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 'all go' week with people turning out on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The cylinder cladding sheets have been removed for final fettling and, while off, all the cylinder drain cock mounting holes have been re-tapped.  Dave F trims one of the sheets

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Others were working on top fitting more oil boxes - this is Dave J and Paul H,

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while still more were underneath fabricating and fitting the steam heat and vacuum piping working from the front backwards.  This shows Scott and Kelvin tacking some of the bits together for trial fitting.

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On Friday, three of our volunteers spent the day helping out the Railway by annealing new boiler tubes for the Terrier 32678 to get this loco back into service as quickly as possible.  Also, over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we had people manning our sales stand at the Tenterden Food and Drink Festival as well as promoting the Railway.

Sunday's working party concentrated on the brake gear and the ongoing pipework.  On the brake front, the final brake hanger has been repaired - Graham A is seen here in the process of machining its beam mounting hole round again,

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before being bushed and fitted to the frames, all the rest of the bushing has been finished and three of the brake beams are now installed.  Many brackets have been fabricated by Mac and Martin

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and Dave D and Paul D

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and here's Dick W drilling a small hole in another one.

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Holes were then drilled and tapped in the frames to fit them and hold the various pipes and hose in place.  Much of the pipework itself has been formed and flanges welded into place with this final shot showing Scott using our new chop saw to cut the pipe lengths.

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We've had people working on five days this week to keep progress rattling on over a number of fronts.  We had to knock out some more clock bodies given the rate the sales team have been selling them at the various events they've attended over the last few weeks.  Apart from that we had Moff and Pete H heating and bending to make a new bracket to hold the vacuum pipe to the front buffer beam

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while Scott was employed drilling and tapping the holes to attach it.

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Other things done included reshaping a number of original brackets that attach various parts to the frames or making new ones where necessary (a job for which our plasma cutter is especially suited), 

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final fettling of the sand box actuating mechanism so it all works smoothly and then dismantling all the linkages again for final painting by Neil.

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The newly cast breathers for the water tank arrived

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and, after making a jig to hold them, Dave S marked out and drilled the fixing holes followed by machining the bases perfectly flat.

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Pete C has been machining the brake shaft bearings with this shot showing a completed one on the right and a roughed out one on the left.

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In addition, the brake gear overhaul continued with more bushes being made and pressed in and we hope to be in a position to start fitting it all next week.  At least that will show some visual evidence of progress as, although much work has been done over the last two or three weeks, very little of it shows on the frames unless you climb underneath for a good look.




Painting of the inside of the frames continued on Tuesday with Pete H and Graham seen here doing their stint

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while Dick W and Chris were finishing off the assembly of the front sand box linkages.

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Friday saw more parts of the rear sand box linkage worked out and installed while our machinist Pete C worked on the lathe turning up the the large bronze bushes for the brake shaft.

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Some of Sunday's team started bolting parts of the cylinder drain cock linkage to the frames and this shows Kelvin re-tapping one of the threaded holes inboard of the driver's side cylinder.

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Others progressed work on the brake linkages which mainly involved Graham machining endless new bushes

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for others to press into the various rods and beams.  This shot shows one of the brake beams having its centre bush replaced by Jerry and Dave D

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while this shows one of the pull rods after receiving new bushes in the end.

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Additionally, new rubbing plates were welded to the driving and trailing brake beams, the intermediate beam was installed and a start was made on running some of the vacuum piping so, once again, more parts re-attached to the loco and less parts in the 'to do' pile.



Various bits are now being bolted back on the frames and Tuesday saw the installation of the brake vacuum cylinder which was lowered into position

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and then bolted down.

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For comparison, here's a shot of it prior to removal together with all the corroded plate and frames which have since been remade.

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Friday was mainly a painting day with the horns cleaned and coated in red oxide and the brake cylinder given a coat of black gloss.  On Sunday we had two teams working.  The painting team comprising Paul and Neil cleaned down the inside of the frames and then applied what, hopefully, will be the final top coat of red.

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Meanwhile, others were trying to resolve the jigsaw of the sand box operating linkages without the benefit of a drawing.  This first involved finding any bit that looked as if it could remotely by a part of it, fitting the ones tht were obvious where they went and then trying to locate rods or links that either joined these parts or extended them.  Didn't help that the original operating levers had been removed at Barry.  Here are Dave D, Jerry, Martin and Scott puzzling over the front boxes

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and Dick B, Steve and Jerry reassembling the operating arm on one of the rear boxes after finally discovering the deliberate mistake in its original build that had placed it 90 degress out of position.

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Three working days again this week although, on Tuesday, half the workforce were stripping old paint off the saddle tank of the Railway's loco No:25 with the steam cleaner to try and speed up its return to service.  The other half were cleaning up and inspecting all the brake linkage parts which soon revealed that many of the holes for the joining pins had been worn considerably oval.  Pete C and Grahame measured the ends of the brake shaft to establish the internal diameter for the new bronze bushes that need to be machined for this.

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To that end, Pete H was sawing off lengths of bronze to start the process.

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Friday saw Pete C back again to establish the external diameter with one of the new brake shaft bush caps seen resting on the vice.

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On Sunday, Dave D and Jerry laid out all the brake pull rods and linkage on the floor to ensure we had all the bits needed and to decide which parts needed bushing to fix excessive wear.

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The bits concerned were then moved to the machine shop and the oval holes drilled out oversize to take bushes to return them to the original diameter.

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Graham was at the lathe making a supply of said bushes

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and Martin then pressed them into place.

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We still have some 8 to 10 bushes to make but, hopefully, these will be completed during the coming week and we'll have a braking system with all the slack taken out of it.  Other jobs included Paul continuing work on the foundation ring,

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fitting a number of the oil boxes to the frames, finishing off the spring adjuster fittings and making brackets to fix the axle box oilers to the frames.




Firstly, apologies for the late appearance of this week's progress report: I was without a broadband connection for 6 days.  Just Tuesday and Sunday this week as we also had to man the sales and information stand at the Chatham Dockyard Fair on Sunday and Monday.  Following the previous Sunday's riveting, a fair bit of painting was necessary and here's Dick W putting a top coat on the base of the water tanks.

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The new plate that goes between the frames under the bunker had its fixing holes countersunk to accept the screws with Dave A and Kevin seen here using the mag drill to do the job.

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We have also now got the newly made screw for the handbrake column together with it's threaded nut (as shown below) which will allow us to set the position for the new offset brake arm of the brake shaft as the original was cut off at some point in the past.

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On Sunday all the new spring adjusters were fitted with this shot showing Paul delivering all the parts on a trolley.

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Also, the badly worn spring hanger that was a temporary fit was replaced by Dave D and Henry now that the one we'd had newly cast has been machined.

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Other jobs included the fitting of the weight shaft arm

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and the trial fitting of the axle box oiling units which we had obtained from various sources as job lots and it was pleasing to find that we only need to fabricate one bracket for a trailing box to make a complete set.


We've worked three days this week starting Tuesday with getting all the brake gear out for a good clean and look over to see what needs to be done before refitting it all.  This shots shows most of the parts other than the main brake beams.

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Bryan and Dick W reamed out all the holes in the tank bottom edges and the cab steps ready for riveting.

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Additionally, all the oil boxes had their threads cleaned and checked and new trimmings made by Colin.

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On Friday, new brackets were cut and formed to retain the pins in the brake hangers as the originals were either missing or too corroded to be serviceable.  Sunday was a riveting day with the water tanks tackled first which needed a line of some 50 rivets in the bottom of each and the lifting eye brackets on just one of them.  Here's Henry gunning one of the rivets in the later while Dave D (who else?) is inside the tank holding it in place.

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After that we put in the 28 rivets holding the cab steps to the frames with this shot showing Henry and Jerry on the rivet guns working on the driver's side steps.

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Meanwhile, at the front of the frames, Neil was replacing the piston packing cover after fitting the final brake hanger.

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Finally, while all this was going on, Paul continued with the job of building up and grinding back the surface of the foundation ring which is now coming down the home straight.

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During the week we have been bolting various bits on the loco that were refurbished or newly made over the previous months.  These included the front sand boxes and the cab foot steps (which will now require reaming through prior to riveting) all of which were lifted into place using an engine hoist.

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Also, the brake hangers are now up

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and Mike P, one of our 'out workers', is currently making the brake pins on his lathe.  On Tuesday we took delivery of the newly assembled valve pistons on their new rods.

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Purely so we could get some better photos of the re-wheeled frames we towed them out of the yard and here are a couple.

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On Saturday we took the sales stand to the Detling Heritage Transport Show to spread the word and raise some more cash towards the boiler repairs.  Sunday saw the mammoth task of moving the water tanks out of the booth and laying them on their sides undertaken so that the bottom edge can be riveted and then painted.  This required many people, jacks and machine skates to get them into position outside and then the block and tackle on the gantry to lower them onto their sides across the rails that previously housed the wheelsets.  These shots show the job in progress, finished and some of the people who achieved it.

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Other jobs done during the day included fully bolting up the horn ties to ascertain the number and size of spacers required to fill the gap between the nuts and split pin holes and also fitting the studs that hold the brake shaft brackets.