Monday, 25 January 2016

How to Change a Tyre on a Bulleid Merchant Navy

Circumstances prevented your humble blogger attending Toddington on Saturday, but thanks to the good offices of both Paul & Mike, I can at least bring you some sort of report.  I managed to get along for a while on Sunday to see for myself what had taken place.

The winter maintenance schedule is now progressing well, with all resident home fleet locos receiving some attention at the weekend.  The white board in the mess coach has a long to do list on it, which is slowly but surely shrinking.

Paul was one of a group of 10 or more people who tended to the Planet's favourite Prairie (PFP), 5542 on Saturday.  The grate has been replaced with a new front carrier and a cold boiler exam has taken place along with the usual mechanical checks.  Her running contract with the GWSR is not far from being over now, yet she was still being lovingly cleaned and polished (including being steam cleaned underneath where it doesn't show).
The PFP receives some TLC (photo courtesy of Paul Richardson)
Even the inside of the tool box under the cab, used to contain the oil cans came in for a clean up.
Not usually anywhere near as clean in here (photo courtesy of Paul Richardson)
I am a great believer in getting people interested in volunteering at an early age.  Without new people coming through and acquiring up the necessary skills, operational steam locos will be consigned to the history books in just a few generations time.  Paul evidently shares that view and now regularly brings along his son Dan to help out.
Dan having cleaned the tool box (photo courtesy of Paul Richardson)
Good news for the 2807 group, the wheels from their pony truck have come back from the South Devon Railway, where they have been turned.  They had discovered that one wheel had been ground to a slightly different diameter to the other one back in BR days and have just had it corrected.  Unfortunately when delivered on site, it had been dropped of the wrong way round.
Brian guards the newly arrived wheels (photo courtesy of Paul Richardson)
The fork lift truck was used to turn it the right way round (photo courtesy of Paul Richardson)
When I was around on Sunday, Brian had put on a coat of primer to the wheels, before they get painted black (not Crimson Lake).
Freshly primed wheels
 Meanwhile, the rest of 2807 is progressing nicely, with the new pony truck axle box under keep castings having been machined and trial fitted in place
2807 and the pony truck
An inverted axle box with the new under keep casting in place
Just for good measure, here is the other one
35006 had just one person working on it on Sunday, it looked for all the world like he was about to jack it up and change a tyre:
Trolley jack in place, that should do the trick!
The trolley jack would of course have proved unequal to the task of lifting 35006 far enough to change a wheel, but as it turns out, it was just right for taking the weight off of the brake hangers, allowing the pins to be removed and given a coat of copper-slip.  First time they'd been off in 20 years apparently.
Extracting one of the brake pins
I'm never too sure what to say about the bubble car, yes it's owned by a consortium of people, many of whom are members of the steam loco dept, but it's not steam or part of the infrastructure of the department.  Anyway, regardless of whether or not it's part of my remit, it is in the David Page shed for a major refit at the moment, and the gallant team of volunteers who work on it mostly do so on Sundays. At the moment, most of the internal fittings have been removed for refurbishment and the windows are being replaced after attention where necessary to the window surrounds.
The bubble, 55003.
Back to Saturday, Dinmore Manor was receiving some attention.
Mark stripping down the safety valves prior to the annual exam (photo courtesy of Mike Solloway)
Nigel paints the front buffer beam (photo courtesy of Mike Solloway)
Roger was keen enough to help clean Dinmore Manor on Sunday as well as Saturday
7820's coupling rods with bearings removed for checking/replacement
Three of Swindon's finest (l-r) 5542, 7820 & 4270
And finally, I am advised that there are just a couple of spaces available on a photo charter that will be running on the line with 4270 on March 22nd using the freight train.  If you're a budding photographer, and fancy joining in, the full details can be found by following this link.
4270 with the freight train during the 2014 gala


  1. Nice to see 55003. I am sure I have worked on it as Guard on the Stourbridge Jcn to Stourbridge town line in the late 70's.

  2. Thanks to everyone who helps keep '42 spick and span. We should be around for a little while yet and look forward to our remaining days on the railway. (there's a fair few more yet)

  3. You said the wheel set was dropped off the wrong way round. What did you expect it had been 'turned' after all.