OVERHAUL 2015 - 2020
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From July to September 2016.
25 September 2016
The frames were inspected to identify any remaining grime and paint and a few patches were found, requiring a little further cleaning attention and from the needle gun. Most of these isolated patches are on the underside or on the inside of corners. There were cleaned and needle gunned and, hopefully, by the end of the week we were finished behind the cylinders. The cylinders and saddle have had some time spent on them in the last few weeks so they are approaching completion.
The removed combined spring and brake bracket removed from the right front of the locomotive was cleaned and stripped. It's a fascinating piece. Fabricated instead of cast it is quite a piece of work. Originally on 60026 it must have been fitted to Sir Nigel Gresley during its Crewe overhaul in 1967.
The removal of the broken studs from the right hand outside cylinder was finished this week. As our stud removal expert has proved to be so good at this I've let him start on the ones along the bottom of the middle cylinder. These have to be done overhead which is no fun with swarf raining down from the drill, but he is up to it.
Painting continues on the sandboxes and bogie spring components. With priming completed on some of these the loco spring components have now been started. The sandboxes are ready for undercoating.
The cleaning and of all six driving axleboxes and their associated spring hangers were finished this week.
The bogie cleaning continued this week and when the needle gun is available it can now be stripped. One find on the bogie this week is that it is stamped 2553 in a couple of places. Perhaps indicating that it was once under A1/A3 2553 (60054) Prince of Wales?
The piston valves were finish de-carboned this week. All the grooves have been thoroughly cleaned out and the heavy carbon deposits on the exhaust side of the valves chipped off. A job well done completed by the volunteer Engineering Team. Work has now started on the piston ring grooves.
18 September 2016
Work again continued on the frames this week. We are now concentrating on de-scaling the cylinder and saddle castings. Deep cleaning between the frames was continued in the areas which we will soon be painting. Also between the frames the examination continued with an inspection of the large cross shaped frame stretcher and the surrounding fasteners. The cylinder bore dimensions are now being taken with the right hand now completed by our CME, Richard Swales.
Away from the locomotive the sandboxes were inspected then received their first coats of primer applied. Also receiving their first coats of primer were the bogie spring beams. These are the first components painted in preparation for refitting to the locomotive.
The last rivet holding the right leading combined spring hanger and brake shaft bracket was removed. The bracket is now removed from the locomotive allowing it to be inspected and refurbished.
My main activity this week was visiting the workshops of the South Devon Railway to discuss the re-tyring of our wheel sets. The wheels were despatched form York during August. Since arrival at Buckfastleigh the coupled wheels have had their tyres removed. The SDR workshop manager was very generous with his time and spent considerable time with us examining and discussing the work to be done to the wheels. He took us through the entire process, step by step. We were very encouraged by the condition of the wheels and the cleanliness and preparation of the wheelsets, prior to leaving York, allows easy examination and will contribute to their quick return.
11 September 2016
The examination of the frames continued this week. On Tuesday the brackets that support the footplating from the frames were thoroughly cleaned. They have been cleaned before but required another visit prior to removing the paint and a detailed inspection of these castings can then be carried out. After cleaning they were needle gunned to remove all the paint.
Elsewhere on the frames cleaning and needle gunning has been carried out with not much now to do behind the cylinders. On Wednesday the underneath of the bracket that supports the front vacuum cylinders was cleaned. This bracket can now be stripped of paint.
Work is now concentrating on the area around the cylinders. On Thursday the Engineering Team did a great job cleaning off the carbon deposits around the trailing face of the outside cylinder castings. There's still some awkward corners to get in to but a large surface area has been done. This will allow a detailed inspection to take place around the slidebar brackets and piston packing housings that are integrally cast on the cylinder.
Also this week a detailed survey of the fasteners took place on the right hand side of the loco. It is fascinating to see the small markings, repairs, tool marks, pops and scribe marks that show the loco's long history. As much of this will be recorded as possible. To help with this we were visited by our official photographer Trevor Camp. Using his very high class equipment he took some documentary photographs of the frames.
During the inspection process it was noticed that the leading right hand combined spring hanger and brake shaft bracket is shimmed from the frames and there is a gap between the lower part of the side of the bracket and the frame. This bracket is a fabrication whereas the bracket on the left of the loco is a casting. There is also an alignment issue with these brackets so it was decided to remove the fabricated bracket for detailed examination and refitting. By the end of Saturday removal progressed to the point where it clings on with just one rivet.
On the bogie cleaning was continued on the under side. We trialed the needle gun on it and a lot of the hard deposits chipped off OK so we won't need to manually scrape a large area of the underside of the bogie main frame casting. There doesn't seem to be much paint on the underside, probably because it has not been upside down since it was built.
On Saturday we ran our regular Junior Volunteers day. The locomotive injectors had their first cleaning by the JVs and the Juniors were put to good use cleaning the cylinder bores prior to measurement.
4 September 2016
During our "works shutdown" a number of the dedicated Engineering Team members went in to keep progress going. May that be an example to you all. The work area all around the locomotive was cleaned leaving the NRM workshop as clean as when we first arrived. Meanwhile work continued on the cleaning of the bogie frames by a couple of our dedicated volunteers.
Last week work continued on the bogie frames. The bearing surfaces on which the bogie centre block sit were inspected for wear with the use of one of the NRM's straight edges. After this inspection was completed the frames required turning over so that cleaning of the underside could be completed. This was done on Wednesday and we must thank Charlie Bird of the NRM Workshop for letting us have use of the crane as it was being used for work on NRM's Rocket reproduction. Immediately after the frames were turned over cleaning started on the underside. We soon found marking on the main centre casting "5/3/35".
In addition to the inspection of the bogie bearing surfaces and the cleaning of the bogie frames, the removed centre block was cleaned. The block was turned over and the bearing surfaces cleaned ready for detailed inspection.
The crossheads were also cleaned this week. The oil reservoir caps were removed and reservoirs also cleaned out. Elsewhere work continued on cleaning the coupled wheel axleboxes. This will enable detailed inspection and eventually their remetalling.
Also continuing this week is the cleaning out of the valve head ring grooves. It is essential that the grooves are clean so that the valve rings can be compressed to the bottom of the groove and can spring back out to give a good seal in the steam chest. The grooves get filled with very hard baked on carbon deposits which require meticulous scraping off.
On the mainframes the right hand leading brake shaft bearing was removed. The other three bearings were removed some time ago but this one was stuck fast, not budging even with a hydraulic jack. It looked as it had moved in its housing, this perhaps had increased the amount of force required to move it. As we did not want to damage the casting in which the bearing sits by applying too much force from the jack it was decided to cut the bearing out.
The needle gunning of the frame plates has been completed and this has allowed inspection of the frames to be started. By the end of the week the left hand outside of the frames from the back end to behind the cylinders has been completed. The frames are now covered in cryptic markings. I wonder hat Facebook will make of it?
Though the frame plate needle gunning is complete the gun is still in daily use, this week on the inside cylinder casting front and the underneath of the saddle casting.
21 August 2016
All the Engineering team have put a lot of effort in to carrying out another week of needle gunning the frames. We have completed to the back of the frames with just some isolated areas and the drag box casting to complete. The drag box looks to be good condition.
Up front the space in front of the middle cylinder has been cleaned so that needle gunning can start in here. By Friday a good part of the front of the middle cylinder casting and some of the underneath of the saddle casting had received the attention of the needle gun. The frames have been needle gunned to the front along the bottom and a good start has been made to the box section stretcher that the 2:1 gear swings in.
Elsewhere on the frames the expansion link trunnion bearings were removed. With these removed the expansion link brackets can be cleaned and after the frame plates and stretchers are stripped the external brackets can be similarly treated.
On Tuesday the bogie frames were moved from immediately behind the tender to underneath the wheel drop crane. This gives us more space to work on the bogie frames, released by the wheelsets that have now been sent to the r e-tyring contractors. Once some final cleaning is done to the top of the frames they will be turned over and cleaned.
The superheater header bottom was thickness tested this week. After this was completed the header was turned over and the top was thoroughly cleaned off. It is now ready for this side to be inspected.
A start has been made this week on cleaning the coupled wheel axleboxes in preparation for inspection and eventual re-metalling. The first to be done is RL (right leading), that was originally marked 26 RB.
On Thursday work continued in cleaning the piston valves. Work on the valves started a couple of weeks ago but now some trestles have been set up and cleaning of the ring grooves started.
In the boiler the leading longitudinal stays have been replaced. These had been removed to enable them and the areas in the boiler where they are fixed to be inspected. They have been stored under the support coach which is some way from where the boiler has now been shunted so the first job was to carry them to the far end of the yard. They were then passed up through the front tubeplate. They then had to be held up at the inside top of the boiler barrel while a securing pin is inserted to hold them up. It was a tiring job with plenty of lifting so it was a really good effort by the Engineering Team. With the stays in place prospective boiler overhaulers can now check the fit and get an idea if there is any additional work to be done on them.
14 August 2016
The frame stripping marathon end seems to be in sight. The frames are now stripped to the cylinder block, with some work left around the dragbox area. Not only has there been paint to remove but some areas of corrosion, so the needle gun and wire brushes have had continuous use. Again this week everybody has had a go and the Engineering Team volunteers should be thanked for their perseverance. Inside the frames below and in front of the cylinders still need to be stripped but cleaning in this area is well under way.
Again on the frames the middle steam chest has now been thoroughly cleaned. All have now been treated so they can now all be inspected. However we will have to return to the accessible parts of the steam passages in the future to remove as much carbon as possible.
The wheelsets were transported to our re-tyring contractor this week. Priming the bogie wheelsets was completed on Monday in preparation. On Tuesday, the day before the wheelsets were due to be loaded, we had to get the crank axle wheelset in position ready to be lifted. This wheelset has been in front of the loco but preventing it from going under the overhead crane was the GUV. So we pinched the GUV forward as far as we could. Unfortunately we still couldn't get the wheelset far enough forward to get a lift off the crane, but the wheels were on the wheeldrop, so we lowered the wheels in to the pit. In the pit the wheels could then be moved to get a straight lift off the crane.
Next day the haulier arrived and left his trailer in the west car park and brought his rigid chassis truck round to the workshop. The rigid allowed the truck to be reversed under the workshop crane. The first wheelset, the cranked, was lifted from the wheeldrop pit and put on the lorry. The haulier had gone to a lot of trouble in preparing an impressive jig to safely support and secure the wheelsets. After this first wheelset was loaded the crane button was pressed to traverse the crane back into the workshop but it refused to go. It was realised that the power supply cable had snagged and had pulled from the crane. Charlie Bird of the NRM immediately swung in to action to repair it while the Engineering Team manhandled a bogie wheelset out of the workshop and in to the yard where the truck's hi-ab crane was used to load it. Both loaded wheelsets were then taken to the trailer in the west car park and loaded on to the trailer.
By the time we had trans-shipped the wheels and returned to the workshop Charlie had fixed the crane and loading the remaining wheelsets was straight forward. Finally the full consist was assembled in the west car park and the wheels disappeared down Leeman Road. They were unloaded at Buckfastliegh the following morning. It was a magnificent effort from the Engineering Team volunteers as there was a lot to do to load and help secure the wheels on the truck. The co-operation from the National Railway Museum was outstanding. In the workshop Charlie was fantastic, not only fixing the crane but co-ordinating with other NRM departments to get us access and space in the west car park and organising the use of the workshop crane through the workshop viewing gallery when the NRM was open to the public.
7 August 2016
Our first working Monday of a six day working week went well. The Engineering Team made good progress with our main job of the moment, the stripping of the frames to bare metal for thorough examination. Needle gunning of the frames has continued non-stop this week and we have now progressed as far forward as the centre coupled wheels. Also this week the de-carboning and cleaning of the pistons has been completed and the 2:1 lever has been stripped of paint and cleaned. The packing of the crank pins of the coupled wheels has now been completed. On the subject of the wheels the haulier for the move to our re-tyring contractor was sorted this week and the wheelsets are to be moved next week.
The invitations to quote for the boiler were sent out at the end of last week. We have had a couple of works saying they are not available to do the work due to their own workloads but we have had other promising responses.
Back on the frames the 2 sand boxes that feed the centre/driving coupled wheels were removed this week, with their associated filling pipes. With the availability of the overhead crane they were easily removed and left at the front of the loco for cleaning. The inside of the frames where the boxes were appears to be in very good condition though interestingly while being cleaned it looks like there are traces of red paint. So what should be the correct colour between the frames, white or red?
Also this week the middle crosshead and slidebars were removed. They were measured last Saturday and this allowed us to remove them this week. With needle gunning and the removal of the sandboxes going on between the frames the job of removing the slidebars was set up on Tuesday but had to wait until Thursday before we could complete the removal.
31 July 2016
It's been another week of cleaning and stripping, and I must thank all involved for their contribution. Some new small wire brushes and pipe brushes have been brought in and these work very well. I know because I spent all day Saturday using them between the frames. I know some of you think I don't get my hands dirty but I have witnesses. The new parts washer was assembled on Tuesday and is now ready for use, which will be a great help with the smaller parts.
De-carboning the steam chests has been started. Our CME has briefly inspected the steam chest and said he was very pleased with the results. He was on site to measure the middle slidebars before removal. The outside ones have been measured and were removed last week. While on site the driving wheelset crank pins and journals were inspected and measured. This wheelset can now be prepared for transporting to our re-tyring contractors.
This week the main steam pipes have been wire brushed in preparation for thickness testing and the regulator valve has been similarly treated prior to inspection.
Work on smaller removed parts at the cleaning bench continues, though the number of parts waiting on the bench is much diminished thanks to the continued efforts of the Engineering Team members.
When removing the casing from the outside of the right hand cylinder early this year a number of screws were broken off in the casting. They have to be removed and progress was made on this job this week. It has to be carefully done as the remains of the screws have to be drilled out while a voiding damage to the cylinder casting itself.
The main area of work has continued to be the stripping of the frames. Sections of frame have been cleaned in advance of the needle gun. Good progress has been made between the frames but it is a slow process compared to the flat surface of the outside. However the Engineering Team have shown great staying power with this job. In fact we are starting Monday Working so that we can put in an extra day a week on this. A great job has been done in deep cleaning the frames so that when needle gunned the flakes break off and we don't get a mess on the bare metal of the frames.
24 July 2016
It s been a hot, uncomfortable week but the volunteers have still put the work in, though they have been allowed to finish a little earlier than normal on a couple of days. We have been preparing for the transport of the wheels to our re-tyring contractor. We have been in discussion with hauliers and began putting protective bandage around the journals of the bogie wheelsets to protect them and keep them bright. This was done after the axles received their second coat of primer.
The outside crossheads were removed this week. This involved removing the rear slide bar bolts and packing piece while supporting the lower slidebars. This way the crossheads could be slid out of the trailing end of the slidebars. The lower slidebars were then removed and finally the large top slide bars. Care was taken to ensure that all the shims, packing pieces and bolts were kept in the correct places on the removed bars.
After the removal of the slidebars the leading sandboxes were removed. This will allow access to the frames beneath and also to the trailing side of the outside cylinders for inspection and painting. The frame plate underneath the sandboxes is only accessible from the outside as inside it is covered by the lap from the main frame section and the inside cylinder casting.
Our main activity now is cleaning and stripping of parts, including the frames. Everyday while cleaning the frames we find some new curious markings or evidence of old repairs. Under the footplating is also now receiving a re-clean to remove the last traces of dirt and grease. This is an unpleasant job as the work is overhead and the dirt falls on to the worker. Elsewhere further cleaning was done on the frames which allowed further progress with the needle gun.
At the cleaning bench work continued on the small parts, such as screws and bolts of which there must be hundreds used to secure the splashers and other components. Those helping on this job must be thanked for their patience in doing this essential work.
17 July 2016
The frames have received attention this week with cleaning those hard to reach corners made easier by all the removed components. This has now become our main area of work with everybody helping this week. As more of the frames have been cleaned we have progressed with the stripping of the paint. I am pleased how quick needle gunning the frames has been compared to the wheels, which was very time consuming. The frames in front of the cylinders has now been started.
The trailing bogie splashers were removed this week, so all have now been removed from the loco. The splashers were then taken round to the prep bay for steam cleaning with the valve chest covers removed over the last couple of weeks. When the covers had been cleaned the bare metal surfaces on which the valve guides fit were polished.
This week saw the completion of the NDT inspection of the loco coupled wheel spring hanger bolts and their associated components.
At the cleaning bench headway has been made and the lubrication pipes finished off. They've all been cleaned and now put in to storage.
Now that the wheelsets have been inspected they are being prepared for their journey to our re-tyring contractors. The white paint put on during Magnetic Particle Inspection has been cleaned off the axles and crank webs. When thoroughly cleaned off permanent primer was applied. These are the first components to be painted prior to refitting.
10 July 2016
There's been a lot of catching up on the cleaning this week and all the Engineering Team has helped. The standard of cleaning is also improving, meaning there will be less work in preparation for refitting. The steam cleaner is being put to good use outside in the prep bay on the larger items when we can as Flying Scotsman or 48151 are often in the way. Elsewhere the time consuming job of wire brushing components removing corrosion, carbon and paint has been continued. The cylinder covers have been completed and all the suspension components that have to be inspected.
The suspension component non-destructive testing and inspection continued this week. The bogie's were completed this week and a start has been made on the loco spring hangers. While cleaning the loco spring hangers we found some interesting marking. On one of the plates under a Spencer spring we found the plate was marked up RT.1 67770. Presumably right trailing 1 from class L1 2-6-4T number 67770?
Needle gunning of the frames continued with the left hand frames outside and the area around the Cartazzi on the left hand side.
The first piston valve was taken out last Saturday and the removal of the other 2 was completed this week with the removal of the right and middle valves. To take the right hand valve out required the removal of the 2:1 lever. This is part of the Gresley conjugated valve gear and stretches across the front of the loco. The fulcrum pin that it pivots on was removed and then the lever carefully moved out of the left side of the engine. The overhead crane was used to support the lever as it was pulled out. The crane has also been useful in removing the steam chest covers.
The right hand valve was pulled out by using our jacking set up in the same way as the left hand last Saturday. But unlike the left hand, once the front valve head was clear of the liner the rear was was still stuck tight and could not be moved by manpower. So additional packing was found and the valve was laboriously jacked out all the way. After the struggle with the right hand valve we moved on to the middle valve expecting a similar struggle, this time with the restriction of being between the frames. The front valve guides were removed then the valve chest covers. The jacking rig was put in place and then the valve was slowly jacked from the cylinder casting. Expecting another days work to remove this piston valve we were delighted when as soon as the trailing valve head was clear of the liner the valve was easily pulled by hand through the valve chest. Again the crane was used and the valve lifted clear.
On Saturday we had a very successful Junior Volunteers day. Now on their third day with us they are getting used to our working methods and removed the leading coupled wheel splashers in about half the time it had taken to do the others. The Juniors are showing real potential.
3 July 2016
On the bogie the process of stripping the paint off suspension components for detailed inspection was continued. The bogie axlebox springs and the side control springs. All subject to test were found to be OK and were compared to the specification on the LNER/BR drawings. After the springs other bogie components were subject to dye penetrant testing for cracks. The bogie suspension beams were done and some of the spring hanger bolts. All tested so far are OK for further service.
On the locomotive itself, or what remains of it, the outside cylinder covers and pistons were removed. Later in the week the inside cover and piston were removed, though this took considerably longer than the outside. Heat was required to get the nuts off the centre cover. Even with the boiler off and the pipework removed it's a confined space and it is not possible to get use out of the overhead crane until the cover or piston are moved a considerable distance forward from under the saddle casting. To get the piston forward a large amount of packing was used to make a platform and then the piston was slid forward. The piston was then slung and lifted clear.
In preparation for the removal of the piston valves the outside cylinder valve guides were removed. The equal lever of the Gresley conjugated valve gear complete with the inside valve extension rod was then removed. With the valve guides off the outside the packings were then removed and then the outside valve chest covers. On Saturday the left hand piston valve was removed.
The frames received further cleaning this week and the first section of the outside of the frames was needle gunned as a test so that the time required to do the entire frame could be judged. It was satisfactory so needle gunning was continued and good progress was made down the left hand side.
On Thursday we were again visited by the NDT contractors, this time to examine the coupled and bogie wheel sets. There were no nasty surprises though they did confirm our suspicion that one of the bogie wheelsets has had its wheel boss faces built up with plate. This was confirmed by ultrasonic inspection which shows that they are fastened on with what we think are screws and a sealing weld around the outside.