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





The standard three days this week with Tuesday seeing more clock bodies being made, the new boiler tubes stored away in one of the containers, more grinding back of welds on the new ashpan and a start made on stripping down the remains of the steam pipes and fittings to see what was salvageable.

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The corrosion was such that much heating was necessary and a visit to the hydraulic press before we could separate the pipe from the flanges.  Friday saw this work continue with the cones forming the steam joint with the valve chest being sweated off the pipes.

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Meanwhile Peter was doing more machining, this time on the new rocking shaft bearing we've had cast.

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On Sunday, work continued on the injector pipework with more sections being bent to shape and flanges fitted.

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A bit more fettling of the boiler barrel edge where the new plate is to be welded in was undertaken

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and a start was made on making the new steam pipe smoke box mounting plates.  A section of plate was rolled to match the outer profile of the smokebox

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and then cut with the plasma cutter to provide the two pieces needed.  These were then cut to size using what was left of the old platework as patterns.  We also measured up for all the various studs that will be needed to affix the steam pipes and all the super heater elements in place.  Paul spent a lonely day in the pit carrying on the work of building up the wasted area on the frames where the damper door linkage bell crank mounting fits and the sales team were, this week, manning the stand at the Whitstable Classic Motor Show.


Despite this week's high temperatures, work has continued unabated.  Some of the team were still cleaning out the shed pit we'll be working in and then sorted out our temporary track area to take the wheel sets from Charwelton and one set from the P Class pending them going away for refurbishment.  Others were working on the injector pipework with Benoit, a work placement student from France, helping out by drilling the final flange

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and Colin trial fitting to a pipe.

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Further work was done on the slide bars with the mounting holes all cleaned out and inspected, holes drilled for oil pots which Dick W then tapped using the mag drill and a centre to ensure vertical alignment

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while Colin started to making all the oil pot trimmings.

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Moff continued welding up the new smokebox dart bar in his lunch hour.

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The slipper blocks had all the fixing holes cleaned up and measured for new pins, the intermediate and trailing crank pins had their threads cleaned and oiled, the ashpan had some more welding ground back and Paul started on building up a wasted area on the frames next to the mounting for the damper rod bell cranks.

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If that wasn't enough, the sales team were out on Saturday promoting 4253 and the K&ESR at the Wiston Steam Rally.


On Tuesday we finally managed to get the loco into the shed in preparation for boring the valves and setting up some of the motion - it's been a long time coming.  However, after moving Charwelton out, the first job was to clean the pit which was so bad that your feet actually stuck to the floor if you remained in the same place for too long.

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This involved scrapping as much of the muck up as possible and shovelling it out before steam cleaning the sides and floor.  Other jobs were prepping the dart bar parts ready for it all to be welded together,

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machining various bits

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and more work on the ashpan.  On Friday new flanges for the injector pipework were machined and we started to remove bits of running plate to access the valve bores

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only to discover that the front guard irons had been bent back almost onto the wheels by someone shunting the loco into the stop blocks in the yard.

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Our thanks to whoever did that.  Sunday morning saw a great deal of time spent repairing the damage by heating the irons red hot and then using an anchored block and tackle to pull them straight again.

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After that it was back to the ashpan, more grinding of the boiler barrel edges, marking the slide bars for the position of the oil pots and more motion pin measuring.  We even found time to cut some steel plates for the step support legs for the Railway's volunteer accommodation.

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The usual three days this week with the team finishing off the new doors and locks for our under bench storage areas while others started the job of cleaning out all the attachment holes in the motion components so we can start measuring for the fit of the pins.  Here's Graham cleaning one part

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while Dick W assesses the fit on another.

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Machining work included drilling and facing the cast elbows for the pipework

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and the newly cast bearing cap for the rocking shaft.

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The welding on the remaining ashpan axle tunnel side plate was completed ready to be ground back during the coming week and the middle damper doors were drilled and trial fitted.

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The last bit of fettling was done on the boiler barrel by Neil to properly align the new section of plate which is now ready to be welded in.

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Tuesday's team carried on with the ashpan work by grinding back the welding done last week on constructing and shaping one of the axle tunnel side pieces which required turning it from this

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to this which involved a lot of effort.

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Additionally, the front and rear damper doors were drilled, trial fitted and fettled for a good fit

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and work started on heating and shaping the other tunnel side piece.  Other work included spraying clock bodies and making and fitting shelves and doors to our new workbench to provide additional storage.  Wednesday and Friday involved travelling around to deliver and collect various parts.  The sales team were off again on Sunday at another show to promote both 4253 and the K&ESR while the working party numbers didn't suffer too much by way of Father's Day commitments.  We got the second axle tunnel side piece welded up, the new brackets to take the wooden tank lid stops were bent to shape and given a coat of red oxide,

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a start was made on assessing the condition of all the motion pins so we can see how many new ones we need to machine up

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and more injector pipework support brackets were made and fitted.  The replacement section of boiler barrel was lowered into position to gauge its fit

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and the barrel marked out where a bit more metal needs to be ground back during the coming week to achieve correct alignment.  Finally, I leave you with a shot of Dave J who really should have eaten a third Wheetabix before trying (and failing) to tilt the gas bottle trolley back onto its jockey wheel to move it.

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Tuesday's team continued with drilling the new section of boiler plate, removing the previously cut out original part and then cleaning up the edges.

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The fireman's side water injector delivery pipe was subjected to some more bending and the brazing on of a flange, the ashpan floor was drilled and trial fitted and more clock bodies were cleaned and legs cut to be welded together later.  Friday's main jobs were delivering the eccentrics to an engineering company for machining to size and re-arranging the booth to take yet another workbench which will include some much needed storage space underneath.

On Sunday, the angled sections for the new dart bar which were plasma cut last week were faced off in the milling machine and set aside for welding up.

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Most of the team were working on the ashpan where the outer parts of the axle tunnel needed shaping into the side panels.  Firstly, the plate had a series of long cuts made in it with our new portable plasma cutter,

images/450/Jun 10 3.jpgthe individual strips were then heated and bent down to meet the sides,

images/450/Jun 10 4.jpgafter which the excess length was cut off and some strips were twisted as necessary to match the profile of the side plate.

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Some heating and hammering was also necessary to flatten out any steps between one strip and the next and, as this involved climbing inside the ashpan, Jamie being the youngest and therefore far more agile than the rest of us was given the task.  It just remains to weld up all the joins and dress it all flat again.

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We also had a visit from the Charing Beaver Cub Group who were shown around and one of them produced the quote of the week - "What's coal?"  Meanwhile our Sales Team were attending an event at Quez Park to spread the word and raise funds.


A little more work on the trailer this week with the new brake shoes all fitted and adjusted and boards to attach advertising posters for the K&ESR to the rear panel cut to shape and painted.  The dart bar side arms are tapered on one edge so the lengths of steel were marked out by Dave D.  At the rear of the bench can be seen some of the pipe retaining brackets made last week.

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They were then plasma cut followed by a tidying up by Martin who we welcomed back following his operation although he has been advised that he'll have to make up the time he missed!

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Another curved section of the ashpan has been shaped and welded into place by Paul who then dressed back the weld.

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Surgery on the boiler has recommenced with the wasted section at the bottom of the barrel in front of the throat plate cut away by Henry.

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The thin steel template that had been drilled through to duplicate the position of the holes in the original barrel section was clamped to the new piece of boiler plate so that it could be correctly centre punched by Bryan

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after which the rivet holes were drilled by Bryan and Kelvin.

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Once this section is welded into place we can then move on to trimming and fitting the new throat plate.



Tuesday's work priority was getting the trailer on the road as it was needed to take the sales team to the Deal Classic Car Show on Saturday.  New wheel bearings were fitted, the last bits of paintwork finished off and then it was put back on its wheels.  Here are shots of some of the people who worked on it and the finished article.

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Work on the loco during the week included cutting steel to length to make the dart bar arms, progressing the bending of the injector pipes and brazing on of flanges,

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making a number of mounting brackets for the pipe and dressing back the weld on the inside of the ashpan where it goes over the axle.  All the ashpan fixing holes have now been reamed to size to accept the rivets and the middle damper door hinges have been positioned and the attachment holes drilled.

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The cladding pieces given to us by the 7200 Group have been repaired and painted

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and, on Sunday, the trailer returned, was unloaded and placed on blocks again so that the new brake shoes can be fitted next week.


Four days this week with most of the work concentrated on the refurbishment of our sales trailer as it needs to be back in sevice by the 25th for our next scheduled event.  Tuesday saw the paintwork rubbing down completed, all the old wood on the rear ramp removed and the wheels repainted while Dave F replaced sundry rivets as necessary.

images/450/May 20 1.jpgIt was then time for Dave and Pete to start applying the new paint.

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Also, parts for the new dart bar were being made starting with the centre section through which the dart will pass to lock the smokebox door shut.  This involved setting two 90 degree bends into both the upper and lower sections which meant heating the steel with two burners until it was hot enough to be bent round the previously made former.  Here are Moff and Scott on the torches while Pete applies the bending force.

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Thursday involved more trailer painting as did Friday with the addition of cutting material for various jobs and Colin milling the hexagons on oil pot tops.

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On Sunday we had various people putting the trailer back together with a new wooden floor for the rear ramp which was then covered by aluminium checker plate, new rear light clusters involving a rewire and a new rear top closing panel.  Meanwhile Jerry was busy taking it apart again after investigating a noisy wheel bearing which resulted in two of the four hubs having worn bearings driven out for replacement

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and the need to replace all four sets of brake shoes.  Others did actually do some work on the loco with Paul welding in the curved section of the ashpan that goes over the axle and also laying the root weld to join the first two pieces of the dart bar together

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while Scott and Dave D continued with bending the copper water delivery pipes to shape.




Four days this week with Tuesday seeing the start of making the smokebox dart bar.  To be honest, we've had the steel to do this job for some two years but other things kept taking priority.  We've cut the various parts to length and started making the former around which some of the lengths will be bent.  The scrap skip went, having been filled to the brim so the site is now tidier and we are a few quid richer.  Wednesday was pipe bending day with the team brazing on flanges and forming the initial bends for the water supply pipework.

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Friday involved machining tops for the slipper block oil pots, finishing off the rocker shaft bearings

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and continuing with the pipework fabrication.

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On Sunday half the team got stuck into refurbishing our sales trailer to get the job done prior to its next scheduled outing in two weeks time.  The badly corroded rear closing strips were cut off, new ones made and welded into position while all the paintwork, including the roof, was rubbed back and prepped for a total repaint.  The rear ramp also needs rebuilding and will be covered in aluminium checker plate when finished.

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Back on the loco, the ashpan had the initial tunnel plate tacked into position

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and a former was made so we could start making all the brackets to hold the water delivery pipework.  This is it being used to press the first bracket into shape.

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The tidy up of the site continued on Tuesday with more scrap filling the skip and various parts being moved and stacked.  A spring clean you could say.

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Our new drill storage stand was finished off by Dave F

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who then, together with Kelvin, went on to drill the holes in the ashpan for the front damper door hinges.

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Other work during the week included cutting the missing brake beam safety chains to length and then fitting them,

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test driving our newly acquired 12 ton hydraulic pipe bender on some scrap pipe (and it appears to work very nicely),

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milling a section of one of the water valve support brackets to achieve a good fit

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and making and trial fitting shims to the front damper door hinges so the door will fit flush to the front panel of the ashpan.

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Given how hot it was on Sunday we all went home early although some of the team will be out on Bank Holiday Monday manning the sales stand and the K&ESR information stand at the Tenterden May Fair.