Progress March 2023

Week Four

Four days of working this week as there’s so much to be done prepping 4253 for its proper repaint.  The large, flat areas are relatively quick and simple to rub down

but the rivet heads (of which there are hundreds) are far more time consuming having to be individually tackled with a wire brush.

The boiler’s expansion bracket holding plates have been trial fitted to the frames after all the bolt hole threads were cleaned up

and the vacuum pump and vacuum retaining valve were both totally stripped, cleaned, checked and re-assembled.

On Sunday, a start was made on welding up the two back panels on Project 2 which involved a lot of effort, clamping and fettling to get them correctly aligned and level beforehand.

The running plates either side of 4253’s smokebox were removed

to have holes cut in them, hinged access doors made to fit the apertures 

which then had the hinges welded to plate and door together with ‘stops’ to support the opening end.  These are to provide access to the oiling points for the front of the valve piston rods.

A start was also made on the final machining of the side rod bushes

followed by trial fitting them to the crank pins.

At HBSS, the internal steam pipes have been annealed and new ends fitted prior to being fitted to the boiler.

Week Three

During this week, the team started the job of cleaning and rubbing down the paintwork on 4253 ready for the ‘proper’ paint finish.  There’s a lot to do and the smokebox, cab and cylinder cladding were the first areas tackled.

The cab and tanks will have to wait for some warmer and drier weather as they are currently stored outside.  On top of that we helped with the work of getting Hastings ready for traffic as quickly as possible by modifying the firehole doors to stop them jamming when hot and also re-fitting all the sanding gear and guard irons in the pouring rain (which stopped immediately the job had been finished).

Also, the painting of components for Charwelton continued.

Sunday’s work was mainly getting the two rear panels for Project 2 ready to be welded into place which involved temporarily setting them in position and then climbing inside to measure, position and clamp the long strips in place to which the centre baffles will be attached.  Once satisfied, these were tack welded into place whereupon the sheets were lifted off and turned over so the strips could be fully welded.  

After that, they were turned again, repositioned and clamped into place ready for welding to the rest of the structure next week. 

Additionally, 4253’s boiler expansion bracket clamps were cleaned up and given a coat of heat resistant paint.

and the paint was removed from Hastings’ axle centres ready for NDT testing tomorrow.

Finally, here’s a shot of new arrival Beatrix Rose seeing her first steam loco with Mum and Dad, Ruth and  our chief engineer Henry.

Week Two

This week, the cleaning and polishing of 4253’s crank pins continued

and the new superheater flue tubes have finally arrived and are currently having the threaded bottle ends welded on.  We are hoping they will be finished and on route to HBSS by the end of the month for fitting.

On Project 2, all the rivets put in last week were all descaled and painted, the inside was given a coat of undercoat while the outside received a first gloss coat.  

One of the reasons for the latter is that it will show any imperfections in the platework enabling us to correct them now

and then repaint.

On Sunday, the final round of riveting was undertaken to attach the last of the baffles and lifting eyes etc.

followed by setting the filler neck in the top panel at the correct angle before tack welding it into position.

Finally, the whole thing was then laid back down on its side in preparation for the fitting of the rear panels.

Week One

This week the top beading was bolted on ready for riveting and the brake ejector box was assembled on Project 2 which required a degree of fettling to get all the attachment bolts engaging freely.

Work on 4253’s crank pins continued with polishing the surfaces before applying a coat of oil for protection.  The leading axle ones being the hardest to access being behind the slide bars and crossheads.

On Sunday it was back to riveting, just for a change, but only after a number of the holes had been reamed out.

 With none of the rivets being too bad for access we made steady progress throughout the day

and managed to complete all those on the outer panels and also the entire length of top beading as this shot shows.  The beading rivets are all countersunk and just need grinding flush which will be one of the first jobs for next week.

The closing and locking mechanism for the filler lids has been fabricated from scratch and you couldn’t come up with a more complicated design.  After an awful lot of cutting, grinding, shaping, bending and welding they are close to being finished.