Tuesday, 18 December 2018

2018 Christmas Round up

Christmas Greetings!

Wishing all our supporters a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

An artists impression of 27 by Matthew Cousins
(Prints available at the Railway Artists van at Horsted Keynes)

Despite my personal poor start to the year, the project has made fantastic progress over the last 12 months.  The following few paragraphs will, hopefully give you at least a taste of what we have been doing.

Engineering report

The start to the year was spent machining and drilling many of the plates required to construct the rear drag box and both buffer beams.  This culminated in the commencement of riveting operations on the drag box on weekend of the 20th of January, which was the first group working day of the year.

During February and March the progress on the plates continued with some assembly and much painting taking place.  Also at this time, a Vacuum brake cylinder was located and overhauled ready to be securely stored until it is required for installation.  One set of wheels were painted and filled and finished in Maunsell Green.

The cylinder castings were delivered to Statfold Engineering for machining in late March, this has been a long process, mainly due to fitting in with their busy schedule, they are due back to us in the early part of the new year.

During May, the assembly of the drag box continued with riveting and bolting taking place.  Also work continued on the preparation of the buffer beams.

In June the first hole was cut in the frame plates, which were then bolted together so as to enable an accurate drilling of the rest of the holes, this was a fairly long process and owing to being an outside task, could only be done when the weather was favourable. The hole cutting continued throughout June and July until the vast  majority of the holes were cut.  The remaining holes to be cut were in one frame only, so these needed to wait until the frames were split.

At the beginning of August the bold decision to dismantle the frames was taken.  This took just one day to complete, but has made a huge difference to the progress of the project.  Whilst this was going on, the cut and broken studs in the front balance weight were attended to.  This involved carefully drilling out the centre of the studs before folding in the thread and removing it carefully!

With all the holes drilled it was now the time to remove the mill scale from the frames and start the painting process.  This was carried out over a few weekends during august and into the Autumn!  It was a long job. 

For a week in August we were joined by a group from Network Rail keen to use their volunteer days up on a suitable project.  The group, lead by team member Clive Emsley, spent 4 days cleaning the cab back to as close to bare metal as possible before treating with Bonder Primer, undercoat and a coat of gloss Maunsell Green.  this is purely a preservation treatment, and not a restoration of the cab, that will come later.  The work carried out has, however arrested the deterioration of the structure making it easier to carry out the restoration.

In September and October, attention was given to the horn guides and keepers.  A start was made on the cleaning and preparation of each of the 12 guides and 6 keeper plates.  These were then painted in bonder primer, prior to storage.  The studs will need to be removed and replaced with new, but this is not the highest priority at the moment. 

The November working day was one of the most exciting so far!  following the last of the mill scale being removed the frames were given their coat of bonder primer.  The last half dozen holes were then drilled and tapped.  The cylinder covers were cleaned up and protected and then, with a couple of hours of daylight left, it was decided to erect the frames!  This was done using the portable A frame kindly loaned by the maintenance team from the main works.  Two stretchers were temporarily bolted in place, together with some of the temporary stretchers that had been made for the old frames.

Once the cylinders are returned and the weather improves,. a start can be made at setting the frames up properly before riveting can take place.  It is hoped that this will commence shortly after the new year, with the aim of a rolling chassis towards autumn of 2019.

Fundraising and Publicity

During the year we have been in attendance at most of the Bluebell Gala events where we have been located on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park.  The only exception to this is at the Bluebell Model Exhibition when we were in the Birch Grove Suite.  We have given out many leaflets and had endless conversations at all the events, as well as relieving our visitors from their cash! 

Additionally we were kindly invited to attend a few outside model railway exhibitions.  These were at Burgess Hill MRC, Worthing MRC, The West Sussex N Gauge Group and the Wealden Railway Club (which we could not attend).  We have already been invited to 3 shows next year, and are hoping for a couple more invitations!

We also had a 3 page spread in the November edition of Steam Railway, this was a special issue containing a number of articles relating to the railways during the First World War.

Projected work for next year

During the coming year we are hoping to produce a rolling chassis.  This will involve sourcing springs, re-metaling and machining the axle boxes and machining various components.  We will also be aiming to add the running plate and valance to the chassis.  Other items will be added to the loco as the year progresses also.

The work will be reliant on available funding, the more we can raise the more work we can do.

I am sure you would like to see the loco working as much as we do, and to help us to reach the stage of a working locomotive, we need all the help we can get!  Please donate as much as you can afford, no matter how small, it all makes a difference.  Or if you have items that you would like to donate for our sales stands or items suitable for auction (model railways or  railwayana, we would be pleased to receive them.

To donate on line, please go to our BT MyDonate page:
or use the QR code below.

If you would like to make a regular donation, please ask for a Standing Order form by email to the address below, please also use this address for enquiries and offers of physical help.


The Project is entirely self funded and relies on your donations and sales stand purchases
for the work to continue

Thank you for your continued support of the Fenchurch Fund and The Small Loco Group (Known together as PROJECT 27)  It is much appreciated.