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






Working parties on four days this week with the main item of interest being the water tanks and bunker going away to have their insides specially coated.  One lorry was required for the bunker

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and another for the two tanks.

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Our grateful thanks go to three K&ESR volunteers - Angus, George and Jamie who squeezed themselves into the tanks and cleared out all the detritus such as stray nuts and bolts, bits of wood and the odd forgotten spanner.

Once again, most of the week's work has been concentrated on the pipework which has been a mammoth undertaking but is now some 80% completed.  Here is the top fitting to the vacuum cylinder being clamped up prior to drilling.

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This shot shows yet another length of pipe being heated prior to bending to the required shape

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while this shows a section being trial fitted after the welding on of flanges.

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The brass fittings for the vacuum retaining valve have also had to be made and here's Graham doing just that.

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Other work included a team spending the majority of Sunday getting the brake shaft to fit and turn freely which saw it being taken on and off innumerable times for further fettling.  Given the original shaft, bearings and retaining caps were all missing and the brackets had been bent out of alignment when they had been used at some point to tow the loco this has not been the easiest of jobs.

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As a change from the never-ending pipework, the water tanks have been prepped to go off next week to be internally coated.  The reversing quadrant and various brackets were removed, all exposed studs had nuts placed on them to protect the threads and the holes through which the water feed pipes pass were dressed back with a die grinder by Jerry.

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The lagging of the cylinders has progressed with Dick W seen here bolting up the cladding to complete the job on the driver's side.

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On the brake shaft front, the bearings were successfully fitted to the caps by Dave J and Dick after finalising the key way machining and a little fettling.

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The caps were milled back a fraction and then the shaft itself offered up but it didn't want to fit although it looks as if a small radius put on the edges of the bearing brasses will be sufficient to make it happy.

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As for the pipework, a large number of the more complicated brackets have been made, flanges finished and welded to the pipes for the rear sand boxes, the main length of vacuum pipe has been finished with this shot showing Dave F offering up a section of it

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and then Kelvin cleaning up the finished item after it had all been welded together.

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On Sunday, additional sections of the vacuum system were bent to shape which, considering the temperature, wasn't the best way to spend an afternoon.

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For yet another week, most of the work has been concentrated on the pipework.  On top of cutting and bending lengths of pipe, there is also the need for umpteen flanges of various different shapes and sizes and all these have to be made as well.  A number of the smaller ones were made on Tuesday with John G and Steve seen here grinding them into shape.

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Some of these have now been welded to the shaped pipes and we've started fitting the connections between the vacuum pump and the retaining valve.  The valve and some of the pipework can be seen here where the reversing rod is being temporarily fitted to check for adequate clearance as it travels through its full range of movement.

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Other tasks have included the grinding back of the welding to the foundation ring prior to it being refitted to the firebox,

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the fireman's side cylinder has been lagged and the cladding refitted,

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and the new brake shaft bearings have had the keyways machined into them.

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Finally, the water tanks have had all the furniture items removed and been placed upright in readiness for going to an outside contractor to be sealed along with the water space in the bunker.

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Just the usual Tuesday, Friday and Sunday this week with the majority of the work still being attaching bits to the frames.  The exceptions to this were Kevin putting some more paint on the last of the rivets that were put in the bottom of the frames a few weeks ago

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and Pete H and Grahame installing some more racking in our container which they also kindly supplied.

The last of the brake beam dished washers have been machined and fitted while the installation of all the pipework continues to progress.  The vacuum retaining valve has been fitted

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as has the new pony truck retaining pin which was delivered this week.

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The machining of the brake shaft bearings and retaining caps is coming down the home straight with just the key ways remaining to be done after which the shaft can be trial fitted.

Most of Sunday's work was finishing off jobs under the frames with nuts checked and split pins opened out.  Various sized spacers have been made to go under all the horn tie retaining nuts so they sit just above the split pins.  This shot shows Jerry making use of the chop saw to cut the spacers to length

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and then fitting them with Neil while Dave D looks on.

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During the afternoon, Paul gave some welding training to Dave D, Martin and Kelvin on the basis that, the wider the skill base of everyone, the more we can get done.

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Four working days again this week plus attending the three day Cuckoo Fair in Sussex with the sales stand.  The majority of the effort continues to be fabricating and fitting the pipework both vacuum, where the original items were only good for patterns if there at all, and the steam heat which is a case of starting from scratch as, being a freight loco, this was never fitted.  We are also pretty much having to make every bracket as we go along and then drill and tap the frames to attach them so this is not a quick job.  However, our new chop saw and the use of a hydraulic pipe bender do make it a bit easier.  This shot shows Dick W and Kelvin laying pipe lengths

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while this one shows progress to date.

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Alongside that there has been fettling of parts to get them right.  Chris had done the final work on the sand box lids to ensure a good fit

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and one of the brake hangers has had to be taken down, heated and adjusted to remove a twist so that the last brake beam would fit.  We can now fit all the brake pull rod mechanism but, as that would severely restrict space to move about under the frames, will leave this job until all the pipework is completed.

The vacuum pump has been reassembled with new rings after cleaning and checking all the ring grooves in the piston head.

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after which it was bolted to the frames.

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The overhauled vacuum reservoir and the drain cock actuating mechanism have both been attached with Henry seen here positioning the later while sitting on the former.

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New holes were then drilled by Dave D

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so they could be bolted to the frames.  Both these items are attached to new sections of steel so the original positioning holes are no longer there.



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.