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OVERHAUL 2015 - 2022

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In April 2022 Sir Nigel Gresley returned from an overhaul which took more than six years and cost about £750,000. If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of this overhaul please click on the donate button.

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Notes from information supplied by Darrin Crone, Locomotive Engineer.

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January to March 2019.

18 March 2019

The new bolting in the tender tank back and beading were ground and the exposed lengths cut back. More of the welding and screw heads were ground flush to give the correct appearance to the back of the tender. The new vestibule arch piece was collected from the supplier this week and a quick run round with the tape measure shows it is to size. The arch flanges are now dressed for welding. The top vestibule strengthening brackets have been painted and are now permanently fitted. Inside the vestibule the loose paintwork and filler has been removed by the needle gunned and the area has received a coat of primer.

In the tender frames the pipe fitting team have been running the pipework around the location of the vacuum cylinders. New packings are in the process of being made for the mounting of the vacuum cylinder at the rear of the frames, another congested area that is presenting a challenge.

Also at the rear of the tender, the rubbing block for under the coupling hook is being fitted. This now requires machining to set the final height. The buckeye coupling had the pad that sets the opening gap welded, though the buckeye hasn't yet been reassembled yet to check the gap. The lower vestibule supports received more welding to rebuild thickness as machining showed more was needed. The end cotter slots are being dressed to take out wear. The new welds were ground down to assist machining.

The tender hornstay fitting is now completed and all are now a satisfying knock-in fit, though the bolt holes require reaming and new bolting will have to be obtained. The hornstays were also di-pen tested this week to ensure they are defect free after their weld repairs.

Work continues on the tender brake gear with reaming continuing of the new, bushed brake hangers. One of the hangers had worn at its lower end making it considerably narrower than the others. This was built up with weld and has been machined to match the others. The hangers have also been drilled and tapped for grease lubrication.

In the loco frames the gaps between the coupled horns were set before the axleboxes were fitted. These are now being checked. It was found that some of the gaps require a little adjustment. This is done by carefully adjusting the vertical position of the wedge at the leading side of the horns. Meanwhile the coupled axlebox underkeep oil trays are being fitted.

The leading crankpin caps have been removed as they need further machining to allow them to fit correctly, meanwhile a start has been made on machining the loco sidebearer fitted bolts.

The lengths of the coupling rod crankpins have been previously measured but this week we have begun measuring the distance from the wheel to the root of the crankpin so that we can determine any offsets we need to put on the crankpin bushes. Work continues on scraping the right driving axlebox. We've received a few mixed messages about scraping the boxes, whether it's worth it or not, and whether it was done in BR days or not. Adding to the uncertainty the BR drawings show that the machining of the boxes changed over the years, which has been interpreted as making the boxes suitable for fitting without scraping. However, there is a BR memo detailing how all axleboxes are to be scraped. Through the fog of time this week we heard from the horse's mouth. A former fitter at Kings Cross has been contacted by Peter Townend, former Kings Cross shedmaster, and he has confirmed that all 34A engines from "N2 to A4" were scraped in. The fitter having experience of working on the wheeldrops at King Cross.

Work has began on the testing of the cylinder relief valves. An adaptor has been made accommodating the threaded end of the valve to which the hydraulic pump can be attached. The safety valve valves have been skimmed to restore their profile and await their final fitting.

At Llangollen the last jobs on the boiler are being finished off before final "boxing-up" for hydraulic testing. The grate components at York were collected together and given a clean over to remove any loose debris. They were put near the loading doors by our team of junior volunteers, for collection on Monday. The complete grate should be delivered to Llangollen next week. At the same time the tender springs will be collected and delivered to contractors for overhaul.

The tender drawhook height is being set. A new packing piece to set the height is being machined after being fitted accurately in the pocket in the dragbox. 7 March 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

The tender drawhook

The tender springs are loaded on to pallets ready for dispatch to contractors for overhaul. 12 March 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The tender springs

With welding complete at the front of the tender frames they can now be painted. Here in undercoat. 13 March 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

The tender frames

The top corner of the tender where new plate has been welded in, and bolts securing the structure are ground so they are hidden when finished. Inside the vestibule paint has been applied. 13 March 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

Top corner of the tender

The profile on the valve for the inside of the safety valve has been reprofiled. The spigot fits in to the centre of the new bottom flange. 16 March 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Safety valve profile

11 March 2019

Large copies of the cast iron steampipe drawings were sent to the pattern maker this week as he seems to be keen to get the job underway, which is good for us.

The spacers for the safety valve spring caps were finish machined this week. The valves have now been taken to re-profile the sealing faces to suit the new bottom flanges. This should be the last operation required before the valves are finally assembled.

New bolting was obtained this week for the back of the tender as the boilermaking team continue to rebuild the tender tank. The rear beading is now bolted in place, replacing the previous rivets that had to be removed to remove the old, wasted plate. The bolt heads are countersunk and will be hidden when the beading is finished. Elsewhere on the back of the tender the countersunk bolting and new welds are being ground back so that when finished there will be no sign of the work we have done. New bolting is also holding the vestibule top arch side flanges in place ready for fitting the shaped top arch plate. This needs to be removable so that access is available to the upper vestibule support components. Inside the vestibule at the top there are support brackets to give rigidity, and these have now been repainted and refitted.

The lower corridor connection support rods that had their square sections built up with weld, have been milled back to square. This has shown up some more areas that need a little more weld and machining.

Inside the frames of the tender the piping team continued their exploration to find a way through for the large diameter vacuum train pipe, clearing the axles and vacuum brake cylinders. It needs to be rerouted to make way for the new routing of the air brake piping and the electrical conduit. It looks like a way has been found. The vacuum reservoir and steam heat pipe runs are on the other side of the frames and new brackets have been put in.

The order has been placed for the new motion pins for the outside valve gear and work continues on the specification for the finished sizes for the connecting rod bushes. The quotations for the tender bearing refurbishment are in, and the order is now placed. The first two bearings are now with contractors. Work on the tender frames also continues with the repair and fitting of the last tender hornstay. The tender springs are now on pallets ready for banding and then they will be ready to send away for refurbishment. The tender spring hangers have now been examined by our mainline certification authority and we have devised a refurbishment procedure.

Work continued on the tender brake gear with the brake hangers and top pins now being drilled and tapped for grease lubrication. The final lower pins that are reusable have been skimmed and their matched bushed holes reamed to suit.

The survey of the slidebar bolting has been completed and we will soon have a list of the new bolts we will have to make. Work continued on the slidebars measuring all the shims, and their sizes are now being compared to the actual shim thicknesses we need going forward to give us the specified fit on the crossheads.

The examination of the valve crossheads, middle valve and valve guides continued this week. The whitemetal on the crossheads has been examined closely and the thicknesses measured. It looks likely that some repair work is required both to the crossheads and valve guides. Closer examination of the valve guides is ongoing.

The horizontal hornstay fitting continued this week with the last two bolts in the right trailing, and all the bolts in the left trailing and both leading hornstays. The job was completed with the drilling of the bolts for pinning and the split pins fitted.

The left driving axlebox scraping has been completed and a start made on the right driving.

When the buckeye coupling was gauged it was found that it opened too wide, so following the BR overhaul procedure, the buckeye body had some small pads of weld applied. These were then carefully ground back to adjust the opening gap to a suitable dimension. A little more work is required to give the knuckle more support so that the gap remains consistent over time.

The tender buffer and drawhook offset dimension was measured this week. This required quite a bit of figuring out projecting the centres of the buffers to the scribed centre mark on the hook. After some calculations it was decided that the hook need to go up so it was raised with a jack and a temporary packing piece was put it to hold it up. It will now be remeasured.

At Llangollen that the expansion of the boiler flues tubes is now complete along with the refurbishment of the safety valve pads, and the pad that the manifold seals on. The dome sealing face refurbishment is complete and work continues on the belly door face. A representative of LSL Crewe visited to see the work on the boiler and no issues were raised. At York preparations are being made to send the grate to Llangollen. To get an idea of weight, and therefore transport we will need, examples of the firebars have been weighed. The other components such as grate supports are at York and they are now being collected together.

The driving axle axleboxes are currently being fitted. 7 March 2019
Photograph: Richard Swales

Driving axle axleboxes

The full hook assembly is now fitted to the tender and its correct height is being set. 9 March 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The full hook assembly

At the back of the tender the beading is re-secured and the vestibule top arch flanges are fitted in place. 9 March 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The tender beading

The corridor connection lower support rods have been weld repaired and machined but will require further work. 9 March 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Lower support rods

Both the leading and trailing coupled wheel hornstays are now fully secured with the publicly sponsored horizontal hornstay bolts. 9 March 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Coupled wheel hornstays

The middle valve and its associated components have been brought together and are being carefully examined and set up before refitting. 9 March 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The middle valve

One of the valve crosshead guides. There are ten of these as we have valve gear both in front and to the rear of the the valve chests. 9 March 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Valve crosshead guide

4 March 2019

In the guard's compartment of the coach at Cranmore the floor has been taken up and the wall separating the kitchen and the corridor removed. When the new floor is in, the kitchen will be extended. The water pipes from the roof tank to the kitchen are being re-routed.

As witnessed by an Engineering Team visit to Llangollen to see the boiler, the flues are being expanded in to the smokebox tubeplate, the firebox end being completed.

The cast iron steam pipes, and the pattern loaned to us were transported to the pattern makers this week. The Purchase order has also been sent and the final drawings have been produced from 3D CAD models.

The tender is still taking up most of the manpower at York this week. The top tender support brackets were given a needle gun and are now in primer. At the same time the tender vacuum cylinder side brackets were given a clean up and have been painted to primer. New bolting for the brackets are now on order.

Work continues on rebuilding the back of the tender. The flanges that form the sides of the top cover arch piece for the vestibule were fitted this week and the drilling through for the fastening bolts completed. This was done after the new section to the right of the vestibule was welded all round.

Work continues on the renewal of the bushes in the tender brake hangers. One of the hangers is worn on it's ends reducing it's overall width. The ends have now been built up with weld which has now been ground to smooth it off before machining.

The last tender hornstay has been worked on this week and it is approaching completion. The work required on the fixing holes is now being planned. The leading set of tender bearings were taken to contractors this week with drawings showing the dimensions we require. We await a quotation for the refurbishment of the bearings. The second tender water valve has been lapped in.

At the rear of the tender, as described last week, the draw hook rests on a block in a pocket in the dragbox. The bottom of the pocket is worn and uneven after being repaired in the past. It was decided that it would be easier to fit a shim to r''s not a lot of material thickness to work with in the bottom of the hole. The shim was fitted this week and the hook put in position. A start has been made in measuring the height of the hook, from which the thickness of the block can be calculated.

On the loco, the slidebar gap measurements have been completed and the slidebar bolting is being examined so that a shopping list of new bolts can be made up. We have a copy of the BR drawing of the slidebar bolts to work from and compare what we currently have. It is planned to get blanks made from which we can make the various versions we require. Most will require new slotted nuts.

The middle valve, covers and valve crosshead guides have been retrieved from store and put up on the surface table ready for assessment. The left driving axlebox crown has been scraped in and the boss face started.

Two of the new horizontal hornstay bolts have been fitted to the right trailing coupled hornstay. Before this the hornstay is again flogged up as tight as possible to ensure it is fully home. As the bolts go in from the outside, the frames had to be let off the jacks and moved so that access to the bolt holes can gained through the wheel spokes.

The new air pump governor installation has received a coat of paint. 27 February 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

New air pump governor

The new copper firebox tubeplate with all the tubes fitted and beaded over. 28 February 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

Copper firebox tubeplate

The flue tubes in the smokebox are now being expande. 28 February 2019
Photograph: Richard Swales

The flue tubes

The new superheater elements at Llangollen on 28 February 2019.
Photograph: Richard Swales

Superheater elements

The rubbing block for the tender draw hook sits on the new shim all level on 2 March 2019.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The rubbing block

The new horizontal hornstay bolts are being fitted and are being drilled through for pinning. 2 March 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Hornstay bolts

The hook is now in place on the tender and its height being measured. 2 March 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The hook now in place

25 February 2019

The new tender brake cylinder outside brackets had new bushes machined and then pressed in this week. They now await painting before fitting. The tender brake cylinders are now finish painted and though not fitted, the space they occupy in the tender frames has been simulated by a wooden mock to enable the routing of pipework in the congested space between the leading tender axle and tender front. The tender brake cylinders are protected by safety brackets. These were painted and fitted to the mock up.

The tender air system water trap was stripped and inspected this week. It was cleaned out and has now been reassembled and is being painted.

The OTMR transducer box was retrieved from store this week and given a clean. It will be put in place in the cab so that the pipework to the unit can be installed. A new enclosure will be required for the sensors.

Further work has been done to the top right rear of the tender. The plate has been drilled through using the old plate and the top tender beading as templates. This plate is now in its final position and tack welded. A lot of scale has been removed from the top of the tender which had separated brackets and angles that join the various plates that form the tender upper superstructure. At the top with new plate going in, this has been removed. So the new plate had to be pulled hard to join with the existing angles. While this was being done the tender back plate at the bottom broke away being forced out by the corrosion. This released a quantity of trapped water. We will now have to remove a section of this plate across the back of the tender where the inside footsteps are, to remove corrosion and replace the plate.

The final inspection of the tender drawbar components was done this week prior to refitting. The two sets of rubber springs have now been fitted in to the trailing dragbox, as the dragbox has been painted to top coat. A lot of work has gone in to this by the Painting Team as it is a very complex casting.

The rear drawhook has a specified height from the rail which can be measured as an offset from the rear buffers. The centre height has been marked on the end of the hook. The hook was placed on the marking out table and the centre position calculated and marked. The height of the hook is adjusted by a block in a pocket in the trailing dragbox that the bottom of the hook slides on. The block was built up with weld and machined parallel. The pocket is more of a problem as it has worn, so a shim is being made to take up this wear and allow the block, and therefore the hook to sit level. Once everything is level the height of the hook can be measured and the block machined to give the correct height.

The second lower vestibule support rod was put in the lathe this week and machined. The machined welded sections are now machined and the ends of the welds finished with the die grinder, blending them on to the main shaft sections. The long springs that go on the shafts have been cleaned off and are now being painted.

The right leading intermediate tender hornstay fitting was completed this week, leaving only one left to do.

The trailing coupled wheelset was fitted this week. The prep work involved dressing the horn wedge edges where the adjustment of the wedges had exposed sharp edges. These were carefully taken off using a Dremel and finally polished. While we had the tools the driving horns wee also treated.

To enable us to get on to the wheeldrop 60103 needed to be moved back. This was done under the supervision of 60103's engineer. It was good of him to allow us to move the loco as their rods are off for winter maintenance, and moving the engine back and forward might upset the alignment of the crankpins, making the refitting of the rods more difficult.

Before moving 60007 we transferred our driving and trailing wheelsets over to the south road in the workshop. The trailing need to be here to allow them to be lifted in to the wheeldrop pit, and the driving to allow us to get the loco frames far enough forward to get the trailing wheelset in. This required Rocket to be moved, which was done by our Engineering Team with the permission of the NRM workshop manager. Meanwhile other volunteers moved the axleboxes in to position with other components and tools.

As we moved 60007 forward we stopped with the bogie on the wheeldrop. The bogie was lowered and the loco bogie sidebearers were removed. These will be machined using dimensions taken after the last fitting when the leading coupled wheelset was fitted. The bogie was then lifted back in to position.

The loco was then moved forward again until the leading wheelset was on the wheeldrop for the fitting of the refurbished leading crankpin bolts. The bolts are put in from the inside of the wheel and can only be fitted when the crankpins are at the bottom of the wheel. The wheelset was lowered to nearly on top of the hornstays. Of course the crankpins weren't in the correct position to get the bolts in so with the frames chocked the wheel was pulled round, trying hard not to scratch the paint work. With the wheel treads and rail greased they moved easily.

When the bolts were fitted and secured the frames were moved forward again to get the trailing wheelset horns over the wheeldrop. The hornstays were then removed and using the overhead crane these heavy components were easily lowered away. The wheeldrop platform was then lowered in to the pit and traversed from under the frames. The wheelset was then lowered in to the pit using the crane, followed by the axleboxes, placed on top of cleaned and oiled journals. The under keep brackets and hangers were also lowered on to the platform and the axlebox top plates passed down.

The platform was then traversed back and to a packed viewing gallery, the wheels were raised to the locomotive above. Some adjustment in position of the wheelset was required and some squaring up of the wheelset by pinching one side. As the axleboxes entered it was clear that the flange of the right side was very close to the front of the Cartazzi frame. As the tyres are new and are at their maximum size they are very close to features on the frames, as we saw when the leading set were fitted. When finally in place it can be seen that there is more clearance as there is a groove in the front of the Cartazzi frame next the to tyre flange.

When the axleboxes entered the horns the underkeep brackets and hangers were oiled and fitted. And with help from the outside of the wheels the axlebox covers were put on. The axleboxes were then fully raised and the underkeeps refitted. A really useful piece of kit that wheeldrop.

With the hornstays fitted 60007 was pushed back off the wheeldrop and the remaining horizontal hornstays bolts fitted that were inaccessible by spokes when on the wheelsdrop. The loco is now back up against the bufferstops in the workshop. The frame jacks were then put back under the frames as the coupled wheels do not yet carry the weight of the frames. The driving wheelset was put back in front of 60007 and Rocket pushed back under the wheeldrop crane.

With the wheelset in the wheeldrop pit the journals are cleaned and oiled to receive the axleboxes. 22 February 2019
Photograph: Trevor Camp/SNGLY

In the wheeldrop pit

Looking through the trailing horns of the loco frames an axlebox is lowered on to the journal. 22 February 2019
Photograph: Trevor Camp/SNGLY

Looking through the horns

The wheelset raised and entering the frames on 22 February 2019.
Photograph: Trevor Camp/SNGLY

The wheelset raised

The wheels in place and the wheeldrop platform locked in the raised position. 22 February 2019
Photograph: Trevor Camp/SNGLY

The wheels in place

The bogie is lowered to remove the loco sidebearers on 22 February 2019.
Photograph: Richard Swales

Bogie is lowered

The tender outside brake cylinder brackets ready for painting and fitting. 23 February 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Brake cylinder brackets

The trailing tender coupling is now partially assembled with all the rubber springs in place. 23 February 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Trailing tender coupling

18 February 2019

More work has been done on the tender plate work this week. More steel was collected from our suppliers and another order placed so the amount of new steel is now stacking up quicker than we can make use of it. One of the profiles for the right curved top of the tender rear was fitted this week and the top curve adjusted to match the existing beading. The plate was then drilled trough using the holes in the old plate as a template. Around the front of the tender the new floor plate was welded to the side sheets and the front corner radii put on the plate.

The footsteps on the tender frames have worn very thin in places and this has been rebuilt with weld. It has now been ground back and painted. The front of the tender frames have been rebuilt with weld where they were wasted and this week the supporting beam was taken out. There was a danger that the welding process could introduce a lot of distortion, so we were please that when removed and the steps bolted up, everything appeared OK. The distance between the frames was measured near the leading tender horns and there is some measurable movement in the frames, however since last being measured the leading hornstays have been overhauled and are now a much better fit, which has had an influence on the frame dimensions. Overall we are pleased with the result. The right leading hornstay was finished this week.

Recently we have been going through the dimensions of the tender frames for the axleboxes and bearings, which are yet to be overhauled. The dimensions for the bearings have been calculated from the dimensions taken, but we have noticed that with the hornstay refurbishment this has affected some of the frames back to back measurements, so these have been reviewed this week. The leading horns have been drawn to scale and the dimensions of the leading set recalculated. This will require checking by our CME, then we can get the leading brasses refurbished.

The trailing tender dragbox is approaching completion of painting, which will allow reassembly of the draw gear and lower vestibule components. The lower tender vestibule supports are now being machined. One has been in the lathe and the weld put on to restore the thickness machined down. The buckeye coupling was gauged this week and it fully satisfies the closed gap gauge, however when open it failed the gauge. This is very disappointing and will require some adjustment to get it right. At the leading end of the tender frames, the rubbing block was secured in place. A new stud was made at York and new bolting used.

As the draincock overhaul is complete, and the operating links complete, all the valve faces on the bottom of the cylinders for the draincocks have been cleaned off this week. Meanwhile we are looking at putting together an arrangement so that the pressure relief valves can be tested.

Work continues on the tender brakegear, preparing the brake hanger holes by carefully drilling through the deformed holes removing the minimum of material. The first of the hanger bottom holes was re-bushed this week. After the bushes were pressed in they were then reamed. The refurbished recovered pin was then tried for fit and it's a good job. Only seven more to go.

All the lower slidebars are now in position, and the positioning relative to the top slidebars is being measured. The length of the outside crank pins have been measured and the bolts for the leading crankpins polished to remove water staining and some minor marking. The drawings for the crank pin side-rod bushes are now being prepared. The fitting of the left trailing axlebox has been completed so the axleboxes for the trailing wheelset are complete. A start has been made on the left driving.

Activity on the piping of the locomotive proceeds with work progressing in a number of areas. The pipe from the vacuum clutch valve and steam sands valve both on the reverser column have been installed now that a work platform has been put in place. Two of the cast iron steam pipes that are to be renewed have been put on a pallet with the pattern for the third. It is planned to send these to the pattern makers as soon as the pallet is wrapped. New drawings for the steam pipes have been produced and these will follow the pallet.

The tender water valves are now being examined and refurbished. One valve is now lapped in and the second one begun. It looks like new spacing washers will be required for the valves and one has damage to the bottom which will require repair.

At Llangollen there's been plenty of activity on our boiler. All the tubes and flues have been expanded in the smokebox and work continues on the crown pads. The safety valves are at York. As previously reported, we now have new springs so the valves can be reassembled. When the springs were fitted in the valves it was found that they do not seat correctly. It had been assumed that the old springs were wasted so being a different size the spring locating rings had been modified with a spacer to take up the loss of material from the old springs. So if we took the spacers out, the new springs would just drop in. However, it looks like the locating rings were machined back to allow the spacers to be a reasonable thickness. So we will have to modify this arrangement to suit the new springs. On reflection it may be that the LNER/BR(E) springs were replaced by BR standard springs, which are made from a smaller section material and would require the additional spacers.

The trailing dragbox is painted to undercoat. We will soon be able to reassemble the trailing drawgear. 13 February 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

The trailing dragbox

The crankpin lengths are measured so that the length of the siderod bushes can be specified. 14 February 2019
Photograph: Richard Swales

The crankpin lengths

The leading crankpin bolts have been refurbished and are ready for fitting. They rest on one of the caps that require further work to return them to specification. 16 February 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Leading crankpin bolts

The vestibule lower supports are now having the weld added to rebuild them machined back prior to fitting. 16 February 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Vestibule lower supports

The tender rubbing block was refitted this week. 16 February 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Tender rubbing block

The safety valves are being assembled with new components. 16 February 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The safety valves

One of the tender brake hangers is fitted with new bushes and one of the reconditioned pins fitted. 16 February 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Tender brake hanger

11 February 2019

The vacuum reservoir cylinder that is mounted under the tender trailing dragbox has now received coats of paint. When it was being moved about it was clear that there was a fair amount of loose scale in the tank so the tank was upended and shaken and a fair amount of debris was got out of it. The surface where the mounting straps hold the tank showed pitting, nothing too serious but they have been filled and painted over which will minimise corrosion in the future.

On Tuesday a group of us went over to the NRM store and we received a full set of tender brake hangers. These are substantial forgings and look to be unused. These have been gifted by the NRM to us and will be put in our store for possible future use. Meanwhile work on the refurbishment of the existing hangers is ongoing. This week the lower end holes have been drilled out on the large Archdale drill. Some were already bushed but all show wear. They will all now be bushed. The corresponding pins are being recovered by skimming to a common size. Most have cleaned up well though not all and those that do not will be scrapped.

The tender spring hangers are being worked through, dressing any damage they have picked up and cleaning out the threads and nuts prior to evaluation.

The last two drain cocks have been successfully pressure tested. This has turned in to quite a saga and we had reached the point where we were going to get new housings cast, however we have managed to recover the last two just before being consigned to the scrap bin. Just to recap, most of the valve bodies had heavy wear from the operating rods. The area of wear was built up with braze or bronze weld. The slots for the operating rods were then dressed and valves and rods tried in place on the loco and operation was good. Then when we pressure tested them a number leaked, we think due to previous leak paths being uncovered by the heat of the brazing. The leaks were then traced, the surfaces prepped and silver soldered. However, we now don't have access to acetylene so had to use propane which requires much more gas, so there is much more blow tending to blow the silver solder from where it is needed. Great care and patience is needed but it has saved us a lot of money and work in not having to get new castings.

The lower slidebars are now being put up so that the distances between the bars where the crossheads slide can be measured.

Repair work to the tender tank continues. New steel is now at York that will allow us to replace a large section at the rear top of the tank. We also now have steel profiles and rolled to shape sections for the top of the vestibule. The internal drain pipes and the hydrant filler pipe have been hammer tested and they all seem to be sound, though a new joint for the filler pipe will be required against the bottom of the tank.

The scraping of the left trailing axlebox is nearly complete. One more rub on the blue and that should be it.

The pipe fitting team have installed a platform in front of the cab, across the top of the loco frames to access the steam sands pipework that runs down the front of the reverser column. This pipe is now being formed, the old pipe has been scrapped. The platform will also allow progress on a number of pipe runs including the OTMR sensor pipes.

The new safety valve springs are now at York. They have been checked dimensionally and will be fitted to the safety valves before being sent to Llangollen.

The right leading tender hornstay fitting is continuing. The built up weld has been filed back and a new hole drilled through the leading end. Further work is to be done before we are happy with the fit. A new rivet was put in one of the spring hanger brackets, held up with a snap specially machined to give us the access across the flange of the bracket. The welding at the front of the frames to restore the plate thickness is now complete and has had a grinder ran over it to take off any sharpness or edges that could catch or break the paint. This area has now received coats of primer.

The tender rubbing block that rubs against the loco trailing bufferbeam was put up. New bolting has been obtained, but the bolts need shortening. Longer bolts were bought because they were cheaper and they are easily shortened. One of the existing studs at the top of the block is short so this has been removed a new one will be made.

The lower slidebars are now being fitted. 6 February 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Lower slidebars fitted

New plate has been welded in to the wasted section inside the corridor at the rear of the tank. 7 February 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

New plate

The welding is now complete on the tender frames and has been prime painted. 7 February 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

Welding is now complete

Painting of the tender frames is progressing. The frames are now white gloss inside and the trailing dragbox is now painted in primer. 7 February 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

Painting tender frames

New safety valves springs have now been delivered to York. A new valve next to one of our old valves. 10 February 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

New safety valves springs

A new rivet has been put in one of the tender spring hanger brackets. Luckily it didn't loosen its neighbours so these can be left as they are. 10 February 2019

New rivet

2 February 2019

The plating team has been hard at work at the back of the tender preparing for the fitting of our new steelwork. Unfortunately getting the new rolled and profiled steel from our suppliers is taking longer than expected so it directed its efforts to straightening out the lower edge of the rear tender flange where the tank is fastened down to the tender frames. The team's done a great job in straightening the plate but when clamped to the frames it will have to be shimmed to prevent it from bending again.

The re-bushing of the tender frames where the brake hangers are suspended by pins is being continued. The holes in the frames have seen some wear, some worse than others so the bushes have been made as a bit of a compromise to get them within spec. Unfortunately the trailing holes are in very poor condition and when the new bushes were fitted they could not be made to give a satisfactory fit on the hanger pin. We are now considering ways of re-machining the holes.

The pins for the bottom of the hangers vary in their condition and in size. To determine if some could be recovered to be used elsewhere in the hanger bottoms one was skimmed on the lathe. The result was good but it will have to be dimensionally checked to ensure it can be reused. This work is ongoing.

The last coupled axlebox main spring hanger pin has been examined for defects and is suitable for use. Further testing of components has included brake pull rods from both loco and tender. It was noted that one of the loco rods is marked W1. Testing has including pressure testing the tender vacuum reservoir tank. It was pressurised and left for a couple of hours, and checked with leak detector. It showed no leaks. It will now be painted and remounted in position under the tender trailing dragbox.

The mounting straps for the vacuum cylinder have had new ends welded on. The plates were made and tacked then finish welded. These fasten the tank to the bottom of the trailing dragbox below the rear coupling. Inside the dragbox the coupling rubber springs are guided by side plates fixed in to the dragbox. These are worn and have allowed the rubber springs to rotate out of alignment. New plates have now been made and are welded in position to prevent this in future. The plates were welded in and then dressed so the the rubber springs can move easily across them.

The mounting brackets for the air tanks on the top rear of the tender were descaled. Some of the steel was very thin so new pieces were made and have now been welded in. The brackets are now being painted.

The right leading tender hornstay has been built up with weld before final fitting, and the building up with weld of the inside leading tender frames has continued.

The new pipework to the loco leading vacuum brake cylinders has been installed and a very smart job has been done. After examining 4468 it was noted that Mallard's arrangement had near identical pipework to 60007's, however the flexi pipes were very short and pulled into very tight radii. These shorter flexis are now not available as standard items and though we may be able to have specials manufactured it would be at a considerable cost above off-the-shelf items. Now we can use the longer standard hoses, without fouling the bogie. During the last period in traffic chafing of these hoses was a problem.

The alignment of the upper slidebars is now complete with the LH being completed. The lower slidebars have now been moved to the loco and given a clean down, and the next task is to put them up. The bolting for the slidebars requires attention. We are hopeful that some can be reused but to manufacture new, drawings have been identified in the NRM library these were retrieved and photos taken.

The right trailing coupled axlebox was finished scraped last week so this week the underkeep bracket received its final fitting. The horn faces of the axleboxes need a bit of finishing and tidying up of oil grooves, damage accrued during lifting on and off journals and in the flange corners to clear the loco horn edge radius. This is ongoing. The left trailing axlebox returned from repair is now being scraped with the crown now completed.

The tender water gauge valve has been ground in and a sketch has been made of the adaptor that links it to the water gauge pipe. The old adaptor is corroded beyond recovery and new one will have to be made. The water gauge pipe has been cleaned and painted.

At Llangollen all 350 crown stays have now been caulked on the copper side of the firebox with the ends trimmed on the steel side for riveting over. Approximately half now being complete. The small tubes in the smokebox have now been expanded.

Some of the loco brake pull rods undergoing examination for defects on 22 January 2019.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Loco brake pull rods

Ian looks admiringly at his refurbished air cylinder brackets on 23 January 2019.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Refurbished brackets

One of the loco brake pull rods is marked W1 at both ends. Could this be from the hush-hush?. 23 January 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Pull rod marked W1

The water gauge or level indicator from the front of the tender. 26 January 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

The water gauge

The vacuum reservoir tank is pressure tested to inspect for leaks on 29 January 2019.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Vacuum reservoir tank

The vacuum reservoir tank tested ok so was soon painted. 31 January 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

Vacuum reservoir tank

22 January 2019

New outer tender vacuum brake cylinders brackets have now been fabricated by contractors and were collected this week. The brake cylinder trunnons were measured and these dimensions will be used to machine the new brackets. This was done by our training placement student, with us as part of his BESTT course on locomotive overhaul.

The tender vacuum brake cylinders have now been final assembled by members of the volunteer Engineering Team pulled of their other jobs as they have experience of completing and testing the loco cylinders following the BR instruction. After some fettling including honing of the neck bushes the cylinders were declared ready for use.

Two new retaining bolts for the loco rear brake cylinder have now been machined and fitted to replace the old ones that fell to bits when we tried to refit them.

The two axleboxes that required rework were returned to York this week. One was immediately moved to the trailing wheelset to be worked on with the other from the trailing wheelset that was well on the way to fitting. One was completed this week but the other still needs finishing. Both returned axleboxes were measured to check if they had moved during repair. The horn distances are unchanged so no work will be required to their horns other than some tidying up.

The remaining axlebox spring hanger main pins have been polished and are being di-pen tested. Only one remains to be done.

To assist fitting and removal of the loco hornstays, after the experience of fitting the leading coupled wheels, a socket to fit the vertical hornstay bolts has been bought off ebay and has been modified to get to the nuts nearest the loco frames. These are hard up against the frames and are behind the inner nuts making them particularly difficult to access. The socket will be added to our hornstay tool kit.

The leading crankpins were cleaned out of the wax remaining from their coating when away for re-tyring, to try the fit of the crank pin caps. The wear on the caps from the rod side-thrust is evident so it was decided they should be skimmed and the specified radii on the inside of the caps restored. They have now been re-machined. The right hand cap is still marked 26.

Work continues on the pipework, this week more work has been done on the air pump governor pipe run with modification of the governor mounting bracket to enable easy removal of the governor without the removal of the surrounding pipework. Work on the reconfiguration of the tender pipework continues. Fittings have also been removed from the old tender pipework for reuse on new.

The tender air tanks have been cleaned down ready for repainting, but they will be closely inspected and tested first. Their mounting brackets have been descaled revealing material wastage. New material has been cut and the brackets will be repaired.

The tender vacuum cylinder support brackets are wasted where they are bolted to the underneath of the trailing dragbox. New sections are now being made to weld on to the ends of the existing straps.

Work continues on the tender hornstays with the leading right now being worked on. The final dimensions for the tender bearings has been decided upon and it is hoped that the leading set will be sent to contractors for white-metalling soon. They will have to be well cleaned off for metalling so a start has been made.

All the crown stays are now fitted to the boiler and riveting over the ends on the outer wrapper has begun. All the tubes are now trimmed to length and are ready for expanding. The superheater test certification has been sent to our boiler insurers and with the contents of the boiler work file at Llangollen our insures are happy that we are up to date with our paperwork.

The smokebox old cast iron steam pipes have been measured to ensure what has been fitted to 60007 in the past is as shown on the drawings we will use to make new. This is not easy as the end faces are offset and at angles to each other. 3-D models of the steam pipes have been drawn and from the measurements taken their dimensions have been confirmed. We will generate manufacturing drawings from the models so we can proceed to manufacture.

The alignment wire on the right side of the loco required resetting as a result of jacking the engine to measure the bogie sidebearer gaps. We must have introduced a twist during jacking. We are now satisfied with the set up this week and the slidebar measured satisfactorily with our new shims.

The buckeye coupling has had some final prep and is now being painted. Before painting it was di-pen inspected and no defects were found, meaning our repair work on the coupling's major components is complete.

The brake hanger bushes have been removed from the tender frames. Some new bushes were made and a start has been made on pressing the new ones in to position. This requires the holes to be measured accurately and the bushes to be machined accurately so that the fit of the bushes is correct.

The guard irons for the rear of the tender have been cleaned off by members of the 007 Gang of junior volunteers. After they completed this task they cleaned the upper tender vestibule support brackets. They were dismantled, revealing a remarkably complex arrangement of adjustable interlocking wedges that adjust the fit on to the support rods.

The front bottom three lamp irons have been refitted temporarily. The upright sections are heavily wasted and will be renewed. As they are heavily worn they are not now the correct shape they have been compared with the LNER drawing with Mallard's. We are now confident that we can cut and fit material to the correct shape.

Work continues on the rear of the tender tank. More material has been cut out of the tender top around the area of the removed GSMR aerial. A large section has been removed above the vestibule to the top beading and has been taken to contractors and will be used as a template to cut new material. The top of the vestibule is to be remade with plate rolled to the shape of a wooden template taken from the old steelwork. The last welding was done to the underneath of the new floorplate at the cab end of the tender.

At the rear of the tender old platework is cut out. 15 January 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Old tender platework

The front lamp irons are heavily worn and were put on the loco to get the angles correct for the repair. 17 January 2019
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

The front lamp irons

Pins from the buckeye coupling and coupled axleboxes are inspected for defects. 17 January 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Coupling & axlebox pins

The top of the corridor connection at the back of the tender is supported by square section rods that pass through these brackets with adjustable wedges. 19 January 2019
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Brackets with adj wedges

The cast iron steam pipes that fasten on to the cylinder tops are measured to ensure the new ones will be to the same dimensions. 19 January 2019
Photograph: Richard Swales

A cast iron steam pipe

7 January 2019

The tender hornstay overhaul continued with the completion of the right trailing. The right leading has been welded and awaits fitting.

Work continues on the back of the tender platework. The top beading is backed with a curved angle which is wasted and is now being removed. The platework below the beading and around the vestibule is mostly composed of fresh air and the remnants of rivets and pieces of stray bracketry are being steadily removed to make way for new platework.

The tender buckeye coupling lock was welded, following the BR overhaul instruction. The buckeye was reassembled this week and the lock width adjusted to provide the correct closing gap. The buckeye was then dismantled, and has been further cleaned and stripped of remaining paint to enable final di-pen inspection.

The tender brake gear is now being worked through with the brake pins and bushes being examined. Wear is clearly apparent on the bushes in the tender frames so these are now being removed in preparation for replacement. It was decided to tackle the tender first as the brake hangers are much easier to fit to the tender frames with the tank removed.

The tender water valves have now been temporarily put in the tender frames to provide a better idea of where pipework at the front of the tender can be routed. Meanwhile the installation of the steam supply pipework to the governor progresses.

The loco sidebearer faces were skimmed over the Christmas break, to make them true to the bogie mounted sidebearer plates. The sidebearers limit the roll at the front of the loco. The dimensions taken before Christmas were used to calculate the necessary material to be removed. The sidebearers were refitted to the loco this week by lowering the bogie on the wheeldrop sufficiently to gain access to the lower edge of the loco frames where the sidebearers are fitted. The bogie was then re-raised and the gaps measured again. The left side measured to spec but the gap on the right was excessive. This was expected as the gap here was going to exceed spec as the bearer had curved during welding and more material had to be removed to get it flat. The loco frames were then moved off the wheeldrop back on to plain track near the buffer stop and it was noticed immediately that the loco was "sitting" differently and the sidebearer gaps had changed. We expected that movement of the engine would lead to settling on the new bearing discs between the bogie and loco frames and standing on different rail would effect the gaps.

To try and get a true measurement of the sidebearer gaps the level of the frames and the bogie were carefully measured and found that the mainframes were leaning and loading one side of the bogie. So, the loco frames were jacked while the spring load on the bogie wheels was adjusted until both bogie and loco frames were level. In this state the sidebearer gaps were measured again. As expected after first fitting, the sidebearers require another finishing skim and this time we have some good measurement to work from.

With the bogie now in place the outside drain cock operating shaft has been installed and connected to the rest of the drain cock operating mechanism.

Further machining has been done to the side rod bush castings with both leading and trailing pairs machined over all cast surfaces. The trailing crankpin end fittings have been trail fitted before measurements being taken which will fix the overall length of the bushes on these crankpins.

Work continues on pressure testing the drain cocks. Two of the castings show porosity and were sealed by soldering before Christmas, however this has not totally stopped the leaks, so they have been re-soldered and await further testing.

The long conduit that runs along the left footplate angle has been paint stripped. It's always looked a bit tatty as the paint doesn't adhere well to the galvanised surface. Some special primer designed for coating galvanised surfaces has now been tried and this should improve paint adherence.

The horizontal hornstay bolts sponsored through the pages of Chime are now all machined to their fitted diameters. They require drilling through for split pining.

The right driving axlebox returned from contractors after repair to the hornface was put up on the surface table and measured. The measurements will be used to set the horn gap on the loco.

The tender brake cylinders have been reassembled. Some further work is required to enable smooth operation as the fit of the piston rods in the new neck bushes seems tight. These cylinders are different from the cylinders on the loco in that the neck bushes are located in the covers not in the cylinder casting, so a little more clearance is required.

The trailing left crank pin end is fitted with the crank for the speedo drive. The gap between the crank and the face of the wheel will fix the length of the bearing bush fitted to this crankpin.

The flue tubes in the boiler at Llangollen are trimmed to length.
Photograph: Paul Aston

3 January 2019

The trailing left crank pin end is fitted with the crank for the speedo drive. The gap between the crank and the face of the wheel will fix the length of the bearing bush fitted to this crankpin.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

5 January 2019

The sidebearer on the left. The loco frames are resting on the top of the bogie when moved off the wheeldrop. When levelled the gap appeared and was measured.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

5 January 2019

The outside draincock cross shaft has been fitted.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

5 January 2019

The governor that controls the air pump in its new location with new pipe flanges ans pipework being installed.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

5 January 2019

The leading and trailing connecting rod bushes are now machined all over. The larger bushes yet to do.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

5 January 2019

The sponsored horizontal hornstay bolts machined to dimensions ready to fit.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

5 January 2019

One of the tender brake hangers with the bushes and pins being examined.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

5 January 2019
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