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

Archive News 2012

November 2012
The two connecting rods have been prepared for polishing prior to fitting. One of them is stamped 2906, having previously seen service on Lady of Lynn.

The cab edging brass beadings have now been fitted both sides and a start has been made on constructing the cab floor structure.

The new taper buffer assemblies are now complete and ready to be fitted to the loco.
We now have just about all the boiler backhead fittings completed and ready to fit. The latest items are the driver's brake valve, the Mason's steam heat valve and the regulator lubricator valve (sometimes known the W valve or jockey valve).
More of the many backhead fittings: The Mason's Steam Heat Valve (left) and the Regulator Lubricator Valve (right). Photo: Peter Chatman Brass beading is now fitted to the cab
(Photo: Peter Chatman)
The cylinder cock operating gear is being drawn up ready for manufacture and we are about to order a number of small but necessary items including wooden valve handles, handrail pillars (knobs to the uninitiated) and lots of rivets ready for fitting the new front tubeplate and refitting the existing smokebox which is reusable.

The new longitudinal stays between the firebox and the front tubeplate will be fabricated soon, the steel bar for this is now on site at Didcot.

The fortnightly working parties are concentrating on the tender rebuild with many small parts being renovated.

Regular working parties have concentrated on the tender frames. The dragbox end is seen here.
August 2012

The new hot-pressed front tubeplate arrived from South Devon Railway Engineering at Buckfastleigh at the beginning of August, fully machined and ready to fit to the boiler.

Most of the firebox restaying and lap rivet replacement work is now complete, and new boiler tubes are on site ready to fit.

Mechanically, with all the inside valve gear now fitted, work continues on the outside motion, using parts from 4942 suitably refurbished.  It is expected that all the outside motion will be in place by the Autumn. 

We have recently been fortunate to obtain an original GWR steam heat gauge.

Much attention is now focused on the the 3500 gallon tender. The frames have been derusted and given a coat of red oxide paint. New frame stretchers have been fitted throughout, and the replacement of both front and rear dragboxes is in progress. This is well advanced and a new rear bufferbeam has been fitted. Work continues building the brake vacuum cylinder, the new piston and piston rod for it have been completed and other parts to complete the cylinder are being cast. A completely new tender tank will be built at Didcot and it is hoped to commence construction soon, now that all the steel sections for the tank are on site.

The new tubplate being machined and at Didcot
(Photos: Peter Chatman)
Above left and above: The tender's front dragbox being reconstructed

Left: The new bufferbeam being fited to the rear of the tender

(Photos: Peter Chatman)
July 2012
On 14 July, 2999 was moved out of the loco works to facilitate removal of the boiler for 1014, which has been despatched to Crewe for modification and overhaul. 2999's rear coupling rods were fitted for the occasion, although the connecting rods were removed to avoid over-working the currently un-lubricated valves and cylinders. While 2999 was being shunted through the engine shed yard by pannier tank 3738, a Freightliner class 70 passed on the east curve. We can confidently state that this is the first time that a class 70 and a GWR Saint have appeared together in the same photo!
2999 being shuted in the yard at Didcot, 14 July 2012
(Photo: Frank Dumbleton)
By early July 2012 the new front tubeplate had been pressed, and the GWS insurance company had carried out an mpi test prior to continuing with the machining. With the tubeplate removed, there is full access to descale the interior surfaces of the boiler barrel – a rather dirty job but any offers to help with the descaling will be gratefully received by the work party!

Steel boiler plate has also been ordered to replace the thin sections of the outer firebox that have suffered from corrosion. The sections to be replaced will be cut out with an angle grinder, the new sections cut to size and then welded in place by a coded welder.
The new front tubeplate being pressed
(Photo: Peter Chatman)
The new Lady of Legend nameplates arrived at Didcot during May and look a very nice job.

The coupling rods have been polished, the bearings remetalled and machined to size and were trial-fitted on both sides of 2999 in early June. The loco was then moved up and down so that the position of the pistons within the cylinders at the extremities of the stroke could be checked, confirming that the new cylinders and driving wheel crankpins were all in their correct positions. Another milestone reached!
Polishing the coupling rods
(Photo: Peter Chatman)

Rear rods trial-fitted (right)
(Photo: Adrian Knowles)
On the tender, in addition to the tasks noted in the April report, a new piston and piston rod for the brake cylinder have been made and are presently being machined. However, much of the brake gear will need to be made new, and a new handbrake stand casting has recently arrived, to await machining. The tender wheelsets and springs have already been reconditioned, and await refitting. It is hoped to begin construction of the replacement tender tank during the summer, much of the steel for it is already on site.

Finally we are all very pleased to see Pete Gransden back leading the working party following his recent accident.
April 2012
The smokebox and front tubeplate were separated from the boiler barrel early in the New Year. A new tubeplate – a one-piece hot formed pressing – has been ordered from South Devon Railway Engineering at Buckfastleigh (who will also finish machine it) with delivery due in the summer.

The old tubeplate has been taken to Buckfastleigh as use as a guide for the new one. The smokebox is sound and will be refitted once the new tubeplate is in place. Recent new items manufactured include two whistle valves and lever assemblies and a smokebox lubrication distributor. A capuchon has been made for the chimney, which is removeable should there be any future height gauging problems to consider.
Boiler interior looking towards the firebox tube plate
At Didcot, the front window catches have been machined and fitted and machining of the four new taper buffer assemblies is well on the way (plus a pair for 4079’s front bufferbeam). Good progress has also been made making up the loco sanding gear linkage.
Scrap front tube plate Machined buffer shanks Tender water gauge pattern
The Group is now turning its attention to the tender, beginning with the frames which have suffered from some major corrosion and will need quite a lot of new metal to be put right. New sidemember channels are on site ready to fit and the old ones have been cut off.
Right-hand crosshead assembly Tender axlebox underkeep lube pads
The rear dragbox will be replaced and the new sections for this are being made. A new rear bufferbeam has already been been prepared ready to fit. The front dragbox will also be rebuilt. The horns and axleboxes will need full refurbishment, and much of the brakegear will need to be made. The tender brake cylinder – which was cracked – has received a specialist weld repair and is back at Didcot, while a set of axle underkeep lubrication pads for the tender have recently been delivered.

We are all greatly missing Pete Gransden’s leadership of the working party following his accident and we are looking forward to him making a full recovery and a return to the Saint.
Whistle valves and smokebox lubrication distributor
January 2012

The two clack valve assemblies and the second injector steam valve have been completed. Currently being machined are a lubricator combining valve (W valve) and a Mason’s steam heat reducing valve. When these are completed, we will have around 80% of the backhead fittings for the Saint.

Various new casting patterns have been made recently. These include the parts to make up Churchward design taper buffers for fitting to both loco and tender, the lamp irons for loco and tender (all 11 of them), parts for the sanding mechanism, the six tender axlebox keeps, the tender 3500 gallon water capacity scale and the Mason’s valve support bracket. Castings have been received for all these items, and the machining of the lamp irons and support bracket has been completed off site.

New clack valves
(Photo: Peter Chatman)
It is planned to machine the buffers, sanding mechanism, and axlebox keeps at Didcot, and the buffers and sanding mechanism are already being machined. The new sandboxes have been refitted to the frames ready to receive the sanding mechanism.

With The Great Western Trust's help we picked up a very nice GWR duplex vacuum gauge at  auction (see Archive News 2011), but we still need a steam pressure gauge and a steam heating gauge (both marked GWR not BR) for the Saint. So, if anyone has a gauge they would like to donate or sell at a reasonable cost, Peter Chatman at the Didcot address would be delighted to hear from you.

The front window handle catches and the whistle valves and elbows have also been cast using the patterns already existing at Didcot. 

Castings for the Chuchward tapered buffers
(Photo: Peter Chatman)

On the cylinders, the refurbished piston and rod assemblies fitted with new rings are in place, with both remetalled crossheads installed, all ex 4942. The air pump (often known as the  vacuum pump) had been overhauled with a new piston rod made, and this has been installed under the running plate and connected to the right hand crosshead. 

Good progress has been made reassembling the loco brake operating mechanism, much of which is now in place. The cross beams ex 4942 have been refurbished, the pull rods are new, new pins and bushes have been fitted and the whole assembly finish painted.

Painting is ongoing with the front buffer beam and side valancing all prepared ready for final top coat.

Fixing the crosshead air pump to the locomotive
(Photo: Peter Chatman)

Our Insurance Company carried out a visual examination of the boiler, together with non-destructive testing (NDT) last November which thankfully revealed no major surprises. The general condition of the inner firebox is good, the replacement of the steel side stays is well advanced, the crown stays are serviceable and the partial replacement of the lap seam rivets with threaded set screws is in progress.  A small amount of copper welding to build up the rear firebox laps is felt to be advantageous.  The outer firebox in the throatplate area will need a section replaced, which the NDT showed to be thin with possible cracking on the corners. While we are at it, we propose to replace sections of the right and left hand sides of the outer firebox just above the foundation ring which are quite heavily pitted.  The foundation ring will also receive new rivets in these areas.  The remainder of the outer firebox is OK.

The inner firebox
(Photo: Peter Chatman)

The front tubeplate, like so many ex Barry locos, is reduced in the lower areas and will need replacement.  Removal of the smokebox to allow the tubeplate to be removed is under way, and we expect to place the order for the new tubeplate once the old one is out, early in 2012. The smokebox is serviceable and when it is refitted to the boiler, the opportunity will be taken to use countersunk head rivets to give it the smooth surface finish that was current before the First World War.

Further steel has been ordered for the tender reconstruction including the tank side and corner pieces, together with the rear buffer beam and front dragbox parts. There won’t be much of  the original left by the time it’s finished! It is intended that the tender will have the short coal fenders, current in the early part of the 20th Century. Also expected shortly is a new tender  brake cylinder piston casting and a handbrake stand casting, courtesy of the Erlestoke Manor Fund. Examination of the tender brake cylinder has revealed a crack in the casting, and it is about to be sent away for a specialist weld repair.

We are delighted to report that following our appeal in the Echo, members have sponsored  the two “Lady of Legend” nameplates and these have now been ordered. To achieve maximum  authenticity we have supplied a rubbing from one of the original “Lady of Quality” nameplates as a guide, courtesy of another member.  Meanwhile the loco splashers have been modified to provide increased clearance with the boiler after the cladding has been added. The new splasher beading castings have been adjusted for length and will be fitted once polishing is complete.

About 80 percent of the backhead fittings are complete
(Photo: Peter Chatman)
Right-hand crosshead fitted, January 2012
(Photo: Peter Chatman)