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

Tel: 01780 784444

5th July 2017.  

Great momentum in the team has seen much taken from the loco since the last report.

The boiler is very nearly free of the frames, about 10 bolts remain holding the smokebox onto the saddle; at the firebox end, the tie-down bars are removed.

Inside the smokebox, all internal components except the superheater header have been removed, and only two bolts hold that in place. Removal of the header will be challenging, too heavy to manhandle and not easily slingable on the overhead crane because the header is overhung by the smokebox. A JCB loader with fork-lift attachment will probably be used but access to the front of the loco is obstructed by the chassis of Diesel shunter ‘Muriel’.

At the cab end, the backhead is clear of fittings and most of the cladding has been removed. The frame stretcher is removed as are the tie-bars that hold down the firebox while allowing longitudinal movement as the boiler expands and contracts in service.  Once the cladding is removed, the cab sides will be taken down and the remainder of the floor lifted.

The boiler top is clear of fitting and the regulator and operating linkage have been removed.  With access to boiler-top no longer required, work has started on handrail removal to be followed by the cladding and lagging.

Under the cab, most pipework is detached, the number of pipes and the connection confusion presenting many challenges to the dismantlers as they try to describe yet another pipe for the log sheet.

Parts removed count:


Nearly-empty smokebox. Handrail is still attached but will be removed as soon as all boiler-top work is finished.

The tubeplate shows the 28 large holes which the superheater flue ends and 151 smaller firetube ends.

Injectors off, many pipes removed, a few more to do.

June 2017

2nd July 2017.  

Ben Scott came for a look around the workshop, snapping as he went.  Here’s some of his results to show where we’re up to

Injector mounting bracket. This lives under the RHS cab side and carries the injectors.

The broken chimney

One of the volunteers worked all day and all he had to show for it was these two nuts.

Head on shot, looking up the chimney hole.

Parts removed count:


12th July 2017.  

Inside the smokebox, the superheater header is now free on its stands at each side. A couple of nuts have been replaced on the tubeplate studs, to guard against inadvertent movement, although there remains some resistance to movement, probably due to corrosion around the tubeplate/header flange.

The brick arch has been knocked down into the ashpan and the backhead is completely stripped bare and the RHS cab side has been taken down.  

The LHS handrail is removed and work has started detaching boiler bands, to shortly followed by loosening of the cladding.

Under the cab the remaining pipework is to be left until the boiler is off and access from above becomes easier.  The flexible pipes to the tender have been detached.  Most are in a ‘throw away’ state.

Fran Lyon with the rocking grate activating rod, extracted by pushing it into the firebox and  then fishing it out through the firehole door.

LHS side of firebox with bands loosened and cladding moving outwards, revealing the lagging underneath.

With his back to the camera, John Wood is craning down the RHS cab side. John Wootton in the cab, Kevin and Geoff guiding the load .

Very exposed at the rear now.

Parts removed count:


19th July 2017.  

This week, the LHS cab side was removed. Experience the previous week on the RHS made this a much easier task, with fewer surprise retaining bolts to be identified and removed.  The cab sides, roof and spectacle plate are to be temporarily reconnected and stood outside on a wooden plinth where they can safely wait for further stripdown and overhaul.

The firebox has all cladding removed and the backhead has been wire-brushed to remove loose material that would interfere with inspection.  Inside the firebox, the first firetube end has been burned off.

Both handrails are now off and work has started removing boiler cladding. The centre panels (easiest) are off and it’s expected that the front and rear sections will come off in the next week or so.

After 10 years in service, there’s much corrosion and erosion in some areas.  We’ve used an Ultrasound Thickness Meter to measure a couple of items around the front end.  Firstly the smokebox tubeplate, made of steel and originally 20mm thick; this has been measured at 18-19mm thick across most of its area but there’s a strip along the bottom where readings are very variable but are in the 8-10mm region.  In addition, there’s evidence of corrosion on the smokebox side of the plate, probably caused by ash and water being left in the box after service.  The plate is too thin to re-use and we’re considering how best to proceed.  The second thing to be measured is the smokebox.  This appears to have started life around 9mm thick and most of the shell is now 6-7mm thick. Again however there’s a troublesome area, this time around the chimney base, where the plates have reduced to about 4mm.  Again, too thin to re-use, we have to decide to patch or replace the whole box.

A picture from Ben Scott showing the brushed-down backhead and the missing cab sides.

Another from Ben - both cab sides stacked on top of each other to save floor space in the workshop.

Thickness measurements recorded on the outside of the smokebox

Parts removed count:


31st July 2017.  

A busy couple of weeks has seen the cladding removed and all the rockwool lagging stripped off the boiler so the poor old loco looks very sad.

The thickness metering on the smokebox is complete and we think it shows that the box can be commissioned for a further 10 years as long as we apply a patch to the top section, which has corroded to almost half-thickness.

The ashpan hopper activating rods has been taken off, as have the damper operating rods.  Both these would have fouled the frames had we attempted to lift the boiler.

At last we have all the saddle bolts extracted (it has been like pulling teeth) and the boiler is not held down at all, except possibly by some rust.  We are planning to lift the boiler off the frames during August.

Away from the exciting stuff, the container continues to fill but at least we have started to clean some of the contents. The photographic record is also growing and we’ve identified a need for a multi-index arrangement so that we can, for example, look at a particular area as it developed with parts being stripped over a period of time.

One of the last bolts to come out. Notice the stripped threads and the rust in the hole nearest the camera.

Alan and Gary looking very pleased after getting the last of the saddle bolts out.  Note the job says “removed“.

August 2017