We are nearly halfway through the year now, and I have adopted a week number for the blog heading to differentiate general news from feature pieces. Hopefully this makes things easier for those searching back through posts for particular pieces of information and news. Meanwhile, lots to report this week…
The pretty little Barclay ‘John Howe’ arrived from Preston on Wednesday night, being unloaded in the evening, Vulcan being loaded to leave us and head for home at Barrow Hill. Reid Freight carried out the move, with a familiar tractor unit and trailer appearing – this being John Antell’s old unit and Dave Antell’s old trailer (though the hand winch has been replaced with a power winch – much to any operator’s relief!). The Barclay will now be subject to a Fitness to Run examination and some trial runs before crew familiarisation and entry into service – we intend to do this as soon as possible but it will not be in steam this weekend. It presently faces west, but may be turned in September as we have some plans for our railway activities as part of the Power from the Past ‘working’ event…
Boiler Testing Time
Below: The Steam Mule and Steam Roller ‘Rambler’ have both had their hydraulic exams successfully completed this week. Having received repairs and new tubes, both are filled with water and this is pressurised to 1.5 times working pressure and witnessed by a boiler insurance company surveyor. Here is the Mule’s boiler, pumped up and sitting over a determined period of time to prove that it both doesn’t leak nor lose pressure.
Below: A close up of the new tubes at the smokebox end of the vertical boiler.
Below: A glimpse inside the vertical boiler showing the new tubes. The lubricant is present as part of the process to fit and expand the tubes to ensure that they are tight in the tubeplate.
Below: Rambler’s turn for the test, which was successful and will now enable Vince to progress its reassembly prior to a steam test taking place in the not too-distant future.
Below: The smokebox has been renewed, likewise the door and door-ring, the latter being a work of art in fabrication and welding, as seen here.
Below: Nice new clean and shiny tubes!
Below: Samson is currently dismantled to enable work on the footplate and frames to progress.
Below: The brake cross-shaft has been made and fitted, as seen here mounted beneath the footplate. There are two cranks to pull the rodding, as we will fit brakes on each side (it is assumed the original only had a brake on one side). This is a parking brake in reality, as most of the braking on this engine will be via the reverser in typical traction engine style.
Below: A couple of views that put the brake shaft in perspective, as well as showing the link to the brake handle mounted on the frame extensions. Dave is now working on the brake pull rods, hangers and also couplings (which are sprung gently) whilst we await the boiler drawings etc. Progress has also been made on the steam exhaust pipe from the cylinder to the blastpipe.
Below: Four views of the living van, showing the new projecting window frames, repairs to the roof and paneling of the clerestory/mollycroft.
Below: Whilst up the ladder, a chance to take a photo of the RAC box roof, which is currently being clad in metal as it reaches its final stages in the restoration process.