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


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THE 2018 4253 GRAND DRAW


The draw took place at the AGM on Saturday 12th January and the winners and ticket numbers were as follows:-

1st.        Wendy Brown               07644

2nd.       F. Lambert                    54622

3rd.        M. Burgess                   05401

4th.        Lynn Thorogood          30515

5th         R. Finbow                     11002




What's Happening This Month




A busy week starting off with the making and fitting of new doors for our construction booth which will both look smarter and keep us warmer this winter.  Work on the front wheel splashers has been fairly continuous this week with repairs to the original parts where possible,

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new parts fabricated where the corrosion was too great and then bending to the correct profiles

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and finally, much trial fitting and trimming until the fit was right and the process of riveting it all together could begin.  The upper fireman's side slide bar was successfully bolted into place

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and the initial alignment carried out.  We have also started the task of riveting the new ashpan together beginning with reaming out all the holes

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and then hammering the rivets home.

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We have also now received the water valves back from machining so can start on making the support brackets and fitting them.

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Saturday was our 7th AGM which was as well attended as ever and ended with the Grand Draw.  The winners are listed above and our congratulations go to them and our thanks to all those who bought tickets to support the project.



This week the final weld runs were laid on the boiler repair patch

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and a team from Quantum Rail came to NDT test the boiler welds and also the superheater header.  Both passed with no problems.

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The rear cab window frames were fitted with new pins made for the closing catches and brass knobs machined for ease of opening.  The superheater header had the new studs trial fitted

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and the completed dart bar was installed.

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The upper slide bar on the fireman's side was trial fitted to establish the extent of machining necessary to get it to fit which appears to be fairly minor, the throat plate was moved next to the boiler so we can undertake the initial measuring and trimming prior to it being offered up

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and the splasher for the fireman's side front wheel was finally located and dismantled as some sections need replacement given the amount of corrosion suffered.

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A further section of the splasher platework around the vacuum pump was fabricated and fitted and, finally, the loco was completely sheeted over as, once again, we are out in the cold.

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Our AGM is to be held next Saturday 12th so, if you haven't got your Grand Draw tickets, time is running out.



On Tuesday we all had a day off given it was Christmas but a number of the team were back at it on Thursday packing away and storing the Sales Stand until the 2019 events season kicks off.  On Friday it was back to business as usual and first job was fitting the catch on the reverser the right way round.  This involved making a new pin for the catch as we had to cut the old one after it proved impossible to extract the 4.5 inch pin through a 3 inch gap. The task of fitting all the eccentric strap joints with shaped shims was completed by Martin and the thread recut on one of the bolts that was a bit too tight for comfort.

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The new retaining nuts for the straps were drilled out and the tapping of the threads started.  As the bolts they're going on are 1 1/8" diameter this job takes some effort!  The final fettling of the new smokebox dart bar was also started by Moff.

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On Sunday, the tank filler lid retaining mechanism was tackled by Paul and Scott with the various pins cut, drilled and installed and the latches trial fitted.

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The threading of the new eccentric strap nuts was finished off by Jerry

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while others continued making the platework for the splasher shield around the vacuum pump and then drilling and threading the joining strips to hold it all together.  Once completed, holes were drilled in the tank to take studs to which the splasher will be bolted.  As these studs are only 3/8 inch diameter the tapping of the threads was a little easier and quicker!

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There will be no working party next Tuesday as it's New Year's Day but normal service will resume on Friday 4th.


This week saw the splasher for the back of the driver's side tank to protect the vacuum pump cut, drilled and put together.  The cab rear windows underwent more trial fitting and trimming back of the platework.

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On Wednesday, our specialist coded welder and the boiler inspector both attended for the root run on the new section of boiler barrel

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which, once completed, was crack tested and passed.

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On Sunday, work continued on fitting the lower fireman's side slide bar with a final bit of machining on the bar itself, the cutting and milling of spacer shims

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followed by endless alignment checking and adjustments until it was finally judged right, tightened down and split pins fitted.

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New shims were also cut, shaped and fitted to the eccentric straps.  Hex bar was cut up to make new castellated nuts to attach the motion rods to the eccentrics.  The sales team have also been hard at work on the Santa Specials working all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will also be there tomorrow on Christmas Eve.

Time is running out if you haven't already got your Grand Draw tickets - see top of the page and buy some now!


This Tuesday saw most of the team on egg timer and clock body manufacture to keep pace with the level of sales being achieved at the Santa Specials.

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The shims for the fireman's side rocking shaft bearing cap have now been surface ground to the correct thickness and the fit is now spot on.

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On Friday the cab rear window frames were trial fitted and we need to do a little more fettling before we drill the fixing holes.

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The brake beams had new castellated nuts fitted to replace the temporary items and the making of washers for the rocking shaft bearing cap bolts was started.  The entire weekend was spent manning the Sales and Information Stand at Tenterden for the Santa Specials and this is a shot of Sunday's crew where the splendour of Kelvin's Christmas suit can be viewed!

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Still not bought your Grand Draw tickets?  Back to the top of the page and do so without further delay!

On Tuesday the remaining eccentric rods were fitted after a bit of last minute bush fettling

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and then all the oil pot trimmings were fitted and topped off with corks.

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The fireman's side rod to the rocking shaft was trial fitted, thrust washers made to suit and the reverser moved backwards and forwards to check operation.  Others were hard at work making more egg timer and clock bodies to replenish stock which is steadily going out of the door at the Santa Specials.  Friday involved more product making and getting everything ready for another weekend of Santas where many of the team spent Saturday and Sunday manning the Sales Stand.  On Sunday, steel plate was cut to form a cover over the vacuum pump which necessitated slightly altering the pipework between the pump and the vacuum retaining valve.

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The new motion nuts had the castellations machined

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and new caps for the weighbar shaft oil pots were made.  The fireman's side slide bars were offered up, measured and set but a little more fettling is required to get them just right.

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Firstly, have you bought your Grand Draw tickets yet?  If not, scroll back up the page and do so without delay!

On Tuesday, the rebuilt radiator shutter boxes were refitted to the 350 diesel shunter, clock production was started up again for the usual seasonal sales spike and 4253 was un-sheeted and shunted back into the shed where, hopefully, we'll remain until after Christmas.  Thursday, the sales team set up the Sales and Information Stand on Tenterden Station ready for the K&ESR Santa Specials.  These started on Saturday when it rained for most of the day which is inclined to reduce peoples' willingness to stand in the open, chat and spend money.  Many of the team were manning the stand on Sunday as well so the working party was reduced in  numbers but we still made some notable progress.  The eccentric straps had their oilways drilled and were then moved under the loco by Paul and Scott ready to be lifted into position

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while the flypress was used to make holes in the shims that will initially be fitted between the halves.  The straps were bolted up, next the expansion links were lowered down

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and fitted

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after which the first eccentric rod was offered up and connected which, as the job progressed, appeared to involve more people

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and still more

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until it was properly in position.  Meanwhile the shimming material for the fireman's side rocking shaft bearing cap was trial fitted, the position of the bolt holes marked and then taken down again for drilling.

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Hopefully, now the inside motion assembly has been started, we can make good progress over the next few weeks.



As well as the usual three days this week we also had our Sales and Information Stand at the Tenterden Christmas Market which was held on Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday so took a good number of volunteers to man it.  On Tuesday it was more motion pin fettling and fitting to the expansion links

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while the new retaining nuts were drilled and tapped ready for the castellations to be machined out.  The rocking shafts were fitted after the new bushes had been pressed in along with some of the other links.

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On Friday many of the team were in Tenterden setting up the Sales Stand but we still managed to machine the new brass retaining nuts for the pipes between the steam chest and the centre drain cocks.  First job on Sunday was to remove the gallons of rain water that had collected in the tarp covering the loco which Martin and Paul achieved by syphoning it out using some hose pipe.

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The newly made face-to-face joint collars for the steam chest drain pipework were silver soldered to the pipe ends and trial fitted,

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the new slide bar pins were fettled to fit

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and the front steam heat pipe was removed so the flange could be replaced (first one was the wrong size - Oops).  One of the rivets retaining the die block plates was found to be slightly loose so was heated and given another hammering.

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Finally, if you haven't bought your Grand Draw tickets yet then go to the head of this page and do so now!


On Tuesday we removed the injector pipework sticking up from the tanks so that we could place a huge tarpaulin over the entire loco while it's outside which took the best part of half a day to accomplish.  The first sections of the inside motion were fitted by Dick W (who doesn't look as happy about it as he should!)

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and the rear wheel splashers, made last week, were cleaned up and painted.  On Friday the last bushes for the rocking shafts were machined and pressed into place

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as well as making new nuts for the valve chest drain cock pipework and some large washers for the motion pins.  Also, the rocking shafts had the rod and valve spindle links trial fitted to ensure all was correct.

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On Sunday, the pipework brackets made on Tuesday were welded up,

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rubber sheet for the water deflector under the cab floor was cut to size and fitted, the expansion link plates holding the die blocks in place received some final fettling to ensure they slid up and down correctly

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after which they were riveted on.

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Apologies for the delay but I've been away manning a stand at the NEC Classic Car Show.  The usual three days this week with Tuesday's efforts concentrated on finishing the scraping of the eccentric bearings as the loco is, once again, ending up outside which also meant that we had to clear away all the loose items and also sheet it over as far as possible to protect it from the elements.  Friday was mainly machining with more motion thrust washers being made and more work on the piston rod swab boxes.  Sunday involved a lot more variety with trial fitting of all the motion pins now they're back from being case hardened,

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the building up of the 350 shunter's radiator shutter boxes,

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cutting and drilling of hex bar to make some more of the large castellated nuts for the motion pins,

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the making of two splash covers for the rear wheels and a water deflector to protect the vacuum cylinder

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and a final bit of fettling to the edge of the boiler barrel where the repair plate is to go.

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Tuesday saw Dave F and Jerry spending all day scraping the eccentric bearings, Graham cleaning up the slide bar carriers ready for the trial fitting later in the week, strengthening gussets made for the dart bar and the last of the eccentric rods trial fitted to the expansion links.  On Friday Pete C was drilling the new piston rod swab boxes,

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more washers were made for the motion pins and the 350 diesel shunter was moved to Tenterden for its final top coats.  On Sunday yet more work was done on the eccentrics by Dick W, Jerry and Scott,

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Our newest volunteer Tom finished connecting up the drain cock linkages,

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while others started fitting the slide bars.  Dave S tapped holes in them

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before they were loaded individually onto a trolley to take them to the loco

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to be offered up for trial fitting.

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Inevitably more work is required on both these and the eccentrics so we didn't manage to get as much done this week as we'd hoped.  Frustrating but, as the saying goes, if it was easy everyone would be doing it.  A specialist welder also called in to look at the boiler and specifically the repair patch that needs fitting to the barrel and, subject to our boiler inspector's approval, will start work on this shortly.