Progress April 2023

Final Week

On Tuesday it was yet more rubbing down and painting of both 4253’s frames and running plates

and the top section of Project 2.

Friday’s task was to get Project 2 out of the booth and upright which first involved tuning it over so the flat side was on the bottom to safely sit on the skids.  It was then manoeuvred out of the double doors where it could be lifted upright and placed on blocks.

Once in place, the back panels could be given a coat of paint

as could the lengths of steel we’d ordered so a start could be made on making the framework around the firebox to contain the insulation and support the cladding (known as the crinolines).

On Sunday, we rolled the retaining strap halves that will hold the boiler barrel cladding in place

and then marked them up and stored them.

The final job on Projects 1 and 2 is to make the filler lids so a former was cut from 1” thick steel plate and then offered up to the filler neck to mark the amount of grinding back required.

Week Four

Most of this week’s work involved rubbing down and painting 4253’s frames and sundry bits of cladding and platework

and then moving on to the wheels which, after having to move the loco to access the bits of the leading wheelset that were obstructed by the slide bars and crossheads, are now finished.

The various cladding sections for the valve and cylinder covers received some more modification to allow them to all fit together

and we also found time to make and weld in some brackets to strengthen the floor supports on the Infrastructure Department’s trailer.

The majority of  the final welding on Project 2 was completed with just a few baffles to be installed and we’ve started the job of making the filler lids by cutting out the steel which will then need to be heated and shaped over a former.

On the boiler front, the copper stays have now been fitted to the palm stays

and the new pipe end for the steam collector has been successfully trial fitted.

Week Three

Work continues on the painting of 4253 with rubbing down,


and top coating of the front of the frames after captive nuts had been welded on the underside to accept the bolts that retain the running plates.

Also, the first of the wheels has been completed

and, while the paint brushes were out, we also painted the wheel centres on Charwelton’s axles after NDT testing plus repainted the coach lines on Hastings following the fitting of the side steps.

Work on the rebuild of Dave Dee’s memorial bench continued with the new wooden slats being given their first coat of teak oil.

We are taking the opportunity to locate and seal any leaks in 4253’s water tanks while they are off so, to that end, blanking plates were fitted to the outlets and the first one filled revealing a couple of areas that were dripping so work has started to weld these up.

We also undertook a job for the GWR Railcar by welding together the two parts of the front window section which were held in position by a large wooden frame.  Given how thin the material is, it took a long time involving many small weld tacks with time in between to allow for cooling.

Once finished, undercoat was applied and it now awaits return transportation to Tenterden Carriage & Wagon.

At HBSS. the tapping of the palm stays has been done in readiness for the copper stays to affix them to the firebox.

Week Two

This week, much cleaning and repainting of the running plates and frames at the front of 4253 was carried out

together with completing the modifications to the valve cylinder front cladding covers to obtain a closer fit.  Others were working on getting Hastings ready for hauling trains over the Easter Holiday and this included fitting a fireman’s side step at the front of the frames, putting a top coat on the wheel centres after the recent NDT testing and concreting the floor of the smoke box.

More work was done on the rebuild of Dave Dee’s memorial bench with the steel ends repainted and the wooden pads on which they sit rubbed down ready for teak oiling.  The new wooden slats have been ordered with the majority of the cost being covered by donations from those volunteers who worked with him over the years.

On Sunday we drilled 4253’s front running plate and frame with the holes in the latter being tapped to accept retaining bolts.

fitted the driver’s side front step to Hastings and painted that and the one fitted earlier,

machined slots for the oil pads into the newly white metaled rod bushes

and, finally, modified and fitted a fire hole door protector and baffle to Hastings.

All shareholders should have recently received an email giving the opportunity to vote on the livery 4253 will carry upon entering service.  If you haven’t already cast a vote, a reminder that you only have until the 17th to do so.

Week One

More work done this week on cleaning and sanding back the paintwork on 4253’s frames and bunker

before repainting all the black areas.

The time has now come to decide on the livery that the loco will carry when it returns to service and, to that end, we will shortly be contacting all shareholders to advise the options available and giving them the chance to have their say by voting for their choice of colour and livery.

While the paint brushes were out we undercoated the wheel centres on Hastings following the recent NDT testing and will top coat them next week.  We’ve also been asked to fit a set of steps to the front of the loco.

The last of the external ‘tidy up’ work on Project 2 was completed 

with only the internal welding now to be finished and the filler lid brackets had the final touches completed by heating and bending the retaining bars to the correct angle.

On Sunday we moved 4253 to better access the wheel crank pins to trial fit the rod bushes and found that a number of them had been over machined rendering them too loose a fit.  Accordingly, those bushes had the white metal melted out, the original chill was retrieved from storage and given a quick coat of heat resistant paint

and we then poured in new white metal

so we are now ready to start the machining process again.  Annoying but you can’t expect everything to always go smoothly.  Other work included modifying the front valve chest cladding to improve access to the oilers

and a start made on the refurb of the Dave Dee memorial bench where the paintwork had suffered greatly over the hot summer.  On stripping it down however, many of the wooden slats where found to be in quite poor condition so we’ve ordered some hardwood replacements and will totally rebuild it.