Here is a short post, covering a few of the team’s activities as the half-term week reaches its conclusion and we look back at what felt like a very busy week on site. Not shown here, but in line with previous posts, work on Gateshead 10 continues, with the brake gear being test assembled. The challenge for the engineering team is that they are not the people who took the tram to pieces, and in addition, they are trying to restore some of the original clearances and limits to the assembly too. Progress is good, though, and there are a growing number of parts ready for painting in the coming months. The detail paint preparation of the body continues, as does the finishing stages of painting the roof, its fittings (advertising brackets for example) and the clearstory window frames. Out on site, David, our Infrastructure Manager, is planning the winter programme of renewal and maintenance work on the tramway, and has also been assessing the track at Rowley Station in advance of developing a plan for this work in 2023.
NER 559 (K class)
Off site, the design work on NER 559 continues, with the design of some large components being developed (crank axle and cylinder castings in particular). There has been a great deal of interest in this project and I’ve added a title to the menu bar on the left of the screen specifically to take readers to relevant posts (as has been the case for Dunrobin et. al for some time now).
Below: This photograph shows an unidentified K class at Newcastle Infirmary Yard, which was a little to the west of Newcastle Central Station and to the north of Forth Banks Goods Station. The loco retains its marine firebox and forward-positioned safety valve bonnet, indicating that the image must pre-date the 1902-1904 rebuilding of the class. It is therefore possible it is a brand-new K, on a running-in turn from Gateshead works, before dispatch to Hull Docks, which was the intended base for all five of the locomotives. The limited coal capacity of the class is clearly evidenced by the ambitious heap of coal piled on top of the side tank (some pictures depicting a curved plate to try and capture some of this, later on at least one of the class’ lives). This is a wonderful and widely reproduced image, though the copy from the J W Armstrong Railway Photographic Trust is the best and clearest of the views that I have seen reproduced. The poses of the gentlemen in this view, and their clothing, is also of note, as is the apparent lustre of the locomotive’s paintwork.
Photo courtesy of the JW Armstrong Railway Photographic Trust
*Update: A fascinating website contains a great deal of information on this area of goods yard: http://www.railwayarchitecture.org.uk/Location/Newcastle/Forth%20Goods/Forth%20Goods%20Station.htm
Below: In our temporary steam workshop at the Waggonway, two winter locomotive overhauls are underway, with the cessation of Waggonway operation for this season having occurred on the date of Puffing Billy’s current boiler ticket expiring. No.18 has been moved into the rear of the building now, with work focussed on the boiler. Mechanical work will include addition of hydrostatic cylinder lubrication and adding some inspection hatches to the running plate to allow access for oiling the valve rods, slidebars and eccentrics, without having to keep moving the locomotive (as they are obscured by the running plates and can be tricky to access unless in optimum positions – which of course will differ on each side of the locomotive).
Depending on how long the boiler work will take (see next caption) we may look at overhauling the axleboxes, though this work was due to take place at a latter point in the next operating cycle. The paintwork will be deep-cleaned and re-varnished, but other than localised repairs to the finish, it wont be repainted, as I want the finish to age with the loco and develop a patina and sheen.
Below: The boiler inspector has visited and carried out his examination, and we now await the NDT (Non-Destructive-Testing) specialist to come in and sample some areas of the vessel, in particular some of the rivets, and firebox platework. From this we will then be able to determine the way ahead, whether it is work we can complete on site, or whether the boiler will need specialist attention – with the attendant extension of the overhaul timescale and cost. Fingers crossed!
Below: The front tubeplate, with chalk markings to outline areas for repair/investigation. The bottom of the tubeplate is always an area where wastage can be expected, and reduction of the rivet heads, due to the accumulation of smokebox ash in this area, which when damp creates a highly corrosive environment for the steel to live in.
Below: Puffing Billy was immediately moved into position in readiness for stripping and de-tubing, after it came out of operation last week. The tender has been separated and the front wheelset removed to enable the journals to be skimmed and the front axle pedestals to be repaired, whilst the locomotive is out of use. To the left, the Waggonway train is sat over the pit for brake examination and overhaul. The Brampton coach is to be modified in order to enable carriage of wheelchairs, as the semi-open coach (presently green) is now deemed to be beyond further life-extension and it will be comprehensively rebuild in 2023 for service in 2024 (hopefully!).
Preparing for Christmas…
Below:With Halloween events underway, preparations for the setting up of the Christmas grotto (singular, for any children reading!!!) will start next week. This will once again be based at Rowley Station, and entails the use of the area around (and including) the Goods Shed and Council Depot. Therefore we have to move exhibits out and place them elsewhere. We used Rambler to shunt the Aveling Roller into alternative storage for the next few months, before Rambler then made it’s migrational journey to the Waggonway for the winter. Here area a few photos of it on Friday 28th, as it makes its way through a busy museum (half-term). On a glorious, warm and sunny day, it seems odd to think this work is the first stage in delivering our Christmas festival season!