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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 Jul to Dec 2023 From Jan 2024
Overhaul Reports 2015-2022   Return to Home Page

From January 2023.

18 June 2023

The task of completing and recording the paperwork required by the Crewe system is ongoing, as well as our own. We are also spending time on reviewing our own operating instructions and overhauling our "Locomotive Maintenance Policy".

On the subject of paperwork, a new water usage form has been created to go with our daily operating paperwork. This is usually noted on the daily operation record sheets, but the new form collects this information in one location. Other changes to our recording have been put in place in light of our first couple of trips.

After fitting our last spectacle plate window glass we need to order a set of spare cab glass. We have hardboard templates but they look, possibly, to be taken off old glass as they look hand cut. So the original drawings were consulted and the specified glass dimensions drawn. From this the exposed surface was drawn and these will be used to create paper templates and tried on the windows of the loco to check our windows are to drawing. You can't assume this with a loco 80+ years old.

Also in the office the organisation of support crew manning has continued, as well as getting supplies for the support coach. The engineering supplies usually being collected from Crewe, but there are also the domestic supplies we need. So far the support crew volunteers have been good at turning up with kitchen essentials.

Supplies for the loco were loaded in to our van at Crewe and taken to our Bishops Lydeard base. At Bishops Lydeard we prepared for the English Rivera Express later in the week. The boiler was topped up with another inch of water for lighting up the next day. The loco was examined. The smokebox was cleared of the small amount of ash that accumulates in there, for the LNWRh inspection of the ashpan and smokebox spark arresting gear. As the weather had been dry and hot it was decided by Crewe that the spark arrestor gear should be re-examined.

The crank axle is being monitored for movement as part of building an objective component history. The results were recorded and circulated to Crewe. In addition paint lines were applied across the ends of the keys that prevent movement between the axles, webs and middle crankpin.

To washout the ashpan a hose was put on the ashpan sluice fitting. The rubber seal on the fitting was found perished and broken so this was replaced by one from a spare fitting in the support coach.

The firehole baffle has become loose in the firehole. Due to heat the baffle does tend to deform with time, and it was once a good fit. So a strip of flat steel was welded on to one of the feet and now the baffle fits and doesn't tend to walk out with the big door open.

Next day the LNWRh spark arrestor was inspected, and the inspector commented how good it is. We discussed adding further security to the chimney spark basket bottom sides and I agreed to add more fasteners. I also wanted to remove the temporary plate fitted across the blower plates at the last washout by Crewe boilershop. The plate was added to prevent the blower plates from gapping.

After the ashpan spark arrestor was inspected the firebox and grate were cleaned and later that day a warming fire was put in.

A boiler water sample was taken and compared to the water samples taken since washout. As during July and August we will not have time for a washout or water change it was decided, with the agreement of LNWRh, that we would carry out a water change during the week of the cancelled 14/6/23 Welsh Marches Express.

The driver's side gauge lights had been reported as faulty. Upon examination one of the lights was found loose in its holder so this was glued back in. The lights were also cleaned. The switch on the box was loose and this led to the switch appearing unreliable. The switch was tightened. To get access to the inside of the box the cover screws were removed. These are mild steel, Philips type, and had corroded, and were difficult to remove. These have now been replaced by stainless steel slotted screws. The fireman's side was similarly fitted.

It was reported that there was a steam leak at the steam sands valve at the steam supply nut. To access it the outlet steam pipe nut had to be removed. When the supply nut was moved the valve seat went with it, so it could have been the seat leaking. So the entire valve was removed from the loco and taken to the support coach workshop. The valve seat was removed and lightly lapped to the valve, the seat having some marking on it. The drain valve was also removed as this had been seen to pass at times. So the drain valve was lapped and the drain spring was reduced by a coil to lower the steam pressure required to close it. The valve was then reassembled and the valve spindle fitted with an additional ring of packing. The valve was then refitted, the steam pipe ends being cleaned before assembly.

During the last post washout steam test it was reported that the safety valves were lifting light compared to the pressure gauge and it was thought by LNWRh boilershop that the gauge may be at fault. So, it was suggested that we put our spare gauge on, this was done and at next days FTR the first safety valve lifted on the red-line. The removed gauge will be sent for recalibration. Changing the pressure gauge required Crewe to be notified and a copy of the calibration certificate added to the Engineering Information Pack carried with the loco, duplicated at Crewe.

The tender front water drain, under the water gauge and bucket has been covered with mesh to stop it getting blocked.

On some video footage, when starting away, there appears to be a wisp of steam from the front bottom of the left cylinder. The cosmetic cover was removed so that the cover below could be examined. No obvious traces of leaks could be seen. The cover nuts were tried and all was found tight, so it is presumed that the steam could be from the relief valve. We will monitor, and the cosmetic cover was refitted.

The tender and Cartazzi axleboxes were oiled and examined.

Next day was our mainline FTR carried out by LNWRh. The bogie axlebox under keep bolts were found loose, so these were tightened. There was no danger of losing them or the underkeeps as the bolts are also pinned. Other than that we were approved for our journey to Kingswear.

Also under the loco the clamps holding drain pipes to the steam sands pipes were found to be heat damaged, so the clamps were removed and replaced with jubilee clips. To protect the copper pipes from the steel clip, a leather strip cut from old gloves were wrapped around the pipes.

Both combination lever lower oil reservoirs were found to be water contaminated so the tops were removed and they were cleaned out. Inside is a trimming and these were removed, examined and cleaned before replacing.

The brass boxes were oiled and the coupled and bogie boxes. The loco was also greased, special attention being taken with the Gresley gear levers.

The loco was taken outside the shed to complete the FTR with the safety valve test. After that, back in the shed the rest of the team continued to clean the engine. The fire was looked after very competently by one of our volunteers, who at the end of the day moved the fire forward.

Next morning the fire was rebuilt, the final oiling completed and we left Bishops Lydeard for coaling at Norton Fitzwarren. From there we were conducted off the WSR and met our train at Taunton. The English Rivera Express ran to Paignton with LSL crew then to Kingswear with DSR crew. At Kingswear the loco detached and ran to Churston for servicing. After watering and fire cleaning we returned to Kingswear and worked the train back.

Back on shed the fire was spread and the boiler filled. We then left the loco for full disposal next morning.

The steam chest pressure gauge snubber, after cleaning out, was also refitted. It had been removed as a possible cause of blockage in the steam chest pressure gauge line, when we first returned to steam. It did not cure the problem at the time so was not to blame, but had never been refitted.

The final job was putting everything away in the support coach while waiting for the tender to fill.

Back in the office the Duty Engineer reports were completed and sent to Crewe. The SNG support crew availability for July and August were also sent across.

We then had our Quarterly Technical Meeting at Crewe. While there I took on more supplies and then travelled to Bishops Lydeard picking up one of our volunteers on the way. Back at Bishops Lydeard we carried out a water change. The boiler was found with still nearly a full glass of water, our boiler holding its water very well. After draining the boiler was refilled and treatment added.

Meanwhile a SNG Engineering Team volunteer cleaned the firebox and grate, and washed round the ashpan.

Next day the loco was shunted off the pit and we dug the ash out. The loco was then shunted back over the pit being stopped with the middle engine ready for oiling.

The spark arrestor blower pipe plates were removed for modification and the lower tray drilled for additional bolting. The bolts were ordered and have now been collected. The blower plates have now been modified so that they slot together and are easily fitted and removed without the additional plate and screws.

In the coach kitchen, the cooker front panel and a drawer below the cooker have been fitted. The last worktop upstands have also been fitted.

Before leaving Bishops Lydeard the coach was given a wash as we won't have the time before its next mainline appearance on the Welsh Marches Express on 13th July 2023.

  • Side gauge lights
    Driver's side gauge lights with one not showing 31 May 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Mesh
    Mesh to prevent the bucket drain from getting blocked 1 June 2023.
    Photograph © Nigel Hoskison.
  • Steam sands valve
    The steam sands valve on the bench with parts removed 1 June2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Steam sands valve
    The steam sands valve back in position in front of the reverser stand 1 Jube2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Combination lever
    The left combination lever bottom oil reservoir cleaned out and trimming removed 2 June 2023.
    Photograph © Philip Wilson.
  • Drain pipes
    Drain pipes either side of the loco are now secured to the steam sands pipe by jubilee clips 2 June 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Leaving shed
    Leaving shed to work the English Rivera Express from Taunton 3 June 2023.
    Photograph © Scott Middlemiss.
  • At Kingswear
    At Kingswear waiting for departure 3 June 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Snubber refitted
    The steam chest pressure gauge snubber refitted to prevent pointer bounce 4 June 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Old and new gauge light
    Old and new gauge light enclosure screws 13 Hune 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Draining boiler
    Draining the boiler 13 June 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.

21 May 2023

Back at Crewe with the loco outside on pit road 1, the smokebox and underneath were examined completing the last items on the Duty Engineer post run paperwork.

By the time I had got back to Crewe the intermediate water hoses had been changed by LNWRh. We agreed they'd do this work in our meeting the week before.

In the coach the new cooker was fitted after being stored in the boilershop. The worktop was cut out to take the cooker and the worktop secured as it may be sometime before we finish the installation as we were due to leave Crewe a couple of weeks later, and we have work to do on the loco. The Jeavons valve for the cooker gas supply was fitted in to the adjoining kitchen unit and was connected to the coach gas supply pipe.

As mentioned in previous reports it has been found difficult to get the inboard 1 to 1 lever to take grease so it was decided to remove it for examination. With the 1:1 lever centre pin and middle valve rod crosshead pin removed, the assembly was easily passed out from the frames. Once out the inboard 1:1 lever pin was removed, separating the middle valve rod from the 1:1 lever. It was found that the pin had picked up on the bronze bush and that the bush surface had been damaged. The pin, with its hardened surface cleaned up well but it was decided that the bush should be replaced. The lever was then taken to the press and the old bush pressed out.

New material for the lever bush was supplied by LNWRh and we machined a new bush. The clearance on the bush was increased as there was an indication from the bush that the centre line of the 1:1 lever and middle valve rod hole centres could be running out sufficiently to cause contact at the ends of the bush bore. The new bush was then pressed in and final bore measurements taken.

The pin is located and prevented from rotating in the middle valve rod by a taper pin. Due to the loading of the pin it had worn the taper pin and the half hole in the 1:1 pin, where it is left soft. So, the 1:1 pin was rotated 180 degrees and a new taper pin hole made and reamed, and a new taper pin fitted. The middle valve rod and 1:1 lever were reassembled on the bench and then refitted to the loco. The final job being to reconnect the union links to the combination levers and split pin all the refitted motion pins. The assembly was then greased with all pins taking grease easily.

As the left packings had picked up on our way to NVR it was decided that they should be examined, so these were removed. They seemed to be bedding in well from when last examined at Wansford but they still had a score on the piston rod face so it was decided, with LNWRh, that they should be skimmed until cleaned up. The left piston rod was again measured so that the packings could be machined to suit. The machining being done by LNWRh.

The middle packings were also removed for inspection. As these are not visible from outside the loco it is difficulty to assess their performance without removing them. Being inside it is a more time consuming job to work on them but they were removed easily enough. They were found to be in good condition so were replaced, particular attention being made to ensure the oil delivery pipe was positioned directly over the top of the piston rod. To do this the oil pipe at the oil box was filled with oil and the delivery checked. The same was done when the left were refitted. To make it easier to direct the oil flow the delivery pipe was chamfered to an angle.

The right injector cap was refitted to stop the very small leak when the injector is running. The cap was removed and the surface of the injector body was scraped to accept the cap, and finally lapped. The problem was with the injector body. The sealing face has received a knock at sometime and this had eventually resulted in a leak path.

The coach was visited by LSL Health and Safety, which resulted in us being issued with a new set of coach steps, a restraint belt for working at heights, and a visit from the electrician to PAT test our portable electrical equipment.

We have now modified the mains hook-up for the coach. Previously the mains cable came through a coach window to a socket in the guards compartment. Now we have a 240V blue socket on the underframe next to the battery box. A bracket was fabricated for the new socket and cabling was installed by our volunteer electrician, who also chose the location of the bracket. The bracket was finally fastened in place with stainless steel bolts and given a coat of underframe black paint.

In the kitchen, the door was hung on the unit where the Jeavons valve is fitted. Also in the kitchen, the cooker ignition is 12V, whereas the coach supply is 24, so a voltage regulator has been fitted and the cooker ignition works fine.

Back on the loco, it was seen when running that the steam chest pressure gauge pipe vibrated against the backhead cladding. So, a bracket was made to support the pipe. The backhead was drilled and tapped and the bracket is now fitted.

The loco was stood outside on pit one for washout. It had been noted by boilershop during their examination that the nut on the bottom of the left gauge frame was loose on its thread so this was replaced by LNWRh.

After washout the loco was steam tested. The safety valves have a large reset and this has been noted by LNWRh as a defect. To try and improve the reset of the trailing valve the stainless steel top cap was swapped with parts from one of 60532's. This has improved the valve's reset. The cap is most probably a preservation era part, made from stainless steel and was modified to provide a better fit in the top of the valve during overhaul at York. The cap is now being compared to our safety valve data.

During washout and steam test the loco also receives a mechanical examination and this led to a series of issues to address...

The vacuum ejector relief valve was reset to 21" by LNWRh while the loco was in steam.

Not unusually some loose nuts and bolts were found. The left trailing spring hanger nut retainer nut was tightened. The left leading tender trailing spring retaining box screw, though screwed in tight allowed the box to move. There was no danger of the box coming adrift, but the screw was removed, its end cleaned up and refitted, and screwed on to the box tight.

A loose screw was found on one of the clamps on the left Cartazzi frame that holds the air pump governor pipework. These are industrial clamps and are made from steel and plastic. They can be tightened until the plastic clamp is crushed, so they were all nipped.

The limit switch that detects if the loco is in forward or reverse gear is located under the left footplating. The cables to the switch are routed through conduit for protection. The final fitting is an elbow that is screwed in to the switch body. The elbow was found to have loosened. To get to the elbow the switch had to be removed and then the wires removed. A conduit locknut was then added to the elbow and the elbow position fixed with the locknut tight against the switch housing. The wires were remade, with spring washers added to the terminal clamps, and the whole assembly refitted to the loco, again adding spring washers to the securing screws. Finally its protective guard was refitted.

A nut was found to be loose on the vacuum train pipe bracket on the inside of the right tender frames. This is obscured by other pipework but a spanner on a spanner managed to get to it and tighten it.

Meanwhile the loco was being prepared for lighting up for next days prep for the move to Bishops Lydeard. The firebox was cleaned out, and the boiler water was topped up via the LNER blow down cock. A warming fire was then lit.

Next day was our prep day for the move. The coach had been previously examined and no issues were found. While doing the usual prep we still had some additional jobs as a result of the washout examination.

Noted as a defect during the washout examination was the number of stripes painted on the insides of the Cartazzi and tender wheels across the wheel and tyre joint. Lines have been applied before but as access is limited only one was put on. Now with the loco in a different position they weren't apparent on every wheel so we were instructed to apply more stripes. This was done during our prep activities.

The tender air brake reservoir valve refitted during the last overhaul was the one we have always ran with. It was not a latching valve, due to the restricted space on the bufferbeam with vacuum pipe, vestibule and buckeye. LNWRh had noted that this was not satisfactory and that a standard latching valve must be fitted. A valve was taken from their stores and was fitted to the tender. The pipework in this area has been comprehensively renewed and rerouted during the last overhaul, though the air valve brackets have not been altered. We knew it would be close but we removed the old valve and adjusting the rotation of the pipe fitting we managed to fit the standard latching valve at an angle. I can only think that the vacuum pipe has moved over slightly. With enough steam we ran the air pump and examined for leaks. One was found where the valve meets the pipe. We attempted to tighten it, which reduced it but didn't stop it, being apparent with soapy water. So the joint was split and remade and is now tight. Altogether a better job than when we found it. After this we went back to oiling and greasing the loco.

The driver's defect book is located in the GSMR cabinet. It has a pocket to sit in that has not been mounted on the loco. This was raised as a defect against the loco, so on prep day the pocket was fitted to the inside of the GSMR cabinet.

Another defect raised was a loose bolt on the brake hanger between RH driving and leading coupled wheel. This took some finding as the bolt referred to was actually in a bracket that supports the upper brake pull swing link.

Some of the screws securing the steel covers over the leading bogie side control spring were found loose so they were all tightened and the trailing ones checked.

The DV2 valve was re-tagged, as the tag must have been removed during steam testing the brake system after washout. All other brake system security tags were in place.

A defect had been raised about the operation of the cab lights but they worked OK at prep. The problem seems to be that the switch on the reverser light battery box was switched to off, so the switch on the light unit did not operate.

When cold the small ejector where it joins the main ejector body irritatingly blows so this was gently caulked to avoid having to fully remove the unit and remake the joint.

During the prep day we found time to clean the cab and give the loco a wash with shampoo, and the bottom end was cleaned with paraffin. Later the prep day fire was disposed of and a warming fire put in for the next day.

The drain under the water gauge and tender bucket had become blocked letting the tender front corner fill with water, so the drain was cleared.

As we were to be away from Crewe for sometime, our paints used while we wintered in the boilershop were taken back to our store, along with some other tools. From our stores the coach was replenished with grease for the loco.

Next day, before setting off for Bishops Lydeard we made a shopping list and went to LNWRh stores to increase our stock of oil and PPE.

We were joined on the journey by LSL personnel for the purpose of a safety audit. All the SNG support crew had a D&A test and the sound level on the footplate was measured.

At Bristol LNWRh took over the Duty Engineer role, as they had identified shortly before the trip that the SNG Duty Engineer would be out of hours to continue all the way to Bishops Lydeard.

The run was successfully completed and upon arrival on shed we were taken by WSR for a site induction. After that, the loco was prepped for the next days Welsh Marches Express.

At 2 the next morning we set about rebuilding the fire and oiling round, though there wasn't much to do as it had been mostly done at disposal the night before. The electrics didn't have much time to charge but had enough to last until our return. We were joined by a LSL volunteer, who went round and topped up the sands. We even found time in the early hours to give the loco another wash all over. Before departure the loco brakes were adjusted.

We then ran engine and van to Bristol where we took water and waited for the train to arrive. Earlier that morning we didn't know if the train would run as there had been a signalling failure on the Bristol to Shrewsbury route. Fortunately the train did run and at Shrewsbury we went to Coton Hill for servicing. Watching the loco pull away from Shrewsbury the left hand packings looked to be settling in well.

The loco had a good run back to Bishops Lydeard coming off the train at Bristol and taking water at St Philips Marsh. The next morning the loco was disposed of and the support coach shunted out the back of the shed and the loco moved inside over the pit.

Back in the office the future trips were looked at and the job of documenting our recent running continued. The duty engineer paperwork was returned to the office, had we had a debrief and we planned, as far as we can, the running program over the summer in light of our experience of the just completed trip. We also reviewed Youtube footage of the loco to see if there were any steam leaks and to listen to the loco timing.

Away from the loco the operating instructions for the loco are being reviewed and a set of high visibility vests of the same type used by LSL have been bought, and are with the printers for SNG branding for our support crew.

While completing paperwork, and completing the months accounts, 4 additional firing shovels have had their handles shortened and these will be put in store. The last kitchen upstands have been cut ready for final fitting in the coach.

  • New water hoses
    New water hoses fitted between tender and loco 24 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Oil delivery pipe
    After examining the middle piston rod packings the oil delivery pipe is aligned 26 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Injector end cap
    The right injector end cap has been carefully fitted to the injector body 26 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Refitted 1 to 1 lever
    The evening sun catches the refitted 1 to 1 lever 26 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New clip added
    A new clip has been added to increase support to the steam chest pressure gauge pipe 27 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Switch
    The switch that detects the reverser position after refitting, before the protecting cover 7 May 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Diver's defect book
    The driver's defect book now sits in a pocket in the GSMR cabinet 8 May 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New air pipe valve
    The new air pipe valve fitted and painted yellow 8 May 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • The drain
    The drain in the corner of the tender front now cleared 8 May 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Taking water
    While taking water at Bristol St Philips Marsh 9 May 2023.
    Photograph © Phil Gillespie.
  • The loco gets a clean
    In the early hours the loco gets a clean 10 May 2023.
    Photograph © Phil Gillespie.
  • At Bishops Lydeard
    Ready for the off at Bishops Lydeard 10 May 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Cleaning smokebox
    Cleaning the smokebox using a safety barrier and restraint belt 11 May 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.

30 April 2023

The annual examination of the wheelset journals and oiler pads continued after the bogie oil trays were previously removed. After the bogie we moved on to the Cartazzi and tender. All pads and journals are in good condition. The pad is examined to ensure the pile is good, the tails are wrung out to examine for water contamination, damage and wicking, and the spring steel frame examined to ensure good pressure to keep the pad against the journal. The journals and wheel faces are examined where exposed to ensure good condition, free from scoring and any other signs of distress.

The Cartazzi and tender pads are a bit dirty now as the bearings do wear more due to their higher loading, but all are fine for further use. We did find some whitemetal fragments in the Cartazzi and some tender trays, not unusual.

The loco was then moved from inside the running shed to an outside pit where we continued the examination removing the coupled oil trays. The right leading and trailing were found to be tight in the axlebox horns. The middle coupled/driver pads are removed without removing the trays. This is done by draining as much oil as possible then removing the end covers. With the covers removed the pads have to be removed while they are under considerable compression, in a recess, with access restricted by the middle crank axle webs. A difficult job with oil running down your arms and only thin spring steel to hook your fingers round.

The pads in the coupled wheels look almost new indicating next to no wear on the coupled bearings. A testament to the care taken to accurately scrape in the bearings at York. After examination the oil trays and pads were replaced being as careful as possible with the driver pads not to get the pad tails tangled on the steel frame.

With the pad exam completed a start was made on refilling the tender, Cartazz and bogie oil trays. The driver tray covers were refitted. They are secured with numerous small studs and nuts, which are also split pinned.

In the smokebox the primary spark guards were fitted with locking cotters to prevent the individual plates from gapping when in traffic. These were fitted by LNWRh boilershop to the same pattern as other Crewe locos. The "R" clips used to secure the plates in the smokebox upper frame were also welded on to lengths of chain to prevent loss.

The last clip to secure the pyrometer capillary was fitted near the right steam pipe using one of the steam pipe sealing plate screws.

As our trip to the Nene Valley Railway approached we stocked the support coach with oils. We removed the spare firebars, and when the coach was shunted on to the prep pits, the spare loco springs were removed. This gives us more room in the workshop end of the coach as well as lightening the coach, making sure we aren't overloaded. LNWRh have said that if we need a spring or other heavy spare it can be despatched quickly from Crewe in one of their vans.

The shortened left tender guard iron was measured with a full tender tank for our records.

Our new Network Registration panel was fitted in the cab roof and very smart it looks. An improvement on the last version. A new one had to be fitted as we have changed the loco number from 4498 to 60007.

With the spark screens modified they were fitted, and as soon as that was done, the loco was lit for our delayed in-steam annual electrical and brake system examination.

Next day while steam was being raised a few defects identified during the annual exam were dealt with. A cladding screw was fitted with a lock nut next the left cylinder front. A cladding screw above the left combination lever was tightened. The screws here go through the smokebox cladding at an angle and if pulled in too tight deform the cladding. The governor leading steam flange bolts were tightened. The left leading valve crosshead cotter was removed, reworked and its fit improved.

The lubrication pipes to the bogie pivot pass from footplate oil boxes over the bogie stretcher. These are quite long runs and are not supported, so LNWRh highlighted the need to increase their support to prevent work hardening and breaking. The LNER didn't seem too concerned, though for them every clip was a cost to make and made the routine removal of pipework more time consuming and therefore costly. The fitters, probably on piecework weren't motivated to refit them anyway. These constraints apply less to us so new clips were made and fitted.

When up to full pressure the annual examination continued. The vacuum brake performance was measured. LNWRh were puzzled as to why the ejector appears to over create when under high load (large restrictor 3/4") but under create at low load (small restrictor 3/16"). We are the only loco at Crewe with this form of braking, and the brake operates as I always remember, so I've not questioned it. It was decided to investigate further.

The outer air valve cam on the vacuum ejector was changed, Our cam was quite worn, and the new one from LNWRh looks unused, which would give more lift to the valve, but no noticeable change was found in the ejector's performance. The small ejector steam cone and vacuum cone were removed for examination. Our spare steam cone was tried, again to no noticeable change in performance. The ejector was reassembled with the service steam cone and it's performance noted to be monitored. The work on the ejector being carried out by LNWRh.

After working on the loco, time was found in the evenings to work on the coach plumbing. The kitchen plumbing was damaged over winter by freezing because the existing arrangement didn't allow a full system drain. New pipework has now been fitted, with a drain at the lowest point in the system and a drain pipe provided following the sink waste pipe.

The worktop over the cooker unit was fixed in place. There was no time to fit the cooker so it was left in its box, in the boilershop for fitting later.

While the loco was kept in steam for another day to allow work on the ejector, the air pump was also ran to examine for any exhaust leaks in the smokebox. This had been indicated by a mark on a union. It was possible to get a bit of a turn on it, but there were no noticeable leaks.

During the brake exam it was found that the TPWS brake application was on the limit of acceptability for the time for the application. If the application is too rapid this could lead to putting flats on the wheels during an application at speed. The time of application is down to the Brake Application Unit in the air brake system. The BAU is located below the drivers position so the floor was taken up and LNWRh adjusted the BAU. The brake application is still on the rapid side of the operating specification but is acceptable, and the adjudgment is difficult to make. With the BAU adjustment completed, the driver's floor was refitted.

New bufferbeam air brake hoses have been fitted by LNWRh to comply with their VMI.

Part of the electrical system examination is a check of the speed recording by the OTMR. To simulate speed the speedo cable is removed from the wheel mounted transmitter. After test this was refitted and the connection security wired.

The evening was then spent re-piping the coach toilet end to by-pass the steam heated water heater, which is still away for repair. While fitting the pipework, an improved drain has been fitted as the system took more than an hour to drain. The original BR drains operated from outside the coach were removed at the coach overhaul at Cranmore and were not replaced.

One of the observations from the loco annual examination was that the leading left coupled wheel and right driver were contacting the heads of rivets. They look to be only taking the paint off and on the right it is a new rivet so it could be higher than the old. It's probably only under certain conditions that this happens so it will be monitored. The contact area was repainted which will allow us to note any future contact.

With steam testing completed the boiler door blisters were refitted.

The right spectacle glass had started to de-laminate along its bottom edge, probably due to water collecting there, so the glass was replaced with our spare. The old glass removed, frames cleaned out and new glass fitted. This was done on the bench so the spectacle was removed from the cab and refitted.

Another annual exam defect found the lock nuts on the bottom of the left water valve had become loose so these were tightened. As lock nuts are thin it took some time to find a spanner thin enough to hold the top nut.

At the end of the day we found enough time to fit the new "King's +" decals. Thanks to Richard Green of https://www.locos-in-profile.co.uk/ for doing the artwork.

The fitting of the pyrometer to the loco, now being maintained under the LNWRh system, required the completion of design change paperwork.

The AWS isolation valve operated during our brake and electrical tests was re-tagged, and the tag number recorded. If the valve is operated the tag breaks and this is evidence of use.

The coupled axleboxes were filled with oil after being drained as part of the pad exam.

New piston packings were machined and fitted by LNWRh.

The boiler manifold shut off valve was repacked by LNWRh boilershop, before the cover round the safety valves was refitted.

The loco and coach were now finally prepared for our visit to the NVR. The firebox and grate were cleaned and then a warming fire was put in for the next days FTR and turning move.

The coach water tanks were filled and fortunately there were no leaks from the new plumbing.

Early next morning the fire was built up and steam raised. The cab was cleaned and the outside of the loco by our Engineering Team volunteers. The boiler doors were nipped up and the loco oiled up and greased.

After the FTR the loco went for a trip through Crewe to turn to face south. Upon return the fire was pushed forward and the boiler filled.

In the coach the kitchen was stocked up from the local supermarket.

Next morning the fire was built up and the last oiling was done for the move to Peterborough.

When connecting the steam heat hoses between support coach and loco it was found that the No2 end coach steam heat seal was damaged so this was replaced with one from LNWRh stores.

As acting Duty Engineer the LNWRh pre-journey paperwork was completed. At the end of the journey the other paperwork was completed, in addition we have our own SNG recording to complete.

We had an uneventful journey, a rather pleasant day out really, with the engine working well. Large numbers of people come out to see the engine along the route.

At Peterborough we picked up our NVR conductor who guided the LSL crew to Orton Mere, where they left. The engine was then driven by the NVR conductor to Wansford. At Wansford the coach was shunted in to the bay platform and one of our volunteers was already on site and had sorted power and had got to grips with the local geography.

Next day was Members' Day, and it was good to see the members and some of the Engineering Team enjoy the loco.

On our run over from Crewe the left piston packings picked up on the piston rod leaving bronze on the rod so before kick-off the left piston packings were removed for examination. The packings were dressed and the rod cleaned, and the packings reassembled. Care was taken to position the gland oil delivery pipe on the crown of the rod and for the next couple of days we regularly dowsed the rod with steam oil.

The middle and right piston rods were also examined. They did have signs of bronze on them, but the packings are new and were still bedding in. They looked ok, so these were left for monitoring. As members day was really half a day running a few 3 mile round trips this was felt to be acceptable. The surfaces of the rods improved after this and were always oily.

Over the next few days of running 2 of our volunteers who joined SNG as Juniors, did most of the fire maintenance, taking turns in lighting up and disposing of the engine. They also cleaned the loco and cleared the pit after disposals. When the loco was out running they even gave the coach a wash.

The loco was tuned out every day in good clean condition. The NVR crews helped, but to save time on polishing we used a car shampoo quickly applied and washed off. On the varnish of the loco this worked well.

Each day water samples are taken from the boiler and we test it for pH and dissolved solids which gradually increase until the boiler water starts to foam and can lead to priming. With the water on the NVR we saw a gradual fall in pH so the dosage was increased. The pH is kept high to prevent corrosion of the boiler steel.

When firing the firehole flap had started to drop off the catch, so a groove was ground in the back of the flap so that the catch located more positively.

The loco brakes were adjusted, a routine procedure when operating.

Emulsified oil was found in the left combination lever bottom pin button, so the top was removed, the reservoir cleaned out, the trimming cleaned and filled with fresh oil.

The crews were having difficulty with the buckeye coupling, which was adding to delays which accrued through the day. The problem was really with unfamiliarity in its use, both by footplate and guards. At first they insisted on coupling using the both the loco and coach buckeye open whereas only one was required. On the end of their coaches this would be seldom used, whereas our loco one is used often and easy to use. So I advised that only the loco one be used. At prep the footplate crews were shown the buckeye and after that we didn't seem to have much of a problem.

The loco vacuum brake application handle had loosened off during use so the glands the handle shaft passes through were tightened, stiffening the handle.

When opening the atomiser and whistle valve It was seen that the gland was blowing so it was tightened.

We have had difficulty in getting the inboard pin in the 1:1 lever to take grease. And as the grease gun is a pain to fill a new grease gun was bought so we know we are getting good grease pressure, and we don't loose grease during filling it.

After a couple of days break we were back at Wansford to prepare for our next operating session. First the firebox and grate were cleaned. Meanwhile the loco brake blocks were changed.

The fire was put in after some of the boiler water was dropped as it had lost so little since being left.

The loco was given an overall examination.

Next day with the loco in steam and the vacuum brake operable, the brakes were readjusted.

After prep the loco was to be turned on the Wansford turntable. Intentionally the tender was left with little water and coal in it to reduce the weight for turning. Once on the turntable we couldn't get the table to move. The hand crank which drives a wheel just slipped, and with a good half dozen people pushing we couldn't get the table to move. To check the table the loco was taken off and with no loco the table was moved through half a turn. It seemed OK, so the loco was driven back on. This time we couldn't remove the locking bars, which were now under the front of the loco. So the table was jacked allowing the locks to be withdrawn. Now with the turntable crank wheel at the heavy (loco) end the table began to grip and move. Eventually we got the loco round. If we hadn't turned the loco on the turntable it could have delayed our leaving as a new mainline path to a turning location would have had to be organised.

The rest of the day was spent as a training exercise for our volunteers doing most of the driving and firing. In addition we managed to get some of our other Engineering Team volunteers on the footplate.

Back on the shed the new grease gun was tried and the 1:1 pin wouldn't take grease. It was decided that when back at Crewe next week we'd take it out and examine it.

With the brake blocks bedding in, the brakes required adjustment over the next few days.

The right injector began wasting at higher pressures and firemen found it tricky to set up. It seemed OK to me but something had definitely changed. The injectors did need more setting up during the day as some ran with 225+ psi, others 175psi. The cap was taken off and the cones examined for tightness. The delivery cone assembly did take a tighten so the cap was refitted.

On one trip, at Peterborough it was reported that the brakes wouldn't come off so our SNG rep jumped in and backed the brakes off which seemed to solve the issue.

Some crews found connecting the vacuum hoses under the buckeye a problem with the orientation of the connectors.

On shed one of our newer Crewe volunteers was shown axlebox oiling and he carried completed this for the next couple of days. The middle big end cork and one of the coupled wheel oil tray corks were replaced.

We were soon finished at the NVR and a LNWRh examiner came to Wansford to do the FTR for our return to Crewe. He found that we had a leak from the water hose to the right injector, which may have been the cause of our issue with this injector. The hose was bound with sealing tape as a temporary repair to get us back to Crewe.

The cap on the right injector was leaking so the cap was removed and lapped to the body. The cap was refitted but there was a very slight leak, just a bead of water appearing. It was acceptable for our journey back to Crewe.

The tender footstep blocks were put on.

The right leading hornblock wedge securing nuts were tightened, as were the left.

The air pump silencer box securing bolt was found to need tightening so this was done.

Both loco and tender brakes were adjusted.

The mechanical lubricators were checked for water and contamination. All OK, the drain plugs were refitted and wire locked.

The loco was taken to the coaling stage, filled up and was then put on our coach. The electrics were put on charge over night.

Next morning, being conducted by a NVR driver, we drove and fired the loco to Orton Mere to collect the LSL crew. Again a very pleasant run back to Crewe. At Crewe an iron was ran through the fire and the boiler filled.

At Crewe a LNWRh boilersmith went in the firebox and did a bit more work on the inside back corners and disposed of the fire. The firebox has been getting better and better all the time we have been at Crewe. One of the firebars was found to be burnt so this was replaced by one of our spares.

Meanwhile we had a meeting with LNWRh engineering to discuss the work we wanted to do to the loco before our move to Bishop's Lydeard.

Back in the SNG office the recording of the daily loco mileages, steaming days, etc was completed. The Transition Plan (SNGLC LMP to LNWRh VMI) was completed by our VAB. The audit points being closed out.

  • Drain cock test
    Our new registration panel mounted on the cab roof above the driver's position 27 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Oil tray
    One of the coupled wheel oil trays and oiler pads 28 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Shovel
    One of our shortened shovels in action 28 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Ejector cam
    A new ejector cam and the small vacuum cone removed for examination 29 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Brake hoses
    New air brake hoses, red and yellow 29 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Decals fitted
    Our new A-4 and King's + decals fitted 30 March 2023.
    Photograph © Frankie Hutchings.
  • Water valve
    The left water valve with locknuts at the bottom 30 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Spectacle glass
    New spectacle glass fitted 30 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Prepared for move to NVR
    The loco being prepared for moving to NVR next day 4 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Taking water
    Taking water at Leicester on the way to NVR 5 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Piston packings
    At Wansford the left piston packings were examined 6 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Coach cleaned
    At Wansford the coach gets a clean 6 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Peterborough
    At Peterborough in the evening meeting two youngsters who raised cash to rebuild the signal box at Orton Mere 6 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Brake blocks
    New brake blocks fitted at Wansford 13 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • On turntable
    On the Wansford turntable 14 April 2023.
    Photograph © Andy Barwick.
  • Prep activity
    Usual prep activity 16 April 2023.
    Photograph © Andy Barwick.
  • Atomisers
    The atomisers are checked for blockages 17 April 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Loco and coach
    Loco and coach ready to leave Wansford for Crewe 17 April 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • RH injector cap
    The RH injector cap refitted 17 April 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Firebars
    At disposal back at Crewe one of the firebars was found badly burnt so was replaced with one of our spares 19 April 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.

Our newly calibrated loco pressure gauges have been refitted. The steam heat gauge looks very good with its new "retro" dial, now matching the boiler pressure gauge.

Inside the cab some painting has been done. The new whistle shaft spacer has been painted, around the air brake (M8) stand has been touched up. The air brake dump valves have been painted to white gloss as has the water gauge handle.

The bottom of the smokebox ash guard, below the smokebox door has had its bottom edge cut off. It was planned to lower the guard to close the gap where it meets the footplate where ash has been getting under, but as the bottom of the guard had previously been repaired by adding a strip to wasted material so it was decided to cut well above the wasted section and add new material. The guard was then painted and fitted on to the smokebox front and the bolts sealed in to prevent any air leaks.

The fireman's loco door was stripped of paint after the hinges were welded, as the weld burnt the paint on the outside. The door was then painted to black inside and given to the Crewe paintshop to reapply the BR Express Blue to the outside.

The main centre section of cab floor has been refitted with larger and fewer screws so that the air system below is easier to access. The individual planks have been additionally supported using metal strips on the underside, and the trailing edge has been built up to stand on the trailing cab upstand to prevent sections of the floor from rocking. The wood on the floor has seasoned since fitting so had moved a little.

Meanwhile the boiler received its internal examination by a LNWRh boilersmith.

The backhead mounted injector clackbox steam valves and clack shut off valve glands have been repacked.

The cylinder relief valves and draincocks were hydraulically tested by LNWRh and SNG. Two of the draincocks had tiny leaks to the bodies and had their surfaces brazed by LNWRh. They have been previously brazed but needed rework. One draincock leaked between the valve cap and body so the cap was removed and "blued" to the body by scraping by SNG. None of the 12 valves required pressure adjustment. Prior to fitting the valves the cylinder faces for the drain cocks were scraped and cleaned. The valve cap safety clips, and bushes on the draincock spindles were assembled on to the valves and split pinned.

With the boiler internal examination completed the plugs and doors were refitted. Some were refitted by SNG as an assessment of competence. This will allow SNG to remove and replace plugs and doors while the locomotive is operated by Crewe.

In the previous report it was decided to replace our piston packings to ensure a trouble free year of operation. The packing castings were sourced and the order placed by SNG and have now been delivered to Crewe.

The draincock pipe nuts found to be various sizes and deformed, were machined to a standard dimension so that a standard spanner is suitable for all, except one which is smaller than the rest! The odd one looks like the one in the LNER drawing so its been left.

When running on the network we have to carry a high intensity lamp. It's a large bulky thing, not in keeping with our loco. Usually we have express head-code with two authentic late LNER/BR(E) lamps with the HI lamp on the middle lamp iron, but when running with a headboard in the middle bottom we have to run with the HI lamp one side. At Crewe they have authentic lamps with HI inserts. The supplier of the inserts was contacted and they said they'd never fitted the inserts to BR(E) lamps. So, the inside of our lamps were measured and a sketch made to send to the insert manufacturer.

It was previously found that the trailing left cylinder relief valve cap screw occasionally just contacts the leading pin of the union link. So the cap was removed and rotated and the valve refitted. All the outside cylinder relief valves were then refitted.

The loco was then shunted out of the boilershop and left outside where reassembly of the draincocks continued with the right draincocks and operating linkages fitted. The draincocks are fitted with flanges and gaskets, whereas the cylinder relief valves are screwed into the cylinder ends. New gaskets were fitted.

Now on a pit outside, the middle relief valves and middle draincocks were fitted, the operating linkages fitted and connected to the outside drain cocks.

With the loco outside the brightwork has required cleaning of rust, and to prevent rusting bright surfaces covered in oil or grease. While on the pit some cleaning has been done inside the tender frames.

The pyrometer has now been fitted. The sensing element fitted in the right steam pipe, just above the right cylinder. The element goes in through a tapped hole, left plugged since assembly of the loco. The hole has a gland and is packed to seal the element.

As the loco had been in the boilershop, and it had been sometime since it was last oiled, the oil can was ran round. The oil helps flush out and clean off any abrasive dust we picked up in the boilershop.

The new atomiser restrictor (baffle) made by SNG was fitted. Two spares have also been made.

Next day was our "hot" exam for LNWRh so a warming fire was put in.

The following day while steam was raised the LH drain cock pipes were fitted while our fingers slowly froze in the bitter cold. It was noticed that the pipe clip supporting the trailing middle pipe that comes out the left side on the bottom edge of the frames had bent and there was a danger of the bogie contacting the pipe. This was recorded and was later dealt with.

The oil pipe to the tailrod of the middle piston valve was found fractured near the oil box behind the cladding access panel. It was noticed during topping up the oil boxes. The pipe was removed and thoroughly cleaned. The pipe was given to LNWRh to re-solder the pipe cone to the main length of the oil pipe. The pipe was annealed and reshaped to increase clearance from the sandbox linkage it passes near and refitted.

When steam pressure was reached the safety valves were set by LNWRh. The reset on the valves is unfortunately not as good as when first fitted at Llangollen.

While we had steam the air pump governor was reset as it was allowing the air pump to run slightly over pressure. It is very sensitive to adjustment but has maintained a stable control pressure. The other loco systems, injectors etc. all worked well.

With the loco in steam it was used to shunt 70000 Britannia out of the shed onto the pit where we had stood. We uncoupled and ran forward a few yards and secured the engine.

With steam on the front end the pyrometer gland was examined and was seen to be tight.

The next day was the insurance inspectors exam. The loco was re-lit and passed its inspection. However, it was noticed that the trailing valve was blowing first whereas we normally have the leading valve blowing first. The boilershop promised to adjust the valves accordingly.

While steam was being raised our equipment in the boilershop was put on a racking shelf loaned to us by the boilershop manager. This has been very useful as the boilershop is closer and more accessible to the loco in the North Yard than our toolboxes in the Mechanical department.

With the engine number now changed to 60007 we need a new Network Registration panel in the cab. The last one was black text on a white background in our blue cab, so this time it was decided to make a panel to suit the cab, blue background with white text. The font was also changed to Gill Sans. (I know BR Gill Sans isn't quite the same but it's close). The artwork was produced by SNG and a colour swatch of the cab blue supplied to the label manufacturers to match the background.

Meanwhile the coach was moved on to a pit at Crewe to continue its annual examination. While the Crewe technicians examined the coach the A side guards door that has always scuffed the floor was raised clear. Also to help with the alignment of the door the bottom hinge was packed. The coach technicians examined the door lock and it is within spec, as moving the door could have affected the lock position.

After the triumph of adjusting the door we then moved on to fitting our new kitchen. First the old kitchen was removed and the cupboard used for food and crockery storage moved in to the workshop. Now with a blank canvas the sink unit and plumbing were removed. The first new unit to be fitted was the sink base unit.

uring spells of kitchen fitting there were jobs that had to be done to the loco, the coach always seeming to come in second place. The piston rods were measured for manufacture of the new packings. The measurements were given to LNWRh who machined the packings.

The fireman's side loco cab door was finish painted by the Crewe paintshop on the outside and was refitted to the loco.

To ready the loco for active service the hopper door lever and the drop grate crank, painted white this winter, were put on their brackets in the corridor tender. The oil cans and grease gun were also moved back in to the oil locker on the loco.

Meanwhile the coach kitchen progressed with the fitting of 3 wall units, giving more storage space. Mains lighting was fitted under the wall units giving better lighting to the worktops. A new cooker was purchased but unfortunately this arrived too late to fit. We had to spend our remaining time on getting the loco and coach ready for the move to the Nene Valley Railway. Progress was also hampered by having to shunt the coach to release other vehicles.

A warming fire was put in the loco so that we could test the electrical systems for the electrical contractor's part of the annual loco examination. Meanwhile, as the loco has been outside for sometime, we had to spend sometime cleaning off rust. Instead of putting oil on the bright surfaces, grease was applied as this would be more resistant to rain while the loco was left in the yard.

Unfortunately the electrical contractor's visit was cancelled at the last minute. So, with the engine in steam it was decided to conduct some other brake tests while the loco was also used to shunt a support coach on to 70000. The TPWS and AWS, and the performance of the vacuum brake ejector were all examined. Earlier that day, in preparation for the movement test the loco was oiled.

fter the steam test the loco was shunted inside on to a pit road to allow some work underneath. The tender left guard iron was found to be low, too near the rail during the annual exam, so with the tender full of water the iron was cut to provide the correct height. This guard iron was the one bent during a derailment at Grosmont, then straightened out. Obviously straightening had lengthened the iron.

It was mentioned earlier that the trailing middle drain pipe looked to be close to the bogie. While on the pit this was modified. The pipe was removed and annealed, to allow it to be bent slightly. The existing bracket was modified to reproduce the arrangement of the other side of the loco and the pipe refitted. The whole arrangement is an improvement. The pipe now is now spaced well away from the bogie frame top, and the pipe inside the frames is well clear of the bogie swing. The bracket is now much more rigid.

The pyrometer capillary was positioned and secured, it now being fastened with clips along its length with the excess capillary tidily stowed alongside the firebox, inside the cab.

With the coach kitchen completed for now, the remains of the old kitchen were removed from the workshop end and the workshop had a good session of sorting and tidying.

It was reported that the handbrake was stiff and this was recorded as a defect to investigate or repair. Now that we had worked down the coal in the tender it was possible to remove the shovel plate and expose the handbrake shaft where it goes through the tender cab floor. The boards were tight against it so the wood was trimmed back and the shovel plate refitted.

With the draincocks refitted the travel of the valves was checked.

Part of the annual exam is to remove all the oiler pads for examination, and while removed check the condition of the journals. The task was started with the removal of the bogie oil trays and pads.

  • Drain cock test
     
    Drain cock and relief valve test 1 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Clackbox glands
     
    The clackbox valve glands have been repacked 1 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Ash deflector
     
    The smokebox ash deflector has had a new section welded on 2 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Relief valves
     
    The drain cocks and cylinder relief valves tested and ready to refit 2 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • In boilershop
     
    The loco stands in the boilershop during winter maintenance 2 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Drain pipe nuts
     
    The drain cock drain pipe nuts were skimmed to bring them to a standard spanner size 5 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • In North Yard
     
    Standing in the north yard 6 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New tool
     
    A new tool has been made to fit the LNER washout cock 7 March 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales .
  • Relief valves
     
    The left drain cock and relief valves, and pipes refitted 7 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • The pyrometer
     
    The pyrometer sensing element in the right steam pipe 7 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Steam test
     
    Steam test 8 March 2023.
    Photograph © SNGLT/Trevor Camp.
  • Shunting
     
    During the steam test 60007 is used to shunt the shed 8 March 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Loco door
     
    After repainting the fireman's side loco door is refitted 16 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Piston rod
     
    The right piston rod is measured for new packings 16 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New tool
     
    Our new tool also fits the clackbox shut off valve 16 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New kitchen
     
    Our new kitchen taking shape 20 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • North yard
     
    Still in the north yard 21 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Drain cock pipe
     
    The trailing middle drain cock pipe now secured on a shorter more rigid bracket22 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Left tender guard
     
    The left tender guard iron trimmed to bring its height within spec 22 March 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Shovel plate
     
    The shovel plate refitted after the floor was eased on the handbrake shaft 23 March 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Capillary
     
    The capillary from the pyrometer element to the gauge in the cab has been routed through the loco and fastened in place 23 March 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.

6 March 2023

A new square key has been made for the hot water washout cock on the loco's foundation ring. The boiler is drained and usually filled through this valve and it is normally operated with a large adjustable spanner that doesn't quite fit. Now a tool has been made that fits it very well and should remove the risk of damaging the valve spindle. Remarkably the key also fits the clackbox shut off valves in the cab so it has turned out to be a most useful tool.

With the loco in the running shed the boiler side speed plaques were fitted. They were fitted with a kit of fasteners put together some time ago by one of our volunteers. The cab side worksplates were also re-fitted. To match the gleam of the brass plates we then went on to clean the rods, front buffers and hook and give them a coat of oil.

We planned to take a "works" photo on our next move outside so the mudhole door blisters were refitted and the screw heads painted blue.

One of the outstanding items on our defect list was the pipe from the air pump exhaust drain. A new pipe was made and fitted. The pipe now follows the steam sands pipe to near the rail where it can drip harmlessly.

A defect listed by LNWRh was the position of the driver's side air brake dump valve. On one trip the valve was inadvertently knocked. It was not operated sufficiently to apply the brake but it was requested by LNWRh that the valve be repositioned. We have had no problems with the fireman's side so it was decided to reproduce that location on the driver's side. To plan how we would move the valve the floor under the driver's position was taken up.

Under the floor we found the pipe clamp on the pipe to the main reservoir air pressure gauge had come loose, so this was re-secured, though it involved taking out the floor support on the front of the reverser stand.

With the floor up we discussed with LNWRh our plan to reposition the driver's side air brake dump valve. With measurements taken, a new steel pipe was fabricated and the valve fitted to one end and a fitting on the other to join up with the existing pipe.

The driver's side upstand was then drilled and a hole made for the valve handle, and holes drilled for the U clamp to secure the valve. The handle was remade to mirror the operation of the fireman's side valve which is closed when horizontal and pointing out of the cab, open when vertically up.

With the dump valve in its new position the upstand was drilled for relocating the existing labelling and the old valve hole was covered by a plate. The upstand also being drilled to accept the cover plate. Some other unused holes in the upstand were tidied up by putting screws through. The inside was vacuumed to remove swarf and the outside painted to inside cab blue.

Also in the cab the drain cock cab Bowden cables ends have been trimmed and copper ferrules put on their ends. The ends had been left quite long, just in case we needed to adjust them after initial use, but they have been fine.

The smokebox number plate and shed plate painting was completed with the white lettering being picked out using the white lining paint used on the loco. The numberplate and shed plate were fitted.

The ashpan hopper bottom door is secured with a long pin. The pin can over travel striking the frames on the far side of the loco. To prevent this a ring was machined and welded to the pin. The ring stops the pin against its existing mounting bracket.

The reverser handle on the A4 is "keyed" to the reverser nut. If the handle is removed the key can fall out of its slot (keyway) and be lost. Luckily when dropped it has been found but it could be easily lost, so the key is now secured to the nut with a countersunk screw.

The left piston packing was re-gapped and refitted last year but due to lack of time the others were left to be examined later. After carrying water over during our tips from Southall late last year the right packings have been blowing so it was time to examine the middle and right packings. These were removed by 2 of our younger volunteers under the guidance of our CME. The middle ones looked suitable for further use but the right had excessive clearance, so were condemned. It was decided to refit new packings to all pistons to give us the best chance of a trouble free year in traffic. The packing material is on order so in the meantime the old packings were refitted.

While in the running shed, as part of the locos annual examination, the wheel back-to-backs were measured. While under the engine the crank axle was examined for its ongoing monitoring.

The loco was moved out of the running shed and stopped on the way to the boilershop for our works photos to be taken. We were lucky to have good sunshine. After a brief pause we proceeded to the boilershop where we were located to keep us under cover while the running shed road was used for other locos. In the boilershop we covered the bottom end with plastic sheeting to protect it from dust.

The bufferbeam "A-4" labelling was collected from the manufacturers and delivered to Crewe. It is waiting to be applied.

The new forged firing shovels were bought before entering service are longer than the pressed one preferred by fireman, so one of the forged shovels has had its shaft shortened to match the pressed one. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of damage the M8 stand cover receives by swinging shovels. The forged shovel is better able to stand the heat of the fire, as the pressed shovels have an open socket and the shaft inside can burn.

In the boilershop the annual examination of the boiler resulted in the replacement of a small number of copper rivets in the bottom of the firebox doorplate lap. These have been replaced with copper patch screws. The gauge frames have been stripped down by LNWRh Boilershop.

The whistle shaft is able to move sideways, across the backhead. It isn't by much and hasn't been a problem in operation but at the full extent of the movement the cable from the shaft to the whistle valve can contact the vacuum brake pipe. There is a danger that in time it could damage the pipe so a spacer was made to position the shaft and prevent it moving. The spacer has to go on without the whistle shaft coming out, so a circular spacing bush was made in 2 halves, that clamps on to the shaft. The cable now runs through a gap and is clear of the vacuum pipe.

In the boilershop the washout blisters were taken off by one of our volunteers as the boilershop were reluctant as they didn't want to scratch our new paintwork. The rivets holding the right middle leading washout door pocket had broken so new pop rivets were fitted. One was also put in the right top leading pocket which was not fitted as the crinoline fouls, so the crinoline was drilled and a rivet now fits.

With a steam test looming we needed to refit the boiler gauges. These had been sent away for annual calibration. The gauges were collected by one of our volunteers from the calibration lab and brought to Crewe. The calibration certificates were copied and given to LNWRh for their files.

A blanking cap was fitted to the old air release push-button pipe inside the M8 stand which had hurriedly been capped with tape when the push-button was removed at SVR last year.

In the paintshop the windshield frames had picked up blue paint where they are near the cab, so this has been scraped this off and the frames are back to unpainted brass.

While the drivers upstand was being painted some cosmetic work was carried out in the cab as with the outside looking new, inside the cab was looking a bit used. The refurbished M8 stand cover was refitted and the top cover was filled and painted. The backhead was touched up and the new whistle spacer was painted. The dump valve handles, driver's and fireman's were painted white, as was the water gauge handle.

In the cab the lamp cupboard clip has been fitted with a chain to prevent loss, as the existing oil cupboard.

As a result of carrying water over during our trips last year from Southall, LNWRh required all the cylinder relief valves and draincocks to be tested. This requires their removal along with the cylinder draincock linkages between the valves. This was done by SNG volunteers. The valves were then taken over to the LNWRh Mechanical Department for testing.

While taking the draincock pipes off, it was noticed that the nuts, 6 off, were to various A/Fs so it wasn't possible to get a single spanner for the job, and some nut flats just didn't seem to fit any spanner. This wastes a lot of time, especially when you climb inside the loco with a spanner that fits the outside just to find it's useless on the inside. So it was decided to skim them and make them a standard spanner size. So while the valves were off the nuts were taken to a home workshop for attention.

When the TPWS was upgraded the contractors put a screw through the side of the enclosure that fouls the cover, making it difficult to fit. The screw has now been replaced by a screw with a flatter head and the cover fits easily.

A new cap has been fitted to the right side tender hydrant water filler and chained to the tender to prevent loss. The left upper tender water filler cap has also been fitted with a chain to prevent it from being lost.

The pyrometer gauge which measures the steam temperature supplied to the left cylinder has been fitted. The gauge is in the cab and connected to a sensing element in the steam pipe via a conduit which is threaded along the loco frames and into the cab. The conduit is in place but requires securing. The sensing element is fitted through a gland into the steam pipe above the cylinder through an existing hole.

The fireman's side loco cab door hinges are spread and have been like this since our last period in traffic. From time to time the door on the tender gets trapped under the hinges. Now the hinge has been closed and welded. To make sure the door would still fit after welding the hinges were clamped closed, and the door tried in place. After welding the hinge edges were ground so that the tender door can easily slide over them.

When fitting the reverser screw key it was noticed that when the reverser screw was fully up it contacts the inside of the handle cover and starts to lift the handle. This may also be why the handle cap securing screws are regularly found loose. The cover on the handle has now been spaced up so this no longer happens. This was done by Richard who also improved the cap cosmetically by removing some of the dents it has picked up.

The rear drain on the air pump has been removed and cleaned out after continuing to blow after receiving attention the NYMR last year. As it has continued to misbehave it has been fitted with a new spring which should help it to close. The drain was refitted to the pump.

It was noticed during inspections of the atomisers last year that some blow harder than others. It also appeared that the restrictor holes in the baffles were of different sizes so it was decided to remove the baffles and measure them on the bench. This was a worthwhile exercise as some solid contamination was found behind the baffles. This was cleaned out and we found one baffle did have oversize holes. It was decided to fit a new baffle in this location.

The ash deflector plate under the smokebox door when refitted during the last overhaul has a gap under the bottom edge which allows ash to get under. It was decided to close the gap so the deflector was removed to see if we could reposition the mounting lugs.

We've had some issues with the cab floor with a couple of boards working loose in traffic. The boards were removed and additional joining pieces fitted under the boards to strengthen the boards that are fastened together in panels. The panels have now been fastened down with fewer, larger screws which will make the floor quicker to remove. A new batten was fitted to the driver's upstand for fastening the boards to, and to give increased support.

  • In the running shed
     
    The loco now in the running shed the worksplates have been refitted. 2 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Speed plaques
     
    The speed plaques have also been refitted. 2 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • New drip pipe
     
    A new drip pipe has been fitted to the air pump exhaust pipe directed just inside the rail. 3 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • View of the drip pipe
     
    A view of the drip pipe where it joins the exhaust pipe. 3 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Headboard and some lamps
     
    With the plates on the loco we put up a headboard and some lamps. 3 February 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Put in the boilershop
     
    The loco was moved from the running shed and put in the boilershop to keep it under cove. 8 February 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • The locating key
     
    Under the reverser handle the locating key is now screwed to the reverser nut. 8 February 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • "Works photo"
     
    During the shunt from running shed to the boilershop we stopped for our "works photo". 8 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Sheeted the sides
     
    In the boilershop we sheeted the sides to keep abrasive dust from the motion and bearings. 8 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Shovels
     
    Our new shovels are too long so the handle was shortened on one to try out. 14 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Whistle shaft spacer
     
    The whistle shaft spacer. 17 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • The new pipe
     
    The new pipe, in black, moves the dump valve to the rear of the drivers upstand. 22 Febryary 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Conduit cover
     
    We lost a conduit cover somehow so a new one was fitted at the front of the TPWS enclosure. 22 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Hydrant filler cap
     
    A new hydrant filler cap has been fitted complete with safety chain. 22 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Atomiser baffle
     
    A removed and inspected atomiser baffle. 23 February 2023 .
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Baffle in place
     
    The baffle in place ready to be screwed in. 23 February 2023.
    Photograph © Richard Swales.
  • Dump valve in place
     
    The dump valve in place, labelling moved, floor back down and upstand painted. 23 February 2923.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Whistle operating cable
     
    The whistle operating cable now runs clear of pipework in the cab. 27 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Ash deflector
     
    The bottom of the ash deflector has been remade, a view before painting. 27 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • The cab floor
     
    The cab floor has been refitted to improve its security and to enable it to be removed more easily. 28 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Steam heat gauge
     
    Our steam heat gauge has been fitted with a new dial more appropriate to the loco. 28 February 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.

29 January 2023

The order was placed for the transfers, cab side numbering and tender crests while the first two weeks of the year the loco was in the paint shop being filled, rubbed down and top coats applied. The third week our painting contractor applied the lining and transfers.

When the transfers were examined the A-4 for the front bufferbeam just did not look right, and the RA9 for the cabside was supplied in plain white whereas it should have been in the same colour with black border as the main cabside numbering. After a phone call to the suppliers they said they had the correct transfers in stock and they could be posted to arrive before the last day our contractor was in the paintshop. On the contractors penultimate day I was contacted by my wife to tell me at home, 150 miles from Crewe, a package had arrived from the transfer manufacturers. They had sent them to the invoice address, not the stated delivery address! After a phone call to them they apologised and said they could send out another batch, but that would be too late to Crewe. So I drove to the manufactures and brought another set back to Crewe in time for our painter to apply them before he had to go to his next job.

As I mentioned above, the bufferbeam "A-4" didn't look right. So after looking at photos of A4s, I contacted Richard Green who has previously done our in cab sign writing and the LNER wartime letting, to see if he would do an A-4 for us that looks right. He did a great job, and with a KING'S +, and we have had them made and they are ready to fit.

The smokebox number plate and shed plate were retrieved from store and were rubbed down and a start made on painting them.

While in the store the bronze blower valve body casting purchased during the overhaul was also retrieved for proof machining. It is planned to progress this so we have a spare ready on the shelf.

While the loco was in the paintshop we busied ourselves in the coach. Our collection of large spanners were rationalised and the excess were put in to store.

The coach batteries were examined and topped up with deionised water.

The hot water heater in the toilet end of the coach has been leaking. It always has a little wetness on one of its soldered joints and this is starting to get the floor damp, so it was decided we need to get this repaired. The heater was removed and to enable the toilet to be used the ends of the pipes, normally connected to the heater, were fitted with isolation valves. The heater was given to LNWRh who have experience with these heaters, but they couldn't get it seal so one of our volunteers is going to have a go.

Our loco pressure gauges have been sent for annual calibration and the opportunity has been taken to change the steam heat gauge dial from a modern looking combined Bar/psi scale to a period looking LNER psi gauge, the artwork copied from a rather rough looking authentic gauge we have in store. We did the same with our boiler and steam chest pressure gauges before we returned to traffic.

The gauges were delivered to the calibration lab personally by one of our volunteers. That saves us the carriage cost and makes sure the gauges are handled with care.

The M8 train brake stand cover has been removed for a repaint as it's lost a lot of paint due to being struck by the fireman's shovel. It was rubbed down and filled then primer applied. It has now been painted to top coat black gloss. This will improve the appearance of the cab interior now that the outside will look like new.

The drop grate handle and hopper lever were cleaned and painted. The plan is to paint to white top coat to make them easier to find in the dark, as they were good at hiding when we were at Southall. They have now been painted to top coat gloss white.

We have been round the outside of the loco and measured various nuts and fasteners and made a list of the spanner sizes to inform our large spanner rationalisation project and to add detail to our maintenance procedures.

Our repaired AWS sunflower unit was replaced while the loco was in the paintshop, and the loaned unit removed. The loaned unit was put back in its original enclosure and has now been returned. Our unit was tested by powering up and operating a number of times without any fault diagnostic indication.

In the office the daily record sheets for 2022 that record our trips, crew, loading, mileages etc were compiled and the mileage results summarised in our annual log. LNWRh have asked for a copy and it has been supplied. The first draft of the 2023 certification summary spreadsheet has been completed.

Looking ahead to this year we have been in discussions with LSL about our tour program and LNWRh about the Duty Engineer roster. The support crew roster has been developed with LSL and we have managed to get three more Gresley volunteers through personal track safety and support crew training so that they can be added to the roster.

  • In Crewe paintshop
     
    In undercoat and being filled in the Crewe paintshop. 4 January 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Blue top coat
     
    With blue top coat and the smokebox front in black. 12 January 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Lining being applied
     
    The lining being applied starting with the tender. 17 January 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Cab side
     
    The unfinished cab side lining.January 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Heat exchanger
     
    The leaking coach toilet hot water heat exchanger has been removed for repair. 19 January 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • "Sunflower"
     
    Our original AWS "sunflower" is now returned to its original enclosure in the cab. 19 January 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Lining complete
     
    Back in the paintshop the boiler lining is complete. 19 January 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Hopper lever
     
    The hopper operating lever is going to be easily found in the dark. 19 January 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Transfers
     
    Lining complete and transfers applied. 20 January 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • After completion
     
    Another view after completion by our painting contractor. 20 January 2023.
    Photograph © Darrin Crone.
  • Outside shed
     
    The first time in the sunshine, paused during moving from the paintshop in to the running shed. 30 January 2023.
    Photograph © A Wasilewska/LSL .
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