More on Samson...

More on Samson…

Since the arrival of Samson’s components a few weeks ago, David (and Chris) have been busy progressing the project – as was seen in the previous posting on the subject.  With the boiler components prepared, David has focussed on alignment of the gears – as seen in the views below.  The boiler has been finally placed and the supporting brackets drilled and with the second shaft gear in place, its alignment to the wheel gear on the rear axle was tested, adjusted, modified and settled.  The rear axlebox will not be sprung, whilst the front pair will be - it is probable the original Samson was not sprung at all and the wheelbase is so short that it should give us little trouble in this regard (most narrow gauge waggons being unsprung).  Measurements have been taken for the gear shroud, and alignment checked with the bunkers.  Next the boiler will be removed and it will head off to the Severn Valley for riveting, whilst David and I focus on completion of the frames and painting all of the bits.

A rolling chassis should be fairly quickly completed, so we will then await fitting of the boiler for hydraulic and steam testing (which can be carried out ‘in the frames’ given the great deal of access to the boiler possible for this process).  So it isn’t too long now until Samson can breathe its first breath of steam and we shall see how well it works!  All of the testing can be accomplished at the RHEC, before running and acceptance trials on the railway.  There is a fairly extensive paper exercise to support the commissioning so even when complete it will be a while before the locomotive is considered available for traffic (a requirement under ROGS/our SMS) and the whole project will also be scrutinised for compliance with the required standards.

For this we must file every material certificate and process document in order to ensure traceability and compliance for a new-build railway locomotive.  I’ll perhaps put some of this process on the blog for those who are interested in such things.  Even upon completion we must assess the engine under PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) and then create a technical construction file, operating manual and carry out crew familiarisation.  Procedures such as using the reverser for braking and placing the engine in and out of gear are unusual for Samson, for instance. For such purpose, this engine is considered as part of the Waggonway fleet of locomotives (being geared, like Steam Elephant and Puffing Billy) and having a similar design of boiler to all three there.  We may have to look at single cylinder operational training too – though this engine will not have the same problem as experienced by the standard gauge Aveling & Porter traction engine locomotive ‘Blue Circle’ which, like a big single cylinder traction engine, can rear up if the regulator is not used correctly.  So there is much to do aside from the actual construction of Samson!  But not long now…

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