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

Latest News

June 2017
What's left to be done?
So what’s left to finish on 2999 Lady of Legend to get her back in steam? Well, essentially the final tasks are the same as those involved in restoring any Barry wreck, the reinstatement of all those parts that were removed during its time in the scrapyard. The work necessary to rebuild from a ‘Hall’ to a ‘Saint’ is just about complete.

Taking the boiler first, following major repairs it has successfully passed our own hydraulic test and the insurance company internal exam. The next step will be hydraulic and steam tests to gain our certificate from the insurance company, but this will be timed to take place just before we replace the boiler in the frames to maximise the certificate time-span. Recent work has included replacing the snap head rivets around the smokebox with flush head rivets as per the original ‘Saints’, while the only major work remaining is to fit the new grate in the firebox, the superheater header and elements, the regulator box, the blower ring and the main steam pipes from boiler to cylinders inside the smokebox. All these parts are to hand. Alignment of chimney and blastpipe has to be checked.

In mid-March the front end of the loco was lifted and the bogie removed to allow completion of the exhaust injector feed pipes and the cylinder drain cock mechanism. The cylinder and valve chest covers have to be manufactured and fitted.

2999 is presently fitted with a slave boiler from 2861, one of the Barry 10, which has enabled the large number of replacement pipe runs to be developed while work continued on 2999’s actual boiler. The pipe runs will have to be transferred to 2999’s boiler and, of course, the boilers will need to be swapped over. 2999’s boiler will need lagging and the cladding sheets to secure the insulation have to be made and fitted. Again, all parts to make the cladding sheets are to hand and the lagging is on order.

In the Lifting Shop with the bogie run out for access to fit exhaust injector feed pipes.
A number of minor pipe runs still require manufacture, including lubrication pipes, blower pipe, lance cock pipe. The oil pots have to be fitted and trimmings made, while all the newly developed copper piping will need to be annealed before the loco is steamed.

Turning now to the cab, all the boiler backhead fittings have to be fitted – a job which is in progress. The sanding operating mechanism has to be finished, reverser cover manufactured, windows glazed and fitted, and seat assemblies fitted.

The tender, which has a new tank, needs to have the inside of the tank coated with an anti-corrosion compound, and minor finishing details – including fitting axlebox covers and engine-to-tender hoses, are still outstanding.

Finally the engine and tender have to be finish painted, initially for the brief appearance in BR lined black, and then for the official launch in lined and varnished Great Western green.
2999'a own boiler with flush-head rivets on the smokebox. New copperfirebox stays have been fitted.
February 2017
The details come together
The cylinder cladding has been cut to shape and fitted with the lagging on the left side and is well advanced on the other side. The backhead formed cladding is being developed and new hinged mudhole door covers have been made for the firebox cladding.

Work continues making new pipework with the lubricator condensing coil manufactured to the older Churchward design and the lubricator drain arrangements completed. Further brake piping completed includes the pipe from the vacuum reservoir to the vacuum cylinder, while the vacuum train pipe in the cab has been finish-welded. The two new snifting valves have been completed.

Also in progress is the assembly of the two cab front spectacle windows, the profiled spacer plates to complete the assembly prior to glazing having now arrived on site. The cab upper porthole windows have also been completed except for glazing.

Work on the cylinder cock operating mechanism has continued. We have no drawings for the original assembly but fortunately 5227, one of the ‘Barry 10’ and now at Didcot, still had the original Churchward design cylinder cocks and some of the mechanism is still in place, so we are using that as a guide. Recent work included making the cylinder cock actuating lever fitted in the cab and also the actuator support arrangements at the front of the loco.

The boiler handrail assembly has been fitted using newly manufactured handrail knobs and new tubing along each side of the boiler. The curved section of handrail above the smokebox door reuses the original from 4942, which is in good condition.
The new handrail arrangement has been fitted to 2999’s boiler. 17 January 2017. Photo: Alasdair Matthews
The smokebox ex 4942 is being reconditioned prior to reassembly to the boiler and the Hall’s outside steampipe apertures have been plated over to suit 2999’s inside steampipe arrangement. Approx 90% of the boiler backhead fittings are now in place and piped up. Both cylinders are now lagged with cladding sheets fitted. Live steam and exhaust steam injectors have been fitted beneath the cab with new support bracketry manufactured, and piping is in progress. Adaptors to support the main exhaust steam pipe feeds from the cylinders to the exhaust injector have been designed and cast, using patterns made at Didcot, and the castings are being machined at present. The regulator box has had the valve faces machined, ready to lap in the regulator valve assembly.

Although we have a set of firebars that will be adequate for 2999’s trial steamings, we have ordered a new set of castings for fitting when the loco is launched.

Finally, the right side bottom cylinder slidebar from 4942 – missing for some time – has now been found. It is in generally better condition than the spare that we had fitted so it has been sent out for machining to remove the usual Barry rusting, and will replace the present one.
October 2016
Piping-up the 'Saint'
We are now at the stage with the ‘Saint’ where we are working on the many fiddly bits that take up a lot of time without a great deal to show for it.

On the loco work has continued developing the pipework for all the fittings on the firebox backhead, using the boiler from 2861, placed in 2999’s frames to enable it to be used as a template for the pipework. All the backhead fittings, such as the lubricator, Masons steam heat valve, steam fountain, water gauge frame and the many other valves for 2999, have all been newly manufactured. The piping for the brake valve on the backhead has also been completed. The ‘Saints’ were fitted with a single cone ejector (like the ‘Manors’) rather than a four cone ejector as fitted to the ‘Halls’ (and 4942). We had expected to use the piping to the ejector from 4942 with modifications, but in the end it was easier to make new.

Other items in the cab area have included the damper linkage to the ashpan and the exhaust injector control handle arrangement. The sections of chequer plate to complete the cab floor have been cut to size and are in place.

On the tender, the first coat of topcoat green has been applied and flatting down prior to the next coat is in progress.
The cab starts to look business-like as fittings and pipework are temporarily fitted to the backhead of 2861’s boiler.
2999’s tender now wears its first topcoat of green.
August 2016
Adding the Lady's fittings
The vacuum train piping has now been fitted to the frames of both the loco and the tender, and now that the brake blocks have been fitted, the tender has a working handbrake.

The cylinder cladding has been cut to shape and is being fitted, to be followed with a start on cladding the boiler backhead. The copper piping services for the injector steam valves on the boiler backhead have been made, also the piping around the boiler barrel which feeds the clack valves. The ashpan damper doors are being fitted to the newly-manufactured ashpan. After straightening, we have been able to reuse the old hinges from 4942 but fitted with newly fabricated doors.

On the tender the new fire iron rack has been fitted and the coal space painted in black bitumastic. The tank exterior is in green undercoat and will receive a topcoat before the winter.
Below: Copper piping for the injector steam valves in position.
Top: Cylinder cladding being fitted.

Above: The tender now has a working handbrake.

Left: Topfeed trial-fitted
May 2016
The tender rebuild is just about complete. The frames have new drag boxes, corroded sections of the frames have been replaced and it is in topcoat black. Wheelset journals and tyres have been turned and axleboxes remetalled. The tank body is completely new and after much filling and flatting down is in undercoat green awaiting final painting. Much of the brake gear is new, the scoop arrangement has been refitted and the metal pipe runs for vacuum brake and steam heat that run from front to rear beneath the tank have been fitted. Recent new parts made for the tender include the steam heat safety valve, the fire iron tool rack and a boiler water feed valve filter. There are two boiler water feed valves fitted to the tender and each has a filter fitted. This is a circular basket made from perforated copper sheet. One was missing so we have have had a replacement made but from stainless steel instead of copper.
Now fully filled, flatted and prepared, the tender body is in undercoat green and the frames in undercoat black awaiting final painting which will be undertaken at the same time as the locomotive.
(Photo: Alasdair Matthews)
On the loco, the metal splash guards that locate between the bogie wheels and slidebars each side have been fabricated and are ready to fit. Recent machining work has included the water gauge frame castings and the exhaust injector body casting, together with many of the injector’s internal parts. The steel sheeting for the boiler and cylinder cladding sheets has arrived on site at Didcot to await final development and cutting to shape. A start has been made on the cladding for the cylinders and the U shaped cladding that covers the water feed pipes to the clack valves has been specially made. Piping up the loco has also begun, starting with the exhaust injector. Fortunately, 4942 still had some of the exhaust injector piping including the grease separator when we bought the loco from Barry. It was removed when we stripped the loco but we expect to reuse it, although the loco will probably have to be lifted and the bogie run out to give us the access to install.
January 2016
The good news is that the boiler overhaul is complete and it passed the cold examination by our insurance company inspector on 15 October and we subsequently carried out our own hydraulic test to 300 psi on 29 October.

There were no problems with that so the boiler has now been placed aside until we are ready for the official hydraulic and steam tests to take place, which will be once the rest of the loco is ready for boiler installation. Apart, that is, from giving the boiler shell a coat
of protective aluminium high temperature paint. The set of new superheater elements have been delivered to Didcot and are ready to fit.
The tender, riveted in Edwardian style and being prepared for paint. (Photo: Alasdair Matthews)
The crinolines to support the boiler cladding sheets have been made and the cladding sheets and boiler insulation lagging will be ordered shortly. Other work on the loco has included fitting a new wooden cab floor and the sheet metal splash guards between bogie wheels and slidebars are being fabricated at present.

Much effort has been spent in recent months to complete the Churchward 3500 gallon tender rebuild. It has been a very thorough job and only final detailing and painting remain.
Riveting the coal fenders. (Photo: Frank Dumbleton)
The new tank body is complete, with Churchward short fenders fitted. The air vents, scoop dome and filler arrangement are installed, and the body edge beadings are being fitted. Handrail fitting is also in progress – the rear ones are fitted and fitting of the front ones is in progress. The two toolboxes have been made and just require fitting to the tank. On the tender frames, the brakegear has been fitted and the tender now has a working handbrake, although some of the brake blocks are yet to be fitted. The water scoop has been fitted and is operational – we just need some water troughs to try it out!

The metal pipe runs for vacuum brake and steam heat that run from front to rear beneath the tank has been fitted and the drawbars that connect the tender to the loco and the front dumb buffers are also now in place.
The water scoop is fitted and fully functional. (Photo: Alasdair Matthews)
October 2015
The brass beadings have been fitted to the driving wheel splashers, with the brass securing screws having to be made specially at Didcot.

The cylinder cock assemblies for the steam chests, complete with machined extension pieces, have been completed with the steam chests drilled and tapped ready for them to be fitted.

Work also continues on the new tender body, with the top sheeting welded in place and the coal fenders fitted. The tender air vents have been reduced in height by approximately 4in to provide the correct profile for the early style of Churchward tender being reproduced.
The rebuilt tender coal space
The mudhole doors and blowdown valve were fitted to the boiler so it could be filled with water to test for leaks – nothing serious found. Empty again, it awaits cold inspection by our insurance boiler inspector which is arranged for mid October, prior to us carrying out an hydraulic test. The superheater elements have been completed and are awaiting delivery to Didcot.

Parts manufacture continues with machining of the exhaust injector components in progress. Parts are being cast to make up a new water gauge frame to replace the one that was stolen, together with the short elbows for the whistles and driving axlebox oil fillers.
July 2015
Work has been concentrated over the past few weeks on manufacturing the new ashpan, which has just been completed.

On the boiler, the new washout plugs have been fitted, restudding of the foundation ring ready for fitting the new ashpan is in progress, and the corners of the firebox at the foundation ring have been seal welded. The boiler has now been moved into the lifting shop in readiness for hydraulic testing.

On the tender tank, flared top corner pieces have been welded in place and machining of the new brake hanger castings is almost complete. New items recently received include a lance cock assembly, a firehole deflector plate (smokeplate), and oil filler elbow castings for the driving axleboxes which will be machined at Didcot.

Finally the boiler pressure gauge and the duplex vacuum gauge have been calibrated and certificated.
Top right: New ashpan under construction.

Right: Progress on the complex shape of the tender flare.

May 2015
Following the choice of a name for the locomotive when it runs as Atlantic No. 191, new name and numberplates have been made by Newton Replicas and it has to be said they look superb. As well as the plates that will eventually be fitted to the loco, a third 191 numberplate has been made and this will be the subject of a promotion such as an auction or draw in due course to raise funds for the project. So if you would like to own one of these gorgeous numberplates, keep an eye on this website.
New firebox foundation ring riveting. (Photo: Peter Chatman)
All the boiler tubes have now been expanded and beaded. This is the smokebox end. (Photo: Peter Chatman)
Not much remains to be done on the boiler. Replacement of the foundation ring rivets has been completed and the superheater flues have been expanded and beaded, thus completing the tubing. The superheater element bridge piece castings have arrived from the foundry and will  be machined at Didcot. All the crown stay nuts in the firebox have been replaced, a job which entailed removing the old ones – untouched since the loco was purchased from Barry in 1973 – cleaning up each stay thread using a split die and then screwing the new nut in place.

Welding of the inside steam pipe fabrications located inside the smokebox is complete and the cast elbows that connect the steam pipes to the cylinders have been finish-machined at Didcot. The steam fountain assembly is being assembled and the additional injector steam valve needed now that we are fitting an exhaust injector has been delivered. Additionally, a set of new boiler washout plugs have been manufactured.

Pattern-making continues with core boxes for the water gauge frame (to cast the replacement for the stolen fitting), the lance cock body and a oil filler elbow for the driving wheel axleboxes.

The tender rebuild continues with further welding of the tank, the tender main brake cross shaft has been fitted and the water level gauge column and water ball valve assembled.
The firebox crown stays before the nuts were replaced
(Photo: Peter Chatman)
The new steam fountain being assembled
(Photo: Peter Chatman)
January 2015
The complete set of tender brake hanger castings, missing when the tender was purchased, have been received and are being machined at Didcot. Also recently cast are the piston rod wiper castings and these will be machined at Didcot shortly.
At long last and many months late, the superheater flue tubes arrived at Didcot at the end of November, having passed their X ray inspection process earlier in the month. These were fitted to the boiler at the beginning of January, and just need trimming to length and beading. The remaining work on the boiler, all of which is in progress, includes replacing all the crown stay nuts, and fitting a few outstanding foundation ring rivets and firebox lap copper set screws. Once this work is complete we can think about the out-of-frames hydraulic and steam tests. A complete set of superheater element assemblies are on order and are scheduled for delivery in July but these are not required for the steam test. The main steam pipes connecting boiler to cylinders, located within the smokebox, have been developed and are currently being welded into assembly fabrications by the coded welder who welded the new sections of platework to 2999’s outer firebox.
The new tender tank continues to make good progress with a successful water test in November revealing only a few minor leaks easily rectified. The internal surfaces of the tank have now been been coated with a protective bitumen paint. Work is continuing on completing the coal space section.

On the loco, a start has been made on developing the pipe runs for both steam services and the vacuum brake (with thanks to the 72 mob for help with sourcing some new vacuum piping), with the cab fittings being positioned in readiness on the slave boiler from 2861 currently fitted to the loco.
The nameplates (Churchward) and numberplates (191) for theAtlantic version are on order. With GWT’s help we supplied a rubbing from a typical Churchward era nameplate in the Museum from Badminton Class no. 3298/4106 Grosvenor to help with the general detailing and letter spacing of the replica plates.

Finally we have decided rather than having two live steam injectors as originally planned, we will now be fitting one live steam and one exhaust steam injector, the usual arrangement on the Saints. With the help of the County Group, the exhaust injector itself is on the way. An additional injector steam valve is also needed and the main body casting for this has been ordered.
September 2014
Good progress has been made on the boiler with all the 2in dia small tubes expanded and beaded, 176 in total. We are still waiting for the flue tubes, very late on delivery, so that we can complete the tubing.

A start has been made on the superheater elements, with an order placed with the Severn Valley Railway for the cast junction pieces to which the element tubes are fitted. Final assembly of the elements will be outsourced and they are a long lead item for delivery.

The last of the new steel boiler stays have been fitted, with caulking and assembly of stay nuts in progress. There are a few firebox lap screws and foundation ring rivets still requiring replacement, these are also being progressed. The copper tubing for the boiler pipe runs has been delivered and once the current work on the boiler and tender is complete, much pipe bending will follow.
A firebox view of the small tubes, all expanded and beaded
(Photo: Alasdair Matthews)
The new tender tank has also moved forward with the longitudinal baffle fitted and the tank receiving over 150 new rivets in recent weeks. The missing vacuum air pump end cover has been cast and now awaits machining at Didcot. New casting patterns have been completed for the tender brake hanger and the piston rod wiper, the U shaped bronze casting that retains the worsted tails for lubricating the piston rod. Castings will follow shortly.
Other recent progress includes the manufacture of the cylinder steampipe elbows, seen here at Didcot in late August awaiting machining.
(Photo: Peter Chatman)
More than 150 new rivets have gone into the tender in recent weeks. (Photo: Peter Chatman)
July 2014
The edges of the lower sections of the copper rear lap seams inside the firebox were built up with weld in May to make good some wastage. Also recently received are the remainder of the new firebox steel stays together with the steel set screws for the laps, so we now have everything to complete the firebox work, apart from replacement crown stay nuts.

The LH and RH elbows that form part of the main steampipes located in the smokebox have been cast and now await machining at Didcot. The remainder of the steampipes are fabricated from tubing and this has recently been delivered to Didcot, with the complete assemblies to be fabricated at Didcot.

The large quantity of copper tubing needed to make up the pipe runs for all the steam services has been ordered, and delivery is expected in early July. As previously explained the pipe runs will be made up using the boiler from 2861 presently fitted to 2999 as a pattern, and the pipes will then be transfered to 2999’s boiler proper when it is returned to the frames following completion of its overhaul and a test steaming. After many months of delay, the superheater flue tubes have finally been completed and now await non destructive testing and acceptance by our insurance company, before delivery to Didcot.
Rear firebox lap weld on 22 May
(Photo: Peter Chatman)
A further batch of new casting patterns are being manufactured. These include the end cover for the vacuum air pump, the tender brake hanger, and the LH and RH piston lubricators that hold the worsted tail used to lubricate the pistons. On completion, castings will be ordered.
Making a rare appearance outside the running shed at Didcot, the emergent straight-frame 'Saint' 2999 Lady of Legend is seen during a re-positioning shunt. There are the classic lines that have inspired us all on this ambitious project - not so long to wait now!
(Photo: Frank Dumbleton)
April 2014
Recent work has been concentrated on the boiler. The front tubeplate has been rivetted in place and the regulator box fitted temporarily. The regulator box is still in Barry scrapyard condition and will be removed for machining back to a good state.

The new sections of steel plate let in on both sides of the outer firebox have had the stay and foundation ring holes drilled and, at the time of writing, the right hand side has been finished. On the left hand side, the foundation ring rivetting is also complete, the new copper stays fitted, we are just waiting delivery of the steel stays to fit here and to finish the new throatplate section. New steel set screws are on order to replace a number of wasted lap seam rivets, and we will also have to replace a small number of rivets in poor condition on the rear section of the foundation ring. There is some wastage on the lower sections of the copper rear lap seams inside the firebox and we are arranging for a coded welder to build up the edges of these seams.

The next major boiler work will be to fit the new boiler tubes. The small tubes (2in diameter) are already on site and we are just awaiting delivery of the superheater flues, which has been delayed. Once all this work is complete, we will be able to carry out an hydraulic test (with perhaps a steam test to follow!). On completion, the boiler will have received a major overhaul which should not only provide for a relatively trouble free 10 year life before its next major overhaul is due, but hopefully will mean the next overhaul will also be that bit less onerous.
The completed right side of the firebox. Photo Peter Chatman
The front tube plate with regulator box in place.
Meanwhile cladding sheet development has continued with some of the support crinolines fitted to the barrel and the firebox corner shoulder cladding sheets have been received, although they will need final trimming to fit.

With the change to an inside steampipe cylinder block, we have to manufacture the left hand and right hand smokebox steampipes that take steam from the boiler to the cylinders. Part of the steampipe assembly is a cast elbow, a rather tricky shape. We are very grateful to Birmingham Railway Museum (Tyseley) who have loaned a pair originally from a 28XX loco so that we can have casting patterns made and this is in progress. Meanwhile the new tender tank continues to progress with internal baffles being fitted, yet more rivetting!
New baffles fitted in the tender tank. Photo Alasdair Matthews
Finally, we have to record the death of Peter Rich in February. It was Peter’s idea back in 1971 to build a Saint using a Barry Hall as a basis and he had a major input into the rebuild, producing most of the drawings for the frame modifications and for the new cylinders and cab construction. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude, and it is so sad that he will not be around to see the finished result. He is very much missed.
In the picture Peter Rich (in the wollen hat) is seen on the footplate of 5051 when it was brought up from Barry to Didcot on 14 February 1970. With him are Gary Davies - now involved with the County 1014 project, and Saint project engineering manager Peter Chatman looking out of the cabside window.
January 2014
The Saint’s tender was originally purchased from the Erlestoke Manor Fund in 1983, and was believed to be No.1719. Various parts removed from the tender during its rebuild were found stamped with the number 1719 which would confirm this. The Erlestoke Manor Fund had also obtained the original brass numberplate for 1719 at some time and generously agreed to an exchange for a similar numberplate held by the Society in its museum collection. So, with goodwill by all concerned, tender no. 1719 will receive its original builders plate on completion of its rebuild. The new tank body continues to take shape, with many holes drilled in readiness for rivetting the baffles in place. Another major component obtained recently for the tender is an original water scoop stand. On the loco, completion of the new superheater flue tube assemblies hit a bit of a snag. We were planning to use a batch of tubes that had been in storage for some 20 years. However, close examination showed localised pitting along the length of many of the tubes, so the decision was taken to purchase new tubes. Sadly it is a sign of the times that these tubes were sourced from Germany but they are now at our contractor who is assembling the bottle ends to the tubes, and we expect the completed assemblies to be ready for non destructive testing during January. Long gone are the days in the 1970’s when we had the choice of sourcing tubes for Didcot from UK manufacturers like British Steel Corporation or Tube Investments in the West Midlands.

Meanwhile work is continuing making up the crinolines that support the boiler cladding sheets, and fitting the remaining brass beadings to the splashers. A pair of firebox front corner shoulder cladding pieces have been ordered from the South Devon Railway. These are a particularly difficult shape, a pressing in railway workshop days, but now a hand formed sheet metal job. The rest of the cladding sheets will be made up at Didcot.