Progress January 2024

Final Week

This week started with removing the fireman’s side connecting rod so we could then remove the front coupling rod which had been rubbing the paint on the driving axle wheel.  The paintwork was restored and, while it was off, some marks were polished out of the con rod.

Other work included silver soldering some pipework for the GWR Railcar, 

a start made on a gloss coat for the rear buffer beam,

which was completed later in the week,

some general maintenance on our workshop equipment and a clearing out of the boiler house to make room for the steel sheets from which we’ll start to make the boiler cladding.

On Sunday it was a case of sorting out the coupling rod which involved pushing out the bush, machining up  a new, slightly thicker, thrust washer and then machining the outer face of the bush down by a like amount to restore the original combined length of bush and washer.

The bush was then pressed back into the rod, 

the thrust washer heated up and then placed over the end of the bush to cool and shrink fit.  After that both rods were refitted followed by having to jack the loco up so we could very slightly turn the driving and intermediate axles to allow the rods to align sufficiently for the gradient pins to be refitted.  This involved a bit of jumping up and down on long bars acting as levers to get the wheels to move.

Eventually, the pins went in and were bolted up

with the final job of the day being to make a start on cutting the cladding sheets to size.

Work on the boiler continues with all the crown stays nuts now having been fitted.

Week Three

On Tuesday it was the 4253 workforce Xmas lunch which was well attended as usual and, equally as usual, the food was excellent.

Friday it was back to work, with the sales trailer being unloaded and everything packed away again in the container.   The brake cylinder pivots were removed for cleaning and painting and an oil mop was made and fitted to the vacuum pump piston rod.

The first task on Sunday was to pull 4253 and the Yank No 65 out of the shed so their positions could be swapped round.  This is to enable 65’s tanks to be trial fitted.  This took half the morning as we had to move various things that were in the way 

and shunt locos from one road to the other to clear the way.  4253 was then towed out with a careful eye kept on the rods and other moving parts as this was the first time the loco has been moved any distance with all the rods connected – no problems were encountered other than the fireman’s side leading coupling rod rubbing paint from the wheel so that will require taking down and adjusting.

Once back in the shed, we removed the driver’s side con rod as, last week, the top of the oil pot was nicked by one of the bolts holding the vacuum pump operating bracket to the crosshead.  The oil pot top was straightened out, the bolt that caused the trouble had the head chamfered and everything was reassembled.  It was then a case of fitting the cap, retaining pin and nut onto both front coupling rods which involved a lot of barring the loco backwards and forwards to get one side and then the other into the correct position so we could access the components.

Eventually both sides were fitted but only after we had to turn down the outer diameter of a socket so that it would fit into the cap and engage the nut.  Nothing is straightforward!

While this was being done, others were working on the rear buffer beam by rubbing back more filler and then applying an undercoat.

At HBSS, all the crown stays have all been screwed into position and a start made on knocking them down.

Week Two

On Tuesday, some of the team helped with the washout of Hastings’ boiler while the rest got on with the painting on 4253 which included the frames under the bunker, 

the cab floor panels

and the top cover of the brake cylinder.

The top section of the rear bumper was rubbed back as there was some rust appearing and given a skim of filler to cover any small pitting.  The areas of the bunker where the rear axle oil pots and pipes run were also touched up while they were accessible.

The sealing rubbers were removed from the brake cylinder covers as was the packing around the piston rod. 

On Friday more paint was applied and the vacuum pump piston rod gland was removed and cleaned up.

On Sunday, the brake cylinder piston was removed so we could extract the last bit of packing,

the gudgeon pins joining the con rod little ends to the crossheads were fitted

and split pins were cut to length and fitted to the gradient pins on the coupling rods.

The rear buffer beam had the filler rubbed back before an undercoat was applied.

The bracket that attaches to the driver’s side crosshead and operates the vacuum pump piston was trial fitted and measurements taken so the joining bush can be machined.  The retaining bolts were also drilled to take split pins.

On other fronts, all the remaining crown stays for the boiler have now been delivered to HBSS and are currently being fitted

and on Saturday we held our 11th AGM which was well attended as usual.

Week One

On Tuesday, sickness levels were still high so the small team that went in simply helped out the shed staff.  Friday’s numbers were back to normal and it was decided to strip out the brake cylinder as the vacuum testing had revealed that, although the required level of vacuum was being achieved, the cylinder was very slowly ‘letting by’.  The simplest way was to separate the cylinder in the frames, remove the top cover and then lift the cylinder barrel off the piston and lower cover leaving the latter still in place.  However, ‘simplest’ was relative as the bunker had to come off the frames first and that involved removing the oil pots for the rear axle,

the water valves

followed by the rear vacuum pipe, the handbrake and various bits of plumbing from underneath

and, lastly, undoing all the bolts holding it to the frames.

After all that, the loco was pulled partly into the yard, the bunker jacked up and placed on blocks and lifting strops fed underneath.  The road, railer was then used to lift it clear and place it on large blocks.

The loco was then pushed back into the shed and the cylinder dismantled, removed and placed on a pallet.

On Sunday, the section of the frames under the bunker were cleaned up and one area revealed a split round a bolt hole so that was welded up.

The inside of the brake cylinder was inspected and the wall was found to be slightly pitted at the bottom end of the piston travel.  However, worse was the split we found running down from the top edge.

The end result was that a replacement cylinder has needed to be ordered.  Additionally, the studs holding the main pipe to the top cover were considered a bit too short so these were removed and new studs made to replace them.