Sunday, 11 February 2018

How Many Kings?

As I'm sure you're aware, we're well into the winter maintenance season now, in fact quite scarily we have less than a month before the start of the 2018 season.  As a consequence there has been much beavering away at the various operational locos lately.   That isn't to say that the operational side has taken a complete back seat, many people turned up on Saturday, unrecognisable in normal clothes rather than grubby overalls to take their biennial rules & signals exams.  Last week, there were plenty of people similarly attired in normal clothing to have a mutual improvement session on the changes that will take place to the rule book and also a little on how the Broadway section will operate.

The winter maintenance on the operational fleet hasn't precluded a limited amount of work on 3850, work has started on wire brushing and priming sections of the frames.  I received this photo from Sam almost a fortnight ago now showing that the drag box had been primed:
3850's drag box (Photo courtesy of Sam Perry)

On Saturday, I noted that the drag box was now in grey undercoat and a section of the frames has received primer:
Slow but sure progress
 Tony & Devindra continued the process
Tony wire brushing 3850's frames
 I even did a bit myself:
The other side of 3850's frames
Dinmore Manor's driver's side piston valve had been reassembled and was ready to be reinstalled
7820's piston valve
 The recent weather had caused significant condensation in the valve bores, which had in its turn caused a light glazing of rust to appear.  In order to remove the rust prior to reinstalling the piston valve, Tony gave the bore a quick rub down with some very fine grade wet & dry paper.  The far end was out of reach, and the hole for the spindle to small to admit a hand, so the wet & dry paper was secured to a piece of wood by a cable tie and the far end could be treated.
Tony removing rust at the near end...
...then at the far end.
Later in the day, Will returned the piston valve back into its bore and attached the lubrication mechanism to the end of the spindle.
Will attaching the valve spindle lubricator
 Remember the presence of the valve spindle lubricator, I shall return to that topic in this post.
Will and Donna refitting the covers on the running plate.
Mark measuring tolerances on the fireman's side piston valve.
As mentioned earlier, not all the work on the go at the moment is related to winter maintenance, the Peckett, John, is still being slowly worked on by a small team, mostly working on Sundays.
Tom refitting the Peckett's slide valves
 2807 is making sound progress towards being ready for the start of the season:
Bruce refitting the innards of one of the injectors
 One of the double width fire bars has been discovered to have a crack through it, a new one is on order.
It might get welded and held in reserve as a spare
 I mentioned above that the topic of valve spindle lubrication would be returned to.  Due to excessive wear on the valve spindles of the 2800 2-8-0's, when Collett introduced his 2884 class (essentially an upgraded version of the 2800), amongst the items that he added was a lubricator on the end of the spindle.  The modification wasn't retrofitted to the earlier 2800 class.  Wear has been noted on the valve spindles of 2807, and the owning group are mulling over the idea of modifying 2807 to incorporate a suitable lubricator.
No lubricator here, compare to the photo of Dinmore Manor back up above somewhere.
Gil & Bruce, weighing up the pros and cons
 The change if it were to be made would be noticeable externally, note the raised bump in the valve inspection cover on Dinmore Manor to accommodate the lubricator, and the small oil filler pot on top of the running plate.
Something like how it may end up looking
35006 has her springs refitted now and is back down on her wheels again, but there is still plenty to be done.
Jamie was refitting the washout plugs...
...whilst the buffer beam accoutrements were being refitted
 Steve was keen for me to point out to our crews that the front coupling should be stowed as shown in the photo below when not in use... apparently not everybody gets it right.
Like this!
The painting of 76077 before its departure to Locomotive Maintenance Services in Loughborough has been coming on very well.  The frames, wheels & pony truck have all been primed and mostly put into grey undercoat by the start of Saturday, and by the end of the day, much of it had gained a second undercoat, this time in brown.
Pony truck...
...and wheels, in grey undercoat
 Towards the end of Saturday:
Chris H, finishing off the grey undercoat...
L-R, Ade, Gwendolynne & Chris I putting on brown undercoat...
...the fruits of their labours later on.
And finally, reverting back to the story of last week's blog, the (subject to contract) booking of 6023, King Edward II for our Cotswold Festival of Steam gala on May 26th - 28th, I'd firstly like to say thank you to Steve O, who burnt some midnight oil in making the web pages fully visible.  Our website (yes, the recently updated and "improved" one) is still rather painful to upload information to, and my efforts as it turned out were only partially successful.  You will find that much more information is now present and correct.  Advance ticket sales for the Cotswold Festival of Steam Gala have just become available, click here to order yours now.

The second point is that several people have come up to me enquiring about were there really 30 Kings made, or 31?  For reasons that I shan't bore you with, this is a topic that is of interest to me and a number of years ago I spent a little time researching it.  The confusion arises from the Shrivenham Railway Accident of 15th January 1936.  The official report, linked to above is an interesting read and explains why having tail lights fitted onto the ends of trains is so important, and why signalmen should check that they are present and correct when trains pass their signal boxes.  In short, 6007, King William III at approx 05:30 on the morning of 15th January 1936 crashed into the back of a five wagons and a brake van that had become detached from a preceding goods train hauled by 2802.  Apart from being a cautionary tale regarding the duties of signalmen & guards, it is also a reminder that coupling hooks need to be manufactured to a high standard.  It's a little hard to track down these days, but "Peto's Register of Great Western Locomotives Volume one" is probably the definitive guide to what happened after the accident as the late Bill Peto was working with the benefit of the having the archives of the GWR available to him.  The accident itself was covered on page 36 and on page 37 he goes on to list the substantial number of damaged items to both the locomotive and its tender.  He goes on to say that for accounting purposes, the loco was condemned on the 5th of March and a new locomotive was ordered under lot 309 at a cost of £4,393.  Conclusive evidence that there were in fact 31 Kings you may think, but not so.  The "replacement" loco, also numbered 6007 and named King William III incorporated the frames and even the boiler of the original 6007, in fact there was no need to even remove the boiler from the frames to effect the repairs necessary.  She was even returned to traffic on March 24th 1936 paired with the same tender.  Laurence Waters' book "The Power of the Kings" covers the accident on pages 14 & 15 in rather less detail than Bill Peto, stating "No 6007 was nominally condemned on 5 March 1936 but was in fact rebuilt using the same boiler, frame and tender, being returned to service at Old Oak Common on 24 March 1936."  Kevin McCormack's "Haynes Great Locomotive Series, Great Western Kings" on pages 49 & 50 reports  "As a result of the necessary repairs which exceeded that or a normal overhaul, a new lot number was issued and, for accounting purposes, the locomotive was officially condemned on 5 March 1936 (i.e. the company's asset was written off).  This seems to have caused some people to conclude that an entirely new locomotive was constructed but, as can be seen from the accompanying photograph, the engine was certainly not destroyed. Many parts were re-used, including major items such as the frames, boiler and tender".   The photograph referred to above is the aerial photo which appears on the Shrivenham Heritage Society's website.  
It just goes to show that you can't always believe what you read on the web, even on normally reliable sources like Wikipedia.   Just in case somebody decides to change it on the strength of reading this, it currently says:


  1. Accounting has a lot to answer for! - in the past many "rebuilds" were in fact new engines and vice versa to suit accounting. A similar error is perpetuated regarding VoR No 9 - which is said to be a rebuild of one of the original Davies and Metcalfe engines, but was in fact a new build (apparently the board had only given approval for two new engines (No's 7&8), so the other was classed as a "heavy repair" of one of the D&M engines which was in fact scrapped!!

  2. Replies
    1. It looks like they have let the URL lapse. I shall make inquiries.