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





Another full week with five days of work.  Tuesday was spent rubbing down the cab doors to prepare them for painting, undertaking the final shaping and cleaning of the last bit of cab beading which was bent to shape last week,

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the two spacers and locking mechanism for the front sanding gear actuating arm were machined and threaded and the rivets for the new die blocks were made.  As well as that, others of the team continued with the repaint of the Ruston diesel, a job that has seen a fair amount of 'mission creep' since it started.  Thursday saw more Ruston work, the final fettling and fitting of the second rocking shaft bearing,

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the pipework for attaching the two water valves to the bunker were fabricated

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and the expansion links were cleaned and oiled and the die blocks trial fitted.

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Friday's team worked exclusively on the Ruston.  Saturday and Sunday involved another full weekend  for those manning the sales stand at the Santa Specials and therefore a reduced workforce at Rolvenden on the Sunday.  Despite that, good progress was made, notably the refitting of the foundation ring to the firebox which had been expected to take all day but in fact was accomplished by lunch time with far less difficulty than expected.  Here it is having been lifted up and being slid across into position

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and then manoeuvred into place.

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Other jobs included fully welding up the water pipework and sheeting over the loco as, unexpectedly, we find ourselves out in the yard again.  We also took delivery of some new parts during the week being the piston rods

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and the injectors.

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Five days this week with Tuesday mainly involving making more clock bodies to keep up with the pre-Christmas sales

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and continuing with the re-painting of the Ruston diesel.  We also managed to progress the fitting of the cab doors together with machining a few parts and painting others.  Thursday was stripping a few more bits off the Ruston for refurbing while Friday saw the final bit of machining on the second rocker shaft bearing, more Ruston work and the top coating of thecab window protection bars.

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The Sales Stand was in operation on Saturday and Sunday at Tenterden for the Santa Specials and still performed well despite Sunday's appalling weather.  The Sunday working party included our latest shareholder Martin who got fully involved by cleaning up the two halves of the rocker shaft bearing after they'd been un-soldered

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and then cutting up lengths of rod to make rivets for the new die blocks

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under Dave D's watchful eye after he'd drilled the blocks.

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Meanwhile the one section of beading that we're missing from the front of the cab was being formed from a straight section we'd scrounged from another Railway.  This involved much heating

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followed by bending it, bit by bit, round a suitable sized former until we'd achieved the correct radius.

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A bit different this week in that the entire Tuesday working party spent the day helping the Railway.  Some continued with the job of stripping the old paint off the buffer beams of the Ruston diesel and sundry other parts while everyone else went up to Tenterden to help sort and wrap the presents for the Santa Specials which started at the weekend.

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On Friday more machining was done on the second rocking shaft bearing while the first one was un-soldered to enable it to be trail fitted to the shaft.  Others were at Tenterden setting up the Sales Stand for the Santa Specials which was to be manned for the whole weekend and proved to be the usual success albeit a bit chilly but we do have a couple of heaters in the gazebo now so that helped.

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The Sunday working party was a bit depleted due to the need to staff the sales stand but the cab weather shields were replaced after having their brackets riveted on last week, the cab to bunker doors were also re-fitted, fettled to fit freely and the locking rod catches heated and moved slightly to ensure a smooth operation.

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After that the catches for the cab doors were attached to the tank sides by drilling and tapping holes to accept the locating bolts.

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As well as the usual three days on the loco we also had a stand at the Tenterden Christmas Market on Friday and Saturday which, although very cold, did result in us raising quite a bit of money for the project via the Tombola and sale of boiler tube products.

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On Tuesday the fully welded brake shaft was re-fitted for seemingly the ninety ninth time to check that the handbrake operated properly, which it did.  Here the new arm is seen connectd to the new nut and operating handle thread.

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Others continued with the repair of the Ruston diesel's engine panels while Dave A and Kelvin shaped the last of the protection bars for the cab rear windows.

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Also, the parts for the cab door and window catches that we made last week (on the bench in the above shot) were welded together as seen below prior to being painted.

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Friday involved more work on the Ruston and the manufacture of yet more brackets for various bits and pieces.  On Sunday the cab rear door hinges and side weather shield brackets were all riveted on by Dave D, Jerry and Neil,

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the rear window bars were tacked together in position by Paul prior to being taken down, finished on the bench and then given a coat of red oxide.

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Other jobs included making more angle brackets to attach the cab to the tanks, the machining of fittings for the vacuum retaining valve and the making of a roller bracket to support the length of the front sander operating rod.


Usual three days this week.  Tuesday involved refitting the brake shaft to confirm that the handbrake arm aligned properly with the operating rod and then removing it again on Friday for final welding which, due to its weight, took quite a few people.

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Work on the Ruston's engine compartment doors continued with those repaired receiving a coat of primer

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while others were drilling and fitting the cab window protection bars in position.

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Friday saw various bits of steel being cut to start making the new latches for the cab doors and windows and yet more work on the Ruston.  Sunday involved finishing the front sanders mechanism by building up worn parts with weld and grinding back to achieve a good, tight fit before fitting taper pins and then shortening one of the rods to remove yet more slack.

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The window and door latches were milled, shaped, heated and bent as necessary and now just need welding together while the handbrake arm welding was completed and then needed considerable heating so it could be tweaked into final alignment.

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The rocking shaft bearing was soldered together again for a final bit of machining,

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the weather doors removed for riveting and some more pipe brackets made.  The remedial work on the foundation ring has finally been completed so that can now be re-attached to the firebox as the next step in repairing the boiler.



Main jobs this Tuesday were the turning over of the foundation ring so that the water side can receive any necessary remedial attention which, given its size and weight, involved most of that day's volunteers

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and, after it was in place, the task of grinding out cracks for rewelding was started by Dave S.

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Secondly, the brake shaft and new handbrake arm were prepped for welding together with Jim seen here grinding the edges on the shaft.

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Others were working on the final shaping of the rear window protection bars and we also started another job for the Railway - the removal and repair of the engine side covers on the Ruston diesel used for shunting duties in the yard.  These need straightening, some welding to repair where necessary followed by prep and painting.  Friday saw Pete C back machining the second rocker shaft bearing, more work on the Ruston's doors, the last of the work on the window bars prior to them being welded together and the final shaping and drilling of the new holding lugs for the cab side weather doors.

On Sunday, Henry started welding the handbrake arm to the brake shaft and this will be trial fitted during the coming week for a final alignment check before the job is continued.

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The spindle holes in the valve chest covers were skimmed

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prior to being measured for the spindle guides.  The cab weather doors had sundry holding brackets fixed to the cab sides and the rods for them to slide on were cut and drilled.  Kelvin and Scott are seen here drilling away

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and then admiring the successful trial fitting.

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This week saw quite a bit of housekeeping on Tuesday with repairs to the booth to keep the wind and rain out as winter approaches and a major tidy up and clear out of the boiler house so that, once work recommences here again shortly, we have sufficient room to move about.  In addition, the driver's side cab floor plates were finished and trial fitted, Dave F and Kelvin started bending the new bars to protect the rear cab windows,

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the new cab doors were trial fitted

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and Colin put the finishing touches to the operating handle for the cab to bunker doors he'd made.

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Sunday involved the usual high number of people so a lot got done.  Heidi finished off the making of the front sander lever,

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Henry started the job of welding the new handbrake operating arm to the brake shaft by establishing the correct alignment after cutting it to length.

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Meanwhile, Jerry, Kelvin and Scott started making the remaining components for the opening/closing arrangement for the cab to bunker doors by first making the brackets through which the rods will run and then forming the offset ends of the rods where they attach to the handle.

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After which the brackets were welded to the door

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and the whole job from start to finish was completed by the end of the day and here it is prior to getting a coat of red oxide.

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The ends of the rods will be cut to length once the receiving brackets have been riveted to the rear cab plate.  In addition, the front valve chest covers have been bored out ready to receive new liners and Paul has now finished the work on the ashpan side of the foundation ring so we now need to turn it over to undertake the remedial work on the water side.  All told, another good week's work.