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Nene Valley Railway, Wansford Station, Stibbington, Peterborough, PE8 6LR

Tel: 01780 784444

6th June 2017.  

The focus remains on the main areas of Smokebox, Running boards and Cab with the objective of being able to remove the boiler and its attached and internal components as soon as reasonable.

Stumbling blocks are being hit on all fronts and the dismantling team are climbing a steep learning curve, applying progressively more force, penetrating fluids and heat in an attempt to free 10-year corroded-on parts.

Parts removed count:


Despite the slowdown elsewhere, in the cab good progress continues to be made, with the firehole doors being removed as a first step towards clearing the lower backhead to give free access to the two remaining tie-bars tucked beneath the firebox.

May 2017

8th June 2017.  

With most of 92 Sq personnel on cleaning duties, it was a somewhat depleted workforce this week but some significant bits came off and the container is now even fuller of dirty components.

In the tender, Roland made up some modifications to the tender repair plates to avoid a ‘step’ where the firemans shovel would jar. These are now loaded into the tender and previously-painted areas marked for needle-gunning before welding next week.   Geoff and Alastair got the cab front (AKA Spectacle Plate) completely detached. Using the crane the spectacle plate was carefully lowered to the workshop floor.

Paul Reeson detached the obstinate LHS clack and triumphantly craned it down to floor level.  He also removed 9 saddle bolt heads from the area where the smokebox and tubeplate meet the saddle.

Graham and Alan brought down two running board brackets (L1 & L2) that Clifford had loosened on Monday and then hit a difficult one, which consumed the rest of the day.

Stan (D) and Ken worked on the RHS lubricator and, having disconnected the operating linkage, freed the oil pipes and the fixing bolts so that the lubricator could be lowered for tagging and photography.  On Thursday, Victor (a visiting student from France) repeated the trick with the LHS lubricator.

Staff members Vince and Pete built a 'hanging plate' that can be used to hold up the ejector 'snail' under the chimney while the chimney tail is sliced off to release the hopelessly corroded-on snail. Unfortunately, electrical work rendered the crane (and lighting and grinders) inoperative for most of the day meant the we couldn't use it yet.  V&P also burned off an 'immovable' bolt holding the RHS injector steam pipe at the top-of-firebox 'turret.   Access the turret fixing bolts is now possible, so it should be down soon.  Pete also removed the dome cover bolts, so it too can come down when someone has the crane for 5 minutes.

Off the loco, Consultation with Dave Head has helped decide that the 'snail' is beyond repair (internal holes are corroded, side has worn through) and will need replacement. Dave thinks he knows where a pattern for the casting is.  The chimney also looks in very poor condition (LHS front shows several cracks) and further inspection once down will decide whether to seek a new one.

DOC advised us of the possibility that Tornado could be offered use of the workshop between December and March.  This would mean moving 73050's chassis out of the shed and, in all probability, ceasing work on it for 4 months.  By then we'll have enough components to clean and overhaul to keep us busy for more than 4 months so it should work out without any harm to the overall project timeline.  We may need additional storage to make that mode of working possible.

It's been decided that Williamsons paint will be used for the loco. Although there are some attractions in the local supply and close support that Craftmaster can offer, this loco is too high profile to be the one on which we climb the inevitable learning curve that a different brand of paint is will bring.   A volunteer-newsletter poll is ongoing to sound out the memberships view on livery for the loco on return to service.

Looking forward tactically on the loco, there are two areas of difficulty.  Firstly under the cab, the final 2 tie bars need removal. Of the 4 bolts involved, 3 are badly corroded and the 4th is simply spinning when turned. Access under the loco is disgusting - oil, rust, ash, metal flakes.  Secondly, in the smokebox, although Paul has ground off all-bar 3 of the bolt heads, there is no clearance to hit the exposed ends with a heavy hammer, we might need to get the superheater out to allow that access.  Again very poor working conditions.    Easier stuff - once the chimney and dome are down, we can remove the handrails and then the cladding/lagging.  And once we've cleared the backhead, we can start taking off the cab sides.

Some publicity shots attached.


Victor with the LHS Lubricator that he has just detached and craned down.

Parts removed count:


StanD removing the oscillating lubricator rod.

The ‘turret’ on top of the firebox. This is the main steam manifold. On the right can be seen the steam pipe feeding one of the injectors. The flange is still attached by a bolt that had to be burned off.

StanD removing the oscillating lubricator rod.

RHS side of the cab.  Spectacle plate is removed and very little pipework left on the boiler.

StanD removing the oscillating lubricator rod.

Parts removed count:


15th June 2017.  

Again slightly down on numbers - 34081 getting its first washout today and many 92 Sq members are involved. Nevertheless very visible steps were taken this week. Most notably, along the boiler top, the ‘turret’ steam manifold, the safety valves, the dome and the chimney are all removed.

It started earlier in the week, when Alan C removed the turret - the 8 nuts came off without too much trouble but the turret itself was securely attached to the firebox top and an extended period of hammering and wedging were needed before the two parted company.  After that Alan stepped along the boiler and it was simple matter to crane down the dome cover, loosened last week by Pete N.

Then, on Wednesday, Phil Little removed the two safety valves without any problem at all, and moved along to the dome itself.  This gave a little more resistance but succumbed eventually and was quickly on the floor.  

Meanwhile, in the smokebox, Allan C and Graham B had finished grinding the heads off the fixing bolts adjacent to the tubeplate and had struck out all fixing bolts except those 12.  Using the 'hanging plate' and the overhead crane, Graham supported the chimney tail while he cut a circle just above the snail. Just as planned, when the circle was complete, the snail fell onto the plate and could then be lowered onto the smokebox floor.

Graham now ground off the nuts holding the chimney onto the smokebox top and the overhead crane was again used to support the chimney (Pete Neumann sat astride the smokebox top) while Clifford hammered out the fixing bolts. With some reluctance the chimney was hoisted free and lowered to the workshop floor.  In the process, some pre-existing cracks opened further and it was several segments that finally arrived. It definitely looks like we’ll be after a new chimney.

Slaving away quietly while all the excitement is happening up top, John Wooton and Roland have made progress on their respective tasks in the cab area Roland has tacked-down the new coalspace floor and John has detached the firehole door surround.

Support services continue - Chris Birch delivering a batch of 50 tags to keep us ahead of the dismantling team.  Pleasing also see first use being made of the ex-92 Squadron paraffin bath for cleaning some of the filth from detached parts.

On Thursday, Pete Gregory waved his magic oxy-acetylene torch to heat nuts sufficiently to remove them from the RH main steam pipe connection at the Superheater header.  Also removed in similar fashion was the feed pipe to the whistle valve, followed quickly by the whistle valve itself.

Under the cab, StanB and GlennM got free one of the four remaining tie-bar bolts but couldn’t shift the others.

Later on, Glenn took down the small air reservoirs below the LHS of the cab.

Roland, DOC and Pete N inspect the chimney.

Holes and cracks everywhere.

Under-cab air reservoir.

Label reveals origin in Scandanavia.

A triumphant Alan Collins looks down on the vanquished ‘turret’ as it is lifted clear of the firebox top.

17th June 2017.  

A couple of pictures from Ben Scott.  Ben was a regular contributor of pictures to the Thomas overhaul blog and it’s good to be able to showcase some more of his work.

Some of the larger components are set out on the workshop floor.  Looks like a new chimney is needed.

Stripping down well advanced. From Cab roof to chimney, the top of the loco is completely bare. At this end, the backhead and cab sides will come off next.

July 2017