Sunday, 12 February 2017

Wheeled At Last....

The long wait is over...! The tender wheels arrived back at Aviemore on Wednesday 8th February looking very good. They were primed, undercoated and given a top coat of gloss black within a couple of days. Other preparations for rewheeling were completed very quickly and the job was done on Saturday 11th February. Within the same day the tender was fully loaded with coal (the water tank was filled a couple of days earlier) and the completed vehicle was run over the weighbridge for axle and wheel load distribution checks. The result was very good and with a bit of redistribution the weights will be close to perfect. It won't be too long now until engine and tender are recoupled and then we can get on with some serious running-in...




The lorry draws into the yard with 828's tender wheels plus the pony truck wheel and coupled wheels from 46512..

Primer coat applied...

Roddie McRae and Martin MacLeod admire their handiwork - undercoating complete..

Steve Robinson and Ken Plant enjoying the relatively warm winter sunshine as they apply the top coat to the wheels..

Looking good and ready to be fitted...

Meanwhile inside the Shed the loco waits for the day when she is reunited with her tender...

Paintwork looking good thanks to the efforts of John Greig and Norman Girvan...

Tender axleboxes and bearings ready for refitting...

Shunting the tender into the Carriage Shed - the last movement as a four-wheeler...

Getting ready to roll the wheels under the tender...

The team is confident...!!!

Job done - the tender is back on its own six wheels...

Axlebox covers refitted and ready to roll....a very welcome sight..!!



Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Tender Tyre Machining Commenced...

At last...the news we've been waiting for!! Ian Riley received the tender tyre forgings on January 23rd and is well underway with machining and fitting them. The plan is to uplift the completed wheelsets at Heywood on 13th February along with the wheels from 46512 and bring the whole lot home to Aviemore in a single load. This will save the Strathspey Railway Company around £600 in transport costs. This gives us a good chance of having CR 828 ready for the start of the 2017 running season.

In the meantime a few other mechanical jobs have been completed at Aviemore including fitting of the smokebox spark arrester and an inspection of the tender steam brake. John Greig has been busy preparing the loco front bufferbeam for final repainting and has also prepared the loco running plate for a new coat of black paint. The new crownplate castings for the tender axleboxes have been primed by Roddie McRae so we're building up a bit of a worklist for our expert painter Mr Murray Duncan who is with us for a couple of weeks in February...


A welcome sight..! A pile of tender tyre forgings of the correct size(!) undergoing machining at Ian Riley's works in Heywood, Lancashire

On the vertical boring machine...

Getting ready for heating and shrinking in place on the wheel centre..

Another tyre on the vertical borer at Heywood..

Under the tender...the steam brake cylinder is tucked under the front lefthand corner. It hasn't been opened up for inspection in many years so this is a good time to have a look at it...The black flexible hose is the brake vacuum pipe connection between the engine and tender. The lamp is sitting on the brake cross-shaft. The steam supply (and exhaust) pipe can be seen snaking its way to the rear of the brake cylinder. 

Close-up of the connection between the brake piston and the operating arm. Steam from the driver's brake valve is supplied at the same time to the separate brake cylinders on engine and tender. The holes in the piston rod allow for adjustment as the tender brake blocks wear out. Steam pressure applies the brakes and the force of gravity acting through the brake rigging releases the brakes when the steam supply is cut off by returning the brake handle to the running position.

Brian Warrender getting to grips with the cover nuts on the tender brake cylinder..

The brake piston rod after removal. Note that there is no physical connection between the piston rod and the piston.The piston force is applied via a simple ball and socket connection. The ball on the piston rod can be seen at the left hand end..

The brake cylinder is in excellent condition. It shows very little wear and is fit for at least another half century of operation...

The brake piston is also in excellent condition and needs no attention..

The brake cylinder cover has an interesting casting defect. It operates at atmospheric pressure and we are in agreement with the CR / LMS / BR that it remains fit for further service..

John Greig stands back from filling and rubbing down the front bufferbeam before applying a coat of primer. The brilliant winter sun makes it difficult to appreciate John's workmanship...

Roddie McRae applying a second coat of paint to the new crownplate castings for the tender axleboxes. The axleboxes themselves are on the pallet behind him. Not long until they go back onto the tender....!

The Alan French spark arrester clad with mesh and almost ready for installation..

Close-up of the spark arrester in position..

How the spark arrester looks from a distance. The operating principle is based on the fact that a hot object passing through a mesh loses a lot of temperature and thus any small red hot cinders passing through the mesh will experience a strong cooling effect and should exit the chimney at low temperature....the slight downside is that the mesh will probably attract a build up of soot that will interfere with the efficiency of the draught on the fire. But that's preferable to starting a lineside fire...!

What we hope to see soon again at Boat of Garten Station.....a picture from Mrs Aileen Scott's Facebook Timehop..

Friday, 20 January 2017

Into 2017

Hopefully the tender wheel tyre forgings will be delivered to Ian Riley's works at Heywood by 21st January and he'll be able to crack on with getting them fitted and machined to profile as quickly as possible. In the meantime a few small but necessary tasks have been completed on the loco and tender..




The tender has been placed on a couple of spare Gresley coach bogies to free up the slave bogies for use underneath Ivatt Class 2 46512 which has had its wheels removed for tyre turning. Here we see the tender as a four wheeler suitable only for low speed movement.. The Ivatt's tender sits behind 828 - but not coupled...

Gresley axlebox is quite a good fit in Caley tender horn....

Getting ready to close up the tender water tank...

Tank closed up. Note the very old crack in the cast iron lid of the lefthand filler cap...we might need to renew that soon..

When opening out the split taper pin for the loco steam brake bellcrank pin it broke...! Easy to fit a new spare until it turned out that the original was a non-standard size so no alternative but to ream the hole out to the right size. Here we see the taper reamer going into action..

Reaming completed and new taper pin fitted and opened out without it breaking...

Boiler blowdown connection into the ashpan has been fitted permanently. Here we see another taper pin acting as a lock for the connection on the rear wall of the ashpan..

Ages ago Alan French made up this elegantly simple spark arrester frame. It is designed for ease of removal. This is it being trial fitted. When complete it will be clothed in stainless steel mesh to prevent red hot cinders escaping up the chimney. Its lower end fastens on to of the blastpipe / blower ring and the upper end engages with the chimney petticoat (or more properly in CR parlance the "hood").

Close up of the stainless steel clamp that locates Alan's spark arrester.

Calum Titley carrying out a welding operation on the new spark arrester frame. Note the newly fitted safety chain on the smokebox door - a CR arrangement to prevent the door hinges being overloaded if the door is swung too far..





Drilling out the bolt holes in the oak spacesr for the front buffers. The material for these was donated by the National Trust for Scotland at Inverewe Gardens thanks to Mr Aidan Bell. A neighbour of Keith Holyland's very kindly machined them to the final size in his large wood-turning lathe..

The new spacers in place after being given a coat of red oxide paint. Note 46512 alongside minus all wheels..

Do you ever feel you're being watched...?

Slightly unfocused picture of 828 with her buffers permanently back in place. Now we can get the front bufferbeam repainted and numbered....!

Picture of 828 in her very early CR days - probably at Aberdeen...tender is well loaded with coal..!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

May the (brake) force be with us...

Since the last update the loco has been in steam and tests carried out on the overhauled brake and the new boiler blowdown system. Both appear to work well. The Westinghouse carriage warming valve was also tested and appears to work satisfactorily. With the tests complete and the tender tyres looking as if they wont be in the UK before Christmas it was time to drain the boiler and make sure that all the steam piping was free of residual water. We have already had some very cold weather at Aviemore during the last few weeks and its important to take frost precautions.

It's worth saying that the steam brake now makes a significant contribution to stopping the loco - even at relatively low steam pressure. This is something new. In the years that the loco has been operated in preservation the tender brakes have done most of the stopping. It looks like this will have changed considerably when we couple loco and tender together again in 2017...

One job that is being progressed is the refitting of the loco brake crossbeam safety chains. These are intended to protect the loco from potential derailment in event of a brake hanger failure. This is something that must have been a hazard in the 19th Century up until steel manufacturing reached a high level of reliability. One of many interesting features of 828 is that she benefited from the great improvements in materials technology that took place in the 1890s. This meant that where locomotives built only a few years earlier relied heavily on wrought iron and cast iron the 812 Class got the benefit of steel for highly stressed parts. Thus the brake hangers on 828 are steel forgings where a few years earlier they would have been made from less strong wrought iron. This means that the likelihood of a failure is much reduced and so the safety chains became redundant. With time in hand it seems worthwhile refitting them as they are part of the original loco. 

I mentioned that the loco had been in steam. This is correct but she was very reluctant to come into steam because the boiler tubes have become sooted up after several steamings without enough exhaust blast to sweep the tubes clean. The consequence of this is that the tubes resist the flow of hot gas and smoke and force it to come out of the firedoor. At the same time the fire burns very sluggishly due to lack of air and the time taken to generate steam increases enormously. The cure is to sweep the tubes with a tube brush - not the most pleasant job with the fire already burning. While I was doing this help came from Alan French who reminded me that a few years ago he had made an 'air amplifier' to stimulate a draft up the chimney of our locomotives as an aid to raising steam. The device was located in the steam store and Alan quickly sorted it out and fitted it. This made all the difference and the fire responded very well indeed. Those familiar with the external blowers fitted to model steam locos for steam raising purposes will be able to picture the principle. The AF Air Amplifier however has no moving parts to go wrong - a marvellous device..!

This will probably be the last post of 2016 so very best wishes to all readers of the Blog and supporters of CR 828 for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - and let's hope that the Blog changes focus in early 2017 to 828 in operation...!!

A view of the cab showing the boiler blowdown pipe sweeping round the firedoor flameplate and disappearing under the cab to enter the ashpan..

Outside Aviemore Shed, a rather sulky 828 making it difficult to raise steam..

At last, the fire getting some air and starting to burn properly..

Two engines in steam in the early winter darkness..

All testing complete and the boiler cooled down - time to drain it down...

Boiler Empty......just in case...!

One of the two remaining lengths of brake crossbeam safety chain. The crossbeam has a 3/4" hole in it to take an eyebolt. The brake hanger and the brake block are both clearly visible.

117 years of wear - this is what happens when a hard chain link bears against a soft anchor link for more than a century..

Likewise the chain wears on itself over a long time...

Cutting 1/2" plate for new anchor links with the slowest mechanical hacksaw in captivity...but it's still easier than sawing it by hand..!

Making up the new anchor links that bolt to the loco frame plates..

Eyebolt in place with new anchor link attached to frames and new chain getting measured..

Picture taken for a modeller who requested detail of the lettering on the tender

Ditto as above...the correct font and shading as used by the Caledonian Railway Company..