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





Tuesday started off with the arrival of two new volunteers, John and Jim, who were immediately put to work.  Jim is seen here returning the oval holes for the tank filler lid pivots back to round with a die grinder prior to fitting the bushes that were made last week.

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The new brake pull brackets were ground to final shape by Pete H while Colin cuts yet another bracket to hold the lubrication pipework,

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and Dave F spent yet another full day painting loco 25 which is starting to look pretty good.

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Other jobs included shaping more sections of cladding and putting the first top coat on the back of the tanks.  On Friday Pete C did the first trial fit of one of the rocking shaft bearings followed by a bit more machining

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and more paint was applied to loco 25.  On Saturday and Sunday we had the sales stand and Tombola at the Biddenden Tractor Fest which was a good event but the level of sales has reduced our stock of clocks to almost nil so we need to turn out a good number of replacements in time for the other three events we have coming up over the next month.

Sunday still saw a good number of people working at Rolvenden with various parts being made and jobs progressed.  Mac drilled the brake pull brackets starting here with a small pilot hole,

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Henry constructed a bracket for the drain cock operating lever

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and Jerry started machining parts for the water valve operating handles.

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Scott and Martin were busy making the copper lubrication pipework for the axle boxes and horns

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with this final shot showing the finished job on one side of the driving axle.

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Meanwhile, Kelvin, Neil and Dave D were fitting more cladding, Dick D finished fitting the elbows to the bunker water space and Paul was applying a top coat to the cab.


Back to normal this week after last weekend's attendance at the Weald of Kent Steam Rally. Tuesday saw more egg timer and clock bodies painted ready for assembly as our stock got rather depleted at the above event.  Bushes were machined up for the tank filler lid hinge brackets as the original mounting holes have been worn oval, work progressed on the lubrication lines and associated brackets and the rear vacuum hose was fitted to the completed pipework.

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Thursday and Friday involved more lubrication line work,

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the first of the rocking shaft bearings machined to trial fit stage

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and more progress on the painting of loco 25.  Sunday saw the final sections of the cylinder cladding cut out,

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shaped and then bent on the rollers.

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The water tank breathers on the top and the transfer pipe elbows on the bottom had rubber gaskets made and fitted while the elbows from the base of the bunker received the same treatment but required a bit more effort as some grinding back was required to get one of them to fit comfortably.

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A number of small 'tidy up' jobs were done on the frames while the cab roof received a top coat of paint both inside and out.

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A busy week that saw us working Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  On Tuesday, some of the guys continued with the painting of loco 25 with Pete H and Kevin seen here rubbing down the cab roof.

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Work continued on the water valve operating rod components with the support brackets being refurbished while Colin made a start machining the brass rubbing plates.

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The water tanks arrived back after their internal coating and Dick W and Nobby assisted with the unloading and laying them on their sides so that the internal pipes can be installed and expanded into place.

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The last few gaskets were made and fitted to all the pipework we've installed and this shows Scott, Chris and Dick W finishing the job off.

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The remainder of the week's work on the loco involved bending up copper pipework for the many lubrication lines to the axle boxes and the horns and this was mainly undertaken by Scott, Martin and his son Will.

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However, the majority of effort over Friday, Saturday and Sunday was the setting up and running of the Sales and Information Stand at our premier event of the year which is the Weald of Kent Steam Rally and our thanks go to Bill Giles for putting on yet another superb event.  This one takes a good ten people to adequately staff and our thanks also go to all thoses who helped over the three days.  The following shots show and Tombola and sales area

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and the information area with displays for our project plus another for the K&ESR Railway which we also manned.

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This week saw 4253 move inside the shed over the washout pit to free up space in the yard which is an improvement for us as, other than when the pit is needed for scheduled washouts, we are able to work on the frames whatever the weather.  This shot shows the frames back under cover and also the temporary floor Dave S has built in front of the bunker as we shall be doing a lot of work in this vicinity shortly.

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Other work on Tuesday included Graham spraying clock and egg timer bodies as we'll need a good stock for next weekend when we attend the Weald of Kent Steam Rally - the event we most look forward to.

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Dave A tackled the dismantling of the water valve operating units which involved much heat and enthusiastic hammering to get the parts to separate.

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Joining plates for the cylinder cladding were cut, drilled and tapped as necessary, the cab had the existing paint cut back and some more applied while Dave F continued his work on loco 25 with more rubbing down and undercoating.  Friday saw the first top coat applied to 25

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and the final work on the sand boxes with gaskets made for the front pipes and all the split pins fitted to the linkage pins.  Sunday was the first dry day for a while so Paul D was able to make good progress on painting the cab

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and, between coats, heating the rivets for riveting the joining strips to the cladding.

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Dick B drilled the stop blocks for the axle boxes,

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Jerry drilled out the broken screws in the water valve bracket

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and machined new tops and spacers for the operating rods while Dave D and Mac bolted the cladding pieces back to the cylinders.


The big news this week is that the bunker has returned from the specialist coating company and was moved from the hiab lorry straight onto the frames

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and bolted down on Tuesday with this shot showing it in place and the team that put it there.

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Other work that day included taking advantage of the hiab's presence and moving the cab so it could be finished off and given some more paint,

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more fitting of parts for the pony truck lubrication system while Dave F ground out the holes in the front running plate to take the lubrication pipes

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and Moff gave up his lunch hour to mill out some more egg timer bodies.

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On Friday, once again, some of the 4253 team spent the day flatting off paintwork on loco 25 and applying a second undercoat

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while the machining of the rocking shaft bearings continued.

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On Sunday the pipework for the front sand boxes was shaped and welded up, the drain cock actuating mechanism was finished and tested, the new die blocks were drilled ready for riveting,

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the handbrake shaft was trial fitted through the bunker, the rear running plate was trimmed back to allow the vacuum pipe to fit comfortably

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and various connections for all the pipwork were made.



Three working parties this week but only two of them were spent on 4253.  Tuesday saw continued progress on the pipework front as well as the cutting and cleaning of clock bodies.  Additionally, the large bracket that goes over the top of the boiler and anchors the front of the water tanks was cleaned up, inspected and given a coat of paint.  Regretably there are no pictures of the day as, after many years of service in often dirty and dusty conditions, Charlie's camera called it a day.

On Friday all of our volunteers spent the entire day working on K&ESR loco 25 and by close of play had rubbed down all the old paintwork and applied the first undercoat which will serve to show how much flatting down is going to be required.  This shot shows Kevin, Dave F and Dick W hard at work on it.

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Sunday saw the final section of pipework made and installed with Paul shown undertaking the final weld.

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The only bits left are the connections to the vacuum pump which, as these were missing, are all having to be made.  Here's Graham machining some of the nuts.

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One of the lubrication pipe attachment points for the pony truck mechanism had a completely worn away thread so the hole had to be enlarged and a new thread tapped before a coupling could be fitted.  This shows Jerry and Dick W on the frames establishing the thread size required while Martin and Dave D stand by to offer advice.

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The right-angle pipework ends for the connections between bunker water space and the tanks were cut by Jerry on the chop saw,

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prepped for welding together by Scott before final welding by Paul.

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Dave H came down to do some further work on the crank pin collars he's machining for us by inspecting the threads on the pins and cleaning them up where necessary with his homemade thread chaser seen below with one of the collars behind it.

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Meanwhile, Henry made parts for the drain cock actuating mechanism

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and cut holes in the front running plate for the pony truck lubrication pipes and Paul, between welding duties, was applying top coat to the rear of the frames.

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Also, for yet another weekend, the sales team headed up by Mark were out and about; this time at the Whitstable Classic Car Rally.


A busy week with working parties on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday plus the sales team were out at the Wiston Steam Rally over the weekend.  On top of that Mark our sales team leader was helping out the K&ESR team on Friday at the Kent County Show.  Pipework progress on Tuesday was a bit restricted as the pit was required for the necessary axlebox repairs on the Panier 1638 so other jobs were bought forward.  Our centenary edition clocks have been selling extremely well so some of the guys were working on making the next patch of parts to make some more

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while Colin cleaned up, painted and assembled oil boxes.

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The rocking shafts were unwrapped, the bearing surfaces measured and then the arms were given a coat of paint by Dave A.

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We did manage to get some time under the engine to fit more pipework with Scott and Dick W seen here offering up yet another section.

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Friday saw Peter C make a start on machining the rocking shaft bearings (which are substantial as can be seen)

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while others were painting more pipework and making clock bodies.  On Sunday Henry checked and measured the new caps for the rocking shaft bearings,

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the handbrake rod was straightened followed by attaching the new section of screw thread that had been cut off at Barry.  It is seen here prior to final welding in of the new section.

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The missing BSP fittings that attach the oil lines to the horns have been sourced and were modified and fitted after cleaning up all the threads, the final bits of steam heat piping were fabricated and will be assembled into place next week.  The vacuum piping is now all complete and in place other than the final fittings to the vacuum cylinder so this job is finally coming to an end.  This final shot shows Kevin applying a top coat to the vacuum pipe

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and he has also offered to lead a team to repaint loco No. 25 to speed its return to service so if anyone would be interested in helping to achieve this then please get in touch.