Wednesday, 21 March 2018

February and March Update

Firstly an apology for the long gap since the last report. Unfortunately I have been in hospital and then on daily visits to the surgery due to a foot infection which has resulted in me loosing a toe. Unfortunately this has resulted in us not attending our first model railway exhibition of the year and also we will be missing the Diesel Gala this weekend.
So on with the report!
On the 2nd March the cylinders were taken for machining by Matt and Ben.  The work is being carried out by Statfold Engineering (  The following pictures show the cylinders ready to depart Sheffield Park and some of the machines available at the factory.
The cylinders loaded and ready for departure from Sheffield Park (Matt Holloway)
A close up of the cylinders on the Bluebell Railway's truck
Just time for a PN then off!

The horizontal boring machine that will be used for much of the work at Statfold Engineering

Matt and Ben took the opportunity to drop off the cylinders at Statfold Engineering for machining on and also to have a catch-up and nose around! Their workshop is amazing, as is the narrow gauge railway there! It is hoped that we will return to collect the cylinders in June.  We will also be collecting a heap of fitted bolts for the cylinders and frame reconstruction.
On the home front we've been busy marking up and drilling the various plate work which can be machined in the villa's.  The parts being machined will hopefully help us to meet our aim of frame erection commencing in the summer.
Buffer Beams and Drag Box plates being drilled
Buffer beams before and after machining
The valance end pieces have also been drilled ready
Three of the valance end pieces in red oxide

There has been plenty of painting carried out by Matt and Jim.  This includes the wheels as well as many other items. the photos following show a flavour of what is involved.
Jim Turtle painting the leading wheel set (Martin Lawrence)

The wheels in top coat
The driving and trailing wheelsets waiting their turn for painting (David Morris)
Vacuum brake cylinder and cover in red oxide (Matt Holloway)
Vacuum brake piston in final grey 
The underside of the brake cylinder lid.
We have plans for the next year or so and a basic outline of our activities are shown below.  This programme can only succeeded with the support of many people, both in financial and practical. 
During 2018 we aim, with your assistance, to carry out the following tasks:

  • Mark out and drill the replacement frames and associated plate work;
  • Machine the horn openings in the frames;
  • Build up the rear dragbox;
  • Dismantle the Original Frames;
  • After June, erect the new frames and install the cylinder block; 
  • Continue with painting the wheels and new frames
  • Towards the end of the year, re-metal and machine the axle boxes.
Then within the first 6 to 9 months of 2019 the plan becomes a little more flexible but the aim is to:
  • Drill and fit running plates, side valances, and associated items;
  • Fit the horns and setup so that they are ready to accept the axleboxes;
  • Return the frames to the wheel sets to make a rolling chassis;
  • explore costs and practicalities of having SECR bottle buffers manufactured;
  • start the process of installing the pipe work, for example the Vacuum brake pipes / Steam heat and other pipes that need to be installed between the frames
  • Then work can start on the motion work and springing of the loco. 
Of course the programme is money and staff dependent so any support will be welcome.  The work outlined above is likely to cost somewhere in the region of £15,000 and the programme will slip if we cannot afford to pay for the work.
The monthly "Official" working days will continue throughout the year with the next few dates being: March 24th and April 14th. If you are interested in helping with the physical work, or publicity and sales, please e mail us at the address below.
Thank you


Please remember that this work can only continue with the donations, support and interest that is forthcoming from all of our supporters. 
If you would like to help us to continue this work with a donation, please go to our BT MyDonate page
 or use the QR code below.
To contact us please E Mail us on
Thank you for your continued support and interest, it is much appreciated. With your help we should have a rolling chassis by the end of the near and hopefully a working loco in around 4 years.

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