Coming together nicely could describe either the way that the many bits of the Brit (NRM’s No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell) are fast being returned to their rightful places on the engine, or the way that 5305 Locomotive Association’s volunteers have been congregating to help with the various tasks in hand: the afore-mentioned planned maintenance of Cromwell, the support coach and the progression of the Five’s overhaul.
On Monday, the Expansion links came back from Bury ready to be replaced on Cromwell, the springs were collected last week. Once the engine is back together, Kevin will be able to do his stuff checking the valve setting on the right-hand side of the engine (he checked the other side last winter). Valve Setting is something of a Dark Art involving various trammels, feeler gauges, the use of a shunting locomotive and much muttering of measurements, noting down of same onto scraps of paper, head scratching and a lot of tea drinking whilst cogitating.
A good view of the valve-setting trammels in position on the Brit last December
The Five up on jacks stands next to the Brit in Loughborough Shed
With the Five’s frames finally up on the jacks, Tom and the team have been able to begin their routine examination of the axleboxes, journals and hornguides. On Sunday afternoon we had a fair-sized gang working on the task: Tom and Kevin were between the frames with a winch removing an axlebox ready for re-metalling, meanwhile Hugh was cleaning the bogie, Alison was at the ‘gunk tank’ cleaning the moveable components from that axle and Dave and Craig were on hand to help lift the box when needed. Meanwhile Gary was busy making bushes for the Brit.
The support coach is continuing to progress, albeit a little more slowly in the last two weeks with so much effort being concentrated on the planned maintenance fortnight for the Brit, but the bed frames are starting to take shape, and the Wednesday gang are still doing their magic inside the coach despite the dark evenings.