847 (S15 Class 4-6-0)
The good news is that the arduous task of replacing the crown stays has now been completed. This was the biggest hurdle in the boiler repair. The work has been undertaken by a number of members of the workshop staff and we are indebted for their work in a very confined space. The boiler was rotated onto its side in the week beginning 18th February to enable caulking of the seams of the inner copper firebox and then rotated back upright. At the time of writing this report (end of Feb) 847’s boiler was due to swap places with 541’s and go onto the 4 wheeled boiler trolley. This is to enable it to go outside to be thoroughly washed out before being re-tubed and ultimately to be able to go outside for its steam test. To help reduce costs it is hoped to be able to use the super heater elements from Stowe, these have been extracted from Stowe and at the time of writing await testing.
The next jobs include fitting the flue tubes and smoke tubes and then a hydraulic test and steam test can take place. The boiler cladding is all sound and ready to be re-instated and the boiler fittings have been overhauled and are ready to be replaced onto the boiler.
New seamless high spec pre-set angled tube has been sourced to enable replacement steam pipes to be fabricated, using a jig that Ray Bellingham has made. At the time of writing Paul Betts was progressing well with this task. Final adjustment will take place when the boiler is back in the frames and the components test fitted into place.
Since the last report Ray Bellingham has been busy on various detail jobs on the chassis, particularly in the cab. He has installed the steam heat gauge, “pep pipe” (for hosing down coal dust in the cab) and refitted the cab seats and number plates.
There is still a way to go yet, but we are certainly entering the last lap of 847’s overhaul. With luck it will be in action this Summer.
Schools Class No 928 Stowe
Until recently there has been a “lull” in the availability of suitable work on 847 for our Sunday gang whilst work was underway on the crown stays.
Melvyn Frohnsdorff and Frank Glue have therefore got stuck in on removing the smoke tubes and at the time of writing this report in late Feb nearly all of the 163 smoke tubes have been removed. A start has also been made on carefully removing the 24 flue tubes. These are new flues that were installed not long before 928 was withdrawn from service on the Bluebell in 1992 and are hopefully in good condition and capable of being re-used, albeit that new end will need to be welded on. Once the flues are removed it will be possible to access the inside of the boiler and carry out an assessment of the nature and extent of the work required to overhaul the boiler.
Ben Coughlan, Frank Glue and Steve Pilcher have busied themselves with breaking up and removing the concrete surface within the smokebox, which needed to be done to gain access to the bolts that hold the smokebox to the frames.
U class No 1638
1638 was taken out of traffic prior to Christmas in order for a number of stays to be replaced. This work has been completed and the loco completed a satisfactory test run on Wednesday 20th February and is now available for traffic again.
Q class 541
The workshop volunteer gang have been at Sheffield Park twice a month over the winter and have been pressing on with cleaning and painting the locos wheelsets and other components.
Fundraising for Stowe
We have now assembled over£87,000 which will enable us to make a start on overhauling Stowe as soon as we have concluded what can be done to assist with the overhaul of 847. However we know we know we will need to raise at least another£150,000+ in order to fully overhaul the loco. We are in discussion with Bluebell Railway’s Fundraiser, Roger Kelly, as to ideas for fundraising for Stowe. We hope a video featuring Stowe will be produced this year. With your help this magnificent loco will be back in action on the Bluebell. Please consider sending a cheque (made payable to the Maunsell Locomotive Society) to the Treasurer, 312 Riverside Mansions, Milk Yard, London E1W 3TA. A big thank you to all those who contributed in recent years.
Stamps for Stowe
Thank you again to those who have left stamps, in the collecting box, under the table, in the waiting room at Sheffield Park. David Jones raised a very useful£340 last year and he has already raised£75 this year with this scheme. Please keep them coming and we would be very grateful if donors could ‘trim’ the edge around the stamps to just leave a quarter inch border.