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LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER'S REPORTS


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.


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Jul to Dec 2022 Jan to Jun 2023 From Jul 2023
Overhaul Reports 2015-2022   Return to Home Page

From July 2023.

12 November 2023.

A new middle little end oil pot cap has been made. It is based on the LNER drawing for the caps similar to those presently fitted to the outside little ends. The LNER drawings show button type caps fitted to the inside, however Bittern's and ours have ran many miles with corks so it has been decided to fit a cork type cap to the middle. The advantage of a button oiler inside is that a cork can't be lost, opening the oil reservoir and going unnoticed. In BR days that could mean a long non-stop run without a cork and the oil pot running dry. This is unlikely now as we don't do that amount of running and our loco is under much closer observation that a fleet A4.

Membership

The disadvantage of the button in that location is that it can collect dirt and that could get in to the oil when filling. The cork also allows easier filling and it is easily seen when the pot is full or if the oil is emulsified.

The button oiler type cap was higher and allowed a greater oil capacity, and head of oil above the gudgeon pin journal surface. This has been reproduced, plus some. Inside the oil pot there is now the room to reintroduce the original dished oil collector (nipple) and the pin trimming. To retain the pin a retaining ring is fitted in the oil cap. This has also been machined and fitted.

The oil pot was fastened on to the gudgeon pin with screws. The fasteners have now been returned to drawing using square bodied studs that locate in the square holes in the oil pot. The studs are then fitted with spring washers and nuts and the studs fitted with split cotter pins.

The oil pot is sealed against the gudgeon pin with a leather washer, replacing a rubber O ring. To prevent the danger of crushing the washer, the pot was refitted with a much larger leather gasket.

As the arrangement is new to us the cap has been wire tied on to the oil pot studs until we are positively sure that at high speed the arrangement won't unscrew and be lost. The oil pot cap has now seen nine days in traffic on the NYMR.

Trimming pins have also been fitted to the little ends from our stock from a BR drivers oiling kit. The outside little ends were already fitted with nipples, and now a nipple has been fitted to the middle. We also have the BR/LNER measurement gauges and the nipples and pins have been gauged to the very tight tolerances specified on drawings. All were checked to comply before fitting and have now seen four days in traffic on the NYMR.

It has been noticed that the outside little end oil pot caps don't quite comply to drawings. The hex top is slightly undersize and the cork hole isn't restricted at the bottom of the hole to prevent the cork going in too far. They may be BR, modified or preservation replacements. They will be reviewed later.

After an engineering meeting at Crewe with LNWRh I went to our container and collected some spare firebars as after the last prep when we needed to add one to the grate, and a spare 2" Whitworth spanner for tender brake adjustment as the one we were using was tight on some of the brakegear turnbuckle flats.

Calendar

After we used a spare coupled wheel spring I also reviewed our spare loco spring situation while at Crewe. We have spares in the Crewe boilershop and a spare in our container. The removed broken coupled spring has now been sent for repair by the NYMR and will be delivered direct to Crewe.

Before the next period of running the loco received another good clean and a water change as we were to run two periods of four days without enough time to do a water change between. As part of the preparation the axleboxes were examined and oiled. The loco was also greased. The firebox was cleaned and examined. The firebox remains very dry but a couple of large pieces of the arch were found to be loose. This was reported to the NYMR and it was decided that it should be kept under observation. Finally a warming fire was put in.

The nuts on the leading steam sands box brackets were tightened, again. This is becoming a regular defect and a solution will have to be found.

Next morning at prep before running, the brakes were adjusted and the "new" spanner for the tender brakes fits very well. We've been adjusting the brakes every day. It's not that time consuming and allows us to monitor day to day brake block wear. We've had no problems with brakes dragging or binding while on the NYMR.

Also at prep the fireman removed the gauge glass protectors to clean them and bent the door on the right protector. I later bent it back and it's OK though it could do with a new spring. We have a stock of these and it has been noted as a job for later.

We continue to do daily boiler water sample tests to monitor it's condition to reduce boiler corrosion.

At disposal after running the left little end oil pot oil was found emulsified. A pretty routine event, and fortunately the firebox arch remained stable.

The left damper screen clip was chained up on to a copper pipe. This was moved to the chain that retains the hopper drop pin to prevent wear to the pipe.

Next morning the outside little end oil pots were cleaned out. They weren't too bad really but were both filled with fresh oil.

TOP

As usual the mud doors were nipped up and now an extension has been added to the loco tool kit so that the door between the frames can be reached without climbing up past the air pump.

While the loco was out on the line the support coach was moved to Pickering for lifting and our planned maintenance. Unfortunately the dates for the visit to Pickering C&W had changed and a couple of key volunteers couldn't make it so our maintenance program focussed on painting the under floor above the bogies. We had plated this area last year and it was noticed there was little paint on the existing steel work.

At disposal the NYMR fitter found a crack in one of the lower leaves of the loco's left Cartazzi spring. We decided the loco should be allowed to run and that the crack should be kept under observation. Next day we organised the transport of our spare Cartazzi spring to Grosmont as the defective spring would have to be changed before we returned to the mainline.

On the last day of running of the first 4 days the loco had difficulty in maintaining the train pipe vacuum on our train. We were on the same stock all day so it could be the stock. We tested the loco only and that seemed OK. I was concerned that we could have a leak either at the tender bufferbeam hose or the intermediate hose, both being previously noted as worn. We don't use the trailing hose on mainline trains and it is longer than standard, and we couldn't find a suitable spare for the intermediate until very recently as the 21" long hose we use don't seem to be available any longer.

During our last day of running a couple of our volunteers made a start under the coach by cleaning and descaling the areas we wanted to paint. Next day a strengthened volunteer team painted under the coach. While at the coach I retrieved our spare 21" vac hose.

At our next prep day the new 21" vac hose was fitted. The markings are the same as the removed hose so it's the same batch. Not that new but unused. As our loco spent some considerable time at the NYMR I asked if the NYMR had a stock of 21" hoses in their stores and fortunately they had 1 left. Again with the same markings so I have obtained the hose as another spare. If we can't get future spares the hard pipework beneath the tender will have to be changed.

The hose has quite a bend on it and it took 2 of us to get the hose coupling back on the loco. It also required the main reservoir air hose to be removed at the tender.

The vacuum hose at the tender bufferbeam was bound with rubber to protect it from further abrasion. It wears by contacting the vestibule bottom, only occasionally. The position of the hose needs looking at to prevent a new hose going the same way.

A little end lubrication nipple was fitted to the middle, and all little ends were fitted with pin trimmings with our CME checking their dimensions with gauges.

During the day the loco was shunted by LHJC No29 so that the right piston rod was fully exposed. The new piston packings for this side were then fitted.

During the last overhaul we had purchased some spare anti-vacuum (snifter) valve castings. We didn't have time to do anything with them at the time and the old valve was suitable for further use. Some weeks ago a raw casting was given to one of our volunteers for proof machining so that when one is required we know the castings are sound and can be finish machined. The proof machining is now complete and the valve was delivered to Grosmont.

Tea Towel

Our volunteer machinist had previously also completed the proof machining of the spare blower valve casting, a photo is in my last report.

Next day we started our next 4 day period of running. Throughout the loco primed on the climb out of Grosmont. The pyrometer clearly indicating the presence of water in the steam to the cylinders. Something had clearly got in to the water as other locos also experienced priming at this time.

To finish the coach one of our volunteers, after a spell as footplate rep, went to C&W. The next day the coach was back on it's bogies and delivered back to Grosmont.

During the day the right little end cork was lost and was replaced by the driver.

At prep the expansion link trunnions were greased as they do seem to loose grease when running. At next mornings prep the expansion link die blocks were greased.

During the day General Manager Chris Price had a footplate trip as his last day as an NYMR employee. He said that we had again exceeded their expectations for ticket sales and hoped that we would go back again for next Autumn's events.

At disposal water testing was carried out, while a little coal was put down the front of the firebox to slow the boiler cooling.

Finally, with some time in the office the records of our running were compiled, scanned and our mileage records updated. Meanwhile some of our volunteers went to Grosmont to complete a loco examination and grease the bright steelwork for our next couple of weeks out of traffic.

During the exam it was found that the oil pipe bracket for the right leading valve spindle had failed at it's silver soldered joint between the steel bracket and the copper pipe guide. The bracket was removed for repair and is now ready for refitting.

The change to the middle little end oiling was documented and a design change notification issued to LNWRh after checking by our CME. This has been accepted by LNWRh, our official Entity in Charge of Maintenance.

The van was given an oil change and then went to Crewe to collect our firebox arch formers as it had been agreed with LNWRh that the arch be re-cast. The formers were kept at our Crewe Container, and while there the machined snifter valve and the removed right piston packings were put in to store. The formers were checked against the photographs of the last time they were used, to make sure we had all the pieces of wood packing needed.

The chimney cover was also collected from the container.

Mugs

Next day the formers were delivered by our van to Grosmont and put in the shed and the chimney cover fitted to the loco.

The same day the left Cartazzi spring was changed with our spare. When the old spring was removed the broken end of the spring leaf fell off. The spring was fitted with the help of NYMR fitters. With our new arrangement of hangers with top nuts the spring change was much easier than with hangers with cap tops. When refitting the oil pot it fouled on the spring buckle so a chamfer was carefully ground on the bottom corner of the buckle. The buckle was measured for comparison with drawing. The buckle was very close to the oil pot.

With the spring fitted the arch was knocked out. Most of the arch broke up easily. It became harder as the arch gets thicker toward the sides and front, and here a pneumatic hammer was used. The big pieces passed out of the firehole and barrowed away.

Next day the last of the large pieces of arch were broken up on the grate and the debris put in the ashpan. The grate was cleaned so that the firebox was clean enough for the arch formers to be fitted. The CME then went in the firebox to reassemble the arch formers using the photos of the last time we did this and the sketch of the arch dimensions. One of the formers needed repair with some wood screws where a side piece had detached.

Back in the office, the drawing of the Cartazzi spring was examined and it appeared the buckle of the spring fitted was oversize. The spring manufacturer was contacted and they agreed that the buckle could be machined or ground back to spec.

Sometime ago it was noted that the clamps holding the steam sands pipe around the ashpan had been affected by heat. Metal clamps were obtained but we hadn't had the time to alter them to suit the pipe as fitted to the loco. One was machined out for trial fitting. Next day back at Grosmont shed we worked through a few jobs. The pipe clamp was fitted, and fitted well so another clamp was machined and is ready to fit.

The steam sands pipe from the manifold is near to the drivers hand when the reverser is operated. When in steam the pipe is very hot and there is a danger of the driver contacting the pipe and being burnt. This has now been bound with webbing insulation.

Spring washers have been fitted to the steam sands boxes leading bracket bolts in an attempt to keep them tight.

The buckle on the left Cartazzi spring was ground back to clear the oil pot. After grinding the buckle was polished to remove any stress raisers, the axlebox top and oilways cleaned, then the oil pot was refitted. The oil pot lid now opens with no contact on the buckle.

The left Cartazzi trailing safety bracket lower studs were re-pinned as the split pins fitted during the spring change were long and resulted in one of the pins having to be fitted "upside-down".

A new clip was fitted to the left side of the damper screen and chained to the shackle that the hopper drop pin is chained to.

It was noted during the fitting of the new 21" vac hose that the loco end coupling was close to the main reservoir air hose, and the hose was marked. So a rubber wrapping has been added to the hose to protect it.

  • Oil pot studs
    New studs to mount the middle little oil pot. 19 October 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Oil pot in position
    The new/restored middle little end oil pot in position. 21 October 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Firebox before
    The firebox arch before renewal.
    Photograph © James Butterworth.
  • Waiting at Grosmont
    Waiting at the north end of Grosmont tunnel for its first train of the day. 25 October 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Cracked leaf
    The cracked leaf in the left Cartazzi spring. 25 October 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Painting underside
    Painting the underside of the coach. 26 October 2023.
    Photograph © Nigel Franklin.
  • Vacuum train pipe hose
    The intermediate vacuum train pipe hose has been renewed, below the main reservoir air pipe. 28 October 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Loco after cleaning
    The loco after cleaning ready for its next four day running. 28 October 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Checking the oiling nipple
    A LNER gauge being used to check the oiling nipple in the left little end oil pot. 28 October 2023.
    Photograph © Tony Bickerstaffe.
  • Checking wire oil trimming
    A LNER gauge being used to check the wire oil trimming to be fitted to the left little end oil pot. 28 October 2023
    Photograph © Tony Bickerstaffe.
  • After four days of running
    The loco after four days of running, far from the usual condition in which we turn it out. 1 November 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Oil pipe bracket
    The right leading valve spindle oil pipe bracket solder failed and allowed the pipe to contact the spindle. 2 November 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Brightwork greased
    As the loco wasn't to run for a couple of weeks our volunteers greased the brightwork. 2 November 2023
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Snifter valve casting
    A snifter valve casting has been proof machined. 2 November 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New Cartazzi spring
    The new Cartazzi spring fitted, with the hangers to go up. 7 November 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Old arch demolished
    The old arch demolished and some of the remnants tipped in to the ashpan. 8 November 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Arch formers assembled
    The arch formers assembled to support the new concrete. 8 November 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • New clip
    A new clip for the damper spark screen. 10 November 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New metal clamp
    A new metal clamp for the steam sands pipe next to an injector. 10 November 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Cartazzi spring buckle
    Agreed with the manufacturer the Cartazzi spring buckle is reduced in thickness to clear the oil pot (removed). 10 November 2023..
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.

16 October 2023.

At washout some of the rod-through plugs (bungs) on the boiler gauge frames were found to be worn so were changed by LNWRh. All were changed except the lower left, as on the others the threads looked pulled or were now worn.

After washout, back on the inside pit at Crewe we prepared the loco for the Fellsman and the move to the NYMR. The boiler washout door blisters were refitted, while the spark arrestor was refitted.

The inside axleboxes, Cartazzi and some of the tender were examined and filled with oil. The oiling was completed next day after we moved on to the outside pit.

The atomiser steam supply pipe running under the front of the smokebox had 2 new clips made to support the pipe behind the ash deflector plate. This was a defect listed by LNWRh.

The 3000g tender water level plate was painted with cab blue gloss. It still needs lining out in white.

Now shunted on to the outside pit the firebox was cleaned and a warming fire put in.

Next day, waiting for steam, 2 new clips were fitted on existing conduit clips to improve the security of the AWS horn pipe that goes up the cab side behind the drivers seat. Outside our volunteers looked after the fire while cleaning and polishing the loco.

The brakes were adjusted, a routine prep activity.

The loco was examined by LNWRh and the FTR paperwork completed. In the afternoon we then left the depot to turn on the Network around Crewe. At one point of the turn we entered Basford Hall yards and waited for a signal to return north to the depot. When we got the green the loco wouldn't move as the brakes would not come off. We were in a hole. The loco had sunk on the track and water could be seen around the sleepers. So the brakes had to be backed off by going under, in the wet, and adjusting the brakes until the blocks were off. We then went back to shed and re-adjusted the brakes to their proper setting.

At the previous weeks steam test the perforated caps of the safety valves were swapped over. This cap is used to set the reset pressure. The rear valve was resetting after about 13 psi whereas the leading valve was resetting after about 20. The leading valve should operate first and 20 psi is a long reset, so at washout the valves were reset to get the leading valve to operate first, and to use the cap that gives the minimum reset. Back on shed after the turning move we allowed the safety valves to operate to see if swapping the caps had worked. It made no significant difference to their operation, and the trailing valve had decided again to blow first! After a couple of operations the leading valve was again blowing first but with its longer reset.

Obviously upset by the day's trials the loco wouldn't drop it's snifting valve after the atomisers were shut off.

The fire was moved forward and more coal added to keep the loco warm for the next day, meanwhile Crewe C&W changed the steam heat hose on the brake end of the support coach as they had failed it at an examination.

Next morning (3am) the loco was prepared for the Fellsman. One advantage to an early start is that the loco is still very warm from the day before so it doesn't take too long to get ready, though you can't leave it too late just in case something needs fixing.

The weather was wet on the way out but improved on the way back and the loco probably put out its maximum on the trip south out of Crewe. The footplate crew were very complementary, clearly impressed by its performance and efficiency.

After a late finish it was up at 3am again to prepare for the move to Grosmont. With a reduced support crew we had a very pleasant trip to the NYMR. As there wasn't time in the morning, the brakes were adjusted during the water stop at York.

Next day it was straight in to running on the NYMR for their steam Gala. People seemed to be impressed by the locos appearance though we were disappointed as the loco wasn't up to the standards we'd maintained over the summer.

It was good to be "home" and with the rostered crews familiarity with the loco, it is a little more relaxing than the mainline and visiting other railways.

While at the NYMR we have continued to do routine jobs, like monitoring the boiler washout doors, making sure that lubrication is carried out to our standards, adjusting brakes, and we spend a prep day cleaning the firebox and cleaning the engine generally. We've also carried out a water change and have been monitoring the water quality. The NYMR water is treated so that we haven't had to routinely treat the water, and they have a specialist on site who has been monitoring our boiler water.

One night after returning to shed the glass in one of our gauge frame protectors seemed to be very loose. It was found that one of the pin nuts that hold the frame together was missing. So, the protector was removed and our spare fitted. We don't normally carry a spare and I had been meaning to put the spare away in store after it had been refurbished. Good job I hadn't. A new pin nut and a spare were made for the gauge glass protector. To fit it a tool was made and the tool and spare nut are with the spare protector. At the following prep day the repaired protector was refitted and now we have a tool the left protector nuts were also tightened.

At disposal I have been pleased with the modified smokebox liner plate. At last washout 2 slots were cut in the bottom to stop ash collecting in it and heating the plate. I thought that it might become a problem with it filling up with ash, heating and dropping ash over the front of the loco when the door was opened, but it has worked very well dropping very little ash and there has been no heating. It was noticed though, that 2 nuts had been missed from when the plate was put back on the studs that are welded to the door. These have now been refitted.

The saga of the piston packings continues. The left side were still the worst so it was decided to start again and replace them with new. As the A1 has the same packings and they are local, they were contacted so that a set could be obtained quickly and fitted before our next running period. They didn't have any available but their supplier had some and they could be at Darlington in a couple of days, and the A1 people sorted that for us. They were collected and were bored undersize in a SNG home workshop, to be completed at the NYMR when the piston rod was measured.

On the subject of packings and gauge frames, it had been previously noticed that the gauge frame pad spacing appears to be slightly different from drawing, so we asked our researcher to look at the LNER drawings for packings and gauge frames at the NRM library. As usual he has excelled and we are now processing the drawings.

While in the SNG office the injector steam cone flanged joint gasket was drawn up so that we can have spares ready the next time it has to be remade.

A start was made on the new middle little end oil pot top cap with the unusual attachment thread being machined. The top cap thread was then fitted to the oil box, off the loco. The threads in the oil box are very good considering a 1" BSP plug has been screwed in to it for so long. Now the threaded end is finished the rest of the cap can be machined.

New studs were machined for the middle little end oil box. The studs have square bodies so they can't rotate in the oil box holes, which are also square. The LNER liked this kind of thing. These will replace the screws presently fitted.

The loco was then shunted out of the running shed on to the pit just outside the boilershop for steam testing next day. We put a warming fire in for the night.

We were then back at Grosmont to carry out a few jobs around the loco. The loco was positioned just right to measure as much of the length of the left piston rod as possible. The old packings were removed and the rod cleaned up and measured. With the dimensions taken the packings were machined out ready for final fitting. Unfortunately, one ring was bored oversize so couldn't be used. The old packings were refitted as the loco had to be moved before we could fit the new. While the assembly was apart our volunteers cleaned off the components and the packing coil spring so that it can be compared to specification.

The tender cab floor was fitted with a rivet nut for a cover to be fitted around a hole that the left water valve rod and a conduit go through. The hole needs closing up to prevent rubbish from being washed in to it. A screw was put in the nut to protect the threads. The flange of the cover, already profiled was drilled for the screw.

I then travelled to Crewe and collected the SNG van that had been left there since we did the Fellsman trip. While at Crewe the coach paint was collected from our paint store and I then travelled to LMS at Loughborough to pick up a piston packing ring to replace the ring bored oversize, and another spare just in case. When back at home the ring was put in the lathe and machined to the fitting size. Both rings, the new and the one not yet fitted, were then prepared for fitting to the rod by ensuring the horns where the 2 halves of each ring fit together were a good sliding fit.

We then had an early prep day with the loco as the AGM fell on the day before our first operating day, which is our normal prep day.

The firebox was cleaned. When lifting the trailing row of firebars it was noticed that the firebar closest to the right side of the firebox had a considerable gap between it and the firebox side. When the grate was put back down it appeared that there was a firebar missing. Fortunately a suitable spare was found on the racking where the NYMR store the firebars for their fleet, which was lucky as they don't have Gresley Pacifics.

The new set of piston packings was fitted to the left piston rod following the highlighted instructions on the LNER drawing. The 2 sets locate against each other with a pin in one ring going in to a hole on the other. The hole diameter was increased to ensure that the rings are free to close up on the rod as they move or wear.

The left expansion link die block cap was secured by a roll pin. This was replaced with a split pin to make accessing the oil space easier for examination and cleaning. The right was done sometime ago. While in the block the oil space and trimming were cleaned.

We had a good turnout of volunteers so the loco and tender paintwork got a good clean and polish. A boiler water change was also carried out.

The axleboxes oil trays (underkeeps) we examined for water and filled with oil. The leading bogie set couldn't be accessed as the front of the loco was not over the pit. These were done later when the engine had moved.

Next day was the AGM, then the following day was the LNERCA and SNGLT members special, with a light engine run back to Grosmont. Back on shed the fire was cleaned and a warming fire left up the front tubeplate. Next day we were not to run, but we were the following day, so we kept a fire in the loco. The loco was kept warm and in light steam by our volunteers.

Two new rivet nuts were fitted to the second from leading right top boiler blister pocket as the thread had gone on the leading screw hole and the bottom one was only threaded in to the pocket material.

The right piston rod was measured for new packings, these were then ordered and have now been supplied.

The loco bottom end got a good clean by our volunteers. Later in the day, yesterdays NYMR driver also came to the shed to help clean the engine.

Next day we resumed running for the NYMR for 3 days running. The loco being prepared by NYMR crews with our help and oversight. Each day a water sample has been taken, though the NYMR also monitor this.

Each night we've left a warming fire in the loco and with the boiler reliably holding water and steam the loco has been kept at as even a temperature as possible.

The large ejector has been sticking at times so the cap to the steam valve was removed and a little steam oil put in. This seems to have cured it for now. This used to be a routine fix.

On the last day of running a crack was found in the left trailing coupled wheel spring. It is at the end of one of the leaves toward the middle of the spring. LNWRh were contacted that night and it was organised that a spare spring be delivered to Grosmont.

After running the NYMR service, the next day was organised to be a training day for our prospective Duty Engineers. The trainees prepared the engine and took turns to drive and fire all day. Our NYMR crew, both volunteers gave their day to just watching us do the job. We took the support coach so that we weren't overcrowding the footplate and it added operational interest having to shunt and run round. We are extremely fortunate that the NYMR facilitated this as there's a lot for them to organise in the background to make this happen.

Earlier in the week we were asked to exhibit the loco in the shed yard at Grosmont as an added attraction to the NYMR's Decades event weekend. I was looking forward to catching up in the office but agreed to do this. It did however give me the chance to do a smokebox examination and to fit the two missing nuts on the smokebox door liner plate. We were blessed with bright sunshine both days and the event was very popular with the public. It was great to hear all the complementary comments..

  • Supply pipe
    The atomiser steam supply pipe is clipped at either side of the smokebox bottom, 18 September 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Leaving depot
    Leaving depot on its way to turn around Crewe on 19 September 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • AWS horn pipe
    The AWS horn pipe is now clipped to the AWS bell conduit. The clip needs painting. 19 September 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New pin nut
    A new pin nut has been made and fitted to the right gauge glass protector 26 September 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Packing ring
    A piston packing ring being machined 29 September 23.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • The new cap
    The new cap for the middle little end oil box thread tried in the box for fit 1 October 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Blower casting
    Our spare blower casting being proof machined in a volunteer home workshop 2 October 2023.
    Photograph © Tony Bickerstaff.
  • Piston packing
    The new left piston packings being fitted 5 October 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Rivet nuts
    New rivet nuts fitted to secure a boiler blister 8 October 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Ejector cap
    The large ejector cap is removed to add some steam oil 10 October 2023.
    Photograph © Philip Wilson.
  • Loco disposed
    The loco disposed and back in the shed 11 October 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Cods mouth
    The loco on exhibition in the Grosmont shed yard, with the cods mouth being demonstrated 14 October 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.

22 September 2023.

This report starts with another prep day, this time for The Golden Hind, Bristol to Plymouth. Again the loco was turned out in excellent condition. During cleaning the firebox was also cleaned and a warming fire was put in.

One of the gauge glass protector hinge pins had lost its lock nuts that prevent the pin coming out. These were replaced with new nuts.

The temporary steel screws holding on the tender 3000 gallon level plate were replaced with brass screws from our stock.

On the day before the run we were joined by a LSL support crew, as we were working a trip in place of 46100 and they had already been rostered. They helped with some cleaning and with emptying the pit of ash while the loco went outside the shed for the safety valves to be tested as part of the FTR.

One of the coupled horn trimmings had the number of tails reduced, as a test to reduce the oil usage as the horn oil boxes do drain quite quickly.

The atomisers were examined to make sure they were clear. All checked OK, for both oil and steam.

The brakes were adjusted and stroked and their operation checked all OK. We have been concerned about brake block wear and heating but there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the brake gear.

During the FTR a loose bolt was found in the footplate, just to the rear of the right steam sands filler pipe. This was tightened.

All the cab light batteries were changed.

The left steam sands were found not to be delivering sand so the trap was opened and rodded until dry sand flowed out. The sands were then operated and delivered sand satisfactorily.

Next day the run went well though with the glands blowing more than we would like.

Back on shed, next day, the loco was examined. The tender brake blocks were measured. Though worn they were still serviceable, so were not replaced. The remaining coupled horn oil box trimmings had their tails reduced in number as the test was satisfactory. The grate was cleared and the ashpan washed out.

The following week we were back at Bishops Lydeard to prep for another trip and quickly settled in to our routine. As usual all the axleboxes were examined for water and filled with oil. The firebox was cleaned, then a warming fire put in and the cab cleaned.

The coupled wheel brakeblocks, now quite worn were beginning to flange, i.e. wear around the edge of the tread, so the edges were chipped off. This was a regular occurrence before the last overhaul, but now some considerable block wear is required before flanging.

The right piston packings were stripped down for examination. They were compared to the set removed in March and the in-service ones do look better, so they were cleaned up and refitted.

As pre-emptive maintenance the steam sands were rodded to remove damp or oily sand, this now becoming a regular hitch during FTR.

Next day was our FTR while the regular team set about cleaning below the footplate. During the FTR the loco brakes were adjusted.

The steam sands worked OK but delivery was a bit weak, so this was noted for further examination.

Next morning was a very early start for the Welsh Marches Express. The warming fire was removed and a new fire put in.

The loco ran really well with short cut off and full regulator and the fireman blew off a number of times making steam when he expected the boiler pressure to be knocked back by hard work.

At the Shrewsbury servicing stop a cracked brake block was found. The crack went from the pin hole radially to the tread of the block. A discussion regarding the safety of proceeding was cut short by the decision to minimise delay, so the diesel was ran round to take our place and we were left at Shrewsbury to await the arrival of replacement brake blocks from Crewe.

Eventually the brakeblocks arrived and were set out next to the loco. The Brakes being backed off to take the new thicker blocks before their arrival. The old blocks were quickly removed and the new blocks put on. The brakes were then adjusted and after a quick brake test the signaller was contacted and we were off for a direct run to Crewe. So we arrived at Crewe a day early. It was good to get back early but unfortunately all our belongings were back at Bishops Lydeard, so we bought some food from a late night takeaway, and a can of deodorant from a petrol station, before getting to our accommodation.

Next day one of our volunteers drove from Bishops Lydeard to Crewe, bringing some of our belongings and the SNG van keys so that we could get home. The van being previously left at Crewe. While waiting the loco was examined and we put our fire irons, headboard and lamps in the tender corridor, out of the way, as the boiler was due to be washed out and we didn't have our support coach for storage, it still being at Bishops Lydeard. The fire was disposed of, the ashpan washed out and the smokebox emptied.

As our support coach was still at Bishops Lydeard, and the LSL support coach wasn't taken to there by 60007, 46100 had to use ours for their next trip.

Back in the office our CAD drawings of the cab glass was resent to LNWRh for ordering spares.

Our two spare boiler pressure gauges were taken for calibration as their certificates had expired, being delivered by one of our volunteer.

Before our coach finally returned to Crewe behind 46100 we travelled to Bishops Lydeard to make sure all our gear was loaded in to the coach. While there we cleaned round the coach, mopped the floor and cleaned the toilet. We also collected our personal kit left behind when we went direct to Crewe on the loco. At BL we loaded our spare firebars, the boiler filling hose, our crosshead splitting gear, and all the other spares and tools taken down during our stay and left by the coach. We maintain a register of our equipment and spares, so we went down it to ensure nothing was forgotten.

Next day we left by road and the coach returned to Crewe as the support coach for 46100. Unfortunately our toolboxes were left unlocked during the journey and they fell over en-route when the drawers slid open.

Back at Crewe the loco was undergoing a 6 monthly mechanical examination while Boilershop prepared for a washout. We arrived and set about standing the toolboxes back up in the support coach and sorting the tools that had spilled on to the floor. Things were soon back in order and we could get on to working on the loco and dealing with the examination defects and doing some additional jobs.

A new steam cone was fitted to the left injector. This means that the injector has a complete set of new cones this year, made as a set to our purchase order. To fit the steam cone a flanged joint has to be broken, meaning each time the cone is changed or examined a new gasket has to be made. The template has been kept so that we can build up a stock of these gaskets. Having a pre-cut gasket available will reduce the time for this job considerably.

The leading loco brake cylinder piston rod protective gaiters were replaced as the old were torn. This is not unusual.

An additional steam heat safety valve has been fitted to bring our loco to Crewe standard. They are not happy with the LNER cab pepperpot safety valve. The LNER valve is still in position in the cab.

The smokebox liner plate has been getting hot along its bottom edge. LNWRh boilershop suggested this may be due to ash getting behind the liner and being trapped, so slots were cut in the bottom of the liner to drain it.

The tender brake blocks were just within useable size, so it was decided to renew them at this examination. The new tender brake blocks were fitted, though to get the new trailing set in the leading tender guard iron securing bolts had to be removed.

The left side expansion link bottom motion pin was found tight by the examiner, so this was removed and examined. It looked like it was rotating in the return crank rod but not the expansion link, so the link hole was eased with abrasive. The associated oil box was cleaned out and the link reassembled. The pin rotates freely but with minimum clearance.

Meanwhile the covers were taken off the steam sands traps to see if we could see how the sand had been getting wet. Inside the damp sand was removed, though it looked more oily than wet. The housings and covers were cleaned off and the covers refitted and sealed with silicon.

The middle little end gudgeon pin was removed and the connecting rod separated from the piston crosshead. The oiling rings were replaced by stepped rings to ensure that any side thrust was taken by the rod, and not the bearing. The rings were previously made by LNWRh but final machining and fitting was done by our CME. Access to the pin for removal is difficult due to the confines of the frames but also by nearby pipework. Being driven out damages the end of the pin and the threads had to be recut before the nut could be refitted. The bearing felts were found to be in good condition. With the pin fitted the oilbox was refitted and filled with oil. It all went back together well.

We now have metal pipe clamps to replace the plastic ones used on the steam sands pipe from the cab. They were tried on the pipe and are a good fit for diameter but require some modification before fitting.

With the loco on the outside pit we raised steam for the steam test then handed it over to LNWRh. Meanwhile the re-affixed 3000 gallon water level plate was prime painted.

The right hand injector with its new steam cone was tested and it performed cleanly, and all the surrounding pipe work connections were checked to be tight.

We then left site and went to our storage container to put in items from the support coach that we had previously taken to Bishops Lydeard for work there. While there we did a stock check on our spare firebars.

  • 3000 gallon plate
    The 3000 gallon plate now with brass screws to prevent corrosion 22 August 203.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New lock nuts
    New lock nuts on the gauge glass protector 22 August 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • On shed
    In the shed at Bishops Lydeard prepared for the Golden Hind 23 August 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Horn oil box
    Horn oil box with reduced number of tails 25 August 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Horn oil box
    Horn oil box with original number of tails 25 August 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Piston packings
    Right hand piston packings re-dressed 29 August 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Cracked block
    The cracked brake block at Shrewsbury 31 August 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • In siding
    In a siding at Shrewsbury waiting for the delivery of new brake blocks 31 August 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • On the pit
    On the pit at Crewe with new brake blocks, loco disposed and ready for washout 1 September 2023
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Steam cone
    New driver's side injector steam cone 11 September 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Safety valve
    New steam heat safety valve 11 September 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Steam cone
    With the new steam cone fitted the pipework flange is fitted, now ready for test 11 September 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Vacuum cylinder
    New leading loco vacuum cylinder gaiters fitted 11 September 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Oil box
    The CME refits the middle little end oil box 12 September 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.

27 August 2023

On the next trip to Bishops Lydeard some spare firebars were collected from our Crewe container. Our coupled wheel dust guard rope was also collected as Crewe don't stock the size that fits an A4.

The M24 studding used for pulling the middle little end bush in, was replaced by new and given to the DESG at Williton. Meanwhile on shed the routine prep commenced with the firebox being cleaned and a warming fire put in.

The middle little end oil pot lid, removed for measuring was replaced. Measurements confirming it is made from a standard gas plug.

The leaking air joint at the tender frame of the main air tank reservoir hose was remade. As the union has a parallel thread a bonded seal was fitted. When securing the hose it was positioned further away from the intermediate vacuum train pipe hose as they were occasionally contacting and causing wear.

The cab slacking pipe outer is breaking and it now had a pin hole leak near where the fireman usually holds it. It was temporarily repaired and LNWRh were given the dimensions of the hose fittings and requested to supply a length of new hose.

The boiler blisters that cover the mud hole doors are screwed in position. During washout they are removed. The screws fasten in threaded holes in the cladding or into nuts welded on to the back of the cladding. Over time the threads in the holes become worn, particularly where just in the thickness of the cladding sheet until the screws become loose. The worn holes have now been drilled and fitted with rivet-nuts and all the blister screws can be firmly tightened.

A section of new dust rope, retrieved earlier from our Crewe container, was fitted to the right leading axlebox where the existing rope had gapped. It would have been better to put in an entire new section but we didn't have enough. At our annual examination the dust seals will be reviewed.

The missing seal from the left trailing bogie axlebox drain was replaced after some of the correct size were purchased.

Next day was our FTR. It was observed that the right steam sands delivery pipe was pointing a little inboard. Perhaps it had received a knock. The loco was OK to run but it was thought that the pipe should be repositioned. This required the pipe to be bent and as this is quite a large steel pipe it was beyond what we could easily do at Bishops Lydeard without the risk of damaging the pipe. It was decided to remove the pipe after the run and take it to Crewe for work.

As we were to take the support coach on this trip, a Welsh Marches Express, the toilet fill timer was adjusted to increase the fill time interval, as our toilet doesn't fill for long enough. The coach water tanks were also filled.

Back on the loco the left atomised steam supply pipe to the nozzle at the cylinder was tested to ensure it was clear as it had a twist in it that could have acted as a restriction. When tested plenty of steam could be seen passing through it.

The right bottom combination lever oil reservoir was again found with emulsified oil in so was cleaned out and refilled.

Next day was a very early start to prep the loco for the Welsh Marches Express. We stopped just outside Bristol Temple Meads to take water and the opportunity was taken to examine the middle little end oil box and top it up to keep it full. Oil was also put on the thrust faces of the little end bearing. Earlier at prep our small syringe was used to force oil down the oil syphon hole in case there was an air lock in the long passage to the bearing surface. At Bristol the oil looked a little foamy but no water was found at the bottom of the pot.

The oil pot and middle little end pin were examined at every stop and each time was again filled to the brim. The bearing was found to be taking oil and remained cool throughout.

We then ran as far as Hereford for our first water stop. Shortly before arriving the left piston packings started to blow. When safely in the bay platform the left piston was examined and the piston rod was found to be dry and hot. It was dowsed in steam oil, and after that, the rod was oily all day and the packings didn't blow.

Upon return to BL the right trailing intermediate tender spring was found broken.

Next day during disposal, an old BR spare pin trimming nipple was tried in the middle little end siphon tube and confirmed the tube thread is to drawing.

After the coach was cleaned out, and the loco secured until our next run, the right steam sands pipe removed earlier in the day was taken to Crewe for reshaping.

Our stock of spare springs kept under our racking in the Crewe boilershop were examined to confirm we had a spare tender spring, and indeed there was one, complete with serial number markings which allowed us to produce a test cert for LNWRh, and permit its use.

Back in the office, the final cab glass drawings have been sent to LNWRh so that a set of spares can be purchased.

The re-aligned steam sands pipe and our spare tender spring were brought down to BL by LNWRh. While we fitted the spring the other prep activities were carried out by the SNG Team for our next run.

The firebox was cleaned and a warming fire put in. All the button oilers on the valve gear and the outside little end oil boxes were cleaned out.

A thread gauge was used to measure the thread pitch in the middle little end oil pot, and it confirmed that it is to original specification. Now we know the oil box is to drawing we can organise the manufacture of proper top.

The piston packings were removed, examined and refitted. To reduce the squeeze on the packings, as they were tight, the springs were replaced with larger ones from our stock of spares in an attempt to improve their operation. During this it was realised that the packings were oversize, hence the spring force was too great. There was nothing we could do but to continue to run with this arrangement as there was no time to do anything about it before our next English Rivera Express.

The oil was changed in all tender and Cartazzi underkeeps, as in some it was looking a little dirty.

On the ERE we developed a heavy blow on each left piston power stroke. Upon arrival at Paignton outbound the left piston rod was again dry. We continued to Kingswear where we left the train and went to Churston for servicing and turning. While there the middle little end was examined and all was well. The loco was then examined on the move and the blow was identified as being the left side, indicating steam was passing by the piston. We returned to Taunton with steam being maintained on the steam chest but with the diesel doing most of the work. Next day the piston packings were removed for taking to Crewe for rectification.

To examine the left piston for the blow, the cover was removed after first removing the leading left bogie splasher. The inside of the cylinder looked OK with no heavy wear or damage apparent, but a thick feeler could be got across the top of the piston and no piston rings could be felt. So we had found why the piston was passing. To fit new rings would require the piston to be removed.

As the packings were going to Crewe, and we would need to collect our spare rings and equipment for removing the piston, it was decided to remove the twisted left atomised steam supply pipe tested earlier. It was OK but it was thought it would be best to repair the pipe and remove it from the list of possible causes of lubrication difficulties to the left cylinder.

The pipe, cover gasket (which would require annealing before refitting) and piston packings were left at Crewe in front of the Engineering Office. In addition our crosshead splitting gear, spare and old piston packings and our spare piston rings were taken from our container and put with our parts in front of the Engineering Office.

A couple of days later at BL, LNWRh arrived with all of the gear for the piston ring replacement and the re-machined piston packings. All the piston rods where accessible were cleaned and the packing edges dressed for fitting.

To allow the left piston rod to be removed the loco required shunting about a foot, so this was done by WSR. This was to allow the gudgeon pin to be removed from the back of the crosshead. The weight of the connecting rod was then taken and the gudgeon pin driven out. The pin fitted at York was a good fit as evidenced by the cleanliness of the pin tapers. The crosshead was then moved forward, which it did easily and the con rod lowered on to packing. The crosshead safety cotter was removed, then the main cotter with our large clamp. With the cotter out we used our crosshead splitting jack to separate the piston rod from the crosshead. The piston was then pushed forward to the front of the cylinder. Threaded bars were fitted to the lower cylinder cover studs and the piston put on them. A hydraulic lifting table was then used to take the weight and the piston was removed from the loco.

Most of both piston rings were gone but there were fragments still jammed in the grooves. There was no evidence of ring fragments in the holes to the drain cocks so presumably these parts had already worked their way through. The larger fragments showed considerable wear on their running surfaces. It looks like the rings had worn thin then broken up when between the piston and cylinder liner.

Our spare rings were ordered with the originals during the overhaul, and were ready to refit. They were tried in the bore just to make sure the end gaps were suitable and a feeler was tried round the bore to make sure they were a good round fit. The piston grooves were cleaned out and the rings fitted with the gaps in the 4 and 8 o'clock positions.

Meanwhile the cylinder lubricator was primed until oil could be seen to be delivered through the oil hole in the top centre of the cylinder bore. The oil feed looked good. The re-made atomiser oil pipe being already refitted.

The piston was refitted and the piston packing components put on the piston rod. It was then joined to the crosshead with its large taper cotter. The cotter was driven in until the safety cotter could be refitted. The connecting rod was then lifted back in to the crosshead and aligned as best we could before the gudgeon pin was refitted.

The cylinder cover was then refitted while the piston packings were refitted. Finally the cosmetic cover was fitted and the bogie splasher.

The oil delivery to the glands were then examined at the footplate oil boxes. A check was made to ensure all the gland siphon feed trimmings had the correct number of tails regulating the oil flow. In the background the loco was prepared for our next trip. Next day the axleboxes were examined and oiled.

The expansion link die blocks get greasy in the upper slide oil sections so the oil sections were cleaned out, including the trimmings.

The ashpan sprinkler valve has been seen to be passing when the drivers side injector is used so a new seat was fitted to the valve.

The leading TPWS aerial conduit had been tied to the bottom of the air brake pipes by LNWRh earlier in the year. It always looked a little close to the leading left bogie wheel so it was moved to on top of the pipe work and additional ties added.

Our piston ring drawings were sent to LNWRh so that additional spares could be made to replace the ones we've just used. Luckily rings for 60532 were in production so while the machine was set up spares were made for us.

Next day was our FTR. A loose nut was found on the tender left front. This has been loose before so a spring washer was fitted to maintain tension on the bolt.

When tested, the right steam sands wouldn't deliver so the trap was opened and the damp sand rodded out. The sanders worked fine after this.

The tender brake blocks are getting a bit worn and this was noted during the FTR, but they are above scrapping size so we were permitted to continue to run with them.

With steam up and the FTR completed we did a test run to Norton Fitzwarren and back and the engine sounded fine with its new rings, right from its first move. However, the packings did leak a little with the left "whistling" on the return stroke. With steam on in the shed it looked like there was a blow from the end piece, the spherical face of which seals against the outer flange. The assembly was stripped, examined and refitted.

A "blow" test was performed with each piston in mid position and all seemed OK. Hopefully the middle and right rings will get us to our winter maintenance examination.

Our new slacker hose was fitted using the original nozzle.

Next day we worked another English Rivera Express. Before leaving shed the atomisers were checked. When putting up the headlamp it wouldn't illuminate. Internally a connection had failed and was quickly repaired.

The loco performed well with some blowing from the packings but we hoped they would bed in. The left rod was oily all day, a relief after previous trips where it had ran dry.

Next day at disposal the tender brake blocks were measured and they are still over scrapping size.

On the tender front it looked like the 3000 gallon water level plate was being forced off by the corrosion of the mounting plate beneath. So, the level plate was removed and the mounting plate cleaned off, then sealed and the level plate refitted with temporary screws. The old steel screws were wasted so will be replaced with brass.

Back in the office the weights diagram for the tender was modified with the weight measured when the new spring was fitted. The diagram was then sent to Crewe and a copy put in our Engineering Information Pack.

Back at BL the right little end oil box and left trailing union link button oiler were cleaned out of emulsified oil, while the firebox was cleaned and a warming fire was put in.

As the leading bogie axleboxes can get water contamination it was decided to remove them for inspection. They were found to be in good condition and dry.

The pressure gauge mountings were checked as it had been noticed that some of the screws had worked loose. In fact one had been found previously with a nut missing which had been replaced. It was found that the wooden mounting pad for the steam heat gauge was loose so the gauge was removed and the pad re-secured. The pipe to the gauge was also contacting one of the injector pipes so the pipe was moved clear of the pipe and the steam heat safety valve (pepperpot).

A leather gasket was fitted to the joint between the middle little end oil box and the face of the gudgeon pin. Previously a rubber seal was fitted but this had split.

The manifold shut off valve gland had been seen to fizz so it was attempted to tighten the gland nut but it wouldn't move, so the gland nut was removed. It was cleaned and the nut reassembled with grease and the spindle oiled with steam oil. The nut was tightened and the gland is now tight.

On FTR day, with the engine in steam, the atomisers were examined.

During the FTR the union nut on the left side to the air pump for the exhaust was found loose so it was tightened. A loose lock nut was also found on the back of the loco front air train pipe cock. This was tightened with a punch as there was no room to get a standard spanner on to it.

The brakes were adjusted to our standard procedure.

The FTR examiner from Crewe brought our set of spare tender brake blocks, just in case, and a set of 3 new piston rings.

Next day was another English Rivera Express. During the Churston servicing stop an oil pipe was found fractured. The pipe goes from a footplate oil pot to the left side of the middle upper slidebar. We don't take our support coach on EREs so we were short of supplies, but luckily the shed was open due to a fitter using it to fix his car. With some plastic wrapping, insulation tape and cable ties the pipe was bound up to its nut. Surprisingly the arrangement survived our journey back to BL.

At Churston after turning, the large footplate oil boxes were all topped up while the tender was filled and the fire cleaned.

As standard, the middle little end was examined and was all OK.

Back down at Kingswear we approached the train in the platform. The curve on the platform is very severe and is check-railed. We've been in there before, and had ran in to there light engine earlier that day before heading for Churston, but this time we stopped on the curve waiting for permission to attach to the train. When the driver tried to restart, the loco refused and was stuck. Inspecting the brakes the blocks were hard on, though the brake cylinders were down and the brakes off. The only way to release the brakes was to go under and back off the brake adjustment. After a couple of attempts this was done and the loco, complaining, moved off and was coupled to the train. When the loco moved the check rail was seen to jump so we were well stuck between the running rail and check rail.

Back at BL the broken oil pipe was removed, and the trimming, so that oil didn't feed out. The pipe was then taken to Crewe for repair. While at Crewe new brass screws were taken from our stock for the tender level plate.

  • Rivet-nuts
    Rivet-nuts fitted to replace stripped or worn threads for the boiler blisters 25 July 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Blister refitted
    The blister refitted 25 July 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Broken spring
    The broken tender spring 28 July 23.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Steam sands pipe
    The right steam sands pipe refitted after being adjusted 3 August 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Left piston rod
    The left piston rod and packings cleaned and refitted 3 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Lubrication pipe
    The new atomised lubrication pipe (lowest) to the left cylinder, the middle valve rod above 8 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Left gudgeon pin
    The left gudgeon pin removed and con rod lowered during removal of the piston 8 August 20233 .
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Left piston
    The left piston with broken parts of the piston rings 9 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Piston rings
    During replacement of the piston rings in Bishops Lydeard shed. 9 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Damp sand remove
    Damp sand has been removed from the steam sands through the trap door above 11 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Slacker pipe
    Our new slacker pipe. It looks a little modern but will look better when covered in a spring. 11 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Taking water
    Taking water at our Churston serving stop 12 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Water level plate
    The tender 3000 gallon water level plate fitted with temporary steel screws 13 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Little end oil box
    The middle little end oil box is now fitted with a leather seal as the LNER drawing 17 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • ittle end oil box
    The middle little end oil box back in place 17 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Broken oil pipe
    The broken oil pipe lashed together for the journey home 19 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • After the run
    After the run and put to bed 19 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Broken oil pipe
    The broken oil pipe removed 20 August 20233.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.

23 July 2023

We continue to work through and update our Engineering Procedures and Policy documents, recently covering safety valve examinations.

Prior to our next trip the spark arrestor was reassembled with new additional stainless steel fasteners in the sides of the lower tray. During running through Whiteball Tunnel, where the loco is working hard, not a spark was seen. We always had a good spark arrestor but it's even better now.

The firebox and mechanical exam was carried out by our CME who also covered the Duty Engineer role for this English Rivera Express. Also assisting in the prep for the trip was new volunteer who we first met at the Nene Valley Railway.

Previously it was found that the oil reservoir in the top of the right combination was taking a lot of oil, so was emptying quicker than it should be. The oil usage is regulated by a worsted wool plug trimming, which works by plugging the oil passage. So the plug was changed to a tighter fit, the new trimmings being made and fitted.

A job we hadn't got around to, putting the ashpan screen clips on chains to prevent loosing them, was finally done.

One of the access covers in the footplate used for oiling the top of the expansion links was stuck down. It was "glued" in by paint. It was released and the cover on the other side also made easier to open.

Next day was the Network FTR carried out by LNWRh. It was noted that the tender bufferbeam yellow (reservoir air brake pipe) felt like it was binding, but otherwise was working correctly, so the loco was allowed to run and the defect deferred.

Also the safety cotter on the middle crosshead could be tighter. Again it was recorded as a defect to be dealt with after the run.

The FTR examiner found the left leading oil hose to the axlebox to be breaking and in danger of leaking oil. As no other hose was available it was decided to issue a concession allowing the loco to run this trip. The oil hose was later removed from the loco and taken for examination so that a new hose could be specified for the next trip.

On the road it was found that the drivers side injector was wasting, and the blower handle, when screwed out, was loose to operate. After the run, when filling the boiler the injector continued to waste.

The day after the run, disposal day, along with the usual tasks of getting rid of the old fire and generally tidying up, the middle bolt in the firehole protector plate was replaced. The old one was loose but couldn't be tightened as wasted.

While running it was thought the right draincocks did not close fully so the operating linkage was adjusted to increase the gap between the valve spindles and actuators when closed.

It was also decided that the bent dart, used for cleaning the grate in the back corners and under the door, should be repaired. At the bend it had been bent and straightened a number of times and had wasted reducing its cross section considerably, It was also cracked here, so it was taken for recovery.

The removed oil hose was examined. It has a central rubber oil hose, the rest of the hose is for mechanical protection. A short section of hose was cut off and showed the oil hose to be in good condition. There is no through bonding of the hose so the outer isn't designed to seal the oil in, so it was decided that the hose was suitable for further use. The outer spring protector was worn where it had rubbed against the loco so this was replaced. The old spring was mild steel and had a large pitch. The new has a finer pitch and is of spring steel so should provide greater mechanical protection. The hose was refitted during the prep for our next English Riviera Express.

New material was purchased to make a new bent section for the bent dart. The steel was heated and bent. The old bent dart was cut and the new section of steel welded in.

The water boiler water sample record sheet has been modified to include the target values for the measurements taken. We also now have a full water test kit issued by LNWRh.

The main boiler pressure gauge, previously removed, was taken to the calibration lab by one of our volunteers.

Our intermediate vacuum train pipe hose is 21" long, a size not now available from our UK supplier, so it is proposed to alter the tender pipework to accommodate a longer hose that is available. A sketch has been produced of the new arrangement, but still needs checking against the loco.

An improved lubrication trimming kit has been put together for the support coach. The trimming kit includes instructions for making the loco's trimmings, materials and spare siphon trimmings.

On the way to Bishops Lydeard for our next English Rivera a box of tannin boiler treatment, a spare tail lamp and some other supplies were collected from Crewe. Back at Bishops Lydeard, a new middle piston crosshead safety cotter was made and fitted, closing out the previous defect.

The left hand injector was examined as it had been reported as wasting. The end cap was removed and the combining/delivery cone removed. It could be seen that the cone did show some erosion. Injectors are funny things, they can look bad but work very well, then again they can look good and refuse to operate correctly. However, as we had a new set in stock a new combining/delivery cone was fitted. At the same time the pipework around the injector was checked to be tight. The overflow clack was also examined. The clack did have a mark on its sealing face so this was ground out and refitted.

Meanwhile the rest of the team attended to the routine prep for a mainline trip, cleaning and looking after the fire. Before the fire is lit the firebox is examined and the roof and the top of the arch cleaned. The grate is then partially lifted to clear ash from around the edges and back corners of the ashpan. Finally the grate is put back down and any ash pushed through in to the ashpan. Finally the ashpan is washed out. An essential but not particularly pleasant job.

The blower gland nut was backed off to get another turn of packing in, in an attempt to stiffen the handle, but there wasn't really enough room for another turn, so the gland nut was tightened down a little harder.

The window glass templates were tried in and they show that the windows are to drawing, so spare glass can now be ordered knowing that when needed they will fit.

The yellow reservoir tender air cock was removed for examination. It all appeared OK but was not smooth to operate, so a smear of petroleum jelly was applied to the rubber seal. The valve was then reassembled and operates very smoothly.

The crank axle was again measured and photos taken to add to its history record.

During the FTR exam it was found that there was some loose nuts on the U clamps on the steam heat pipe under the tender. These clamp the steam heat pipe that is lagged with webbing and can't be tightened really hard as there is a danger of cutting the insulation. So, they were tightened as hard as we dare.

A couple of loose nuts were also found on the steam sand box securing bolts. These were tightened.

It was noted by our FTR examiner that there appeared to be a build up of carbon on the blastpipe tops. This normally indicates excessive cylinder lubrication. We are running with higher than normal lubrication as we had problems with the left piston packings picking up on the way to the Nene Valley and we haven't yet reduced the feed. Another thing on the to do list.

Next morning we left shed to work our next English Rivera Express. Running to Norton Fitzwarren, where we take coal on the WSR, there was a squeak from the front end. Not loud, just a bit of a squeak occasionally. At NF while being coaled I had a look round the engine and couldn't see anything apparent. We then continued to Taunton and picked up the train and soon started away. The squeak was now pretty much continuous with every piston stroke, though wasn't loud compared to the general noise of the engine. It could be clearly heard though, when reflected off the lineside. When we arrived at Paignton I discussed the origin of the squeak with the crew, with the fireman and driver both thinking it was coming from their side. I had a listen both sides on the road and thought it was louder on the fireman's, though with the sound reflected differently from the lineside it was difficult to say.

With the fireman also being a LNWRh fitter with in-service locos I was inclined to agree with him that it was the fireman's side, so at the Churston servicing stop the fireman's side atomisers were stripped down. A very solid lump of contamination was found in the atomiser baffle which took some removal. We have had this before with atomisers getting blocked and the loco letting us know, though usually with more of a groan than a squeak.

The atomiser was reassembled, and with the servicing completed we ran back down to Kingswear, with the squeak persisting. At Kingswear the lubricator was again primed, like at Churston, until oil was seen at the right drain pipes. The loco set off on the return journey and the squeak persisted, though it was hoped once the oil had time to disperse in the cylinders and valves that the problem would be solved. Eventually the squeak did stop and after Whiteball I returned to the footplate and immediately could feel a knock. The footplate crew were unaware, but our loco is so smooth the slightest change can be felt.

Back at Bishops Lydeard the loco was examined and immediately bronze could be seen to have run on the inside connecting rod. It could be seen that the origin was the little end. The crosshead and little end didn't feel too hot, though it does get hotter inside the frames than the corresponding parts outside.

Concerned that heat might have affected the whitemetal on the crosshead, feeler gauges were used to measure the clearances in the slidebars. With relief everything seemed to be OK with the crosshead.

The oil box on the end of the gudgeon pin still had a little oil in the bottom. The oilbox was definitely filled before the trip. The oilbox was removed for further inspection and the oilways were found to be clear.

As the loco had to be disposed of, including a general examination, this was carried out. As a blockage was found in the right atomisers, the left were also examined and these were all clear.

Next day we made a start in stripping down the crosshead to examine the gudgeon pin and bearing. The gudgeon pin was knocked out and found to be badly scored. The bush bore could also be seen and this was also damaged.

The pin was cleaned up and its diameter measured to see if it could be recovered. It did have a big enough journal diameter to be recovered but in conversation with LNWRh it was decided that a new pin should be made and that a spare from 60532 could be modified to fit our loco.

It was also decided to remove the damaged bush and oiling rings and replace them with new material. To get the new bush underway we produced a drawing of the bush based on our records. The final dimensions to be confirmed from measuring the rod after the old bush was removed.

To finish the new gudgeon pin, it has to be fitted to tapers in the crosshead, for this LNWRh would need the crosshead so it was decided to remove the crosshead and get it to Crewe as soon as possible. The crosshead and connecting rod were separated. There is clearance between the sides of the bush in the rod and the inside of the crosshead, but the damage to the bush had fouled this clearance.

A winch was rigged round the crosshead. We put as much pull on as we could but it wouldn't budge so the crosshead was struck with our short handle sledge hammer and the crosshead started to move in minute steps. It took most of the day for the rod end to be fully out of the crosshead. We finished the day by removing the left oiling ring so that the bearing pulling gear could get on the end of the bush, when it arrived, being collected from Crewe by one of our volunteers.

Next day the crosshead was separated from the piston rod. To give us as much room as possible in the confines of the frames the loco was shunted until the big end was on the back dead centre. A large special G clamp was then used to push the crosshead cotter out, after first removing the safety cotter, newly made and fitted days before. After that a jack was assembled in the crosshead pushing through the crosshead on to the piston rod end. We used LNWRh's as it was available when our volunteer called in Crewe for the bearing pulling gear. At first we couldn't get the jack to assemble as some of its threads were damaged so these were filed.

Then we couldn't get enough travel out of the jack so we modified a spacing piece that goes between the jack and the end of the piston rod. We then wound in the square on the end of the jack struggling for room over the end of the connecting rod and under the slidebars. We put as much turn as we could, spanner on spanner for access. Then the end of the crosshead was knocked and a minute movement could be seen between the piston rod and the socket of the crosshead. The jack then became easier to wind and the separation was done, with the piston rod moving easily in to the cylinder.

With the crosshead free it was packed to prevent it from sliding down to the trailing end of the slidebars. Then straps were put around the slidebars, constraining the crosshead while the left lower slidebar bolts were removed. The straps were eased and the slidebar slid out to the rear of the loco. With the slidebar out the crosshead was rigged for lowering between the leading brakeshaft and over the top of the slidebars. The crosshead was pulled out of the right slidebar and carefully lowered a little at a time with the winch and using the straps. When near to the brakeshaft it was pulled to the rear of the loco to pass the shaft as it isn't a straight drop.

Nearer to the ground the wheelbarrow was placed under the crosshead and the crosshead finally lowered. At the end of the pit the crosshead was carried with a bar through it up the steps, back in the barrow and put on a pallet for examination.

In the early hours of the next morning the crosshead and gudgeon pin were taken to Crewe for start-of-play so that the new pin could be made to fit the crosshead. Meanwhile at Bishops Lydeard the little end bush was removed and followed up the M5 and delivered to Crewe with final rod measurements for the new bush.

The next day we waited for the pin and bush to be made while keeping in constant contact with Crewe for progress reports but also going over our requirements, and making sure we got everything we needed for reassembly.

Next day the crosshead, new pin, and all the other components were collected from Crewe. Our stock of lubrication felt was retrieved from our store as Crewe didn't have any of a suitable size.

Upon arrival at Bishops Lydeard in the early evening, new lubrication felts were cut, as they need at least 12 hours to soak in oil before fitting, while the dimensions of the bush and pin were checked by the CME.

Next morning we started the job of putting the engine back together again. First job to draw in the new little end bush. The pulling gear was set up and started but the studding used soon stripped. The arrangement had to be removed and taken to the coach workshop for recovery. With the nuts off the damaged part of the studding was cut down. We tried again, and after the bush perhaps went in 1/16" the thread stripped again. We went through this a few times making slow progress with time ticking away. We had a look round the shed at Bishops Lydeard looking for a big long bolt but couldn't find anything. I eventually got in touch with the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group based at Williton who had 24mm studding to hand. They even brought it to us. With this the bush walked in. The bush being centralised in the rod as best we could. The oiling rings were then put on and final measurements taken.

The crosshead was the wrestled from the van, needing 2 to pick it up, and put on a pallet next to the coach for trying the new pin in. Engineers blue was put on the tapers and the fit checked. Machining marks we apparent on the journal surface, it was a good finish but to remove the machining marks the pin was polished as well as we could in the time.

Next morning we started to prepare the crosshead for fitting. A large plug of whitemetal inside the crosshead had become detached so this was chiselled out. It serves no purpose but probably got there as overspill the last time the crosshead was metalled. This loose plug is over the little end so it was thought that if it moves and starts to break up debris could find its way in to the little end.

The crosshead was then taken under the loco and was lifted up to the slidebars. The last lift, while secured with straps, by hand on to the right lower slidebar. The left lower slidebar was then slid in and secured by the slide bar bolts, flogged up. Finally new split pins were fitted.

Attention then returned to the gudgeon pin. After polishing there was still some evidence of machining marks but the pin had to go in. The oilways were washed out and all swarf removed. The oilbox was also thoroughly cleaned out and a new sealing gasket made for the seal against the gudgeon pin. A new trimming was also made, with tails to assist in oiling, though in the end this was not used.

Back inside the frames, the crosshead and piston rod were reassembled after cleaning the rod end and socket. To bring them together tight the large crosshead cotter was driven in until the locking cotter could be refitted.

The oiling felts were put in the bearing slots and the bush oiled all round. It was decided to leave the trimming out, as the outside crossheads are not fitted with worsted trimmings but nipples, and the oil flow should be regulated by the felts. Nowhere else on the engine is a worsted trimming used with a felt. The crosshead was then moved and the rod lifted until the gudgeon pin entered. The washer and nut were then put on the pin and flogged round until the nut and slot in the pin lined up. The cotter was then fitted. The cotter requiring some work to fit the new pin.

We were then straight on to preparing the engine for running in on the WSR, including a boiler water change. The prep included the usual oiling round but also the Gresley gear was greased and the brakes were adjusted.

We did approximately 55 miles of running in. The little end was examined every 6 miles. Everything ran cool though there was bronze in the oil dripping from the rod. This was put down to the bearing bedding in but probably also the bronze left over from the old bush which managed to spread it self all over the inside of the frames.

As soon as that was completed we prepared the loco for next days test run to Bristol.

The auto drain on the steam pipe to the air pump governor has been seen to continuously blow so it was removed, cleaned out and lapped.

As water had been found in the right leading oil box, but nowhere else, the clack on the middle piston valve tailrod cover was examined. It was found to be OK. The water must have come from elsewhere.

The Bristol test run went well, with the bearing running cooler than the day before, probably because of the higher speeds allowing more cooling. During the examination at Bristol a new cork was fitted to the middle little end oil box as it seems to pull the cork in hard. The hole is not threaded as usual so the cork forms a tight fit that doesn't unscrew up.

Next day was disposal day. The loco was examined and seemed to have come through its trials well.

Frayed insulation wrapping was found on the vertical drop under the cab on the steam pipe to the air pump governor, so this was wrapped with wire to retain the wrapping.

The middle little end oil box lid was removed for examination as it appears to vary from the drawn arrangement.

The blower valve dimensions were checked against drawing for the machining of a spare blower valve casting we have. A job I've been wanting to get started for sometime.

The crosshead splitting equipment was sent back to Crewe.

The small rake which is wasted toward its end and has bent was taken and a new section has now been welded in from the rake end to about 2/3 toward the handle.

Back in the office the lubrication arrangement to the middle little end is being looked into. The existing cap to the oil box appears to have been made from a standard 1-1/2" BSPT plug. The present arrangement has been compared to our drawings and we are considering the reinstatement of the original nipple lubrication. This will provide a greater head for oil feed and will improve oil collection for the oil way to the pin surface. To make sure we aren't returning to a system that doesn't work we are carefully looking at the development of the lubrication to the inside little end.

  • Spark arrestor
    The modified spark arrestor closing plates around the blower pipe. 22 June 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Ready to go
    At the end of the prep day ready to go. 23 June 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Oil pipe removed
    The oil pipe removed for inspection. 26 June 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Refurbished dart
    The refurbished bent dart. 1 July 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Cone in the injector
    The new combining and delivery cone in the injector body. 6 July 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • The oil hose
    The oil hose reassembled and refitted. 6 July 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New safety cotter
    A new safety cotter fitted to the middle crosshead cotter. 6 July 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Bronze
    Bronze from the failed middle little end on the connecting rod and slidebars above. 8 July 2023..
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • The little end
    The little end of the connecting rod separated from the crosshead. 10 July 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Middle connecting rod
    A view of the middle connecting rod. 12 July 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • The new bearing
    The new bearing in place. 15 July 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Lifting the crosshead
    Lifting the crosshead back in to the slidebars. 16 July 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • R little end oil box
    The right little end oil box contaminated with water. 18 July 2023
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Taking water at Bristol
    During the mainline test run taking water at Bristol St Philips Marsh. 19 July 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
Jul to Dec 2022 Jan to Jun 2023 From Jul 2023
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