Progress July 2024

Week Two

On Tuesday, the superheater header received a further washing out and was then filled with citric acid and left to marinate to dislodge any remaining crud from the interior.

The access hatch for 541’s coal floor was positioned on its support frame and the retaining screws passed through and screwed into the machined bosses to hold them firmly in position.  Once trial fitted in the floor to ensure it all aligns properly, the bosses will be welded to the frame.

Meanwhile, others were removing various bits from 4253’s frames in readiness for the boiler’s return. 

On Thursday evening, the boiler arrived back at Rolvenden ready for an early start on Friday where the first act was pulling 4253 out of the shed.  

The tie down straps and chains were removed, slings positioned and the boiler lifted off the trailer, 

swung round 180 degrees 

and slowly manoeuvred between the frames, lowered and moved forward until it started to engage with the smokebox.

At this stage the smokebox retaining bolts were removed so it could tilt slightly forward and, while the Hiab took the weight, it was gradually jacked forward until fully engaged after which it was dropped fully onto the frames, centralised and the smokebox bolts pushed back through the holes into the saddle.

The next stage was to drill six holes at various points through the smokebox wall using the existing holes in the boiler ring as a guide,

bolt boiler and smokebox firmly together and then lift the boiler out of the frames, 

turn it 180 degrees again (to ensure we have room to fit the very long regulator rod) and then place it on the ground.

All that was accomplished by lunchtime so, in the afternoon, we lifted the first of the rear side panels of 541’s tender tank into place and, using wedges and levers to position it accurately, tack welded it on to the floor and the front panel.

On Sunday it was all hands on 4253 with the saddle getting a good clean up while it was accessible, 

the many studs on the boiler backhead being cut to the required lengths (they were all made overly long), 

the water trays being fitted, gaskets made for some of the backhead fittings,

a start made on drilling the 90 odd holes around the smokebox circumference ready for riveting and the cutting of the 90 rivets to length.

Finally here’s a shot of all the people involved in Friday’s boiler fitting.

Week One

Tuesday this week was moving day with some of 4253’s new cladding sheets and crinoline pieces moved out of the booth 

so that we could move in the rear side sheets 

and the coal space front panel for 541’s tender tank.  

Given the size of the side sheets they took a lot of manoeuvring to get through the door but we’re getting quite good at that now and, once in, the side sheets were cleaned up along their eventual weld lines.

We will need a new fire hole baffle plate for 4253 and someone remembered that, year’s ago, we’d made one for 1638 so a search was launched for the dies used and, eventually, these were located 

and then cleaned up.

We borrowed the baffle from 6619 to use as a pattern and, as that was found to be split, we’ll make a new one for that as well.  Some steel sections were plasma cut for the job and you can see 6619’s baffle on the left of this shot.

Other jobs during the week, included taking the superheater header up to Tyseley to have the holes for the elements countersunk, 

checking that the inspection plate ring for 541’s coal space fitted properly 

and then countersinking all the fixing holes in the inspection plate itself.

4253’s smokebox had the inner rear edge cleaned up ready to be reunited with the boiler front ring

 and, on 541’s tender, holes were drilled for attaching the toolboxes to the front sheet 

and more supports and gussets for the coal floor were positioned and welded in.