Engineering Report March-May

When it comes to restoring a locomotive there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on each and every weekend up at Ropley on the Watercress Line in Hampshire.

For those interested in some of this work you can now find regular updates here on our website.

For the most-part these updates concern the restoration of our Urie S15 No 499 which is being brought back to life as it would have been seen at the start of hits life back in 1920 when it came out of Eastleigh Works. So for all those petrol steam heads out there he’s some of the engineering updates from the last couple of month:

  • Rear tender bogie pivot plate bolted down. The bolts sit flush countersunk, so the process is:
    • Machine bolt to fit with a large head sitting proud.
    • Turn a narrow collar just above where the head will sit flush
    • Tighten the bolt using stilsons on the bolt head standing proud of the casting
    • Shear the bulk of the head off, leaving a small protrusion to be ground flush. Suffice to say this first set of bolts have all been sheared off.
  • Loco pipework continues.
  • Rear tender frame section cleaned up for painting
  • Start made to de-scale boiler tubeplate and throatplate holes
  • Areas inside Thomas’s frames taken to red gloss first coat (An example of the team supporting the Watercress Line!)
  • A set of shaped washers are needed for the bolts which will hold the tender weighshaft wingplates to the frames. These are required to be wedge shaped as they sit in the chanel of the beams, so what cost will these be? Easy to answer that when you have barry Stratton, Director, Trustee and of course engineering guru!! The answer is £0. He simply made a jig, found some strip steel, wandered off to the machine shop for a few hours and reappeared with finished washers and a big grin!!!
  • More items moved to store to create some space.
  • Rear bogie pivot plate bolts ground/filed flush.
  • Rear section of tender frames cleaned down and taken to first undercoat. Finishing bolts for front bogie pivot plate and weighshaft wing plates continued.
  • Yet more progress with the vacuum & steam heat pipework.
  • Start made to weld and re-drill the rivet holes for the loco brake hangers. A very laborious job, Barry has now made a jig which should make life easier.
  • Wasted ashpan studs removed from the foundation ring. Another laborious job is to de-scale the copper throatplate tube and flue holes. 40 done so far.
  • Wasted crinoline studs removed from the boiler
  • Another 6 direct stay stubs burnt out, the remainder can wait until the boiler is turned
  • Front bogie has been lifted from the wheel rack and sits outside the shed
  • Bogie temporarily lifted to inspect horn faces…..potentially not too bad
  • Plan for bogie restoration agreed. WCL staff will undertake specialist work but only under a purchase order. Everything else will be done by ULS team (we have had an increase in numbers lately)
  • Steel plate to which the rear bogie pivot casting is bolted now fully riveted to the frames
  • Front plate identified as in worse condition than thought so will potentially buy new. Quote requested
  • Remedial work to rivet holes started in L/H running plate
  • Cab tool boxes being removed to facilitate structural riveting work
  • Cab floor supporting steelwork removed, cleaned and primed
  • Boiler 799 turned, now on it’s side so work can begin to cut out wasted areas to the copper firebox laps.
  • Oversized countersinks to middle section of L/H running plate welded up
  • Plate cleaned down and primed where necessary
  • L/H valence needle gunned to top and inside and primed
  • Running plate section lifted back onto frames
  • 2 small sections of running plate freed and removed from frames…..these are the sections immediately in front of the cab, both sides
  • L/H cab toolbox removed
  • Foundation ring moved and located on heavy duty trestles alongside 499. Must say thanks to Richard Bentley and Ian Harwood from MHR for their help in moving a coach which was in the way and driving the forklift respectively
  • Made a start removing worn ashpan studs from the foundation ring
  • New tender raves ordered
  • New plate for tender front bogie pivot ordered
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