Today was an auspicious day for Samson – its first fire was lit, three years after construction began. Here are some photos from the day.
Below: The day commenced with filling the boiler, sans fusible plug, and preparing the engine for its big day.
Below: The absence of the fusible plug, as seen here, enables a comparison of water level to be made on the crown of the firebox vs the water level shown in the gauge glass – ideally no water should be visible in the glass, but it should be flowing through the hole the fusible plug occupies. This means there is very little chance of having low-water and dropping a plug, when it is visible in the gauge glass – on level track. If water is visible in the glass and it is only just covering the crown, this increases the risk of causing the lead filled fusible plug to fail (it is fitted as a safety device to protect the boiler against low-water incidents which are extremely serious) and so is not desirable. With this being a new boiler, designer Graham Morris was able to ensure that what we proved today would be the case. This test is rather quicker to conduct than explain it should be added!
Below: With the water test completed and the plug replaced, the fire was lit. A very slow warming was required, so newspaper and sticks sufficed as the match was struck…
Below: The first wreaths of smoke drift from the chimney.
Below: David talks to Courtney, who writes for the Beamish Magazine, about the project and his ancestors in engineering.
Below: A silly lamp fitted, just for fun!
Below: The valve chest cover plate, newly fitted and with David’s name and also the Beamish number – BM2 is the formal number of the locomotive.
Below: The fire develops…
Below: The afternoon settled into reasonable weather (but cold) as Samson gently warmed through. With the fire dying away, at dusk the engine was returned to the shed ready for another test tomorrow, this time to raise steam…