Sunday 28 August 2016

Getting There

We've had a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks. We've also had a lot of help with the work at Aviemore. In addition to the usual Strathspey-based suspects our Farthest North supporters from Orkney have been down south for a couple of weeks - thanks indeed to Amy-Jane Budge and Alistair Foden for your help..! Chris Boyd has started to work his deep cleaning magic on the tender paintwork and will move onto the loco when we can stop working on it and give him access. And our oldest working volunteer, Graham King came up for the day last week from Stirlingshire  and showed that he can still get underneath the loco with the best of them. 

On the tender we are still waiting for Ian Riley to receive the tyre forgings from Germany. We had a false dawn when he told us that they would arrive with him on August 23rd. When that didn't happen he told Colin Vaughan that they were still in Germany but would be with him on Monday 5th September. He's aware that the return of the tender wheels is now critical to getting the loco back in traffic and he's told us that he will progress the work as quickly as possible. Hopefully we will have the tender wheels back during the second half of September. If this happens we'll have a realistic prospect of seeing 828 in action during October..

In the meantime Nathan Lightowler and Bennie McInnes have made great progress with completing the remaining work on the tender axleboxes. This has involved skimming the axlebox box tops in the milling machine to give a good seating for the newly cast crownplates. The crownplates themselves have had their lubrication points fitted. We should get the work completed in a few days and the 'boxes and bearings can be moved to the Carriage Maintenance Shed in preparation for refitting (as long as the C&W Boss doesn't object to more bits of steam locos inside his doors...)

On the loco itself we completed setting the valves - a complex operation carried out under the supervision of Nathan Lightowler. We then refitted the steamchest front cover complete with the valve spindle tail rod support bush. This latter item is a pesky piece of kit that seems to represent something of a pious hope that a sparsely lubricated bush will happily support part of the weight of the valve assembly while reciprocating at speed. The whole question of steamchest lubrication is one with which we are not wholly satisfied and there are improvements that need to be made after we have an opportunity to study how the loco behaves back in traffic. The original Caley lubrication system was quite elaborate but it is clear that under LMS and BR ownership it was considered that wet steam was an adequate lubricant and the moving parts would have to get by with a more crude form of lubrication. We will try and get back to the full CR lubrication system as soon as possible.

On 25th August with all the mechanical work approaching completion we raised steam and late in the afternoon we had the great pleasure of seeing and hearing 828 moving again under her own power. We ran her up and down the No.2 Road at the Shed for a few hundred yards and it was awesome...! Over the next couple of weeks we'll get the loco to 100% completion and then it will be matter of waiting for the tender wheels to return.......

Our old friend looking very smart in the sunshine outside the Shed..

RH Trailing Axlebox getting moved to the machine shop for skimming of the top surface..

Clamped onto the milling machine table..

Milling in operation..

More axleboxes waiting for their turn on the milling machine

Our fiends from Orkney, Amy-Jane Budge and Alistair Foden cleaning the tender axleboxes

After cleaning the tender axleboxes the next job was to clean the grate. The remains of the previous fire were clogging the air spaces between the firebars and "someone" had to go into the firebox to do the job....but only one member of the team would fit through the aperture - so congratulations and thanks to Amy-Jane....!!!

Chis Boyd getting to grips with the tender paintwork - check out the reflection...!!

This is the boiler blowdown valve on the bench. In previous days we had no need to blow down our boilers - but thanks to changes in the Strathspey water supply the SRC now needs to use an elaborate regime of chemical treatment to condition the water for our boilers. This has the consequence of requiring regular blowdowns to remove dissolved solids and this is the valve that will allow that to happen for CR 828..

This is the blowdown valve spindle - obviously suffering from a bad case of corrosion. Alan French has kindly offered to manufacture a new replacement in 316 stainless steel..

Nathan Lightowler, FRSVS (Fellow of the Royal Society of Valve Setters) attending to the valve settings on CR 828 - and concentrating hard..

Time to light the fire again with the trusty JCB acting as the coal bunker once again..

A pleasant change to be working outside on 828 in warm sunshine - Alistair Foden and Roddie McRae refitting the steamchest cover..

The gang with their loco - Amy-Jane Budge, Roddie McRae, Alistair Foden and Graham King with CR828 smoking nicely..

Ignoring the very distressed diesel next to them, the gang crack on with work on CR 828

Resting back in the Shed, 828 shows off her almost-completed front end. Soon we'll refit the "piano lid" cover and hide  the cylinder block..

Anyone got one of these in their attic..? This is the drawing of the steamchest displacement lubricator that should be fitted to the steamchest cover....but removed in LMS or BR days..we need one again..!

Sunday 14 August 2016

Great Progress

While some of us were sunning ourselves in rural Charente others were getting on with the job...! 

Nathan Lightowler, Bennie McInnes, Dave Green and Roddie McRae to name but a few have carried out great work on the loco and the tender. The end result is that the loco is approximately 95% complete and only needs a few small pieces of work to bring it to 100%. After the guys had rebuilt the inside and outside motion the loco was towed out of the yard and run over the weighbridge. Nathan reports that the crankaxle weight is about right but we need to swap about one ton between the leading and trailing axles. This is a relatively straightforward job once we have the required hydraulic lifting jacks back from overhaul. Very encouragingly Nathan reports that the loco rolls very freely with no indication of tightness in any of the refurbished bearings. The big ends are feeding oil satisfactorily; likewise the eccentric straps that Nathan put so much time into hand fitting.

Dave Green reported that the rebuild of the loco brake rigging was a bit like a chinese puzzle but eventually all of the parts went back where they came from....! One interesting discovery was to find that what we thought were slack rivets on the RH leading wheel brake hanger support were actually slack patch screws. These were refurbished and fully tightened into their tapped holes in the frame plate and secured permanently to stop them from moving again. 

The tender brake rigging has been fully cleaned up and inspected and is ready for refitting.

The newly cast crown plates for the tender axleboxes have had their sliding surfaces machined true and the lubrication grooves cut. We'll skim the top of the axleboxes to give a flat and true surface for the crown plates to bear on.

And the big question...! Where are the tender wheel tyre forgings...? Ian Riley has confirmed to Colin Vaughan that he anticipates delivery of the forgings at his Heywood works on August 23rd. Assuming that this is correct we hope that he will proceed with fitting and machining the tyres without delay. Colin will continue to liaise closely with him on this one. 

Now moved over to No.2 Road an almost complete loco stands happily under the smoke hood.

The RH view - note that the steam chest cover and piano lid are still missing - we need to do some final checks on the valve setting before refitting the covers..

The inside motion all back in place..

The tender axleboxes with their newly cast and machined crown plates..