Further work has been needed from our volunteers to bring the surface to a condition suitable for obtaining a good paint finish. Each sheet is being given 3 coats of paint on the boiler side and 4 coats on the outside, the last being the first in top coat. We fully expect the sheets to be damaged during fitting but it is best to get as much protection on now as possible. Getting the cladding sheets ready to fit – which is ongoing work – has involved many hours of work from a small team who have worked very hard.
The first rings of lagging, fitted at the smokebox end of the barrel, were fitted on the last day of work before the enforced pause.
The regular Thursday gang, who have stepped up to work more than one day most weeks, have been busy refitting the pipework down the driver’s side of the boiler. All are very thankful for the photographs available of the locomotive going together at the last overhaul!
To aid safe working the handrails have been temporarily refitted. In addition the society has purchased a pair of access stands.
The cab roof air vents have been altered to prevent hands, fire irons and so on being put through them, primarily as a safety feature for when running under overhead wires. Subsequently the cab roof has been painted but is not yet finished.
Work has been undertaken to make sure our new lowered whistles will fit properly. This has involved some work on the corroded whistle shroud.
The bronze elbow for the blowdown system was being machined for us at Minehead when work paused.
A couple of our firebar patterns are being worked on at the moment to bring them back to a good standard.
Reassembly of the bare smokebox is making excellent progress. We have contracted out this work to speed up progress and reduce the amount of “heavy” work our working party needs to undertake. This arrangement is working very well.
Amongst the myriad of tasks the first undertaken has been riveting the smokebox to the boiler barrel, it being a loose fit as requested when delivered. The smokebox has also been bolted down to the smokebox saddle. Work on the access cover in the top, above the superheater header, is in hand. Assembly of the ejector exhaust down the driver’s side of the boiler revealed that the pad on the side of the smokebox was in the wrong place and was not flat. This has been corrected.
The superheater header, much to our disappointment, has required some crack repairs. This was nearly completed when we had to stop work. Once tested it will be refitted as soon as work can recommence. At the same time it is planned to refit the chimney. As part of the superheater header work the new superheater elements are to be given a fresh hydraulic test.
A lot of preparations for work on the engine have been in hand during the first few months of 2020. Serious physical work was just starting when we had to stop work. Had things been different we expect that cable harnesses would have been installed during April ready for a contractor to come in to wire the TPWS and OTMR on the engine.
This project, which is taking far longer than first envisaged, has made some significant progress recently. Extra help has been brought in to speed up the making and fitting of the pipe runs. It is just a few more weeks away from being as finished as it can be. Final tasks will only be able to be completed once the locomotive itself is nearly finished.
Work on an improved way of mounting the air pump governor is nearly completed.
One of the last tasks ticked off the list before we stopped work was to receive the overhauled set of brake valves which will be fitted once initial testing of the air brake system is complete.
A complete set of bogies are at Arlington in Eastleigh ready for fitting to W35333. Some work is required on the chassis to accommodate the change from Commonwealth to B5 bogies. This was due to commence with a visit from 6024 officers planned. We look forward to rescheduling this visit.
The very considerable task of getting all of the paperwork we need to be able to operate on the mainline up to current requirements is an on-going process with a number of key documents now at the draft stage. We have been fortunate to gain the assistance of someone new to help us with this.
The enforced time at home seems like an excellent opportunity to make some more progress!
The 15th of April 1990 was a memorable day not only for members of the 6024 Preservation Society, but also for the locomotive which had been withdrawn in 1962 and consigned for scrap, never to run again…… or so it was thought!
Purchased in 1972 from the famous Woodhams scrapyard at Barry Island, the locomotive, devoid of almost all non-ferrous parts together with severed piston and connecting rods, missing slide bars and cross heads was transported in 1973 by road to Quainton Road in Buckinghamshire. There the locomotive was stripped down and painstakingly re-built over the next 16 years. After initial light running in on the Quainton demonstration line, the locomotive was transported, again by road, to Tyseley, south Birmingham where it arrived on the 10th October 1989 for the ‘King & Castle Gala’ and further testing.
At 13.08 on Tuesday 30th January, No.6024 King Edward I touched the then British Railways mainline once again with a memorable engine and support coach run to Derby for weighing and spring adjustment. Thursday 1st February saw No.6024 leave Derby for a spirited loaded test run to Banbury with load 11 (390 tons), all went well until approaching Banbury when it was discovered that the white metal in one of the cross head slippers had run, so a more pedestrian trip, this time, backwards to Tyseley followed. Repaired and following a further test run to Stratford on Avon, all was now set for the locomotives first revenue earning trip since 1962.
In conjunction with the Birmingham Railway Museum four trains a day between Tyseley and Stratford upon Avon were organised running as ‘The Shakespeare Express’. The load was 13 heavy carriages comprising 11 of the SLOA Mk 1 Pullmans together with former GWR 12 wheel Special Saloon No.9001 and inspection Saloon No.80972, an impressive and heavy load of over 500 tons to haul up the curving 1 in 75 out of Stratford! The fully sold trains were hauled turn and turn about with newly restored ex GWR ‘Castle’ No.5080 Defiant from the Museum. The first train of the day was followed, one section behind, down the picturesque North Warwick line by the other loco which then coupled on to the Birmingham end of the train in Stratford. The locomotive which had hauled the train in to Stratford was uncoupled and following the right of way banked the train over the canal bridge hump at the bottom of Wilmcote bank. Having ridden on the trains, the change of beat/bark of each loco, when it took the full weight of the train was palpable, but both locos showed the famous sure-footedness that Swindon s finest were famous for. It was a memorable weekend and set the scene for No.6024’s return to the mainline in fine style.
In celebration of that memorable weekend we present a few photographs of those trains.
On Thursday January 9th 6024’s boiler and ashpan arrived in Minehead being fitted later in the day.
The work was assisted by Riley’s who had brought the newly made ashpan to Minehead wanting to ensure the final fit was good and to undertake further work on it once in the frames. Anyone who has seen under the rear of a King will know how tight a fit the ashpan is. It was very pleasing to see it drop into place without any problem.
As would be expected, a few minor alterations were needed to get the boiler to sit happily in the frames. The repaired fire iron tunnel turned out to be very slightly foul of the firebox side expansion bracket but that was about it.
Once the boiler was in the frames the engine was taken for a short run up the yard to shake it around a little. No problems presented themselves.
Whilst the chassis was out in the yard the opportunity was taken to give the pit and surrounding area a pressure wash. Our thanks to Nick Parry for undertaking most of this work. The pit is, for now, nearly spotless.
Now the hard and heavy work required to finish the locomotive begins.
On November 20th 6024’s tender moved from Bennett Boilers in Highbridge to Minehead. The move, overseen by Keith Lines, went without a hitch and didn’t seem to cause too much traffic chaos on the A39! Several “panels” of track needed to be laid at Highbridge to remove the tender from the workshop and it was pleasing that calculations proved to be correct, the assembled tender would fit through the door.
On arrival at Minehead, which was a tight squeeze down the road and through the gate, the tender was quickly unloaded before being shunted to its temporary position outside the shed. It will shortly move into the shed, either sitting alongside the engine or behind it as WSR needs dictate.
Meachnically very little remains to be done to the tender. The snagging list is very short. Electrically a few tasks remain to complete the 24V power system along with a couple of minor modifications decided on when analysing the recent commission process. A larger task is the fitting of the AWS/TPWS, OTMR and remaining GSM-R systems. The vast majority of this work is being contracted out to an industry specialist. The most visible task remaining will be the final painting, the green parts will be left until the locomotive can be painted as one whilst the other parts will be worked on as time allows.
The tender was moved for us by Allely Heavy Haulage. Our thanks go to them for their professional service, as ever.
On Tuesday November 5th 6024’s boiler was subject to its official “in steam” boiler exam with our insurance inspector assessing the freshly overhauled boiler. Also in attendance were 6024PS officers and, of course, Riley & Sons (E) Ltd staff.
Over the previous few days the boiler had been brought into steam for the first time since April 2012. The safety valves were initially set well below the normal 250psi, being raised in stages. As would be expected, and especially in view of the heavy work undertaken, this process highlighted a few areas needing further work. However, it is pleasing to report that this was no more than relatively minor if rather warm work! The vast majority of the boiler was right first time, a tribute to the quality of the workmanship.
The boiler, which was tested in the ELR yard at Baron Street, Bury, has now returned to Riley’s works in Heywood for final painting and trial fitting of the ashpan. This will occur over the next week or so making the boiler ready for despatch to Minehead. It is planned to return it to the chassis on the same day it arrives.
It is with considerable pleasure we are able to tell you that on Thursday October 31st 6024’s boiler passed its formal hydraulic test with flying colours. The boiler inspector pronounced himself very happy with what he saw.
The first fire since 2012 was lit on Sunday November 3rd. The steam test followed on Tuesday November 5th.