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

Archive News 2013

October 2013
The correct Edwardian style buffer beam numbers have have been painted. A rare outdoor view showing the R/H side of the loco with reversing lever, motion and vacuum pump in place.
September 2013
The new smokebox tubeplate was fitted to the boiler at the beginning of September. The existing smokebox ex 4942 is serviceable and will be refitted once the boiler has been retubed. The small tubes are already on site and the 14 superheater flue tubes are on order with delivery scheduled for October. That just leaves the superheater elements still to be sourced.
The front piston valve covers have been fitted and the crinolines for the boiler cladding are being made. A GWR boiler pressure gauge in good condition has also recently been acquired, so we now have a complete set of cab gauges.
Much work has also continued on the tender, with the left hand tank side wall erected in on the frames in August. The tender is now a rolling chassis with reconditioned springs fitted, together with the newly completed taper buffers, and looks very smart with a coat of black paint. The wood packing (iroko) for the tender tank has also arrived. Castings recently machined at Didcot include the axlebox keeps, mushroom air vents and the handbrake stand. Newly-made patterns include the tender brakeshaft trunnion bearing housing and the brakeshaft housing, and these castings are on order. Also in progress - thanks to the 1014 Group - is the main brakeshaft centre bearing.
Left: The new tubeplate in place. Photo: Alasdair Matthews
July 2013
A tantalising glimpse of how the Lady is going to look!
Although there's still a lot to do before 2999 is completed, visitors to the 'Saint Day' at Didcot on Saturday 13 July had a tantalising glimpse of just how impressive the reincarnated Lady will be!

Temporarily carrying 2861's Standard No.1 boiler, Lady of Legend was certainly beginning to look the part, complete with freshly-painted cab and splashers, name and numberplates, buffer beam number, splasher and cab brass beading, newly-manufactured tall safety valve bonnet and copper capped chimney.

The tender remained in the lifting shop where the new tank is taking shape.
June 2013
On the boiler, a new dry lining plate - situated at the smokebox end of the barrel - has been welded in place.

A set of flue tube bottle ends has been manufactured by South Devon Railway Engineering at Buckfastleigh, and these are being machined at Didcot to suit the tapped firebox tubeplate holes. They will then be welded to the new flue tubes which are already available. A full set of 2in smoke tubes is also on site ready for when the boiler is retubed. A set of superheater elements still has to be manufactured.
While the work on 2999’s boiler continues, a Standard No.1 boiler ex 2861, from one of the Barry 10 which arrived at Didcot recently, has been placed In 2999’s frames. This will enable work to make up all the pipe runs to progress, while work continues to complete 2999’s own boiler.

At the same time a new upper spectacle plate has been fitted to the cab. This has the porthole window apertures positioned slightly higher than before, as we found the windows were too close to the boiler top on the first plate made when the loco was at Bury.
Recent small parts obtained include engineman’s seat balance weight castings and a new IR band and seals for the tender brake cylinder. The first of the cast splasher beadings has been finish polished and looks very smart in place on the LH centre driving wheel splasher, with nameplate mounted above.

On the tender frames the new rear dragbox of riveted construction has been manufactured and fitted into frames, and the drawgear has been overhauled. Construction of the new tender tank is progressing well, with the well section fabricated and located in the frames. The timber packing that locates between the tank body and the frames is on order. We are now fairly certain the tender number is 1719, as previously thought, having now found the number stamped on several of the parts removed during the rebuild.
May 2013
Final work on the firebox is now well under way with the concluding bout of major surgery. Ultrasonic testing indicated a reduction in material thickness around the lower sections of the steel outer firebox on both sides, plus the bottom section of the throatplate.
These photos show the base of the throatplate with the wasted section having been cut out (top and top left) and the new 'blank' being trial-fitted (above). Following this the new section was drilled and machined (left) before finally being welded in place.
Once the throatplate section was completed, cutting out and replacement of the two side sections was undertaken. We are also replacing a number of rivets in the foundation ring at the same time.

The cut-out side section (below left), and on 22 May Andy Bennett (below right) is seen welding the new patch section into position.
Other progress on the boiler has included ordering the new bottle ends from South Devon Railway Engineering at Buckfastleigh. These are welded on to the flue tubes, to make up the superheater flue tube assemblies, 14 of them altogether.

On the tender, the vacuum cylinder is taking shape, and the photo (right) shows the cylinder cover casting being machined in the Lifting Shop by Ron Hows. The shaped and formed sections that will be welded together to make the lower well of the new tender tank have been laid out on top of the tender frames.
We have just received the new enginemen’s seats in English elm, and the remaining parts to make up the seat assembly are in progress.  Even something apparently simple like the seat comprises the wooden seat itself, a profiled steel support plate with a machined steel pivot bar welded to it, a cast iron balance weight (cast and machined) and two steel pivot support brackets (cast and machined)!
March 2013
Since the January report all the remaining valve gear has now been fitted to 2999, with the exception of the valve reach rods which are polished and ready to fit.

The brass cab edge beadings have also been fitted front and rear on both sides and a start made on the cab floor construction. 

Further small parts recently completed include the loco brake valve, the wooden handles for the backhead valves, a complete set of boiler handrail support pillars and the footplate wooden seats and cast steel seat support brackets. Plus, masses of nuts, bolts, washers and studs, in readiness for fitting the firebox backhead fittings!

A start on building the new tender tank is imminent, with all the steel formed parts now available on site and some 2000 rivets just delivered for the tank construction. The formed lower tank section has been trial fitted to the frames for a dimensional check. Derusting and painting the tender suspension parts is progressing well. Work to complete the tender vacuum cylinder continues, with the newly cast top cover being machined, together with new tie bolts. The original bottom cover has been cleaned up and is now in primer. And replacement leather oil seals for the tender wheelsets have been made in house. Finally a big thankyou to John Scanlan of J & L Paints who has donated the paints now being applied to the loco and its tender.

January 2013
2999 now has the complete set of outside motion fitted, comprising the connecting rods and coupling rods. All the rods have been polished and all bearings remetalled.

The front buffer beam now sports new buffer assemblies of the correct taper body pattern, all the buffer castings having been machined at Didcot. 
The loco has been moved into the Loco Works for the time being, changing places with the tender which has moved into the Lifting Shop for work on that to continue. Recent progress on the tender has included continuing building up the new dragboxes and also fitting new longitudinal steel channels to the frames.

Further small parts are on order, a complete set of eleven boiler handrail support pillar castings (the handrail knobs), the footplate seat cast steel support brackets, together with the wooden handles for the backhead valves.