Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Cylinder Replacement Programme is launched

So why replace the cylinders?

What indeed?  The existing set of cylinders was cast in 1910 and installed into the locomotive, it is believed, or at least we have not seen any records to suggest otherwise!  This coupled to the locomotive being dismantled in the early 1980s for a "quick repair" and being open to the elements ever since has had a greatly detrimental effect on them. We found that, not only was the outside of the existing set pock marked and covered with surface rust, there were also delaminated rust and even a perforation within the castings.


Top view of the existing cylinders showing the perforated casting
A very shabby set of removed cylinders showing the delaminated Cast Iron

As if it did not look bad enough in the pictures, measurement and gauging took place and the worst was confirmed.  we would need a new set!  In all honesty, with recent experience on other locos a repair would be a false economy as the work would need to be carried out sooner or later, and probably sooner.

The original Ashford drawings were obtained for the cylinders and converted into a CAD drawing by Matt Holloway, who then produced the 3D CAD model.

A detailed copy of the original Ashford drawing redrawn in CAD by Matt Holloway

After many a long night and squeezing in his day job and social life, Matt still managed to produce a fine set of drawings and CAD 3D models which, after checking will be used to produce at least two sets of cylinders.

This is the view showing the two half sets of cylinders joined together
The view above shows the assembled castings which will be used to produce the complete set of cylinders.  The dimensions are being checked and allowances for shrinkage calculated and added to the models before the next stage can be carried out.

The next stage will be to produce a set of patterns.  This will be done using 3D printing techniques in polystyrene. There will be two castings for each set of cylinders one for the right and one for the left half of the set.

Once the patterns have been made, a sand mould will be created ready to pour the grade G17 Cast Iron. This will produce a set of cylinders, or at least the rough castings.  When the castings have been allowed to fully cool and removed from the sand mould they will need to be set aside to "season". This involves putting them on a pallet, placing them in the works yard and forgetting about them for up to a year.  This process relaxes the castings and all, or certainly most, of the stresses within the castings will be relieved.

The technical bit then starts!  the rough casting will need to be machined on all of the faces that are in red on the 3D models.  There are two schools of thought on this. the machining can take place in house or be sent out to a specialist machinist.  The cost is likely to be similar.  Whilst the in house method would be cheaper per hour, it is likely to take longer to carry out the work conversely, the external specialist will be more expensive per hour but will take less time to carry out the work.

At the end of the day, it will be the Project that needs to pay for the castings and machining. This cost will be in the region of £8,000 for the rough casting.  On top of this will be transport and machining.  this is believed that this will probably double the cost to in the region of £16,000.

If you or someone you know would like to help sponsor the cost of the cylinders, please ask them to contact the fund at  or the Just Giving site  can be used.  We also have a standing order scheme which is run in conjunction with the Bluebell Trust, for details of this please contact the fund on the email address above.

Thank you for your continued support it is always much appreciated.

Clive D Emsley (Restoration Project Manager and chairman of the Fenchurch Fund)

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Information stand at the Diesel Gala

A successful weekend at the Diesel Gala


We had a good weekend at the Bluebell Railway Diesel Gala last weekend with a good selection of stock being sold, and thus raising a good amount towards the Cylinder Replacement Programme. Our last three tea cans were even sold out of preservation for a new life on the main line! (sold to GB Railfreight Drivers!)

As the wide mouthed frog says "you don't see many of those do you"
We had a huge amount of interest in the Cylinder Replacement Programme from various members of the public which translated into donations and sales.  A big well done, and thank you, to the sales team who assisted me on both days. The group consisted of Stuart Bardouleau, Andrew Waller, Steve Booth, Jim Turtle and his daughter Lucy.

The stand looked after by Lucy on Sunday afternoon with stock becoming depleted!

There was a lot of interest in the images displayed of the 3D CAD model which were being displayed on the stand over the weekend and people expressed surprise when a description of the existing cylinder corrosion was relayed to them.  Until it was explained that the cylinders were 106 years old and have been exposed to the elements, people were wondering why they needed replacing!

Steve Booth, Ted Oades and Jim Turtle compare the merits of 27 with the 4w loco "Britannia"
On the restoration front, as reported previously the wheel sets have been dispatched to the South Devon Railway for re-profiling of the tyres and turning of the journals.  These will be returned to the railway when they are ready and transport can be arranged.  Unfortunately I have not been able to find anyone who may have pictures of the wheels being transported.  The cost of the wheel turning and transport will need to be met by the project.  The amount we will have to pay has to be confirmed, but it is unlikely to be less than about £4,000.
Another chance to see the "hole" in the frames ready for the plug to be welded in.
Due to weather and other commitments Stuart has not yet managed to get the disc welded into the frames yet.  This is to replace the bad weld detected and cut out earlier.  He is hopeful that this will be done shortly. Once the patch has been installed, the horn guides and keeper plate can be replaced. This will then allow the removal of the keeper plate and horn guide on the other side of the locomotive and the crack discovered there to be welded up.  This should be a much easier and quicker job as there is no major cutting to be done.
Thanks for your continued support and we hope to bring more exciting news shortly. 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Wheel sets for 27


We have just had a telephone call from Stuart Marks (our Project Engineer) to say that 27's wheels are on their way to Devon this afternoon.  It is hoped that they have a good holiday and come back restored to full profile!

We hope to have some pictures shortly.

This will need to be funded by Project 27, and should you be acquainted with a lottery winner, we would be glad to hear from you!

Thanks for your continuing support.

A good time at the Steyning Model Railway Exhibition

The Wealden Railway Group Exhibition

The Project 27 sales and information stand
Stuart, Claire and myself spent a good and enjoyable day at the Steyning Model Railway Exhibition organised by the Wealden Railway Group (Web site: It is a "personal" layout exhibition meaning that all the layouts are run by owner/operators and there are no club layouts.  There was also no trade support, which considerably saved my wallet!

We had an information and sales stand giving away (free) leaflets and information on the project along with the Bluebell in general, the Stepney Club and the Atlantic project.  with a number of sales and donations we had a good day for a one day show away from the Railway.

We also had a small display of models including "The Cuckoo Line diorama featuring a small goods train hauled by 32636, and a small section of a loco depot "75H" this was inspired by finding a built up Hornby Dublo 6 road loco shed in the depths of my garage next to a suitable piece of board!  It is "flexible" and this weekend represented a steam shed in the Brighton District, at the Diesel gala it will be transformed into a "modern" image MPD with Class 73, 33, 08,04 and others on shed! (In liveries from black to GB Railfreight!)

32636 hauls a short goods train on the cuckoo line - Inspired by a picture in the Bluebell Archives
loco shed 75H with various locos that may have been seen on the Brighton District in the late 50s and early 60s
High level view of 75H showing the locos from above
While we were at the exhibition we were approached by the Exhibition Manager of the Worthing MRC who invited us to attend the Worthing Model Railway Exhibition at the end of September, to have an Information and Sales stand and small display of models.  We were also invited back to Steyning again next year together with Stuart being invited to bring his model engineering items! (he decided that he ought to join the Wealden Railway Group at that stage!)

We look forward to meeting and greeting you over the Saturday and Sunday of the Diesel Gala on the 16th and 17th April.

Thanks for your continued support, it is, as always, much appreciated.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Gala Days we should be attending this year.

We have firmed up our information stand programme for 2016

Following on from a successful talk given to the Haywards Heath U3A on the 10th of March and the unfortunate cancellation of the Branch Line weekend we are hopeful that we will have a successful season this year for fund raising (and spending!).

We are at Steyning this weekend attending the Wealden Railway Group Personal Layout model railway show. this is in the Steyning Centre from 10:30 until 4:30 on Saturday ONLY.  Entrance is a mere £3.50. 

Project 27 will be showing a couple of small dioramas and having a sales and information stand to hopefully get the word out and the donations in!  Part of the display will be a rolling slide show of the restoration progress and there will be a display of pictures of the computer model of the cylinders, well worth looking at!

Other events that we are attending are listed below, we would be pleased to see you there!

April 2nd
Wealden Railway Group
Personal Model Railway Exhibition (more info on Wealden Railway Group website)
Sales – Information – Display of models
April16 th/17th
Bluebell Railway Sheffield Park
Diesel Gala
Sales – Information – Display
May 14th/15th
Bluebell Railway Sheffield Park
Southern at War
Sales – Information – Display
May 21st
Bluebell Railway
Burgess Hill 
Annual General Meeting
(BRPS Members ONLY)
Information, small sales stand – Raffle
June 11th/12th
Bluebell Railway Sheffield Park
Atlantic House Open Weekend
Sales – Information – Display – Viewing of restoration
June 25th/26th
Bluebell Railway Sheffield Park
Model Railway Weekend
Sales – Information – Display of models
August 13th/14th
Bluebell Railway Horsted Keynes
Vintage Transport Weekend
Sales – Information
October 29th/30th
Bluebell Railway Sheffield Park
Giants of Steam weekend
100th anniversary of the repatriation of 27 and 753 from Boulogne
Sales – Information – Display – Viewing of restoration

 More information (and a conformation of attendance) will be published as each event draws near.
The volunteers and committee of Project 27 would be pleased to aee you and chat about our work at any of these events, or we can be accosted at any time (if you are quick enough to catch us) at the Railway!

Thanks for your continued support.

27 outside the Old Lobby at Sheffield Park (the late Gerry Butler)