Working flat out

The team have been working flat out on 30506, the front end rebuild of which is now complete. This has been an absolutely mammoth task which, at times, took us out of our comfort zone and certainly required a significant amount of lateral thinking to get round problems we just didn’t know would exist when we started. We have a small team of 4-5 guys who only work weekends, making this achievement that much more incredible.

To summarise just some of the work involved:

  • Accurately mark old, bent frame sections for cutting
  • Use old sections as a template to drill the new frame sections, making accurate allowance for wastage/distortion of the old
  • Burn out hundreds of rivets to remove
  • Buffer beam
  • Centre platform
  • Valence
  • Running plates
  • Front footsteps
  • Burn out cylinder bolts, including ‘burning blind’ through a narrow opening in the front of the centre casting
  • Securely remove cylinder blocks
  • Burn out rivets securing the centre casting
  • Remove centre casting
  • Lift/clamp/prep/weld new frame sections to remaining old plate
  • Repair centre casting. Temporary fit/drill/remove casting then repeat process! Ream holes on final fit
  • Rivet centre casting to frames, in some instances using holding up bars designed by our team
  • Cut/drill/rivet buffer beam support angles
  • Drill/rivet new buffer beam
  • Using tailor-made cradle, lift cylinder blocks into place … remembering no pattern exists should something go wrong!!!
  • Line up cylinder blocks, using accommodation bolts, to fairly exacting tolerances
  • Ream all cylinder bolt holes through frames and centre casting, using a host of jigs of our own design in areas of difficult access
  • Bolt up with fitted bolts (manufactured by MHR machinists) and graunch up tight. This included working inside the centre casting, making ‘weight’ behind a hammer virtually impossible
  • Rivet various support angles to front end
  • Rivet front platform back in
  • Refit valence sections
  • Rivet running plate, some recovered sections and others newly fabricated
  • Repair and rivet front footsteps
  • Rehang sandboxes
Cylinder bolt nuts viewed from inside the centre casting Pre-heating the surrounding area before riveting 506 in the watercress Line wheel drop shed New smokebox floor Locating front platform Testing yet another holding-up bar prior to riveting Fitting new cylinder studs R/H side bar, a perfect fit!! Riveting spring hangers on Wadebridge's tender chassis S15 506's cylinder block
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