4253 Locomotive
A not-for-profit company run entirely by volunteers
Contact us at: gwr4253@gmail.com


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What's Happening This Month





Firstly, I'm presently unable to upload photos to the site so, until that's sorted, it's text only I'm afraid.

This week saw more of the seemingly endless old motion bushes being pressed out, measured, new ones machined and then pressed into the rods.  Still on the machining front, the first expansion link die block was completed while the second has been set up and started.  There was a slight interuption to service as apparantly the loco had to be moved out of the shed so the wheelsets from 30065 could be moved out to sit in the field.  Thus half the team spent Tuesday afternoon reassembling various parts and moving everything off the front running plate.  Inevitably, the move resulted in the boring machine (which had taken over an hour to accurately set up last Sunday) shifting slightly so the whole process had to be repeated this Sunday.

Therefore, the boring of the driver's side valve chest that we had anticipated completing this week still requires one more pass.  More activity on the pipework fabrication with the section from the injector to the clack on the fireman's side being brazed up

and then fed through the top where Martin and Paul waited to guide it into position and bolt it up.

Dick W trial assembled the eccentric rods to the expansion link to measure up for the new thrust washers.

Henry and Jerry checked the fit of the new pins in the valve crosshead links

and Dave D cleaned up the holes in the weighbar shaft prior to measuring up for yet more new pins.

Underneath, Neil and Paul were building up and grinding back a wasted area of the frames where the bracket locating the damper door operating linkages is located.



Most of this week's work has been on the inside motion with more of the old bushes pressed out, new ones machined

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and, after drilling the oilways and cleaning up the holes,

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they were pressed in and both rocking shafts were then lifted into position.  The boring of the new die blocks has started

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and the remains of the holding pins for the valve spindle crossheads were drilled through and picked out

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after which they were given a good clean and polish up.  The boring of the fireman's side valve chest was completed on Sunday with this shot showing it just after the boring machine was removed.

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The main cylinder front cover was then taken off so that all the swarf could be cleaned out

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and the machine was then transferred to the driver's side to be set up to bore that side as well.

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We are, unfortunately, in one of those phases where, despite the amount of work being put in, the loco itself doesn't really look any different although once the remaining valve chest is bored we will be able to bolt on many of the bits that have occupied us for the last couple of months.  On top of all this, the repaint of the 350 shunter continues and the Sales Team attended the Tenterden Lions Classic Car Show.


This week saw more work on the inside motion with the last bits cleaned up, Kelvin drilled out retaining pins prior to pressing out old bushes

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while Pete C set up the new die blocks for boring to match the new motion pins.

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The dart bar retaining brackets were fettled and fitted after which the new dart bar was successfully trial fitted.

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The boring of the valve chest was started with the first pass on the fireman's side finished on Sunday.  This shot shows the machine from the front

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while this one was taken from the back and shows the cutting head.

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Work has also continued on the 350 shunter with the radiator shutter doors lifted off, the front getting rubbed down and the radiator filler pipes removed for repair.

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On top of that, the sales team spent Saturday and Sunday at Bodiam for the Hoppers Weekend.



This week saw some of the new bushes pressed into the motion rods after the oil ways were drilled and cut.  We have a collection of off-set pins for the expansion links and, after trying them all on the rods, Jerry bolted the 'best fit' ones to the links.

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Dick B was occupied sorting nuts for the motion pins and re-cutting the threads were necesssary.

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The repainting of the 350 shunter continues with the filter covers and compressor box being tackled by Dave F and Jim

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while Mark was rubbing back bits for the next undercoat.

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Meanwhile some further dismantling was necessary with the front side covers having to be removed so we could get at the bolts attaching the radiator shutter doors so these can be removed for soda blasting.

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The sheared bolts that held the front marker lights were removed where possible and, where not, the whole mounting blocks were cut off and new ones made and threaded by Jerry and Martin to be welded on.

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This week started with the last of the welds on the new ashpan being ground back before it was turned over again and put back on the construction table.  More panels were removed from the 350 shunter for rubbing down and undercoating while the first top coat was applied to the buffer beam and the side rods.  Our superheater header had all the stud holes cleaned out and re-tapped by Dick D and Pete C.

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On Friday, Colin was machining new bushes for some of the motion rods,

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Dan D did a bit more welding on the boiler

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while others continued with the 350 repaint.  Sunday's working party was smaller than usual due to a mix of Bank Holiday family commitments and attendance at the Great Dorset Steam Fair.  The expansion link pins needed the small side buttons that prevent them from turning built up again with weld after which Mac filed them back to original shape.

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Dave A started work on cleaning and rubbing down the inside of the compressor box from the 350

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although had to move everything inside after it started to rain.  Jerry and Martin were matching the new motion pins to the various rods and then sorting through the pile of castellated nuts to find ones that provided a decent fit.

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On Bank Holiday Monday the sales team will be out again attending the Bexhill 100 classic car show.


Five days this week with Monday spent finishing making and fitting the spiders to support the boring machine at the front and rear of the valve chest.  It had originally been hoped to have one side bored and finished by Monday but various delays conspired against us although, by the end of the day, the machine was in place and just needs accurately centralising before work begins.  This shot show the front spider being positioned.

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On Tuesday, the superheater header was taken out into the open and given a thorough cleaning out with the steam cleaner,

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the holes in various bits of the motion were cleaned out,

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the new pins were then trial fitted and fettled as necessary prior to being sent away for case-hardening

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while others carried on with the rubbing down and undercoating of the 350 and working on the new ashpan.  On Friday members of the sales team loaded up the trailer and set off to set up our stand for this week's show - Tractorfest at Biddenden, where they worked on Saturday and Sunday.

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It was therefore a smaller than usual working party at Rolvenden on Sunday which continued with the repaint of the 350,

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making the injector pipework and undertaking various bits of welding.


Back to normal this week with the usual three days and no shows/events to attend.  On Tuesday we turned the new ashpan over to provide decent access to the underside to finish off the tunnel welding.  This involved building an A frame and using a block to take the weight while the fabrication table was removed, the ashpan revolved and lowered to the floor.

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The superheater header was removed from storage to be cleaned, the new threaded blanks for the crankpin nuts were trial fitted and proved a good fit so the final maching can now be done.

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On Friday, the existing welds were ground back on the underside of the ashpan tunnel section, the valve bores were cleaned up ready for boring and the machining of the piston rod swab boxes was started.  On Sunday the intention was to get the boring machine set up to start the valve boring but, due to shunting locos around the shed, we didn't get started until mid-morning so there's still some work to be done before we can start.  We got the shaft lifted into the bore

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and started making the spiders that will attach to the valve cover studs and centralise the machine.

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Meanwhile, the ashpan tunnel had the last of the welding done which just leaves some grinding back to be done next week,

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Some of the worn bushes were pressed out of the motion shafts, a section of the vacuum brake pipework to the brake ejector from the T piece under the cab floor was fabricated

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and a start was made on removing the considerable amount of carbon from the inside of the superheater header.

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Again, most of this week's efforts went into our stand at Bill Giles' Weald of Kent Steam Rally which, as always, was a fantastic event.  On Tuesday, half the team were finishing off and packaging egg timers and clocks so we had plenty of product to sell

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while others continued rubbing down the paintwork on the 350 shunter.

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There is still plenty of pipework to be fabricated and a start was made on the vacuum pipe that runs from under the cab floor up to the brake ejector.  This follows quite a convoluted path and therefore requires  many bends and joins along its route.

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On Friday, it took most of the day to set everything up for the weekend's show as, not only did we have the usual Tombola and sales stand, we also had a photographic display of the restoration involving more than 120 A3 photos and many of the backhead components laid out with explanatory notes as to the function of each part.  We also put on a large information display about the Kent & East Sussex Railway, its services and volunteering opportunities complete with a mock-up of a Wealdon Pullman table to advertise our premier dining train.  It took two trailers and many car boots to transport everything.  These shots show the information area and sales stand all ready for the show to open

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and some of the people manning it over the weekend.

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Sadly the effort proved too much for some.

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Despite the high temperatures we had a successful weekend and our thanks go to Bill Giles for both organising the event and inviting us, to the Railway's General Manager Shaun who helped out all day Saturday and to the many 4253 volunteers who set up, manned the stand and broke it all down again at the end.  The money raised will help pay for the steady stream of materials and consumables we get through.