Progress December 2023

Week Four

Approaching the end of the year and the overriding activity this week has been the preparation for and manning of the sales stand for the Santa Specials on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  There was much frantic ordering and making of various stock items that had sold out or were about to and the inevitable bouts of sickness meant some last minute scrambling to fill holes in the volunteer roster.  This was all managed however and we succeeded in raising a good amount to help fill the coffers.

Back at Rolvenden, the vacuum tank had its new flange welded into place

and, the J94 loco Sapper having broken two springs and being needed in service for Friday, we helped the shed staff replace them out in the rain.  Most of the guys have nearly dried out again now.

At Liverpool, the first batch of crown stays has been delivered and screwed into place

while this is a shot of one of the new rivets in the foundation ring with adjoining holes reamed in preparation to receive theirs.

Finally, we’d like to thank all the people who follow our progress and to wish you a Happy Christmas.

Week Three

The main activity this week has been preparing boiler tube products for sale and manning the sales stand at the Santa Specials over the weekend as this is our most important fundraising  event of the year.  Luckily, this weekend was dry (unlike the last one) which makes a huge difference to the amounts we raise given few passengers care to hang around when the rain’s pouring down.  Our Tombola did brisk trade and, once again, we need to make some more clocks as so many were sold.

A holdup on the vacuum system testing arose when the original pipe flange fitted to the new tank failed to adequately seal and it was decided the quickest solution would be to have a new one cast in steel and weld it on.  The new casting was collected in days and, firstly, the face to which the pipe will fit was milled flat

followed by drilling out the centre.  The pipe flange was then offered up to mark the position for the fixing studs after which the holes for these were drilled

and then tapped.

Next, the flange was bolted to the pipework 

which was then bolted back into place and the tank temporarily replaced in the frames so we could press the flange against the tank and mark the correct position for it to be welded

Additionally, the refurbishment and repaint of 5668’s vacuum tank was completed and that will now go into storage.  The pipe bracket made last week had its mounting holes drilled and was then painted and bolted into position.

The vacuum retaining valve and associated pipework, now completed was also painted to finish that job off.

Week Two

A very busy week with the usual three working days, two days of fundraising at the Santa Specials and three of us taking a trip to HBSS in Liverpool on Tuesday to see the boiler and discuss the remaining jobs to completion.  Work has continued on the vacuum system with the retaining valve all finished and piped up.

The vacuum tank was placed in the frames to align the mounting brackets which were tack welded into position

after which it was lifted out again

to be fully welded prior to painting.

After that, a hole was cut into the base for the drain plug boss

which was then welded into place.

We also had to step up production of clock bodies as we sold more than expected at last weekend’s Santa Specials.  Here one is having the legs welded on.

There are also a large number and assortment of brackets that need to be made to hold all the pipework we’re installing.  One made on Sunday was to support a small diameter pipe by clamping it to a larger one and started by heating a flat steel strip 

so it could be bent round a former the size of the large pipe.

After that it was clamped up and again heated and bent round a small former to achieve the final shape.

A duplicate was then made to fit round the back of the pipes after which they were cut to length and the ends shaped prior to being drilled for the retaining bolts.

A long job for a small component that will go almost unnoticed in the finished pipe runs.

Week One

It’s the Santa Specials time of year again and, on top of the usual three days on the loco, we manned the Sales Stand on Tenterden Station on Saturday and Sunday as well.  Tuesday started with preparing the side rod oil pot lids to be fitted to the rods which involved tapping threads into them to accept the plugs.

We continued with making the vacuum pipework and brackets, made the final felt pad for the con rod little end plus fitted in repairing one of the doors to the shed.  The parts for the new vacuum tank arrived

with the joining seam for the cylinder section being immediately prepped and welded up.

On Friday, the new tarpaulin to cover the water tanks arrived and was fitted over them just as the first snow flurry started but, luckily, it didn’t amount to anything.

The vacuum tank had the main hole cut for the pipe flange boss

followed by the mounting holes being drilled and then a quick de-burr prior to bolting the flange on ready for riveting.

Sunday saw the flange boss riveted on

with the following being a good shot of one of the rivets being knocked down.

After that the two ends were tack welded into place, the tank was lowered into position so that the mounting brackets, salvaged from the old tank, could be accurately positioned and, again, tack welded into place.

The connecting rods had the oil pot lids attached

Before being replaced and the crank pin nuts tightened with our homemade little spanner.

The gradient pins were all tightened up and the taper pins were stamped to indicate their location.

The sales stand team had an extremely cold day on Saturday followed by a very wet Sunday but, despite the adverse weather, the Tombola was as popular as ever and we raised some much needed funds.