Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Weekend of the 25th / 26th April 2015

Restoration Update

In addition to the centenary commemoration at the weekend, there was some activity on the restoration front

Jim and Stuart removing fitted bolts
 By close of play on Sunday, aproximately half of the fitted bolts which hold the cylinders in place had been removed. In the picture above you can see Stuart and Jim removing one of the easier ones! the lower row of bolts are generally easier to remove as they are below the cylinders and have not been corroded by the action of the remnents of smoke box ash reacting with rain water causing severe corrosion of the nuts.

It is likely, we have been told, that it will be likely that the cylinders will be removed within the next two weeks or so. this will only be done once the temporary sretcher has been located between the frames in place of the ballance weight.  Once this happens, the only big thing left to do in the strip down is the splittting of the cylinders.  this will enable us to make a final decision on what we do with them.  It is more than likley at this stage that a new set will need to be cast. Investigations are proceeding, in conjunction with the workshop, who are llooking into the feasibility of constructing a new set for 178, as to the best course of action.

Cylinder Block
The next thing that will be tackled following the removal of the cylinders will be the rear portion of the frames. This will include the cutting of new steel to the correct profile, and size to be able toweld it in place with the minimum of effort.  The Steel for this will need to be purchased and machined to correspond with the design based on the Ashford Works drawing.  The frames will be cut a couple of inches inside the good material, in a position that will give the strongest edge to weld to. The actual position will be carefully measured and marked befor any cutting is carried out!

In addition to the frames themselves, a new drag box and rear stretcher will need to be constructed. The crag box is designed to distribute the load of the train being pulled to the frames of the loco, and can be a fairly complicated item to construct.

A new "J pipe" for 178 is likely to be cast shortly, and we are investigating the possibility of having one made for 27 at the same time. this will hopefully reduce the cost to both the company and ourselves.

The cost of the restoration is being funded entirely by public donations and no funding is available from the Bluebell Railway PLC for this work, so if we don't continue with the fund raising, the restoration stops.  If you would like to help us by sponsoring the steel for the frames, drag box, J Pipe, Blastpipe, the casting of the new cylinders, or indeed any other part of the locomotive, you can.  Please contact us at thefenchurchfund@gmail.com for further details of how you can help.

Just as importantly, if you would like to help the restoration or fund raising team, please also E Mail for details.

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