Progress June 2024

Week Three

This week, following the refitting of 4253’s bunker, the oil pot trimmings were checked, damaged paintwork touched up, 

injector pipe brackets painted and fitted

and plywood covers fitted over the injector pipe flanges to keep the crud out.  

Also, the superheater header had all the studs removed prior to the countersinking of the holes that will take the new superheater element ends.

The boiler has had all the tube ends beaded over and the next job is to fill it with water.

For 541’s tender tank, the sand boxes were given a coat of gloss,

the coal floor centre sheet was cleaned and weld prepped 

before getting it indoors which was no mean feat as, not only is it heavy and unwieldy, but the widest end was the same size as the diagonal of the door opening.  It therefore took some effort to get it through.

Sunday’s main job was to get that coal space floor tacked into position and the first task was to weld on a couple of lifting eyes

so we could then hoist it into place

and, with the aid of various temporary bits of steel plate/angle welded on to give it something to sit on, it was slowly clamped or jacked into contact with the angle pieces and supports and then tacked into place working gradually from front to back. 

Additionally, the coal shovel plate was trial fitted to check and mark were it needed relieving to clear rivet heads 

and holes were drilled to take the drain tubes that will enable any water in the coal space to exit underneath the centre well rather than collecting and rotting the front plate which is what had happened with the original.

The final act before we called it a day was to cut off those temporary supporting brackets for the coal floor.

Week Two

The top elbow for 4253’s brake cylinder arrived back on Monday so we were able to fit that, undertake a final vacuum test and then pull the loco out of the shed so the bunker could be lifted back on.  

This was initially placed on wooden blocks so the strops could be withdrawn and the loco was then pushed back into the shed

where it was subsequently fully lowered and bolted into position and the handbrake column fitted.  On Friday the driver’s side water valve was refitted and we connected the water pipes to the injectors and the delivery pipes from the injectors.  There is very little space in which to work under there as these two shots show.

After that it was the drain cocks operating handle, the sand box rods, the rear axle oil boxes 

and the floor. 

On Sunday, it was back to the 541 tender tank with the front side sheets being fully welded to the floor

and the coal floor front support bracket being positioned 

and tacked into place before the left hand side of the coal chute was clamped and wedged into contact with its supports 

before also being tack welded.  Once done, the right hand side of the chute was manhandled inside, 

lifted into position and also tacked into place.

Additionally, the first of the sand boxes had years of crud cleaned off it and a coat of primer applied

and back at 4253, we fitted the rear vacuum pipe, the water valve operating handles and the injector pipework that goes to the clacks.

Week One

This week we got the brake cylinder lifted 

and bolted back into the frames and connected up

after which the entire vacuum system was tested but we couldn’t raise more than 5 inches of vacuum so something wasn’t right.  This was tracked down to the fact that someone had fitted a proper gasket to the pump rather than the blanking gasket used for testing and, with no packing in the pump’s piston rod it was open to atmosphere.  Once corrected, the system easily achieved the required 25 inches which remained constant for some hours so, finally, we have a fully working system.

With that resolved at last, it was back to the 541 tender with the door closing panels being bolted into position and reamed through ready for riveting,

much cutting of temporary support bars to align the left hand rear side panel

and grinding a weld prep on the coal floor sheets.

Sunday involved tacking all the temporary support bars into place, positioning and welding the thick strips that will support the edges of the coal floor and then tacking the front side panels to them. This involved a great deal of effort to get the panels to sit tight against the strips with no gaps, working gradually from front to back.  After that, the left hand section of the coal chute was carried into the booth 

and then lifted up and manoeuvred into position on the support strips before being clamped into place as a trial fit exercise.