Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 69
More from the ‘Chasewater Express’ January 1976
The Editor wishes to state that he is in no way responsible for the ensuing passages, which emanate from the pen of a Black Country ex- butcher who nowadays works (?) for the only railway company in the country which is known to have in its stocklist a few hundred Brush 4s, a couple of dozen class 87 locos, etc. Spelling and grammatical errors are his, not mine.
The Restoration of a Rusty Beast
One particularly wet and generally normal Chasewater morning whilst shovelling (rubbish!) out of one very rusty coal bunker, I thought ‘will this thing ever go again?’ ‘’Course it will’ cried D.Luker, as he walked by for the tenth time that morning.
Well, it does go now and I will attempt to show how it was done.
In the winter of 1973/74, the boiler was stripped down and cleared of all the rotten lagging upon it, the firebox was cleared out in the space of one Sunday, the smokebox, however, was a completely different matter. A very crude but effective spark arrester was cut out, never to be replaced; the next four hours (was!) were spent devoted to the removal of the blastpipe which was only held in with two taper cotters. Evidence of neglect was showing through, on removal of the blastpipe a cup of tea was summoned and obtained. ‘I’m not working on that thing in the rain any more’ Derek grunted through a sort of mist that arises off Chasewater tea.
The next weekend was devoted to building a ‘Tent’ upon the loco and fitting electric lights up to work on the loco in the dark. Once it was completed, three weeks were devoted to clearing off the front tube plate. To our horror, Derek’s clearing off of this revealed that the tube plate was less than half its original thickness for most of the lower 3” and non-existent at the flange with the barrel. The smokebox bottom, which is formed of an extension of the boiler barrel, was also gone without trace. A very awesome sight that left us wondering if the knuckles we had lost were lost in vain.
Work was suspended while Derek went cap-in-hand to the man with the money to ask for £300 which the Society had not got. The remarkable thing was, they gave it to him. He then got in touch with a bloke what mends boilers and after lengthy discussions with our boiler inspector and the boiler mender it was decided that the boiler was in such a good state that it was worth spending money on expensive repairs to it. The contractor’s job was to replace 13 1” rivets and build up the smokebox tube plate to its original thickness and build up the corners of the firebox likewise. This work was carried out in the space of three days, and restoration by Society members then re-commenced.
During the repairs, 10 flue tubes were replaced – bloody good ones they were too. All boiler fittings were overhauled and replaced. The regulator valve was taken home by Derek to Stafford where his neighbours were worried at the sound of him grinding ‘IT’ on the hearth rug.
The boiler was hydraulically tested and passed with flying colours.
Now with the boiler out of the way, the mechanics were looked at – ‘Boy, what a mess!’
4 tattered main bearings, 2 seized pistons, no side rods brassed, 2 valve spindles worn like egg-timers, and a partridge in a pear tree – PEAR TREE! Oh yes Boyo, we spent a few hours in there sampling the delicious tremblings, Boyo!
Work was suspended from the summer of ’74 to the winter of 74/75 fro work to be done on ‘Asbestos’, and also we built a workshop containing several mechanical works of art enabling Derek and Brian to while away the winter months machining the main bearings. When they were done and fitted, the loco was lowered back on its wheels, the boiler was lagged and the tank was found to have more holes in it than a hairnet! Six weeks were taken filling these in – we found the rest when it was on the loco!!
The loco was re-mated with the tank and the (Barkeus? Sorry, can’t decipher – Editor) nicely patched up and painted a delicate shade of black and red. Now we had what looked almost like a steam loco, it was then decided to borrow the lubricator off of the Hudswell-Clarke. This is where Brian Hames came into his own. His short, Coal Board figure was just the ticket for getting round the little bits of engine that get in the way when you are laying lubrication pipes all over the place. After that was done a steam test was made, the boiler steamed well and the injectors worked like two humming birds. After eight months derelict and 18 months stripped down, only one leak in sight – and a very tiny one from a blown joint at that!
Now the moving parts. As she stood they listed two seized pistons and valves, two weighbar shaft bearings (ready for a gallop) and one very rusty steam brake valve, complete with bent brake gear (a relic from Bruno days). Something tells me I have (Sorry about this next bit of indecipherable script – Ed.) Wol’t fhat Bit a £ove –
After re-metalling the four main bearings and weighbar shaft brasses we set to putting it together again, first the pistons and valves, the valves took a lot of buggering about with and a great deal of patience on Derek’s part. The siderods took about twelve weeks to fit as we had to make all the brasses from a similar but younger loco.
When Alfred Paget (as we had decided to call it) was back together again and had been made to look respectable with the aid of two gallons of black paint, we steamed it – what a day!!
06.30 we lit the fire and raised steam Lewis fashion (slowly – Ed). By 11.00 we had got 50 lbs of steam, and it would not budge – what had we forgotten to do, I thought? ‘Give it a nudge’ said a very dirty and unhygienic NCB Brian. So we did. Chuff, chuff, wheeze she went, like a ‘Super D’ with not a bit of trouble. The brakes didn’t work for a few weeks until they were worn in – but now we have one beautifully repaired Neilson 0-4-0ST loco of 1882 vintage and it was in steam for the 150th Anniversary to boot!
No mention yet has been made of the carriage and wagon tapping fraternity who are a body of MEN?? Who delight in making life difficult for us engine bashers. Still, as I haven’t mentioned them before, I won’t bother now!!
Jotted by the most photographed driver at Cheesewater and published by the Keith Sargeant Appreciation Society.1975 Open Day – He’s in the middle! Andrew Louch on the right, with Brian Hames on the left. Thanks Bob.
Summary of dimensions
Neilson standard 14” design
Overall length: 23’ 7”
Height: 10’ 10”
Boiler Pressure: 120 lbs/sq.in.
Tractive Effort: 8885 lbs.
Cylinders (Outside) 14” x 20”