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

Tel: 01780 784444

July 2017

9th August 2017.  

Momentous day for the project.  Using the NVR’s 40-ton Steam Crane, 73050’s 19-ton boiler was lifted from the frames and, after the ashpan-removing ceremony was complete, positioned carefully on sleepers in the yard triangle.  Here, the external rust can be needle-gunned and shot-blasted away and the internals can be stripped out ready for insurance inspection.

The lift was video’d by team member John Wood and can be seen at  https://youtu.be/nv8EVBlKMT0

The chassis has been returned to the workshop where work will continue to strip components for overhaul. The long term goal here is to remove the chassis from the wheels and to open up the cylinders and piston valves for inspection.  The tyres require reprofiling and so the wheelsets will need to go ‘away’ for that operation; before that is done, the roller bearings will need inspection - if there’s major work or replacements needed here, then it will involve removing the wheels from the axles and that might render any profiling invalid.

Under the crane crew’s watchful eyes, the boiler takes to the air and is about to be slewed to the far side of the crane, which will be home for the next few months.

© Ben Scott

Alan Whenman does the honours with the oxy-acetylene to detach the ashpan.  David O’Connell looks on with interest - he’s making the replacement.

Photo © Kevin Wilkins

Pete Neumann and Paul Reeson on the taglines rotate the boiler into final alignment.

© Kevin Wilkins

What a mess!  One ex-ashpan, complete with ex-brick arch.

Photo © Kevin Wilkins

Chassis is shunted back toward the workshop.  The loss of 19 tons meant that the rear wheels were extremely light and it took three attempts to get round the curve without the outside flange hopping over the railhead.

© Kevin Wilkins

© Ben Scott

The boiler has landed.  The crane’s been straightened up and (almost) everyone’s gone for tea.

20th August 2017.  

After the excitement of the boiler lift, reality strikes. We need to get the boiler ready for inspection as soon as possible.  There’s two main motivations, firstly it’s certain that the boiler will be the largest single overhaul item both in cost and duration, so the sooner we start the better; secondly we’re well past the half-year mark and cannot rely on much more than 4-6 weeks of decent weather in which to work outside.  So being overtaken by the turning seasons could cost 4-6 months in overall project duration.

Most working days see one or more people applying needle-guns to the exterior shell.  The running-board brackets have been removed. A start has been made (2 rows out of 15) at burning off the ends of the firebox end of tubes, a start has been made at removing the J-pipe (just inside the dome).  Some of the to-be retained studs have been cleaned and had protection applied.  Many still to do.

© Ben Scott

The smokebox door, removed from the loco some time ago, has long been identified as in need of replacement. The door comprises two main pieces, inner and outer.  It was dismantled so the plates could be used as patterns from which to spin a new ones.  Evidence of an old patch and a huge amount of rusty soot/sooty rust was revealed.  

As the removed parts count climbs towards 700, it becomes apparent that the single container allocated to the project will not be sufficient to hold all the parts.  So a second, smaller, container has been ordered. It’s hoped that it, together with additional working/storage space within the workshop, will suffice for the future.  

At the present time, we might be close to the maximum required space for not-yet-overhauled parts;  There’s not many parts in the boiler that will be reused and when parts start to arrive from chassis disassembly, we should have started work on overhauling the containerful of susperstructure pieces, so they’ll be flowing through the clean/strip/repaint process.

Parts removed count:


Bank Holiday Sunday in the yard at Wansford. David O’Connell and Ben Maxwell discuss the ins and outs (mainly outs!) of cutting a bolt that holds the bottom of the J-Pipe to the main steam pipe.

This is what they were after.  Heavy casting, steam pipe at LH end, regulator fixes to the top.

Note also the improved state of the firebox side. The bulk of the flaking rust has been needle-gunned away.  There’s more to do around the shoulder

Bank Holiday Monday. Alan Collins wrestles the superheater header onto a platform of palettes and jacks inside the smokebox. With the loader taking the weight, the platform is removed and the header lowered to the smokebox floor.  It’s then hoisted out of the smokebox and onto another palette.  Next step - clean, examine and overhaul.

Alan with yet another trophy.

Stan muscling in to look like he did something.

Looking down the dome into the boiler with the J-pipe out. On the right can be seen the open end of the steam pipe, heading towards the smokebox. The open ended vertical pipe is the steam take off for the ‘turret’ on top of the firebox. Stays and tubes lurking below.

Superheater header safely on the floor. Stud hole at top-right has broken through, that at top-left looks like it has a crack.

Sept 2017