Progress October 2021

Final Week

During the week work continued on making the various parts for the water level gauge.

We are missing a section of top trim for the tank so a start was made on making that and the regulator boss was cleaned up and, after a lot of effort, the studs for the packing gland were removed as being too wasted for further service.

The snagging team pressed on with their work under 4253, the new clock bodies were spray painted and various power tools received a bit of repair and maintenance.  An inspection of the blast pipe has revealed it to be a bit too thin for comfort at the top so a decision has been made to have a new one cast and, after a great many phone calls, we have tracked down a pattern we can borrow.

On Sunday, the entire team worked on 5668’s tank and stripped it down to its component parts so that all the drilling swarf could be cleaned off.

Once done, two floor panels were welded together, the  outer floor angle piece was coated in mastic and bolted into position 

followed by the entire assembly being placed on its side, clamped onto girders and then the angle was riveted on.

160 plus rivets later we had this.

Week Four

On Tuesday and Friday, all the clock bodies welded up last week were cleaned and given a coat of paint, 4253’s regulator rod was taken out of storage to be cleaned up and inspected and more work was done on making new parts for 5668’s tank water gauge float and associated rods and brackets as the originals were so badly rusted as to be barely usable as patterns.

Even the base of the gauge itself will have to be remade.

On Sunday, the regulator rod was moved into the main workshop to have some wasted areas built up with weld and then ground back.

The wastage included where the rod passes through the stuffing box gland so that end was cut off, the area concerned turned down in a lathe before being built up again with weld.  It will now be turned down to the original diameter and then rewelded to the rest of the rod.  Others continued on 5668’s second tank with the final holes being drilled in the front lower edge,

the rear panel getting bolted up and holes drilled to attach the last baffle angle to the outer plate.  Final measurements were also taken for the remaining panels that need to be made.  We have also started the job of working front to back on 4253’s underpinnings to ensure that everything is in place and properly bolted up, pinned as necessary.

At HBSS in Liverpool, 4253’s boiler now has the foundation ring in place, all the fixing holes have been reamed and it’s now bolted in position ready for riveting

plus a template has been made and temporarily welded into place to fix the position of the front of the new longitudinal stays in order that the backhead can be drilled and tapped.

Week Three

Most of this week’s work has been on 5668’s water tank with panels being marked, taken down and more fixing holes drilled.  Having two mag drills means the job gets done quicker.

The angles that support the baffle plates were also marked out and drilled before being bolted into place.

Meanwhile, the top angle sections were cleaned up before being passed on to the painting team.

The side plates were feathered by grinding where they overlap and then everything got bolted back together again.  Once all the top angle sections had been assembled, temporary support bars were made to hold things in place so a number of right angled joining brackets could be cut, marked, drilled and bolted into place.

By close of play we had completed fairly well all that we can on this tank until we can get the rear panels to start working on.

One item we are having to virtually remake is the water level float arrangement and mounting bracketry where the majority of the components are too badly corroded or damaged for further service.

Other jobs including welding up some clock bodies for the forthcoming sales season and finishing off the palleting up of all the boiler parts that will, hopefully, be travelling up to Liverpool next week.

Week Two

The main event of this week was the unveiling on Sunday of the memorial bench for our friend and colleague Dave Dee who died suddenly last year.  Thanks to Covid this has been much delayed but the event was attended by his family and his many friends from both on and off the Railway.

On 4253, the various boiler odds and ends needing to go up to Liverpool with the tubes were packed up and palleted ready for shipping.  These included the boiler expansion brackets, mud hole doors, hydraulic test blanking plates, internal steam pipes and brackets and the injector water trays.

Meanwhile, at HBSS, the foundation ring has been refitted and bolted into place ready for riveting

and the boiler inspector has visited to see progress thus far and announced he is happy with the quality of the work done.  The boiler will, of course, need new studs throughout and the required number were cut from round bar ready for machining up.

For 5668, work continued on the fireman’s side tank with various parts being dismantled for further work

while others were being measured and marked to make the final bits we’re missing

and panels removed to be marked for drilling.

Week One

Most of this week’s work has been on the water tanks of 5668 other than providing some tooling and bodies to help with riveting on the boiler of Yank Tank No.65,

finishing the making of blanking plates for 4253’s boiler’s hydraulic test and cleaning up the injector trays.

The driver’s side tank for 5668 is now finished other than a slim, joining panel on the rear panel which will be left until no further access to the interior is required.  Many of the team descended on it to apply undercoat

and, a few days later, it was moved out of the booth with a lot of effort, the need to remove the door and part of the adjacent wall until the loading shovel could get a grip on it and take the load to pull the rest of it out.

Immediately, work began on bringing in the sections of the fireman’s side tank that we had made some months ago and laying them out on girders.

On Sunday we set to bolting the bits together, lifting the front panels into position

so that the bottom fixing holes could be marked, the panel taken down again and the holes drilled.

They were then lifted into position again, bolted up and, by close of play, we had something that was starting to resemble a tank.

Finally, following the cancelling of Christmas because we won’t be able to get turkeys or pigs in blankets, the CO2 shortage and now petrol queues we understand there is shortly going to be a severe shortage of shares as well.  Accordingly, you’d be wise to start panic buying 4253 shares without delay.