Friday, 30 November 2018

A Telegram from the Queen

You can't have failed to notice that the festive season is nearly upon us, in fact we ran the first Santa specials on Sunday, a charity event for local disadvantaged children.  John moonlights in other departments as well as ours, often being seen working as a guard.  One of his other roles on the railway involves a red suit and a fake white beard... even though he has a perfectly good real white beard of his own.  He was to be seen on Saturday getting in some practise at getting up and down chimneys by getting in and out of 35006's tender to remove the build up of rust and general gunge from in there.  I'm sure that I overheard him mutter something about having had too many mince pies.
Santa John getting in some chimney practise
 3850's tender draw bar clevis has been mounted on a lathe in the workshop to freshen up the thread.  The associated nut came off a poor second after putting up a brave fight  when being removed and a replacement will need to be turned up.
Draw bar clevis in the lathe
Elsewhere in the workshop, Tom and Steve were attending to a lathe that had managed to lose its drive belt
Tom (L) & Steve
 Tony & Devindra were milling Dinmore Manor's smoke box locking arm to achieve a flat face once again.
Tony (L) & Devindra
  Tony & Devindra also made a new smoke box door spacer ring:
New spacer ring (photo courtesy of Mark Young)
The recently acquired buffers for 76077 have been dismantled and will now be refurbished
76077's buffers in their constituent pieces
 It was rather cold outside, a brazier had been lit, but every time that I went past it, nobody was around to benefit from it, most people finding something to do in the shed.
All we needed was some chestnuts to roast on it
 Ben & Ade meanwhile were busy applying a coat of bitumastic paint into the coal space of Foremarke Hall's tender.
Ben wielding a paint brush
 An outstanding task for 3850's tender is to scrape the tender journal bearings.  Engineer's blue was applied to the axle and the bearing rotated around it.  The dark blue spots on the bearing reveals the high spots which then need to be scraped gently.  Obviously this is an iterative process with many repeats until the bearing is making contact with the axle over the whole of its length rather than just in a few spots.  Without this process, only a few high spots of the bearing face would be making contact with the axle, which would get very hot in use.
Steve rotates a bearing on an axle
Engineer's blue transferred from the axle to the bearing surface
Steve re-profiles the bearing with a scraper
 It's a long and slow, but very necessary process.

Several people used a bunch of life expired sleepers to create a new mini ash dock in the yard.  I presume that this is for use in the event of ashing out locos on the new pits

The new ash dock
 3850's pony truck frame stays have had the necessary welding done by Rob
Pony truck ready to continue with painting & assembling (photo courtesy of Mark Young)
Sam & Rob have repaired Dinmore Manor's grate and ash pan
Sam in Dinmore Manor's firebox
Moving on to Wednesday, it transpires that 2807 has suffered a bit of a set back.  What had initially been thought to be a broken piston valve ring simply turned out to be gummed up piston valve rings, but unfortunately there was also a lack of lubrication reaching the piston valve in question.  Whether or not it gets sorted in time for the Santa Specials at the weekend is not clear at the moment and one of our stand by locos may have to stand in.
Piston valve removed (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
Piston valve on the valve bench (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
 Meanwhile, just in case it turns out to be necessary to run Foremarke Hall instead of 2807, her steam heat pipes were being lagged.
Foremarke Hall's steam heat pipe lagging (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
 Whichever locos turn out to be running at the weekend, I can probably state without fear of contradiction that it won't be 76077.  That didn't stop work taking place on the various tender parts that the owning group have for it.
John (at least I think it's John under all that PPE) working on the tender horn guides (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
 Having had so much work done recently, it was deemed prudent to give Dinmore Manor a steam test to make sure that she would be OK to run on the Santa Specials over this coming weekend.
Mike raising steam (photo courtesy of Matthew Harris)
I'm working on the principle that no news is good news, and that as nobody has told me otherwise that everything was OK.  I hope so, I'm rostered to fire her on Sunday.

A recent item of note is that the GWSR has started providing branded clothing direct from the manufacturers which can be obtained by clicking on this link.  With the festive season almost upon us, you might well discover that otherwise elusive perfect Christmas gift.  Do note that you can also obtain branded items for Foremarke Hall, 35006, Dinmore Manor and 2874 as well if you wish.

 Which leads me nicely into the fact that I have delayed this blog post slightly until Friday 30th November as it is 2874's 100th birthday. Steam locomotives don't get telegrams from the Queen for attaining the age of 100, but if they did, 2874's would be arriving today.
2874 during BR ownership at Shrewsbury, (photo courtesy of M.L.Boakes)
The 28XX class of locomotives were designed by George Jackson Churchward of the Great Western Railway company for heavy freight work.  The prototype originally numbered 97, but later renumbered as 2800 first steamed in 1903.  In 1905, production commenced continuing until 1919. The class remained at work until the last one, 2876 was withdrawn on 31/01/65, so the class as a whole had a service life in excess of sixty years. The 28XX class was the first UK design of 2-8-0 locomotive. 

The principle work of the 28XX class was long haul heavy freight trains.  The sealing of the internal steam pipes was one of the few problems encountered with the class and commencing in 1934, most of them had external replacements.  2874 was among the few that retained internal steam pipes and is the only one of those in preservation likely to steam again.

From 1909, all 28XX locos were fitted with super heaters and ones built before that retrofitted. When in 1938, Collett embarked on building the 2884 class of heavy freight locomotives, his design differed from Churchward's in few material ways, the most obvious being the use of external steam pipes from the start and a side window to the cab which bears testimony to how essentially correct Churchward's original design had been.

2874 was built in Swindon to Churchward’s design and was part of a batch of 28 to Lot 210, Diagram I and had Works Orders of 2762 - 2789 respectively. Work started in 1918 and was completed at the end of November. The recorded cost to build was £4992 and when the tender was included £6193. It was rated 8F with a tractive effort of 35,380 lbs weighed out at 92 tons 12cwt with its tender.  The tenders used by these locomotives were almost exclusively the Churchward 3500 gallon models.

Coming into traffic on 4th December 1918, 2874 was just too late to help with the major war effort where its class colleagues provided valuable assistance to the Royal Navy in hauling coal from the Welsh coalfields to numerous ports in the Western region and up into Lancashire for onward movement to Scapa Flow – the so-called “Jellicoe Specials”. The first shed was Old Oak Common where it worked turn and turn about on the coal trains from Wales to London - later homes included Reading, Leamington, Tyseley, Neath, Cardiff, Banbury (1947), Stourbridge Newport , 
Aberdare and her final one again at Neath. She was condemned on 24th May 1963 and sold to Woodham Bros on 9th October that year after a working life of 44 years. As we all know, many of the locomotives that ended up in Dai Woodham's scrap yard lived to steam another day.
2874 in Barry Scrapyard
2874 when at the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway
Shortly after arriving at Toddington
On display in the car park at Toddington during a Cotswold Festival of Steam Gala
2807 of course reached her 100th birthday thirteen years ago and at the time was yet to return to steam in preservation.  Likewise, 2874 has reached 100 years of age and has yet to return to steam in preservation. She doesn't have enough puff at the moment to blow out 100 candles, but watch this space, one day she will steam again.
2874 contemplating a bright future

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