Most of the year was spent steadily stripping and dismantling the many fittings and fixtures from the locomotive, both below the frames and in the cab, whilst James Kidd, the Bluebell Railway's Workshop Manager, got to grips with the boiler. These activities
included stripping all cladding, footplating, cab fittings such as the brake pedestal, water valves, rocking grate mechanism, live and exhaust steam injectors and associated pipework, reversing wheel, cab windows etc. What helped though was the use of stainless
steel bolts first time around, when we restored the engine, enabling us to remove parts fairly easily. Some work required raising the frames with jacks and applying heat and more than a little brute force. All the coupling and connecting rods were removed
and stored. On the bogie, the flexible pipework was detached and the central pin released.
The boiler also made significant progress. The cladding and crinolines were removed and the lagging beneath disposed of safely. The chimney, having been unbolted,
was found to have several large cracks in it. Initial thoughts concentrated on receiving quotes for a new one. However, with the advance of welding technology for cast iron, it was realised that the original could be repaired at a cost effective price. Likewise,
the original ejector exhaust ring was found to be beyond repair. Luckily the society had another one, which, although needing specialist welding, like the chimney; was judged to be in better condition.
One major task was removing the smokebox and front
tube plate. The smokebox was found to be beyond repair and an order was placed to roll a new one, by a firm of Devon shipbuilders. The front smokebox ring and door were found to be reusable.
With the smokebox removed, James was able to cut out the rivets
holding the front tube plate, which had become thin in parts and badly worn, having been fitted as long ago as 1963 at Eastleigh Works. The fun bit was pulling and pushing the plate out. Heat and jacks were applied and after a titanic battle, which included
member Niall Davitt getting stuck in the boiler, a lead hammer did the job. An engineering firm in the Midlands was contacted to produce a new blank tubeplate. Once we were able to climb inside, a large amount of scale was removed, but the boiler itself, originally
off 73088 Joyous Gard, appeared to be in good condition.
Once again technology came to the aid of the overhaul, with the use of water blasting to descale the outside of the boiler. This was done at a pressure of 60,000+ psi and left the metal in a superb,
good as new state; ready to be painted with special heatproof grey paint. This was the first time the Bluebell had agreed to the use of this method.
As it was planned to fit working AWS, some parts were acquired to complete the system.
Railway 9F Club offers the opportunity for young adults to get involved in locomotive department activities. Under the expert guidance and supervision of Katy and Rupert, club members cleaned up numerous bits and pieces from our van body and all were a credit
to the railway. They really helped and made a difference. Thanks to: Adam, Daniel, Georgia, Jack, Hamish, Louise, and Mark. Well done all of you!