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Stage 3 progress of the Smokebox door.

While it’s been relatively quiet here on the announcement front, work has nonetheless continued on the smokebox door as this post will testify. The Trust has also been working to establish the foundation for future progress; a task that has occupied us considerably of late.

Our supplier, Keyte Smith has commenced stage three of the smokebox door. Here are a collection of photos taken at the commencement and during fabrication.

*The 20mm thick hinge plate has been pressed to follow the contours of the outer door – it only took 30 tons! It is now being prepped for welding.

*The hinge tube has been made from solid bar. This has had the hole put through it and is now away having the bush seats bored.

*The outer door profile has been marked out and the holes for the plug welds drilled in it.

*The handle has been bent up. This was made from a piece of profiled plate, 20mm thick, and was bent hot over a former. It has been trimmed to size and welded onto the base plate. The base pate was pressed to follow the curvature of the door prior to welding. The handle is also set at an angle to the base (6 degrees) so it projects true to the smokebox front when installed, as per original design.

*The bosses are all turned ready for fitting.

*The next few stages are to trim most of the excess from rim of the outer door, weld in the hinge plate and fit the inner profile.

We of course are immensely thankful for the continued support of our supporters. We kindly ask you to spread the word in whatever manner possible.

Stage 3 kit of parts.

Stage 3 kit of parts.

Formed Hinge Plate

Formed Hinge Plate

Handle 3

Handle 3

Handle 2

Handle 2

Handle 1

Handle 1

Drilling Plug Weld Holes

Drilling Plug Weld Holes

Hinge Plate Plug Holes

Hinge Plate Plug Holes

Handle Parts

Handle Parts

 

 

Smokebox door – nearing completion.

Greetings to all our followers and supporters for 2014. We hope that you all had a restful and joyous festive season.

The trust has signed off on the next phase of work on the smokebox door. This phase is the most expensive and extensive so far and it moves the door on a long way from just being a pretty face to an important component of a working locomotive.

The work will include the fabrication and assembly of key components of the door including the central hinge, hinge plate, hinge tube and stop. The fabrication schedule also includes the inner door profile and inner ring, handle and baffle stand-off.

At the completion of this work, the door will undergo non-destructive testing to satisfy and comply with National Rail standards. This testing is critical for certification for mainline running and will be undertaking throughout the fabrication process.

We will of course provide photos as the work progresses.

LMS Drawings showing LMS period modifications and original LNWR features.

LMS Drawings showing LMS period modifications and original LNWR features.

 

The procurement of a LNWR Vacuum Gauge

Along with the LNWR whistle kindly donated by Mr Robin Dean, the Trust has now procured another authentic component to be fitted to the completed build – a Simplex Vacuum gauge from a LNWR class locomotive, which was originally procured directly from British Railways by the husband of a widow who, upon his passing, then donated it to the GCR. This information narrows the potential donor class down considerably (almost certainly a goods class such as a Super D). Fortunately, identical vacuum gauges were to be found in the George the Fifth class.

Andy Lowe of the Great Central Railway kindly offered the gauge to us on the condition that it would be used in a suitable engine. As this is an authentic item and a necessary part we certainly couldn’t pass up this great offer. The gauge still registers and so with calibration, cleaning and a check, it will easily be fitted to the completed loco and as the manufacturer (Budenburg, formerly Budenberg & Schaffer until World War I) still exists and is located at Irlam, Manchester, a service shouldn’t be a problem. And so, while air-brakes will be required to conform to modern mainline running, a vacuum brake is required for running on heritage lines and this gauge will do its part on a completed engine.

Andy also kindly donated a number a number of copies of George drawings including engine side, tender side and birds eye views, centre bearing dimensions, and various views illustrating both cab fittings and the front end. Andy is a fireman on the GCR and WSR and thus there was much to discuss with him on the gauges’ suitability from the tender diagram he provided. Moreover, being a bit of an LNWR fan himself he is building is own George, in 5 inch scale!

Tom and Paul were there to meet Bill Ford, the General Manger of the Great Central Railway for a small handing over ceremony at the GCR on the 30th November. The photos show Bill (left) Tom and Paul receiving the gauge in front of a rake of Gresley teak coaches, earing the legend of the principal stops from London (Marylebone) to Manchester. Among the other people we met were Bill Carr who discussed their engineering with us in depth and showed Tom and Paul round their works. They were also privileged with a a ride on the line and the driver turned out to be ex-BR Nuneaton where he had experience of the Super Ds. He’d also driven the Super D on the GCR in preservation and was very complimentary.

We of course would like to thank everyone at the GCR for a wonderful day and for giving us first refusal on this gauge, which takes us ever so slightly closer to our goal. We would of course like to remind everyone that the GCR is currently undertaken a massive operation to ‘bridge the gap’ between the two extant parts of the old GCR mainline. Barely 500 metres is missing at Loughborough crossing the Midland Mainline however once completed, the united halves will provide over 18 miles mainline heritage line running, which would be eminently suitable for an engine such as a LNWR George!

To support this endeavour and to find out more, go to Bridge to the Future the GCR’s website. And don’t forget, for us to build an engine capable of running on a unified GCR or indeed for mainline running, your donations are vital. We are rapidly drawing close to fulfilling the required amount for our second tranche of £5,000 from our benefactor but require your support to get us over the line. Links to information on how to donate can be found at the top of this page.

AndyLoweGCR01AndyLoweGCR02GNR_N2classGCR_02class

Bridging the gap.

Bridging the gap.

GP Neele was a LNWR Prince of Wales class 4-6-0, built in March 1914 and scrapped in October 1933.

GP Neele was a LNWR Prince of Wales class 4-6-0, built in March 1914 and scrapped in October 1933. Neele was a superintendant of the LNWR and retired in 1895. He however lived on until 1920 by which time he was the ripe old age of 95. He also wrote a famous book of railway reminiscences.