Thursday, 17 December 2015

No restoration Update this week

As I am unlikely to be at the railway for a week or two, there will be limited coverage of any progress on the restoration of the loco.  If anything does happen in the next week or so I am sure that I will be informed and be able to pass it onto you.

In the mean whilst, I thought it a good opportunity to wish all of the PROJECT 27 supporters and helpers a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We look forward to your continued support and interest in the coming year.

Could I also remind you that without your support and donations the project will not be completed.  Every penny spent on the loco has to be raised from public donations.  If you would like to help us to pay for the restoration we have various methods of collecting funds.  I have outlined these below for your interest.

We are able to accept cash and cheque donations by sending your donation to:
The Fenchurch Fund - Project 27, Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex. TN22 3QL (cheques made payable to "The Bluebell Railway")

If you are able to use Gift Aid you may donate to the fund via the Bluebell Railway Trust.  Please contact The Fenchurch Fund - Project 27, at the above address, for a gift aid form.  It is also possible to use the form to set up a standing order for regular donations.

We also have a "Just Giving" page for donations via the world wide web, the address is :

and finally you can text a donation to: "FENC72 £10" to 70070 to donate £10
- you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10;
- you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
- your operator's standard text charge applies.

And finally if you have any model railway equipment or railway relics you would like to get rid of we can take donations of such items to sell on behalf of the fund.

On behalf of the committee and restoration team, I thank you once again for your continued support and interest in the project.


Clive D. Emsley,
Chairman - The Fenchurch Fund
Project Manager - PROJECT 27
A Sub-Committee of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Guard Irons back

The guard irons and struts have been returned to the villa from Horsted Keynes where they were cleaned and a protective coat of paint added.
The four guard irons together with the struts to the left (all pictures by Clive Emsley) 
The guard irons can now be left in store until the weather gets better, and the atmosphere drier, before further painting takes place.

The weld that was carried out during the locos days with either the Southern or BR has been ground out for investigation and it is apparent that there is some work required. The weld was found to be full of weld slag to a fair depth. Currently it is under discussion as to the way forward.  It may be possible to grind out further material and still reweld the repair. The other option will be to cut out around the weld and weld in a patch.  The decision on the course of action will be taken shortly.

The ground out weld repair showing the holes left by the weld slag.

It has been arranged that the wheels will go away on the same lorry as the wheels from 80151 to the South Devon Railway for tyre turning and journal skimming. Whilst it is good news that we can share the cost of the transport, we will need to pay the full cost of the machining of the wheel sets and we will need to make a contribution towards the transport.  The cost of this is not yet confirmed but  if you would like to help us by contributing towards the transport and machining costs we would be greatly pleased.  For further information on how to help please contact us by E Mail at: or by post addressed to The Fenchurch Fund - Project 27  via Sheffield Park.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Disappointing News

We had some slightly disappointing news at the weekend when Stuart Marks, the Project Engineer, gauged the profile of the wheel sets.  The leading and trailing wheelsets whilst worn were within tolerance. However, the middle (driving) set was found to be below minimum tolerance.

The result of this discovery is that the wheels will need to be sent away for turning.  This needs to be done before we can start on any reassembly of the loco, which, whilst not imminent is a constraint.  We are negotiating to send them away at the same time as the wheels for 4MT No. 80151. This will reduce the cost of transport, although the full cost of the machining will need to be found!  As we are not in an immediate rush to get the wheels back, they will stay at the workshop until the wheels for 80151 come back next year.  Of course, we will have to make sure that the space that the wheels are currently occupying remains clear!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Some more news from Project 27

Shot blasting of components started

The 4 guard irons and the associated struts from 27 were taken to Horsted Keynes to be shot blasted clean in the large shot blaster based in the carriage works. 

The guard irons waiting to be taken to Horsted Keynes prior to shot blasting (Photo by Clive Emsley)

The strut that was seized to the guard iron in the picture has since been persuaded to remove itself and has been straightened to its original shape.
The opportunity was taken to carry out some minor welding on the guard irons prior to recieving a coat of primer and two coats of undercoat.  Other work ongoing involves some minor welding repairs to the footstep struts. The welding repairs are being carried out by Matt Holloway with whom we are continually amazed  by his versatility and skill.
The material for the manufacture of the fitted bolts which will be used to locate the cylinders to the frames has been delivered and machining has started in so much as the bolt lengths have been faced off and centre drilled ready for the machining to take place over the Christmas and New Year period. We are grateful to Ian Ferguson for his continued assistance in the restoration.

The "left over" material is safely stored away, having been treated to a film of oil to prevent dampness affecting the steel. Thanks to Steve Booth for doing this.
We are currently trying to locate the correct machine tap and thread cutting tips to be able to carry out the machining over the forthcoming festive period. Hopefully they are available, otherwise we will need to procure them from outside the railway.

Our plans for fundraising and information stands for next year are progressing well, and we can announce our first couple of events.

We will be having a stand either close to the loco, or close to the tank on Platform 1, during the Branch Line weekend (19th & 20th March). We are hopeful that we will be able to let you see the progress on the frames and other items as well as tell you about our plans for the future.
The Project has been invited to attend the Wealden Railways Group's model railway exhibition in Steyning on the 2nd of April. This will be a larger event than that last year, and we should have slightly more space! Please, if you can, come along and support them, and us, on the day.

Other events that we will be attending will be publicised in due course.
Thank you for your continued support.


Friday, 20 November 2015

Further update on the stuffing glands

Ben has been hard at work again!

Following on from last weeks silver soldering exercise, this week Ben Dingley has finished making the remaining two bronze stuffing glands, ready for assembly. The outside dimension of the bush being carefully turned down to match the internal diameter of the bore of each individual gland.

Following this a pilot hole was drilled through the centre of the bush, before being bored out. This is undersize relative to the final dimensions of the piston rod which will pass through this hole. The bush will be bored out to final size after silver soldiering the bush to the gland.

The bush being fitted to for size to the stuffing gland prior to being removed from the stock material
(all pictures: Ben Dingley)

The three stuffing glands with the new bushes inserted, the one on the left is the one silver soldered previously
One of the glands needed further work in the shape of boring a step in the internal diameter as the original material was contaminated by previous white metaling processes and the silver solder would not have adhered to the surface in a correct manner.  

The third gland and bush clearly showing the step machined in the and on the bush
We must express our sincere thanks to The College for allowing Ben to carry out the work using their facilities, Ian Furguson for helping and Ben for the actual work being carried out.  I would imagine that there is not too much more to do before a start can be made on re-assembly!

We are starting to formulate plans for sales and information stands next year. We have a few definite dates already, including (at Sheffield Park)  Branch Line Weekend 19th/20th March and the Atlantic House open weekend 11th/12th June.  Away from the railway, we have been invited to attend the Steyning Model Railway show on the 2nd April, and of course we will be at the BRPS AGM 21st May. We are just awaiting dates for the remaining "Gala" dates before arranging stands at these.  If there are any events close to the railway that would like to invite us, we are always interested in getting our message out there!

We are also looking at a way to organise a regular working group, on a monthly basis, from early in the new year. This will require a bit of work, but it is believed to be a good way to bring new blood to the engineering side of the railway.  There are a few minor things to sort out, but we are hopeful that we can do this next year.  If you would like further information on any aspect of the project including how you can help us either physically or financially please contact the project on

Thanks for your continued interest in Project 27

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Weld Repair to the Right Frame

Stuart has done some grinding!

Stuart Marks, our Project Engineer has been working on the old welded repair to the right side frame.  He has managed to grind out to a fair depth, hoping to see that the weld would be suitable for further service, with minor repair and tidying up.
He found, however, that there was a high proportion of weld slag in the repair and it will need further work.  This may be a welding process, or may entail cutting out a small patch and replacing it with new material.  This is dependant on the size of the piece ground away, and the assessment of what is left behind.  The worst case scenario is if the gap in the frame is too great, a patch will need to be cut out and a new patch welded in for strength.  the best case is that it can be weld repaired.  This decission will need to be made by the workshop manager in conjunction with the project engineer. 

It's not all gloom and doom though! We have ordered some more steel for the manufacture of the fitted bolts so they can be ready for the day we come to fit the new cylinders into the frames. This is likely to be a little way off, but if we get the material ready so the machining can be carried out when there is spare capacity it helps the work flow in the macine shop.

The drawings for the new cylinders have been completed and are just waiting for a final check before we can order a couple of sets of cylinders.  This will of course need to be paid for!

If you would like to help us in any way, please contcat the project on

Thanks for your interest.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Photos of the 9F club's work

 A few pictures of the work done by the 9F Club

Just a quick update with some pictures done by the 9F Club last weekend.
the horn guide and keeper plate having been cleaned (all photos by Clive Emsley)
The brake hangers having been cleaned up by the 9F Club and treated by Jim Turtle

the four guard irons and struts awaiting cleaning and protective treatment
 These pictures give an impression of the work we will be carrying out for the next few months whilst we continue to raise funds to pay for the parts that need to be manufactured.  This includes many small parts as well as somewhat larger items such as the boiler and cylinders!

If you would like to help us in any way, please contact us at

Thankyou for your interest.

Progress this week on the Steam Reverser

Silver soldering takes place on the stuffing gland

This week at college Ben has go to the stage of silver soldering the first of the newly manufactured bushes into the first of three stuffing glands to be treated.  This was carried out with the help and guidance of Ian Furguson.

The pieces of the assembly were thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the operation. This required the use of a fine emery cloth to remove any surface impurities and the application of an "easyflow" flux.

The cleaned stuffing gland having easyflow flux applied at the start of the operation (all photos: Ben Dingley)
The gland was surrounded with fire bricks which hold the heat and help to keep the temperature correct during the operation.  the gland was then heated to 670 degrees centigrade, which is the melting point of the silver solder.

The heating commences and the flux starts to run
The heat is applied using two heat sources, creating a "vortex" of heat around the piece.  this helps to get an even temperature throughout the gland.  the silver solder is then fed into the joint to start the soldering process.

Heat applied to the bottom of the item to draw the solder through
The heat is then transferred top the bottom of the joint to draw the silver solder through the joint to create a firm and solid connection. The stuffing gland was then turned over and the process repeated on the other end.
Heat, flux and silver solder being applied to the other end of the gland 
Once a good joint was made, the heat was removed and the entire assembly allowed to cool down before the final process could take place.
The stuffing gland cooling from the extreme heat applied
In the picture it is possible to see the areas of silver solder showing against the cherry red of the brass stuffing gland and bush which have been joined.  The gland was left to cool before the final part of the proceedure which was to "pickle" the gland in a bath of dilute sulphuric acid.  This process is intended to remove the residue of the flux and other impurities.

The stuffing gland relaxing in a nice bath of dilute sulphuric acid!
Following this procedure, a final machining will to take place to ensure that the bore dimension is correct and the faces are square to the bore.

Please keep returning to this page as it is regularly updated with the latest news, usually weekly, but occasionally it takes a bit longer to update!

If you would like to help the project in any way, please contact us by E Mail at where we will be able to give you more information.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Another good weekend's work

Machining of parts for the steam reverser

Ben Dingley (Essex Ben) has been busy on the refurbishment of the steam reverser. following on from the grinding of the port face on the cylinder, he has bored out the cylinder to remove excessive pitting in the bore.
The steam reverser cylinder on the "Broadbent" Lathe undergoing boring (Photo: Ben Dingley)
This work was carried in the workshops at Sheffield Park. Thanks must go to Steve Czech and Chris Shepherd for thier advice and for allowing us to use the machine. Thanks must also go to Ian Ferguson for supervising and guiding the operation.
Bronze bushes being turned by Ben Dingley, who also took the photograph
Ben has also been continuing with his work at college and has started to make new bronze bushes which support and guide the piston rod as it travels up and down in the cylinders. This work will continue over the next couple of weeks.
There was also some work done in the Villa on Saturday when members of the 9F club spent time with us, supervised by Steve Booth. Jim Turtle provided guidance on what items to work on. This was the last 9F club meeting of the year, and our thanks go to them for their support.
As the day was slightly damp, the work was carried out inside the villa. The 9F boys and girls worked hard with scrapers and wire brushes to remove the rust off the brake hangers, previously stored outside.  They also spent some time cleaning up the hornguide and axle keep recently removed from the frame for the crack repair.
Once the items were cleaned up Jim applied Chelade to all items. This product stabilises any remaining rust and leaves a protective polymer barrier on the surface ready for the next layers of paint.
Jim has promised to let me have a couple of photos which I will post when they arrive.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

A great Giant of Steam Weekend for Project 27

The "weekly" update

Giant of Steam weekend

We had a great weekend, meeting and talking to our many supporters, and if you were one of them, thank you for popping by.  Our sales and information stand caused a great amount of interest as people stopped to talk on their way to and / or from visiting the Atlantic and Class 2 projects. the arrangement of the three stands together seemed to work very well.
The Project 27 Sales and Informtion Stand set up in front of the work site (note cylinders on display to the left)
(All photos by  Clive Emsley unless otherwise stated) 
We made a lot of new friends over the weekend, many of which also are turning into supporters!  The financial results were the best for many a long year both from sales and donations, but almost as important was the goodwill we were given by our visitors, many of whom came back at least twice to have further chats with us and make donations.
We managed to sell many jars of chutney, marmalade, jams, pickled onions and eggs!  we now also only have a few of the commemorative badges left, so if you have not got yours yet, get in quick!

Work Progress

Work has carried on over the last couple of weeks, mainly behind the scenes in workshops and under cover on the frames.
The frames have been painted with a coat of temporary protective gloss paint in this instance it was "Maunsell" green as there was some left over from painting the tank which is on display on the platform! The colour at this stage is largely immaterial as it will be rubbed down and the correct colour applied in the spring. The final colour will be black for the outside and red on the inside.
The outside of the frames on the left hand side of the loco resplendent in Maunsell green!
The inside of the frames at the front end again in Maunsell green
Some machining of components have also taken place. folowing the removal of the RH driving axle horn guide, which required the fitted bolts to be removed with a "big hammer" 10 new fitted bolts have been manufactured, 5 for the one already removed and 5 for the opposite horn that still needs to be done. The machining of these was done by Ian Furguson in the loco workshop.  He has kindly also offered to make similar (but larger) fitted bolts for the cylinders.
10 fitted bolts machined by Ian Furguson ready for replacing the horn guides, note one old bolt that survived the extraction!
Also in the workshop, the steam reverser has been receiving attention on the surface grinder.  The exhaust port has been ground to tolerance by Ben Dingley, under the watchful eye of Ian Furguson. this is part of the ongoing project being carried out by Ben as part of his college work. It just needs to be inspected and assessed then it can be removed from the grinder.
The Steam reverser cylinder mounted on the surface grinder in the workshop at Sheffield Park
Amongst other things that have been happening is the production of CAD drawings of the cylinders by Matthew Holloway. These are complete and just awaiting final checking and approval. once this has been carried out, it will be possible to in initiate the ordering of at least two sets olf cylinders, one set for 27 and a second for 178.  There is a possibility that one more set may be cast, but this is dependent on other factors.  The CAD drawings will be used to produce a 3D printed polystyrene pattern to be used in the sand casting process.  This should save time and money over the construction of traditional wooden patterns, one of the great boons of modern technology!

We always welcome offers of help on the project, be they financal, on the restoration or helping with the sales and information stands.  We are aiming to be at most if not all of the "gala" weekends at the Bluebell next year plus the AGM, so if you would like to come along for a chat, or to lend a hand, you will be most welcome. Please email me for information and offers of help on

For donations via "Just Giving" either on line or by text doanation, please follow the links below.  Your contribution is always appreciated.  For information,  standing orders and cash donations please E Mail me for details at

Thank you for your continued support.
Clive D. Emsley
To make a donation please go to:
Or for Text donations Simply text "FENC72 £10" to 70070 to donate £10
- you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10;
- you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
- your operator's standard text charge applies.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Liveries carried by the P tanks

What shade of green is that?

It has often been said that the most important part of a locomotive's restoration is the colour it is painted in.  It is my firm belief that this is not the most important thing!

Having said that I would like to share the thoughts of the restoration team with you regarding the livery and how it is chosen, also when it needs to be decided.

The committee of the Fenchurch Fund and the Project 27 team set down and discussed the livery that we are to turn 27 out in.  Whilst this decision is not vital, it does need to be made at a fairly early stage in the restoration. The livery chosen must fall within the guidelines of the Historical Committee, the wishes of the Loco Director and other interested parties.  Whilst we have made our mind up which livery 27 should be turned out in we still need it rubber stamped before we go "public".

Why do we need to know what colour it will be painted so early? I hear you ask.  Well, as soon as paint is applied, there needs to be some idea of what the final colour (e.g. green, black, crimson lake etc... etc...). This will allow the correct shade of undercoat and primer to be applied first.  there are some colour differences with various parts of the loco depending on livery also, so the final livery will need to be known before these parts are painted.

As an example of liveries that 27 could carry, I have sorted out some pictures of P Tanks in various liveries.  Unfortunately, as far as I am aware there are no pictures of the Crimson Lake or Light Green experimental liveries which were applied in the early days, and the locos never left the paint shops in these liveries!

Still here is the first batch of pictures to be going on with!

27 Resplendent in SECR livery on Platform 2 at Sheffield Park on the 14th June 1965
(Photo: SECR Society/Peter Tangye)
SECR No.27 "Primrose in Bluebell Railway Black with yellow lining around 1962 at Sheffield Park
(Photo: The Fenchurch Fund Collection)
ROD No.27 in plain olive green as applied before 27 went to France in 1915 for 18 months war service
(Photo: Clive Emsley)

Southern No A27 at Dover Marine in Maunsell lined green livery in mid 1929
(Photo: by courtesy of Locofotos)

Whilst we cannot say for definite what livery the loco will be turned out in we are 99.9% certain that it will be a shade of green with black frames!

We will be continuing this topic as time goes by and as always we welcome any contributions to the livery debate!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Painting the frames

Jim has splashed it all over!

Jim Turtle has let me know that he spent last weekend at Sheffield Park with a paintbrush in hand.  He applied a coat of protective gloss paint to the frames to protect them from the worst of the forthcoming winter's weather. The paint has been applied to both the inside and outside of the frames.  I believe that the colour is not quite the right shade (possibly green instead of black) but if it does the job at a low cost so be it!

If the weather is good this coming weekend, he is aiming to spend some time painting the valance and foot steps on the Villa side of the loco so this should look presentable for the Giants of Steam Weekend in a couple of weeks time.

Unfortunately we have no pictures of the work from last weekend, so in the meantime here is another picture from our archives.

SECR No27 in platform 3/4 (now 4/5) at Horsted Keynes on the 31st July 1972 with Bluebell Platelayer Fred Carter talking to the crew. (courtesy of the JW Sutherland Collection)
We will be having a display stand outside the villa on Giants of Steam weekend, so please do come and see what we are up to.  Whilst it may not look much from the outside, there has been much going on to small parts and cleaning up the frames and other items.  We hope to have a small "before and after" display to show you what goes on away from the public gaze.
We will also be selling the usual items (plus a selection of pickled eggs and onions) during the day.

We hope to say hello to you when you come round to see us, and of course the Brighton Atlantic group.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Right Hand Horn Guide off!

It is good news that the right hand centre axle rear horn guide has been removed, and the last fitted bolt extracted.  This operation happened on Friday afternoon in a successful trip to the loco by Clive and Stuart.

The three pictures below show the process of removal of the last fitted bolt on the RH side of the loco.

This picture shows the last of the fitted bolts drilled out (Photo Clive Emsley)
The drilled out fited bolt was disc cut and then ground flush with the frames. 

This shows the fitted bolt ground down flush with the frames (Photo Clive Emsley)
Once the bolt had been ground flush with the frames, a set of drifts (with long handles) were used to remove the bolt.  The method for doing this consisted of the drifts being held in position by one operative whilst it was thwacked heavily with a rather large hammer by the second operative.  Hence the long handles!  The bolt was removed following three hard belts with the hammer, with some velocity I might add!
The last bolt removed from the RH sdie (Photo Clive Emsley)
With the last bolt removed, the holes were greased to protect them from the weather until the new bolts are ready to be fitted. The bolts, and horn guide, will be replaced as soon as possible following the welding of the repair.  The keeper plate will then be replaced to hold the frames square and free from any sag. Following this the crack on the left hand side of the loco will be treated in a very similar manner.
The Horn guide on the work bench inside the villa (photo: Clive Emsley)
The Keeper Plate on the work bench inside the villa (photo: Clive Emsley)
Some initial cleaning up of the first wheel set was also carried out prior to attacking it with an eleectric wire brush (at a later date) and applying paint. This was carried out using a scrapper, wire briush and a stiff hand brush.
The right trailing wheel having had the loose paint and accumulated dirt removed (photo: Clive Emsley)
Please keep popping back to this blogspot for further updates.  And we look forward to seeing you during Giants of Steam Weekend.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Weekly Update with some more pictures

Preparation for repairing the cracks in the frames

The historical weld repair adjacent to the middle driving axle on the RH side (Photo: Clive Emsley)
The photograph above shows the area of a welded repair that was carried out many years ago.  The weld has been ground flush with the surrounding material and cleaned ready for cleaning out and re-welding to improve the integrity and appearance (not that many people will see it once it is reassembled!).  The top two bolts restraining the horn guides have been removed and the remaining three will, hopefully, have been removed by the time this is read. Once the horn guide has been taken off, a weld will be possible.

The newly discovered crack adjacent to the middle driving wheel on the LH side (Photo: Clive Emsley)
Similarly, the newly discovered crack on the opposite side of the frames has been cleaned ready for repair.  The crack will need to be ground out to enable a good weld to be made which will vastly improve the integrity and looks of the area. Again the horn guide will need to be removed prior to any welding taking place.

Matt beavering away getting the frames cleaned up (Photo: Clive Emsley)
The picture above show Matt Holloway cleaning up the frames prior to painting, the picture was taken a couple of weeks ago but I have included it here as it shows the work in progress and the dedication of the small group of regular volunteers working on the loco.

If you would like to help us in any way with the restoration, sales or administration please contact

We are on target to get a coat or two of gloss black on the frames before the worst of the winter sets in.  This will allow us to keep the frames protected over the winter whilst we carry on with the smaller parts inside the villa. 

It is also hoped to clean up the wheel sets in the not too distant future and get a few coats of paint on them up to a coat of Maunsell (Ashford) green gloss - a clue to the ultimate livery of the loco!

The tank on the platform displayed as a tribute to the SECR's time in Boulogne during the Great War is in need of some minor work to the paint owing to persons unknown damaging it by scrapping something over it.  This is relatively minor, but very irritating!

We will be putting on a small display of items during the Giants of Steam Weekend.  We will be having a stand close to the loco frames where we will be on hand to answer your questions and show you what is happening.  We are located on the route to Atlantic House which is also open during the weekend. we look forward to seeing you there.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Mini Update Friday 18th.

Frame Painting

The frames have now been cleaned and a coat or two of red oxide has been applied to the complete frame assembly.  We will now continue with the painting of the frames to get them into a top coat of gloss black before the winter sets in.  This will (hopefully) prevent any more corrosion of the frames and be ready for final painting when the time arises.  Matt has spent some days off work from his day job at Horsted Keynes to progress the painting.

New Picture

A new photograph of 27 has come to light. it was taken in October 1980 and shows the loco in a very shabby state.  It is seen outside the (then) new workshop at Sheffield Park a couple of years before it was dismantled.  just visible in the picture can be seen the front buffers of 1638 at that time a recent arrival from Barry.  Beyond 27 the smokebox from Stepney can be seen when it was used as a collecting box to raise funds for the restoration of that loco.

SECR No27 at Sheffield Park on 19th of October 1980 (photo reproduced here by kind permission of David)
For more pictures in David's collection please go to his gallery at the link below.
click on the link to 35mm Photo Galleries, then Railways to find more Bluebell (and other heritage) pictures

Hopefully I will be able to produce another update during next week with some more pictures of the continuing work.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Stuart has a bolt loose

Well he has two loose actually!

The horn guide bolts to be removed to facilitate the weld repair (Photo: Clive Emsley)
 Stuart has made a good start on removing the fitted bolts that hold the horn guide in place. This needs to be remopved to facilitate the weld replair to the crack at the top corner of the cut out in the frames.  To ensure the frames do not twist or sag, an additional frame stand has been located to support the crack.  our thanks must go to the Atlantic Project for the loanm of the stands, without which the job would be much more difficult.
Once the frames have been prepared a skilled welder will perform the repair and it will be fully tested before the painting of the frames is completed.

Matt cleaning grease and "gunge" from the frames (Photo Clive: Emsley)
Matt has continued cleaning and painting the frames. As can be seen in the picture above, this process starts with a thorough de-grease of the surfaces especially around bolts and rivets where oil and detruitus can amalgamate and penetrate any gaps.  This is a laborious and long process but it pays dividends when it comes to the needle gun and wire brush stage.  as soon as the needle gunning and wire brushing has been completed an initial coat of red oxide paint is applied.  It is hoped to get the frames up to at least one coat of gloss paint before the worst of the winter weather sets in. this will stiop the penetration of the weather and save having to do more wire brushing and cleaning of rust in the spring.
Matt's handywork between the frames (Photo: Clive Emsley)
Another little job that has been carried out has been the cleaning of paint from the ends of the axles and crankpins to allow an ultrasonic test of them to take place in the not to distant future.  The cleaned surfaces have been protected with a film of grease until the test has been completed, following which they will be dereased and painted.

The right hand end of the trailing axle cleaned ready for ultrasonic testing (Photo: Clive Emsley)
The picture not only shows the end of the axle cleaned ready for testing but also allows the axle number to be seen (No.3838).  The test is expected to take place shortly.

We will be having a sales and information stand at the giants of steam weekend where we hope to be able to display some of the parts of the loco.  we are also hoping to show small groups or individuals around the loco restoration.
Of course we will have a fund raising stand selling all of the usual items, we hope to see you there.  We will be situated close to the loco frames on the walking route to Atlantic House where, I understand, there may be something exciting to see!

Friday, 4 September 2015

A further update on the frames

Some more information and pictures

Evidence of the non-destructive testing (Photo: Clive Emsley)
Some of the areas of non-destructive testing are shown in the picture above.  The testing involves the application of a penetrating fluid that is left for a short while before being wiped off and a developer applied.  If there are any cracks the developer will draw out the penetrating fluid, which then becomes a visible line on the surface.

The crack on the left hand side marked out ready for grinding and welding (Photo: Clive Emsley)
The known crack was confirmed as (fortunately) the only one on the frames. This has been marked ready for it to be ground out and filled with weld by a skilled welder.

The right side of the frames showing the approximate cut line (photo: Clive Emsley)
The approximate positions of the cut to remove the wasted rear end of the frames have been marked in chalk these marks are in the optimum position to allow for the corroded material to be removed and to make the strongest joint possible. The cut on the left side will be slightly different owing to a larger area of corrosion.

The left of the frames showing the longer area which needs to be cut out (Photo: Clive Emsley) 
A start has also been made on cleaning up and painting the inside of the frames. This has involved degreasing, scraping, and needle gunning before being given a coat of red oxide paint.

The inside of the frames at the front end showing the motion stretcher and left side (Photo: Clive Emsley)
During the cleaning of the frames the markings above were uncovered (Photo: Clive Emsley) 
The marks seen in the picture above were uncovered during the cleaning of the frames.  They are over the axle box on the left hand side.  It is not certain what they refer to, but it is suspected that the A refers to Ashford, the P for the class of loco and the number could either be a drawing number or possibly an order number.  We do not have any idea what the symbol and number above refers to.

Update on the Frames - Good News

Non Destructive Testing Completed

The Non-destructive testing of the frames has been completed recently, with the news that there are no cracks in he frames other than the repaired one and the one we knew about.  This has now confirmed that we will not be requiring a new set of frames for the loco.  We will still need to cut the rear section out and replace with new material, but this has always been the situation.  The cracks in the frames are shown in the pictures below.  

The crack at the front top corner of the Left Hand Centre driving axle box guide which will need repair (Photo Clive Emsley)
The existing repair at the rear top corner of the right hand centre axle box guide which will require grinding and testing
(Photo Clive Emsley)
The crack shown in the upper photograph will be prepared for repair by grinding out the crack with an angle suitable to take the weld.  It will be deep enough to provide a good repair once welded.  Before any welding takes place a thorough clean of the area will take place to ensure there is no contamination within the weld repair.

To facilitate the repair, the keeper plate and horn guides will need to be removed from the frames.  This can only be done following suitable support being provided to the frames, and we are again grateful to the Atlantic Group for the loan of two frame stands to provide this support.

It is likely that the repair will be carried out by the end of September, allowing the frames (apart from the bit being cut out) to be thoroughly cleaned and painted before the winter weather sets in. 

A start has been made at cleaning up the inside of the frames and the motion stretcher has been given a good clean and a coat of paint to protect it. Further works will continue with the other stretchers and the inside of the frames as the weather allows.  When the weather does get inclement we will be working on the smaller parts under cover. 

We are looking at having a sales and information stand by the loco during Giants of Steam weekend with some of the parts on display. We may be able to show people around the work, but this is to be confirmed.

If you would like to help with this project, please contact for information on how you can help us.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Back from the World Tour of the British Isles

Lots of Loverly Locos to be restored!

I have spent the last two weeks travelling the British Isles (mainly on family business) trying to find locos that were older or in a worse state than No.27.

I popped into the Strathspey Railway where they were running the same loco as I saw exactly 12 months earlier! It was the Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0 as seen in the picture below.  Unfortunately I did not have chance to ride on the railway or to look at the locos etc at Boat of Garten, so this is the only view I had. This loco was newer and in better condition than 27!

46512 leaving Aviemore on the 10:30 train to Broomhill (Photo: Clive Emsley)
The only other encounters with Heritage trains was at Beamish and Locomotion both in County Durham.  At Beamish I encountered an excellent locomotive that would fit in beautifully for a "Gnats of Steam" weekend, the loco known as "Steam Elephant" a replica of an 1830s loco that worked in the area. Blooming Marvellous! This doesn't count as an older loco as it is a replica, and it is in better condition!
Steam Elephant at the Beamish Museum (Photo: Clive Emsley)
My quest to find a loco that is older and in a worse state than 27 was completed when I went on a walking tour of the historic part of the NRM "Locomotion" museum at Shildon where the group was shown a locomotive in the Soho Loco Shed, known as "Nelson". This loco was found at a colliery and rightly saved for the nation.  It is my considered belief that it is unlikely ever to steam again! It will make a great exhibit when the current re-jigging of the museum is complete.

Locomotive "Nelson" in Soho Shed Shildon (Photo: Clive Emsley)
The trip was rounded off with a steam related day out in Lincoln on Sunday when Claire and I attended the International Steampunk Festival! A great day out looking at many weird and whacky machines and costumes, now there is an idea for a day on the Bluebell! (for steampunk think Caractcus Potts or Willy Wonker or Heath Robinson, or even the bloke on Scrapheap Challenge! a sort of steam powered Victorian or wild west/science fiction - I might well add a couple of pictures of some of the people later!

Thanks must go to Brian Spurle who has consumed 24 bottles of Harvey's ales so that he could donate the empty bottles to the funds!  All I need to do now is to pop over to Lewes to take them back to the brewery, claim the reward - and try not to buy more!

I will update this blog once I have found out from the restoration team what has been happening whilst I have been away.