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OVERHAUL 2015 - 2022

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Sir Nigel Gresley is now out of traffic for overhaul. This will probably take six to seven years and cost about £750,000. If you would like to make a donation towards this overhaul please click on the the donate button.

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Notes from information supplied by Darrin Crone, Locomotive Engineer.

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Although work has stopped at York there will still be updates of work that continues to be done at various places off site (Note: off-site work only undertaken where fully compliant with all Government guidance).

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From January 2021.

7 April 2021

We had some difficulty fitting the leading brakeshaft. With the bearings in position the shaft would not enter both sides of the loco. The set up was reviewed and everything seemed to be correctly positioned. A straight edge was then put across between the bearing housings and it was found that the left side is not square to the frames and this caused the shaft to jamb up after entering the bearing. Measurements of the misalignment of the bearing housing were carefully taken and the left bearing machined to its original diameter but at an angle through the bearing to offset the misalignment. The bearing was then refitted and the shaft went in.

The trailing brakeshaft went up with much less trouble. However it was found that the shaft seized when the last bearing bolt was tightened. As with the front there is a misalignment but in this case it is very small. This was quickly taken off the bearing and the brakeshaft fitted.

The upper brake pulls, that connect the leading and trailing brakeshafts were then fitted. The assembly was then tested for free movement and moves well with no binding.

The links between the rear brake cylinder and the trailing brakeshaft were then fitted, assembled with new pins and spacers, as shown on original drawings. The rear brakeshaft safety loop has also been fitted and the protective gaiter for the brake cylinder piston rod.

The leading levers between the leading brakeshaft and leading brake cylinders have also been fitted. The safety bar that is under the leading cylinder levers has been fitted complete with new bolting, after being painted to undercoat.

A jack was used to stoke the cylinders and their connections to their brakeshafts and they move freely.

It is important that the full stoke of all the brake cylinders is available when connected by the brake pull rods and links. There is no adjustment or compensation to the upper links that directly connect all the brake cylinders. The cylinder movement is also via long levers that amplify any error in the brake gear. So it is important that the pulls on the right and left are equal lengths if one side is not to do all the work, and that they are the right length to get the correct movement from the cylinders. After measuring the difference in the existing offsets between the pull rods and the brakeshafts it has been decided that both sides require adjustment and arrangements are now being made to do this. Interestingly the distance between the brakeshafts were measured in situ and were found to be very accurately parallel to each other. A tribute to the work done by the volunteer Engineering Team fitting the rebuilt leading right hand brakeshaft bracket.

With the leading upper brake pulls left off for now, the rest of the brakegear has now been put up. Apart from a couple of tight bushes that were easily flapped out the gear went up well and swings freely.

A new set of brake blocks have been ordered.

Requests for quotations for the manufacture of the new handbrake shaft have been sent out and a quote received.

The handle end of the handbrake shaft that is to be reused has been rebuilt with weld and fitted to the handle to provide a better fit.

After the brake gear is fitted the sand pipes and steam sand traps can be fitted. The pipes have now been painted to under coat and the traps cleaned out and fitted. The sand pipes are fabricated and the welds inside cause a restriction where damp the sand can block. So while on the bench the lumpiest parts of the welds were filed back.

The middle valve covers and valve have been trial assembled. This allowed the machined leading middle valve guides to be fitted to get final dimensions for the machining of the middle valve crosshead. When the trailing middle guide bush was tried in the valve cover it wouldn't enter. It has been re-metalled and it's not unusual for this type of bearing to deform slightly during the metalling process. It is now being fitted.

The outside crossheads are a little close in the slidebars at the ends of their strokes. This is due to minute twist or bend on the bars, probably due to uneven wear. The assembly has now been measured and we are only talking thou's. So we are now polishing some of the lower bars at their ends to provide the correct crosshead clearances.

Work continues on the fabrication of the main steel steam pipes. The middle is set up. The left is well on the way in the smokebox and the right has been started.

The left steam pipe is older than the others and is being tacked up to form a pattern for a new section of curved steam pipe.

The right steam pipe has a sharp return curve to meet up with the cast iron stub pipe which makes it very difficult to fabricate it from the existing pipe or new straight sections. So we have purchased a couple of preformed pipe bends. Gresley did like his streamlined passages with the sweeping curves to the steam pipes, combining that with a sloping top to the smokebox and 3 to deal with all adds to the difficulty of this job.

The tender vestibule bellows has been cleaned down and the side that will be inaccessible when fitted, has been painted. A lot of work was required to this neglected piece of the loco. A couple of rubbing plates required replacement as they had worn through. New plates were made and welded on. The whole thing was then moved to the tender and it was tried in place but the lower vestibule supports did not line up with the bolt holes in the bellows. The lower vestibule brackets were then removed for adjustment and this has been done.

The piping team have finally hard connected the tender top air tanks and have completed the steel drain pipe that connects all the tanks. The air system relief valve has been refitted.

The two drip valves to the loco steam heat pipe run between the loco frames have been fitted. The drip valve to the steam supply pipe to the governor was also fitted but as the pipe is now routed across the bottom of the ashpan it was decided to get a new mounting fitting to lift the drain as high as possible.

Refurbishing of the lubrication pipework continues. The drain cock copper pipes have been retrieved from store to be worked on. A 1/2" pipe cone gauge has been made to help in the assessment of the 1/2" lubrication pipe end connections.

The drain cocks are being overhauled and set up with another being completed last week. Four of the six are now completed.

The manifold pad on the boiler has seen some finishing with lapping of the face to ensure a good seal. A new copper ring has also been made for the joint. The ends of the backhead pipes that join the manifold are being examined to ensure they will be a good fit upon installation. Around the manifold pad the cladding is being tidied up and secured.

Due to work priorities elsewhere little progress has been made with the cladding. One of the new sheets for the left has been lined up with the old as a template to mark up for drilling. To ensure clearance behind the left cladding and to prevent chafing against the new air pump steam supply pipe, a new bracket has been made to secure the leading sanders Bowden conduit.

The cotters for the upper ends of the new Cartazzi hangers have been completed.

In the tender coal space an edge protector has been made for the rear of the battery box designed to prevent anybody stumbling when in the coal space from hitting the edge of the box. The protector also forms a useful hand grab. A new piece of plate has been put in between the end of the coal space liner and the tender front.

The machining of the main intermediate drawbar continues.

The designers of the CET (coach toilet retention tank) have been in touch and have said that the final design should be with us for approval imminently.

Machining the main intermediate drawbar. 17 March 2021.
Photograph:Tony Bickerstaffe

Main intermediate drawbar

The leading brakeshaft in position and the right bearing. 17 March 2021
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

Leading brakeshaft in position

New brake pins for the link between the trailing brakeshaft and vacuum cylinder. 20 March 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

New brake pins

The trailing brakeshaft in position, with safety link and pull rods. 26 March 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The trailing brakeshaft

The boiler top pad for the manifold has been prepared for fitting the manifold. 26 March 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The boiler top pad

The tender vestibule bellows with new top corner rubbing plates during refurbishment. 30 March 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The tender vestibule bellows

The tender has been prepared to receive the vestibule bellows. 30 March 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The tenderprepared

The left steam pipe is having a new section inserted. 31 March 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The left steam pipe

The leading brakeshaft and lower brake rigging in position. 1 April 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The leading brakeshaft

The brake rigging looking back under the trailing brakeshaft. 1 April 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The brake rigging

The middle steel steam pipe is now ready for final welding. 1 April 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The middle steel steam pipe

The middle piston valve and covers in place. 1 April 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

The middle piston valve

15 March 2021

As the welder docs for the fabrication of the steel steam pipes were not acceptable to our insurance company I went back to our chosen contractor and requested alternative documents. Not unexpectedly, the contractors were losing interest so I had another attempt at finding welders interested in the job and who could provide the documents referencing the standards required by our insurers. Fortunately I found a company that assured me that they could and these documents have now been submitted to the insurance company, and have been accepted.

Unfortunately the new welding contractors require us to do most of the prep work. So the steam pipes have now returned to York. A new section of pipe has been purchased and is being used to form inserts to fill sections cut out of the original pipes. When the prep is done the welder will then come on site to complete the welding. This has given us a lot of work that was originally planned to be done by contractors at a time when we have reduced manpower. This is unfortunate as it impacts on other work.

The new blastpipe nozzles have been fitted to the chimney casting. The supports for the blower ring are mounted on the caps and these were also fitted. The blower ring was fitted after heating and adjusting its shape.

The new steel for the replacement left boiler cladding panels was collected from suppliers by one of the volunteer Engineering Team and delivered to York.

The long sections of loco boiler handrails have been stripped and are bring prime painted.

The upper ends of the loco brake hangers were finished and all have new bushes fitted. The centre holes that take the brake block pin have also been bushed. The grease holes have also been drilled and tapped. The hangers were given a final NDT examination and are now being painted.

New bolting has been made for the loco brakeshaft bearings. Both brake shafts were moved under the engine and the fitting of the leading shaft and bearings is now underway.

The housings for the brakeshaft bearings have been drilled and tapped to take grease nipples.

The rear loco brake cylinder link has been NDT inspected ready for fitting. The link had been modified to clear the piston rod whereas the original arrangement included spacers to clear the rod. The links will be reused but the original arrangement will be restored. The link was NDT examined and then painted.

The tender cab floor has progressed with the purchase of new ood boarding. A template was made for the steel floor plate where the bucket is located below the tender front water tap. This section of floor also clears the water level gauge so it's quite a complicated shape. A new piece of steel was profiled and has now been tried in place and fits very well.

The GSMR enclosure was tried up on the new tender front plate, with the fire iron brackets tacked on in their original positions. The irons used to lay across the top of the GSMR enclosure so it has been decided to move the fire iron pin to raise the irons off the top of the enclosure.

The tender handbrake screw is wasted beyond further use. The old has been examined and measured and compared to original drawings. It was found that the ex-service varies from the original arrangement. A new arrangement has been designed that will provide a greater diameter shaft, in line with the original design, but will retain the finer thread to allow improved locking on the thread. The handbrake handle originally had a bronze bearing beneath it and this will be restored. The new arrangement design has been submitted to our VAB for approval.

The main intermediate drawbar blank has been collected from suppliers and was delivered to one of our volunteers for machining.

The repaired right hand outer Cartazzi hornstay has now been fitted.

Both Cartazzi bearings have been machined by contractors and delivered to York and now require scraping to their journals.

Work continues on fitting the cotters to the upper ends of the Cartazzi spring hangers.

A batch of the 60s and overs have now reached 3 weeks since receiving their covid jabs and this allowed The Piping Team to return to work. Work has now recommenced on the tender top, with fitting the copper pipes up the drain ducts to the tender top.

A clamp has been fitted to the air pump steam supply pipe fastening it up on the underside of the footplating.

The annealing and preparing of lubrication pipes ready for refitting has restarted.

The air system safety valve and the drip valve both located on the tender top have been overhauled and are ready for fitting.

The manifold is being prepared for refitting.

Of the six combined drain cock and relief valves two have been overhauled and set up, and a third started.

The coach has now been revisited by the contractor doing the design work for the CET (tank) system and a provisional general arrangement has been received and the final design is now being worked on.

The coach air tank has been tested prior to being refitted and was found to be internally corroded beyond further use. It's not a standard industrial size and finding a spare was a challenge but we managed to find a second hand tank. We don"t know the internal condition until it is tested, but the tank was collected and delivered to our coach overhaulers by one of our volunteers.

We managed to find a replacement air tank for the coach. 25 February 2021.
Photograph: Mark Ashley

Air tank for the coach

One of the machined Cartazzi bearings. 26 February 2021.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Mmachined Cartazzi bearing

The new bolts and nuts for the brakeshaft bearings made by Engineering Team volunteers. 4 March 2021.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

New bolts and nuts

The new blast pipe caps and blower ring in position. 5 March 2021.
Photograph: Richard Swales

Blast pipe caps and blower ring

The air system relief or safety valve has been overhauled and tested. 5 March 2021.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Air system relief or safety valve

The last bushes pressed in to the loco brake hangers were for the centre brake block pin. 5 March 2021.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Last bushes pressed in

The brake hangers receiving a coat of paint before fitting. 10 March 2021.
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

The brake hangers

The handbrake bracket from the tender front has a new bearing fitted. The pits are original casting defects. 12 March 2021.
Photograph: Richard Swales

Tender handbrake bracket

The right outer Carttazzi hornstay fitted after repair. 12 March 2021.
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Carttazzi hornstay fitted

18 February 2021

The loco buckeye coupling has been transported to our coach repair contractors to be certified with our coach buckeyes. The loco one has been repaired at York and passed gauging, but our contractor will be able to supply independent certification. The buckeye was collected by the NYMR who were taking coach parts to the contractors. It was very good of them to call in and transport the buckeye for us

On the subject of the coach, the quotation for the design stage of the CET system has been reviewed with our TOC, and an order has been placed on the design contractors. We are now officially on the Network Rail list of coaches to be fitted

The trailing Cartazzi horn liners have now been fitted to the horns and are ready for welding in place. There was quite a bit of old weld to grind out to let the full length of the liner fit. It appears the old liners may have had shorter legs on the inboard sides

With the liners completed the right repaired outer Cartazzi hornstay is now being fitted. Where it had been welded the weld had partially closed one of the hornstay bolt holes. These holes are 16" long and the obstruction was about half way in. A tool was made to hold abrasive and the weld obstruction removed. The ends of the hornstay had been re-machined flat and parallel after welding so the faces on the loco, which show some corrosion and wear, are being made to fit the hornstay. The hornstay was checked with a height gauge on the workshop surface table and the ends are very good

The Cartazzi bearings are with contractors and are being machined. The first off was brought in to York and was checked against the journal disc and appears to be a good fit. Enough material is being left on to allow final scraping to suit the wheelset journal

The cotters for the upper ends of the new Cartazzi hangers are being fitted

In the office quite a bit of work has been done on job documentation. The piping systems job record draft is with the Piping Team for filling out and comment

Another batch of 3/8 pipe ends have been made and are now at York

The steel steam pipes have been taken from York and are due to be delivered to contractors next week. The insurance company have now agreed that we don't require a new contract for this job, which saves us a lot of money. However, they have reviewed the draft documents supplied by the contractors and have queried the standard detailed in the welder's qualifications, though the standard is listed as current by the British Standard Institute. The certificate is also issued by a reputable independent organisation organisation and is within date

Part of the plan for transporting the pipes to contractors is to collect the steel sheet for the new cladding during the same trip. This is now ready for collection so that's worked out OK. This is quite a relief as I was waiting for the supplier to say they couldn't get the material like others I asked to quote for this job

At York the loco brake hangers have progressed well. The boring of the upper ends has been completed and bushes are now being machined

The leading outside valve crossheads are completed and the jig for mounting the middle has been made. The crosshead will be machined after the valve cover and guides are assembled as measurements remain to be taken of the assembly

Material has been purchased for the new blower mountings that fit with the blastpipe nozzles on the chimney

One of the speed plaques has been stripped back to metal and prepared for repainting

The tender and cab floors has been measured for new boarding and the order has now been placed for the wood. Some areas in the tender are covered with plates and templates are now being made so the plates can be made

Our method for the replacement of the main intermediate drawbar has been approved and the material has been ordered. It will require machining and it is planned to do this with volunteer labour as far as possible. Not easy at it is nearly four feet long. Some tooling will have to be bought to do this but the cost is small compared to using a contractor

The sides of the Cartazzi horn liners are machined to make them square and the correct width. 27 January 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Horn liners are machined

One of the new liners in place ready for welding. 29 January 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

New liner in place

Another set of 3/8" pipe end cones have been machined. 3 February 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

3/8" pipe end cones

The end of the repaired Cartazzi hornstay during fitting. 5 February 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Repaired Cartazzi hornstay

One of the speed plaques ready for repainting. 7 February 2021
Photograph: Peter Brackstone

Speed plaque

New blower support fittings with one of the new blastpipe caps showing where they are fitted. 15 February 2021
Photograph: Richard Swales

Blower support fittings

The middle valve crosshead jig that will enable it to be accurately machined. 15 February 2021
Photograph:Richard Swales

Valve crosshead jig

28 January 2021

As the Covid situation developed after Christmas fewer volunteers were making themselves available until eventually we could only support one day working on the loco. However, work has still progressed by our volunteers in their home workshops.

The left boiler cladding panels have been measured and the steel ordered. It is planned to replace two but there will be more bottom edges to do. It was planned to repair by welding in sections but this is time consuming and has not given satisfactory results when tried. We haven't used our usual supplier as there is a national shortage of sheet steel in the width that we need.

While measuring the cladding the LH trailing cylinder fairing was also measured as this was damaged and for the cost it is planned to get a new one profiled. We don't have drawings of the alterations made to the streamlining when it was reduced during the second world war. If anybody does please let me know. Before you send me photo copies of drawings from the railway modeller, they aren't really suitable, I need dimensions.

The last loose corners on the belly cladding has been rivetted.

The cast iron steam pipes have now all been drilled and tapped for their lubrication connections on the large Asquith radial drill.

Work continued on the front end lube pipes that are to be reused. The pipes are being annealed and also being re-ended where necessary. Further material has been bought to make more cone ends.

A new end and nut has been made for the atomiser steam supply stub pipe located in the smokebox mounted on the boiler front tubeplate.

Now all the brake pull rods have been bushed they have also been painted to undercoat on the bench. They will be finished painted when fitted as they are bound to get a few knocks. Woe betide anybody using them as a climbing frame.

The first of the brake linkage components has been fitted. These swing links support the pulls that connect the large brake cylinder to the leading brakeshaft.

Most of the brake pins are 1-3/8" diameter, with some at 1-7/16". They are fitted with a washer but washers in these sizes are not available, or I couldn't find any. The sizes being made non-standard. So metric washers were bought and machined to size.

The brakeshaft bearings have been finished and have all been trial fitted. This required the housings in the loco to be dressed to return them to round to provide a better fit for the bearings.

The bolts for the bearings will be renewed. Bolt blanks, cheap compared to finished bolts, were bought and are with an Engineering Team volunteer for machining to the LNER drawing.

Work has been done previously on the re-bushing of the loco brake hangers but this was not completed. Work has now recommenced on re-bushing them. The first has been put up on the Cincinnati milling machine on a jig, and has had its upper end hole skimmed true to the centre of the lower end hole. This will remove any twist from the hangers that was noticed when they were examined. The lower ends take the brake tables, which have had their trunnions rebuilt and machined true.

The LH union link has now been bored true, through the combination lever pin hole.

The machining of the trailing crossheads has been completed by one of our volunteers. Now the leading valve crossheads are underway. This requires a jig to be made to locate them on the valve spindle hole so that the surfaces of the crossheads can be accurately machined. This was done with the trailing crossheads but the leading valve spindle holes are different from the trailing so the setup cannot be reused.

There was a gap between the tender vestibule floor plate and sides which wouldn't close up when bolted. So shim plates to fill the gap have been made and fitted.

The shortening and refitting of the bolts for the tender right guard iron, to ensure they will not contact the right trailing brake hanger, has been finished.

The handbrake shaft was tried through the tender floorplate and lines up satisfactorily with the brakeshaft. While working on the tender floorplate the cab area has been measured up for floor boards.

The cotters for the Cartazzi hangers were fabricated and machined to thickness and are now being fitted to the Cartazzi hangers and top nuts in a home workshop.

The Cartazzi bearing that required extra whitemetal adding to its ends has been collected from contractors and delivered to the machinist.

The new liners for the trailing Cartazzi horns have finally been collected from suppliers. These were months overdue, the first batch were made out of the wrong material so were rejected, so it was good to hear they were finally ready. They are now being machined to size and then will be fitted to the loco. They require machining as they can't be pressed with sufficient accuracy to provide a good fit on the loco and provide the correct overall width to suit the axlebox. They will then need welding on.

Getting the steel steam pipes welded has proved to be more of a challenge than was expected. A number of contractors were asked to quote but most were either uninterested or could not give adequate assurance that the pipe ends would end up where we wanted them. Which is the whole point of the job. As the pipes are live steam and part of the insured locomotive, the insurance company was kept informed, and when a contractor was finally selected their documents were sent to the insurance company. The insurer decided that a new contract should be started for this job and a quote was supplied. Now the insurance company want more money for the job than the welders! Don"t tell the welders. I've had a conversation with the insurers and they are reviewing the quotation. If this is how they are going to handle repairs its a major change of approach and will be very expensive for us and anybody else in our business.

After examination of the coach as reported in the last update, it was lowered back on to its bogies and moved outside, while we waited for the design for the new Controlled Emissions Toilet. It had been planned or the SNG Operations Team to go and sheet the coach but at the time it was postponed due to a bad weather forecast. This was rapidly followed by lockdown which has put a stop on the job for now. This is a shame as the visit was also for planning the fitting out the workshop and kitchen.

The design proposal for the CET has now been received and we are examining it before a purchase order is placed.

The little end bearings are keyed in to the connecting rods. New keys being ground to size.
Photograph: Tony Bickerstaffe

The little end bearings

The new end for the atomiser supply pipe with the new nut behind. The hole in the nut will be bored out to suit the connecting pipe. 1 January 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Atomiser supply pipe

Typical of the corrosion to the bottom edges of the left streamlining. This section cut off the main sheet will be replaced. 5 January 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone


The last of the trailing valve crossheads being machined. 6 January 2021
Photograph: Richard Swales


The first loco brakegear linkage components to be refitted, upper brake pull swing link. 15 January 2021
Photograph: Alan Evans

Brakegear linkage

The three new cast iron steam pipes have now been drilled and taped for lubricator connections. 15 January 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Steam pipes

One of the loco brake hangers being set up for machining. 22 January 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Brake hangers

The loco brake hanger being skimmed. 22 January 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

Brake hangers

The pressed Cartazzi horn liners are being machined. 22 January 2021
Photograph: Darrin Crone

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