RHEC Restoration, Replicas and Repairs...

RHEC Restoration, Replicas and Repairs…

The RHEC (pronounced ‘Wreck’) team has been busy on both repairs and restorations lately – here is a glimpse of some of those which take place in a ‘typical’ day…

Below: The repair… The Steam Gallopers organ engine has been giving us some considerable difficulty lately, with operators reporting excessive water consumption and a tendency to ‘wind’ the boiler of the centre engine.  To add to its woes, the piston also came loose on the piston rod, necessitating a replacement rod – made over the weekend by David Young and fitted yesterday by David Grindley.  So, engine fixed but operators still not happy…  The investigation into this continues with the next suspect being the governor.  The piston rings and valve settings are fine, and really such a tiny cylinder should make little impact on the main boiler so we will explore this with some troubleshooting sessions over the next week or so.  Here is the engine sat in the Erecting Shop whilst the piston was removed.


Below: For very many years, this (thought to be) former NER 8 ton coal wagon has languished in the Colliery area.  Originally rescued from Thrislington Colliery to be used as a coaling stage in 1970, not for the collection, it was in poor condition then and has only got worse with the passage of time.  In the last ten years or so it has broken its back and decayed to the point where restoration would be unrealistic and recreation/replication the only real future for it.  With all of this considered, it is now being dismantled to provide parts for other projects.  Some ironwork is retrievable, likewise some of the timber.  It is seen here before anything was reclaimed from it last week.


Below: The first beneficiary of the 8 tonner’s dismantling is the box chaldron restoration, the corner plates being removed and trimmed to size (removing the moth eaten sections) for use on this project.  Tony is seen marking out the rotten plate, ready for it to be cut to size and repaired as necassary.


Below: Two more corner plates after trimming and before patching of the holes took place.  Samson’s smokebox door ring is also seen, the door currently being made for this in the same shop.


Below: Corner plates in primer – the pattina is a good match for the ironwork already recovered for the box chaldron waggon.


Below: A quick look at Samson (the ‘replication’ of our title) showing the forgings for the rear footplate in place.  Longer bolts will be fitted in place of the temporary ones seen here, as they also capture two layers of timber buffer plank as well as a buffing plate.

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Below: David has progressed the crankshaft pedestals to the extent that the brasses are trial fitted and caps machined to trial fit them too.  There is a little more work to carry out on these, not least the centre gear stub shaft, but progress is remarkable nevertheless – David first put pen to paper for the drawings of this project in August 2012 and the first metal arrived in April of this year (the frames) – therefore what we see has been accomplished in little more than a year from the decision to build the loco being taken and around six months of actual construction time.  The challenge is now to retain this momentum!