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As we go to press, Stowe's tender chassis is getting close to being re-wheeled and Ray Bellingham is striding on with his work on 1638's motion.
Since the last report the following steps forward have been made:
Ray Bellingham's work on the motion is to a very high standard and it is, indeed, a joy to behold. I have been a bit premature in my previous predictions about when the work will be completed - let me just say it will be well worth seeing when it is finished.
When Ray has finished the motion he will move on to tackling the overhaul of the cab and boiler fittings etc. As mentioned below, he is currently working on Stowe's tender wheel sets in order to help get the tender chassis re-wheeled soon.
1638's boiler went into the workshop in April, when the Dukedog's boiler passed its steam test. As mentioned in previous reports, the boiler does require some major replacement of the outer steel firebox platework, as well as work to the copper inner firebox. Frank Glue has put in quite a bit of time recently drilling out defective stays - it is a long old job, and his patience is to be admired. It is all very necessary as part of tackling the essential reconstruction of the firebox area.
Hopefully once work on the Dukedog is complete, it will be possible for some more workshop time to be spent on 1638's boiler in order to push this project forward to conclusion.
For those with an eye for financial detail, we recently calculated that the Society has so far contributed over £92,000 towards the restoration of this loco (847 cost approx £50,000). This is a good indication of how much more work has had to be done on 1638, compared with any of our previous restoration projects.
At the beginning of the year, Melvyn completed the work on replacing the steam heat and vacuum brake pipework. The buffers and handbrake have been dismantled, cleaned up and re-assembled. New side valances have been fabricated and bolted back up onto the tender frame.
All the various components for the spring assemblies (ie spring hangers, springs and pockets) have been cleaned up and painted, as appropriate, and re-assembled onto the chassis. The underkeeps that hold the axle boxes in place were significantly worn and have had to be built up with weld and new fitted bolts made.
We were lucky in having a whole new set of crowns for the axles, as the original set needed a lot of work to bring them up to scratch. Ray Bellingham machined the new crowns in May and hand scraped them to bed them down precisely onto each axle journal.
The faces of the steel horn guides were examined and were found to be so badly worn that they have been scrapped. Melvyn Frohnsdorff spent a number of hours dismantling all twelve of them and new steel has been obtained which Ray Bellingham is soon to machine. Since there are twelve, and they will take at least a day each, it is delaying both the re-wheeling of the tender and Ray's work on 1638. However, we want Stowe's tender to be in first class order and fit to run without much attention for a significant period of time so time spent now will ensure it needs minimal attention when operational.
One final item that is being looked into, literally as we go to press, is to obtain some spare springs for this chassis and 1638's. Two of Stowe's tender springs are decidedly "suspect" so we are currently trying to negotiate the purchase of up to 6 spares.
These are likely to cost a few hundred pounds, an additional cost for which we had not planned. Can you help fund this?
Whilst Ray Bellingham has been busy sorting out the axleboxes and horn guide faces, Melvyn Frohnsdorff, with help from the volunteers, has been tackling the construction of a new base for the tender tank. New steel plate arrived in April and Melvyn has cut it all to shape and drilled it ready for bolting down onto the chassis. He cannot finish off this task until the chassis is re-wheeled - then expect to see the internal framework start appearing at a rapid pace as he has already fabricated quite a lot of the component parts. We already have the whole piece of rolled plate for the rear of the tender on site. This will be the next large item of the tender tank to go up on the chassis. New platework is also on site for the coal space so, if you visit during the Summer, expect to see the inside of the tender tank starting to take shape. By the end of 2003 there should be something quite impressive to see.
We need to thank the usual Sunday regulars of Simon Allen, Clive Bean, Ian Hawkins, David Jones, Heidi Mowforth, Paul Skinner, Barry Smith and Paul Thorp.
And finally, a big thank you to Keith Sturt and his workshop colleagues for all their help, advice and support in the last few months, which is so essential if both projects are to progress.
In this issue we bring you information on a couple of tempting new sales items. The first is a print of Stowe in action on the Bluebell. Matthew Cousins, who produces the delightful artwork for the Bluebell's timetable, has painted a charming colour picture of Stowe emerging from West Hoathly tunnel on a rake
of Maunsell coaches. It is a super image and comes supplied on a green mount suitable to fit into a standard 24" by 16" frame. The cost is a very reasonable £15. It is not planned to post this item so collection will have to be made from Sheffield Park on a Sunday.
The second item is a full size Stowe replica nameplate. Unfortunately, they are quite expensive to produce but for those of you with deep pockets and who like using Brasso we can supply a brass version for £250. Alternatively there is an aluminium version for £150. Due to their size and weight, they will need to be collected from Sheffield Park.
In the longer term, Matthew has been asked to produce another painting, this time of 1638. This could be available by the end of 2003.
Grateful acknowledgement is given to the Irish Railway Record Society (IRRS) for permission to re-print the following article by the late R N Clements. The article appeared in print many years ago in IRRS Journal No.23 having first been presented as a paper by Mr Clements to a meeting of the IRRS.
Continued from Newsletter No.46
In spite of the general similarity, there are considerable differences from the Swindon boiler; the latter had a long coned ring with a short parallel one in front whereas in the Ashford boiler the coned and parallel rings were roughly of equal length. The Ashford boiler was smaller, its outside diameters were 4 ft 8 inches and 5 ft 3 inches where Swindon had 4 ft 11 inches and 5 ft 6 inches but it was 12 ft 6 inches long against Swindon's 11 ft 0 inches with another foot in the length of the firebox, 8ft 0 inches against 7ft 0 inches, giving a grate area of 25 sq ft against Swindon's 20½. The back sloping firebox crown and sides sloping inwards were another Swindon feature, rare then though common enough now.
Maunsell's influence appeared in the superheater (21 elements against Swindon's 14) and his patent header but probably it was Pearson (Note 6) who persuaded him to reduce the length of the elements so as to give only 203 sq ft of superheating surface (even less than Swindon's 216 sq ft). As has usually happened when this feature of Swindon policy has been transferred elsewhere, the superheating surface was soon increased becoming 285 sq ft.
So far no mention has been made of Clayton's influence, but this was very apparent in such non-essential details as were left to the drawing office on their own. Thus the cab, both in profile and arrangement of spectacles, was pure Midland, the tender too might have come from Derby, as might the smokebox door, and the chimney, though its large diameter shows Swindon influence (Note 7), was very much of Midland shape. Clayton could have been responsible, too, for the engine number, 810, appearing only on the buffer beam and in large figures on the tender; the rectangular plate on the cab side, with the letters "SECR" was somewhat reminiscent of Inchicore, but it could be no more than coincidence that the engine appeared in the unlined grey livery that was adopted by Inchicore about the same time. An unusual detail, for which I cannot suggest any particular origin, was the use of single slidebars.
At an unknown location, Irish Mogul Class K1A No.393 is seen at the head of a rake of very clean coaches. Photograph MLS collection.
Though work on the design started in 1914, it was not till late in 1917 that the first engine was completed (Note 4). It was then subjected to lengthy trials before the decision to build the next batch, which appeared in 1920.
APPENDIX 1 continued - Comments by Mr H Holcroft
Note 4 - Robert Surtees was still Chief Draughtsman in 1914 and J Clayton came from Derby as Leading Draughtsman with the specific task of outlining the new types as laid down by Maunsell and Pearson. When Surtees retired later in the year Clayton was appointed in his place and he then took charge of the office and got his men going on with details, but this was soon checked after the war broke out. As the Germans swept through Belgium as much as possible of the Belgian rolling stock was evacuated behind the French lines, but spares and drawings had to be abandoned. In order to provide spares to put the stock back into traffic, samples of the various parts had to be sent to Ashford Works, where new drawings were made therefrom, so that the shops could manufacture the spares. All this further delayed work in connection with the N and K Class prototypes, and they did not appear until 1917.
Note 6 - The reduction in superheater surface to 203 sq ft was not due to Pearson. The elements were not shortened but were of the short bend return type. Instead of being carried as far as the smokebox tubeplate, the loops only extended halfway there, the front end having little superheating value. I think this was put forward by The Superheater Co.
Note 7 - The original chimney was not influenced by Swindon. Later on, larger diameter chimneys, based on Swindon practice, were fitted on some engines of the Class. (From about 1937 on, most of the GSR engines were also given larger diameter chimneys - RNC)
Why is there a leaflet for Stowe Gardens included with this Newsletter, you may well ask? A very good question. It is the result of a fruitful expansion of our contacts.
Stowe is named after the famous public school near Buckingham. Stowe House, once the mansion of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos, is set in 750 acres of landscape garden and parkland. This splendid honey coloured Georgian building is currently undergoing an extensive programme of external repairs. Compared with some other public schools, Stowe is a relatively recent foundation receiving its first pupils in 1923. Notable old boys include David Niven, David Shepherd, Richard Branson and George Melley.
Begun by Sir Richard Temple in about 1719, the adjacent landscape garden is the largest, grandest and most important in England and took over 130 years to create. Here, the talents of artists like Lancelot "Capability" Brown, William Kent and Sir John Vanbrugh were used to very good effect. Transferred by Stowe School to the National Trust in 1989, the Gardens are open from March to December each year. The inspired landscape includes a number of architectural features and follies. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Late last year, Amanda Pickard, the National Trust's Site Manager, contacted the Bluebell Railway with a view to visiting and seeing Stowe and to establishing contacts between our Society and Stowe Gardens. As a result of this meeting and a follow up held at Stowe, Amanda and the Stowe Gardens Shop Manager have agreed to display and sell copies of our replica Stowe nameplates and the print of Stowe in action on the Bluebell. For our part we agreed to draw the attention of Society members to the Gardens and to invite you to sample the delights of this part of the Home Counties for yourselves.
On the rear cover two photographs, kindly provided by Deryk Swetnam, show trains at Byfleet Junction on the South Western main line.
The upper photograph shows Mogul A612 on the slow line. Built at Brighton in July 1928 and shedded at Guildford In its early days, the locomotive still has its Derby pattern chimney snifting valves, piston tail rods and 3500 gallon fiat sided tender It was in the mid 1930s that the U Class locomotives acquired smoke deflectors, lost their piston tail rods and were fitted with typical Maunsell chimneys. In the case of A612 (by now 1612), it exchanged its 3500 gallon flat sided tender for one of 4000 gallons with a turned in top in November 1938 From this, it would appear that the photograph dates from the late 1920s or early 1930s.
Turning to the lower photograph, Urie N15 No.750 "Morgan Le Fay" is on the fast line. This locomotive was built at Eastleigh in October 1922 during the last days of the LSWR. As with the Mogul snifting valves are in evidence. Also to be seen are the Maunsell chimney and Urie pattern smokebox door The Urie NI5s acquired Maunsell chimneys during 1927/8 while Urie pattern smokebox door consisting of crossbar and dart and locked by a central handle together with four bolts along the bottom, was replaced by the Maunsell pattern (no central locking but with six bolts and lugs spaced around the entire circumference) in the mid 1930s. So, again, the late 1920s or early 1930s appears to be a likely date.
The Editor would be pleased to hear from any member who is able to provide more information about these two photographs (including the meaning of the route indication discs and duty numbers).
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