Re-assembly of the bogie at Didcot is complete except for fitting the new axle box keeps, so it is once again a rolling chassis. As we hoped it has proved possible to machine the original axle box white metalled bearing surfaces to suit the new axle journal sizes which are larger. The newly cast axle box keeps have presented a minor problem because the front pair of axle boxes are of a different design to the rear pair. The front axle keeps fit fine but we are having to modify the rear axle keeps with some extra machining which is just about complete. The fitting of new lubrication pads is all that is required before the keeps can be finally fitted. Meanwhile final painting of the bogie is in progress.
The boiler has now been detubed in readiness for its despatch to Bury, thus reducing its weight for lifting and transportation. The tubes, presumably fitted when the boiler was last overhauled at Swindon in 1961, are heavily scaled (Didcot was its last shed before withdrawal in 1963!) but look better than many ex-Barry tubes we have removed at Didcot. First sight visual examination of the exposed surfaces has not revealed anything sinister but we will know more once the boiler has been grit blasted and ultrasonic tested which is scheduled to be done whilst it is at Bury. Meanwhile there are barrow loads of scale and muck to remove from the internal areas.
As well as the boiler and bogie going up to Bury there are quite a lot of smaller pieces needed up there such as motion brackets, slidebars and so on and these are being collected together, cleaned up and palletised in readiness.
Progress on re-wheeling the frames at Bury is still awaited. Due to an unexpected amount of work since the beginning of the year, in particular a significant amount of work on No.34067 “Tangmere” before it goes back into traffic, Ian Riley has been unable to move forward with No.2999 but we hope that he will soon be able to press the start button again. The first splasher beading has been cast and is at Bury awaiting fitting.
We have made a start on the lever reverser mechanism in the cab. We are fortunate in having the original 1906 drawing for this (mind you it would help if it had all the dimensions together with the manufacturing tolerances shown) and we are presently awaiting quotes to make the two quadrant racks. These racks are 1”thick steel and using modern profile cutting techniques, we expect to be able to produce them without any further machining being necessary.
Finally, with the departure of “Fire Fly” from the works, the Saint’s 3500 gallon tender has been brought in from the cold, in readiness for work to commence. It is parked next to No.6023’s immaculate rebuilt tender and provides a good before and after view.
Re-assembly of the bogie has been completed and sporting a coat of gloss black, and the boiler having received its first washout for over 40 years, both were loaded onto wagons, together with the rest of the small parts destined to be reunited with the frames at Ian Riley’s works at Bury, and the whole lot moved across to the West Yard at Didcot. Using a 50 ton mobile crane everything had been loaded onto the waiting low loader by midday on Friday 1st July, ready for the road journey up to Bury, where unloading took place on the following Monday.
The Didcot gang has paid another visit to Bury, descaling the inside face of the frames and giving them a coat of paint; the driving wheels also received another coat of black paint. Otherwise, apart from repairing the rear drawbar rubber compression cups, no further progress has been made by Ian Riley at Bury. He has promised that he will make a start shortly on the driving axle boxes as a prelude to re-wheeling the frames.
Following the request for a suitable replacement chimney one of our members has most generously offered to donate his Modified Hall chimney and we hope to collect it shortly. Out of interest, the budget cost to make a new chimney to the original design was around £10,000.
Progress is being made on the in cab reversing lever assembly. The two quadrant racks have been made and the actual “pole” reversing lever forging has been ordered from the same forge that made the new extension frames. The estimated cost, as quoted, to complete the whole reverser mechanism in the cab is £6,700. If anyone would like to sponsor all or part of this reverser mechanism we should be absolutely delighted to hear from you.