It’s great to have some positive news about the Five’s boiler to report: The nobbling-over of the stays is pretty much complete now. New superheater flue tubes are on order and should be delivered soon. We had hoped to re-use the old tube bodies and just re-end them with new bottle ends, but once out on the deck Tom noticed a couple of bits of pitting. Whilst we could have had those pits welded up by a coded welder, Tom and Hugh decided that this would be false economy so new tubes were ordered. There’s no sense in doing half a job, and where there’s one pit you can see, there are probably a couple more you haven’t spotted. So once the new flues arrive they will need the new bottle ends welding on and the ends threading to match the tapped-out holes in the tube plate. We have the bottle ends in stock already – all we need is the ‘sparkly glue’.Bottle ends
The small tubes are also in stock and ready to be re-united with the boiler in the near future, as soon as all the stay work and some minor firebox repairs are completed.
Lamiel had a present this weekend: on the recent Sherborne trip the old whistle handle broke. The whistle control for the Arthur is a wire cable which runs along the centre of the cab from front to back. Threaded onto this wire is a wooden handle which protects the driver’s hand as he tugs on the whistle valve. It was this wooden bit which broke – not critical to the operation of the locomotive, but a bit uncomfortable for repeated use. These handles wear out from time to time, the wire cable wears through the wood and you end up with two half handles. Sadly the old handle was beyond repair (one bit probably fell off the footplate in the dark), so Hugh disappeared into the workshop at home and dug around in a box of bits of timber which had been donated by Tone the Clean years ago for just such eventualities. He came up with a nice piece of oak just the right size for a new handle. Quickly into the lathe, a bit of polish and a couple of copper-pipe inserts to improve wear resistance and hey presto! Fitting the handle was a bit trickier because once fastened with a u-bolt, wire cable does not like being straightened out. Plus u-bolts are metric fittings. So I had to find a fiddly-small metric spanner. Loughborough is a Steam Shed, we use Whitworth. Metric is a bit of an oddity. Luckily my car uses metric and I had a suitable tool in the boot.
Meanwhile, Hugh was back outside the shed putting more paint on the coach, (and scraping off other bits on the far end). Restoring a support coach is not as enjoyable, glamorous or interesting as steam loco restoration, but unless we get the coach finished we won’t have anywhere to sleep, eat or keep our tools on the main line. At the moment we are hiring a coach, but this means that we are spending part of the money we earn towards the future overhauls of the locos every time they go out. So if you have any spare time, come down and help get the coach finished.
The coach sides have been sanded ready for painting (Thanks Gary) but we need better weather or something before we can do gloss paint.
By now you are probably tapping the screen and saying “What about 70013 at Haworth???” Well, I wasn’t there (as you’ll have read), but I’ve been promised a report from ‘our northern correspondent’ which I’ll post as soon as it arrives.