Great Western Society Saint Project • Didcot Railway Centre, Oxfordshire OX11 7NJ • Registered Charity No 272616

Archive News 2006

February 2006
We have a 4-6-0 once more. By the end of January the driving axle boxes were finish machined, the underkeeps fettled up, new lubrication felts and feed wicks fitted and the completed assemblies fitted to the new driving wheelsets. The frames were then lifted up and lowered onto the waiting wheelsets. The next job is to fit the reconditioned driving wheel springs and complete the rolling chassis.

Other work recently carried out at Bury includes grit blasting and painting the boiler. This has been done prior to refitting it to the chassis. Once the boiler has been fitted we can check the dimensions of the complete locomotive to ensure that it is in gauge and thus able to move on Network Rail.
So 2007 will be a year for consolidation and preparing to move forward and to get the next stage of the Project under way we are re-launching the Saint Project appeal and we hope that you will feel able to support this ground-breaking project at this time. It has been a long time coming and we should like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding.
Placing the frames on the new driving wheels at Bury
(Photo: Tony Cornthwaite)
Placing the frames on the new driving wheels at Bury
(Photo: Tony Cornthwaite)
For all the doubters we now have a faithful reminder of Churchward’s classic original 2 cylinder 4-6-0, from which all other two cylinder locomotives in the UK and arguably across much of the world, especially the British Empire, descended. It is different and it looks different from anything else we have at Didcot.
Placing the frames on the new driving wheels at Bury
(Photo: Tony Cornthwaite)
November 2006
The work scheduled at Ian Riley’s workshops in Bury has finally been completed and the locomotive has returned to Didcot. Since the last report, work has been concentrated on the modifications to the motion brackets from No.4942 to incorporate the Saint design which has the valve rocker arm bearing integral with the motion bracket. The new section castings were machined and were then carefully aligned with the existing brackets and the frames, before being finally secured in place.
The locomotive had to be lifted so that the leading driving wheelset could be run out, to provide the necessary access for this operation. Finally the rear cylinder covers were finish machined, and fitted to the new cylinders so that the reconditioned slidebars could be refitted and aligned with new shims made, all of which was quite tricky and took several weeks of continual work to complete.
The final operation was to remove the cab roof and refit the boiler into the frames and at the same time use the crane to lift the frames to replace the leading wheelset. In the event it was sitting a little high and not quite level so the boiler had to come off again while this was addressed.

At the smokebox end the floor of the smokebox needed to be cut away to provide a bit more clearance for the new cylinder integrally cast inside steam pipes, two of the frame stretchers were a little too high and needed tweaking, the firebox expansion brackets also needed a bit more machining and the front spectacle plate needed a bit more clearance around the firebox. All in all considering the lack of detail drawings and dimensions for a Saint and the serious changes made to the frames, we were pleased that so little needed to be done to get the boiler to fit. The modifications were put in hand straight away and a week later the boiler was lowered into the frames, and they fitted.

Now No.2999 was a rolling locomotive a check was made on its axle weight distribution to ensure the bearing loads were evenly spread ready for the move back to Didcot and the overall weight (52? tons) in its present condition was noted, which is some 20 tons less than the finished article. Final finishing off included straightening the front drawhook, making a new nut for it and reassembling with new buffing pads and at the rear, refitting the engine to tender drawbar links and finally, fixing one of the cabside number plates in position.

Once the boiler was in place the Didcot gang moved in over one weekend and fitted a temporary wooden footplate floor and fallplate, ready for its move over Network Rail to get it into Didcot Railway Centre. A further small group visited Bury towards the end of October for a final review and to witness its movement up and down Riley’s yard. It was taken by road to Milton depot where it was coupled to No.6023’s tender (which is already cleared for Network Rail) and then incongruously towed into the Centre with Thomas the Tank Engine on 14th November. The first Saint on the main line since 1953? A collection of parts remains at Bury, including the Atlantic sub frames, and this will be collected separately.