Work has continued on the chassis at Bewdley until we've had to pause for now. But the full-time staff at Bridgnorth boilershop continue fitting the new crown stays in the boiler.
From Bewdley - Progress has been made on the chassis during the last days before the lockdown. The two support bars on the front of the loco were fitted, a lot of people believe that these bars support the boiler, but in fact support the buffer beam that is weak on Churchward two-cylinder locomotives. We had to make some special washers to go under the bolts as result of the repair to the buffer beam at Swindon. The bars were replaced after the accident at Lapworth on Tuesday 30th November 1948, if you look at the photo in the 2016 newsletter (PDF) you can see how badly bent they were. The vents have been fitted to the top of the tanks, the cab roof has been bolted down, the cab floor is progressing and the operating rod for the second water valve has had the slot machined and fitted to the bunker. The cab window frames have been machined and are ready for collection.
GWR locos 7812 Erlestoke Manor, 4150 on route from Barry Scrapyard to Dean Forest Railway at Cardiff General May 1974, photo by John Wiltshire: with kind permission of Peter Brabham collection.
The chap on the front of the loco is the current Fund Chairman! 19 years old, thinner and more hair!
This photo was taken at Bewdley on 29th March 2017, the day we removed the boiler, but first we fitted the tanks and bunker on to make sure that they fit, as they are brand new. Apart for a little fettling, that took five minutes, they were a perfect fit.
From Bridgnorth - Well the coronavirus has taken its toll, and all voluntary labour has been stopped from working. My garden is beginning to look a lot better, but you are not interested in that. Getting a welder to infill numerous small areas of corrosion on the boiler and satisfy the criteria set by the insurance company has proved problematic. However, it looks like we have finally found someone who fits the bill. It has been a rather long trail, but luckily this work is not on the critical path. Before the lockdown we were in the process of fabricating the brackets for the new grate so at least we know what we will be doing when all this is over.
I have always been an optimist and the crown stays started arriving in early April, by the barrow load!!!!
Permanent staff in the Boiler Shop have started tapping and installing the crown stays.