper locating bar. The stub pipes on the smokebox tubeplate have been cleaned ready for pipework to be refitted.
ith the steam test completed the reassembly at the firebox began. New lagging was fitted and held in place with chicken wire. The left firebox crinoline was then refitted using the mounting brackets on the footplate and welded back on to the spine piece. The firebox and backhead corner cladding was then replaced. The replaced cladding inside the cab receiving a quick coat of paint.
The cab was then lifted in to place back on the loco. After some adjustment of the cab and the trailing sections of boiler cladding the cab was fastened down and the various fittings reattached to the cab. This includes the sanders and drain cocks brackets and fittings, side windows, wind-shields and AWS bell conduit. The speedo was refitted with the numerous cable clamps around the cab to the TPWS enclosure being refitted. The pipe to the AWS horn pipe was reconnected to the electro-pneumatic valve under the drivers position.
The vacuum gauge and steam chest pressure gauge bracket was refitted to the cab roof and the pipes were refitted, with the new vacuum chamber pipe being terminated to the gauge for the first time.
The vacuum ejector has also been refitted which has allowed the fitting of the pipework to it. To get the steam supply pipe back in, the manifold valve was removed and refitted, with a new gasket.
In the cab roof the manifold shut-off handle was refitted. The valve being repacked as it was seen to have a small leak. The gland nut was tighten but was nearly out of travel so more packing was added which required the coupling to the handle to be moved along the valve spindle square. The handle and shaft were then refitted to the cab roof and the bush in the roof bracket was dressed to ensure we have easy operation of the shut off valve.
On the cab roof the centre cover plate was refitted and the safety valve cover plate. The cladding support angles fitted to trap the boiler cladding under the centre roof plate were refitted. The right side angle being extended to give the cladding more support and close the gap between cladding and roof. The safety valve plate holes for the valves received some dressing to make the holes rounder as they looked to were roughly flame cut at some time in the locos history.
The trailing and intermediate sections of boiler handrails have been secured. The trailing 2 boiler bands have been re-secured and our Paint Team has been going round filling and touching up paintwork around the cab and firebox cladding.
Thanks to those involved in the reassembly of the cab as this was done very quickly and has gained us some valuable time that we will need for the smokebox assembly.
The safety valve shrouds have been repaired and the drain pipes have been annealed and cleaned ready for fitting.
The paint rubbed off the right leading bogie wheel by the right drain cocks has now been repainted.
When the tender tank was lined with epoxy it managed to find a leak path across the tender rear bufferbeam. It looks bad so most has rubbed most off and the section of bufferbeam will be repainted.
In the coach the Guard's compartment painting has been completed.
Also in the coach the rewiring continues by our qualified volunteer electricians. The wires are all now run through for sockets and new ceiling lights in the compartments. Brackets have been made to support the sockets. The sockets and white plastic trunking in the corridor have been removed, replaced by brown and new stained woodwork that makes the corridor much tidier and matches very well the dark wood finish of the inside of the coach. The corridor ceiling lights have now been replaced with a warmer light and are concealed. The corridor now looks much more like any other Mk1. An isolating switch has been fitted in the kitchen so that heaters can be isolated when the kettle is switched on, as when on a shore supply we are limited to the current we can draw before we trip a circuit breaker or blow a fuse.
Work has continued to prepare for the reassembly of the loco after the completion of the main steam pipe repair. The lens ring lapping has continued. While lapping in the face on the middle superheater cover one of the studs was removed as suspect. And indeed it was found that the hole for the stud was not in good condition and the stud engagement was short. So the hole was then extended and tapped through and a new stud made and fitted.
The superheater middle cover gasket has been cleaned and is now ready for annealing and refitting.
A new gasket has been cut for the steam dome and a rubber one made for hydraulic test.
The dome studs have been die-nutted.
The edges of the cladding have been rubbed down and painted up to undercoat.
The cab is sat on wedges to adjust the alignment of the cab for possible shimming as described in the last update. The fastening hole positions for the various items that are secured to the cab side have been checked and it appears that their positions are satisfactory with the cab raised slightly at the trailing end. Plate has been obtained to make shims.
The safety valve shrouds are being repaired. Thin copper sheet being cut and shaped to go over the tears. One has now been solder repaired. The drain pipes have been retrieved from store and are now in the workshop.
New Inconel pipe has been donated to us for use as ashpan sprinkler pipe. This is obviously a harsh environment for steel pipe and the Inconel is much more resistant. The new pipe was shaped using the existing pipe as a pattern. It is planned to refit the steel pipe new at this overhaul and to put the Inconel in store as spare and use when the steel pipe requires renewal.
The replaced bottom middle smokebox door liner plate stud has a spacer over it. The spacer has now been fitted so that the liner plate is at the same distance from the door all round. The liner plate edge was ground to take out some of the lumps and bumps from its shape and to dress for welding on the edge pieces. The edge pieces were rolled by contractors and are now being fitted.
The new steam pipe section and swaged end were collected from the swagers. A short section was cut off the new plain pipe for brazing on the bronze regulator end. The pipe was first polished up for brazing. Meanwhile the bronze was pre-machined to our drawing based on the LNER/BR and following the advise of LNWRh, who were to do the brazing work. Final machining to size to be done after brazing as the heat from brazing will change it dimensionally. The cut off end was also used to check the fit of the clamp (clip) that is used to pull the regulator on to the bronze end. The pipe was machined square on it's ends and the clip dressed to be a good sliding fit on the pipe. New spacers have been machined to maintain the fit of the clip on the pipe.
The clip pulls on the regulator by two swing bolts. The present swing bolts do not conform to drawing so two new bolts have been drawn up from the LNER/BR drawing and will be machined.
The regulator valve body has been jet washed to remove the internal coating of tannin so that it is clean for use as a gauge for the machining of the new bronze end for the steam pipe. This is to ensure that the bronze end is a good fit in the regulator body. The regulator body was then moved in to the machine shop to await the fitting of the bronze cone to the new steam pipe section.
The bronze was brazed on by LNWRh and put up on the vertical borer. The angle of the cone was set up to follow the LNER/BR drawings. The machining on the borer being done by LNWRh. When the cone was completed it was put on the lathe and the final bore and back face were machined.
The regulator body was then set up on the vertical borer and machined to suit the finished bronze cone. Some careful tweaking of the borer was required to get a good fit on the cone. At the end of the operation the regulator socket was machined to drawing, which cleaned up the entire socket, previously there was some un-machined surface as it was undersize. This was encouraging. The engagement on the cone is now greater in depth than it was, though a little less than the specified ¾", so we have something to skim in future.
The swaged section was cleaned of scale and tried in the smokebox tubeplate. As received it would not easily enter as it was a little lobed. It needed some heating and forming the bell mouth circular and was then easily fitted. It was then set up on the lathe and the ends skimmed square so that we had the best chance of it welding straight on to the main steam pipe section. The heated areas was then again cleaned of scale and the weld area given a final polish. The swaged end was then clamped to the main steam pipe and tacked by LNWRh. After tacking the clamp was removed and it was welded all round. To enable the pipe to be rotated the pipe was held up through the dome on the crane and pulled round with sling and lever.
Rotating and moving the steam pipe in and out of the boiler is not easy as there is a supporting bracket in the boiler about half way along the pipe. It would be better if we removed the bracket. This made us review the bracket and it was noticed that it differs from the LNER/BR arrangement. It was decided that we should attempt to remove the bracket both to allow the pipe to be easily manipulated but also to put a correct bracket in. A number of attempts were made to get to the bracket but we found it was impossible to get to it and do any work on it while the boiler is assembled so unfortunately it will have to be left until a re-tube. The bracket is as fitted in the previous overhaul (early - mid 2000s) so will be OK until we can get to it.
With the swaged end welded in place and the engagement of bronze end and regulator socket known, and the distance from the regulator mountings to the front tubeplate, we calculated the length of main steam pipe and then the length to be cut off the end of the cone end of the steam pipe. The main steam pipe was rotated while the end was measured off. The end was then cut off. The end of the pipe inside and out was then cleaned and polished for welding.
When the bronze end was examined by LNWRh they advised further braze be added. We decided to accept this advise and hoped that the heat would not cause undue distortion to the bronze so carefully machined. After this second heat the bronze end was carefully set up in the lathe and skimmed all over. The skim did not alter significantly the most important dimension which was the engagement of the cone in the regulator.
With the fit checked in the regulator body the bronze end was clamped on to the main steam pipe in the boiler and welded in place. As soon as the welding was complete the NDT contractors were notified and they came in next day. First the bronze end was tested, then the pipe moved forward through the tubeplate to expose the swaged end weld. Before the pipe was moved the hole in the tubeplate was polished. Both welds were passed as defect free.
With the main steam pipe welded and welds successfully tested, the regulator valve body was remounted in the boiler and the steam pipe fitted in to it. The regulator is normally fitted from inside when the boiler is not fitted with tubes. To fit it with tubes means lowering the valve in to the boiler and resting it on the top of the tubes, re-slinging then lifting in to position. The regulator held up then has to fit over the cone on the steam pipe and is held up on a suspended beam with out-of-sight bolts. The regulator and steam pipe went together very well. The front end of the pipe was then examined and as planned projects slightly from the front tubeplate. What a relief!
A plate has also been machined to fasten to the bronze end of the steam pipe so when reassembled the steam pipe and superheater can be hydraulically tested.
When the main steam pipe is finally welded in place the superheater will require moving back. To do this will require jacks and a supporting framework to jack off. An arrangement has been devised and sections of steel cut for temporary welding to the front smokebox top.
The pyrometer has been retrieved from store and has had the capillary cleaned off. The bulkhead nut on the sensing element has had sealing packing removed and the nut is now free to move.
Stainless steel screws have been fitted to the spark arrestor basket replacing mild steel.
The last foundation ring rivets and lap caulking has been carried out to the left front by LNWRh. This required the reverser reach rod to be released from the reverser column. This has now been reassembled.
As we wait for the reassembly of the loco to begin we've had some time available for the coach. New compartment lighting is being installed to replace the old fluorescent lights that don't like starting in the cold. Along with new LED lights new light switches are also being installed. The lights chosen to be sympathetic with the 1950s coach. Meanwhile a start has been made to refurbish the guards compartment. Gaps in woodwork, screw heads etc being filled and readied for painting. Correct BR coloured paint has been ordered. The loose bottom to the guards door has been refitted.
Outside the coach the bearing covers, battery box handles and some of the fittings around the chassis are being repainted.
The Kylchap cowls have seen de-carboning. When the cowls were reassembled a number of the securing screws were found to be heavily eroded and a couple of the screws were standard mild steel streamlined screws. The cowl screws are otherwise stainless steel. So new material was purchased and a number of new screws were made and fitted, replacing the mild steel screws and the worn stainless ones.
The ashpan sprinkler pipes have been re-formed. To reduce the amount of ash caught around the pipes and their supports that are fixed to the ashpan, they will now be suspended from the grate supports.
The ejector to vacuum gauge chamber side pipe has been re-routed. A new fitting has been bought and fitted to the ejector completing the job at the ejector end. The pipe still needs remaking at the gauge which will be done when the cab is refitted, as the gauge is fitted to the cab roof.
The new battery box outer cover has been completed and fitted. The cover has a lockable handle and is now fitted with a combination lock. This brings the security of the main isolation switch to LSL standard.
The front of the superheater header has been prepared for the front cover to be refitted. The face was cleaned off and all the studs cleaned and the nuts checked to be free. Some nuts were changed.
With the smokebox top in place the right steel steam pipe is only removable by releasing the right cast iron stub on the cylinder top. Each time a joint is broken there is work to remake a good seal. To enable the steel steam pipe to be removed or replaced, without disturbing the stub, the studs for the right hand steam pipe at the header need to be shortened. This has now been done. First the thread on the studs was increased using a die extension we made, then the studs were then cut down.
The edges of the removed smokebox top platework has been prepared for welding back in place.
The old paint table used for painting and fitting in the repair shed at Crewe was broken up after it had been moved out of the shed. It had been outside for sometime and is of no use to us now.
New edge strips were made up for the front and rear bottom meshes of the smokebox spark arrestor. These were welded in place. This will prevent the edge of the mesh from catching and snagging those working in the smokebox.
The shrouds around the safety valves are a bit tired so were given a clean up. They have been repaired perhaps numerous times in the past as evidenced by the rather rough patchy brazing they have received. The drain pipes that run from the shrouds are in store and have not been fitted yet as they are of questionable use, but we plan to refit them with the cab as they are authentic fittings and I hope to restore their correct routing.
The reason we are out of traffic and our main job at the moment is the repair of the main steam pipe. The clamp that pulls the regulator on to the end of the steam pipe has been rebuild with weld. At some time it was machined to clear the fillet weld on the back of the existing steel cone leaving a very small clamping face. Now we are restoring the correct arrangement of bronze cone we can return the clamp to original form with full face clamping.
The main steam pipe was pulled forward out of the boiler and the end prepared for welding on a new end, under the instruction of the LNWRh welder. Frustratingly we are still waiting for the new pipe end.
When the repair is completed we will be steam testing with the cab off. In preparation for this the ejector steam shut off valve was refitted to the manifold. The valve was removed to enable the removal of the ejector which was need to remove the cab. Refitting required a new gasket to be made. At the same time another gasket was cut as no doubt the valve will have to be removed again to get the cab back on. At the same time a new gasket was cut for the snifter valve for when this is refitted.
The areas around where the crown stays were caulked by LNWRh, were cleaned off. This removes any old signs of leakage and surface corrosion so that during steam test the stray ends can be examined. The loose insulation on the firebox sides was secured.
LNWRh has now been in the firebox and done some caulking in the bottom corners along the laps.
The grate bearer support blocks had to be cut out of the corners so new ones were required. They have now been made so we have a full set ready for the grate to be replaced.
A start has been made lapping the lens rings in to the steel steam pipes. As the rings were a good fit this is really only required to ensure the faces are cleaned.
A shaped thick washer has been made for the right hand stub steam pipe that doesn't have a spot face. Two new bolts required for the right steam pipe have been made. One slightly longer for the thick washer position.
A new bracket has been made for the tender front to enable the original arrangement of mounting the cod's mouth key. The bracket was tacked in place as close as possible to that shown in the 2002 overhaul pictures before the original was removed. We have drawings for tenders but none show the brackets in place. The bracket was then fully welded in place.
The air pump lubricator has been drained and the large front drain plug has been resealed as it had a slight leak. The return spring arrangement causing a knocking sound when the actuator stroked has now been attended to. The travel of the actuator has been reduced and a new return spring fitted.
There is an unsightly rough cut-out in the drivers side cab floor up stand we think this was historically the proposed position for an air system drain valve. This has now been covered by a plate screwed in place. This removes a hole where dirt can get under the floor and amongst the air valves and pipework.
The plastic air system labelling in the cab on the floor upstands is being reworked. Most labels, though drilled with 4 corner holes have only ever been fixed in 2 corners. A start has been made drilling the other corners so we have the full number of screws securing the labels.
The smokebox tubeplate superheater header flange has been cleaned as it has been exposed for some weeks now. The superheater header studs were also examined and it was noticed that there is quite a difference in the stud size and the mounting holes in the mating superheater header flange. The holes are clearly for larger studs than are fitted in the tubeplate as there is evidence that the washers used have been deformed by pulling in to the flange holes. One washer is a machined thick washer perhaps to stop this happening in a particular hole. So we have decided to use pre-war type nuts which are a size bigger across flats and will give an increased bearing surface on the superheater flange. New nuts have been obtained.
The cab has been temporarily refitted to allow us to experiment with the fit of the cab, while we wait for the new pipe sections for the main steam pipe. The rear of the loco sags a little which causes the cab to tip back when fastened down. The cab was wedged up and its level was examined. Some shim plate has been ordered and if we have time we plan to put this between the cab and footplating to improve the levelling of the cab.
The cab side holes for the boiler washout plug pockets have been opened up, and the pockets repositioned to allow easier access to the plugs. A check has been made to ensure a socket can be got on to the plugs.
The smokebox door has a liner plate inside, stood off the door on studs. The liner plate protects the door from the blast and accumulation of ash. During our inaugural trip the bottom of the plate was burnt as was the supporting stud behind. This requires repair. While we do this it is planned to box in the liner plate. During the last period in traffic this was boxed in which prevents the door from dumping ash at your feet when the door is opened and reduces the amount of ash to dispose of. The liner plate was removed and the burnt section cut out and new plate welded in. The plate was then ground to shape. The burnt stud and spacer were cut out of the back of the smokebox door. The stud was welded in to the door and this has been drilled out and a new stud welded in. A new spacer has been made to go on the stud. The liner plate has has been measured so the boxing in plates can be ordered.
It is planned to refit the pyrometer which indicates the temperature of steam passing to the cylinders. It is useful as it quickly and clearly indicates if the loco is carrying water over from the boiler and will be useful for the guidance of drivers not familiar with A4s. The instrument was retrieved from store and has been given a clean.
The superheater has now been moved forward in the smokebox so that the front tubeplate and steam pipe end can be accessed and examined. To support the superheater in its forward position angles were welded in place, in line with the supports the superheater header normally sits on. Additional packing pieces were used to adjust the height of the header as it was moved forward.
With the supports in place the last header to tubeplate joint nut was removed. Jacks were put between the tubeplate and back of the header. The jacks moved the superheater forward very slowly, but move it did. As it moved forward we decided to remove the centre cover section as this would increase the allowable forward travel of the header.
When we could access the space between the header and the tubeplate we could see an obvious step in the pipe, about three inches in and on the centre bottom. We cleaned the pipe out and tried to determine if this was either a crack or perhaps a mark from the expanders from when the pipe was originally expanded in to the tubeplate. Though we were confident that it was a crack, as it tied in with what we had seen in the boiler when we pressure tested the pipe and applied soapy water. However, using dye penetrant crack detection we could get no evidence. Not believing our eyes we tried it again, four times and still no crack detected.
So then the area around the "crack" was ground flush and magnetic particle crack detection tried, and straight away a very positive result was obtained. This gave us the confidence to remove the front section of pipe and have it replaced. The sealing weld between the end of the pipe and the tubeplate flange was then carefully ground out. The front of the pipe was then heated to release the expansion fit in the front tubeplate. When cooled the pipe was pulled out with a winch from the tubeplate end, while the pipe was lifted at the rear inside the boiler. It was pulled forward about a foot and the crack was clearly visible on the outside of the pipe.
With the pipe exposed the end was cut off just behind where welded to the main length of the pipe making sure the cut was straight and square to make the welding of the new section as easy as possible. The removed pipe end was then cut longitudinally and the crack could be clearly seen going through the pipe wall.
The main length of the steam pipe was then moved back into the boiler so that the tubeplate hole could be cleaned and measured so that the new swaged pipe end dimensions can be specified. A drawing has now been done of the end we need using the hole dimensions and the shape from the LNER/BR drawing. The drawing has been sent with a purchase order for a swaged end and a plain section to renew the regulator end.
The steam pipe flange on the smokebox tubeplate has been inspected by LNWRh, who will be welding the new section of pipe into the tubeplate. They are satisfied with its condition and finish and require no further work to it.
Finding the new pipe we need to end the existing steam pipe took some tracking down. Our usual pipe sources didn't stock the size and when we did find a supplier they would not sell less than 10metres! We need a couple of feet. The original suppliers of the pipe and the formed end were unable to help. Eventually a supplier was tracked down who can supply the pipe of the correct size and produce the formed end. Meanwhile, as a back up plan we obtained some quotes for thick wall round section that we could machine as a formed section. Both manufacturing methods and materials being acceptable to our boiler inspector. Our preference is to reproduce the original LNER/BR arrangement with a formed swaged end and this is what we are now progressing.
At the regulator end the steel cone that seals against the regulator is to be replaced by a bronze end as the original design. The bronze has been ordered and is now on site at Crewe awaiting the new section of steam pipe to which it will be brazed.
At the other end of the loco work progressed on freeing the cab for removal. There are the bolts all along the bottom edge of the cab, but also the TPWS enclosure is fastened to the cab side. The water handles for the injectors are connected to the cab sides, as is the gravity sands mechanism mounted on a large bracket that bridges between the cab side and the reverser stand. The shut off handle for the manifold is fasted to a bracket in the cab roof. All these have had to be removed and their fasteners cleaned and stored for reuse.
The front cab front windows were removed to avoid any possible damage to them when the cab is removed.
The OTMR unit is on a large mounting bracket fastened to the cab side and floor. The bolting was removed and the enclosure moved away from the cab side and stood on wooden blocks so that the electrical connections were not disturbed.
To get the cab off needs the vacuum ejector to be removed as it projects through the cab front. It is an awkward and heavy item and can't be slung in position so has to be man-draulically removed. This was done with not one finger lost. To get it out, the steam supply pipe had to be removed and to allow this the ejector steam supply valve at the manifold had to be removed.
To separate the sides of the cab a jack was made up from an old boiler tube with screws welded to the ends. A supporting strut was made to go across the top of the cab sides to support the cab when lifted with slings through the side windows.
The cab was then lifted off without a hitch. With the cab on the ground the firebox side cladding in the cab and the first section in front of the cab was removed to access the firebox crown for examination. The insulation being removed and bagged for disposal. It was decided that the next cladding sheet to the front of the left firebox side should also be removed. To clear the firebox crown in this area it was decided to remove the crinoline section on the left side of the firebox.
Before removing this section of crinoline, we decided to straighten up the crinoline spine over the firebox as this had led to a crease in the cladding. Clamps and packing were used to get it as straight as possible. The crinoline in this area has seen some modification in the past, probably to lower the height of the engine, and could do with a thorough re-jig, however changing the crinoline profile in this area would have the knock on effect of changing the cladding shape in the area of the cab front, and we don't want to have to make any changes to the cab front at this stage.
It is planned to examine and caulk around the foundation ring, so the cladding below the footplate was removed, again with the insulation removed and bagged.
To access the inside of the foundation ring the grate has had to be removed. The firebars were passed out of the firebox then the front side and trailing grate bearers were also removed. The bearer supports in the firebox corners were removed, all having to be cut and ground out as they had stuck fast. New supports will have to be made.
The ashpan sprinkler pipes and supports have also had to be removed to access the foundation ring corners. As these had to be removed we plan to improve the sprinkler system when refitted.
While out of traffic we have taken the opportunity to improve certain aspects of the loco. The spark arrestor much improved at this overhaul has seen further improvement with a new arrangement of stainless steel screws and brackets securing the upper spark tray. This makes the tray more secure, a better seal against the chimney and should make it easier to remove.
The smokebox steam pipe lens ring faces and the lens rings were cleaned, carefully keeping track of which ring goes with which pipe end. They are now ready for re-lapping.
The ejector exhaust pipe in the smokebox and the bronze smokebox side elbow were cleaned and are now ready for refitting. The chimney flange that fastens to the smokebox top has also been cleaned ready for refitting.
With the cab removed the ejector has been remounted in position to allow the vacuum chamber pipe put in by LNWRh to be re-routed improving its appearance and allowing the chamber and train pipes to run together to the vacuum duplex gauge as they did before modification.
The fire iron bracket near the battery box only extends a couple of inches and the irons have to be carefully arranged to fit. If not they are left unsecured and foul the battery box front. So it was decided to extend the bracket. This has now been done retaining the shape of the original bracket.
The Kylchap cowls have been dismantled for de-carboning. It was noticed when first installed that the trailing set are not correctly aligned so they will be adjusted.
While at the SVR we found that the speedo conduit had been contacting a steam pipe and the outer sheath had melted exposing the steel sleeve. At the time the conduit was repositioned and wrapped. As the speedo has had to be removed to allow the cab to be removed, it was decided to replace the damaged conduit. This has been done. While examining the speedo on the bench it was found that there was a mix of screws in the rear electrical connection housing and that they were corroded and difficult to remove. So these have all now been replaced by a common size of stainless steel screw.
The blower stub pipe that is fitted behind the superheater elements appears to be leaking at the joint with the front tubeplate so this was removed so that the joint can be remade. The sealing face on the tubeplate has been dressed so that it is flat. Now when blued against the stub pipe there is contact all round the face. A new joint was made and the pipe has now been refitted.
The snifter valve mounting studs have been die-nutted and the securing nuts run freely. The snifter is ready for refitting. The mating flange on the superheater header has also been cleaned off, removing the old gasket material.
The copper gasket between the superheater header and tubeplate has been cleaned and just needs annealing before fitting.
The removed smokebox top section cut out during the previous report has had all its tapped holes cleaned out. All the smokebox steam pipe bolts have been die nutted, with 1 being condemned as damaged and another requiring replacement as it had to be cut out when removing the pipes.
|Jul to Dec 2022||Jan to Jun 2023||From Jul 2023|
|Overhaul Reports 2015-2022||Return to Home Page|
Copyright © The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust Ltd