1014 The G.W. County Project
January and February

On the personnel front, the bad news that Mike Cooper is on sick leave. With Keith Gilbert away, the Project is rather leaderless. However, the good news is that Ladonna is mobile and that the Project has such a good and loyal crew that the teams can press on with each department able to take responsibility for itself. Barry Pickup, our welder, has returned – much needed with tender tank assembly approaching. Welcome back Barry.  Sadly it has been noticed recently that members have been absent due to work commitments. Hurry back lads!

The Project is always on the lookout for new members, both skilled and relatively unskilled. A fair number of valuable man hours are lost due to low skill work, such as someone being needed to hold a spanner in an inaccessible place, having to be done by skilled personnel.

If you are free every other Saturday and would like to clamber over a wonderful piece of GWR history you are very welcome to join us. Dicky Boast looks forward to meeting you: dickyboast@hotmail.co.uk 01980 652921.

Locomotive Progress:
January saw work start on the locomotive axleboxes, with disassembly from the horns, a good clean and the oil keeps separated.  The wicks, pads and loctite have arrived and the top plate cork gaskets have been cut; the plates now remain to be straightened. 
Dicky and his team have developed a scheme of working to fit the boxes to the axles and it is generally good to go on the first pair. By the end of February four had been fitted, with one more cleaned and ready.
Unfortunately, it transpired in February that access to the wheel-drop is very limited, consequently it has been decided to prepare the axles at our leisure and insert the wheels one axle at a time, once the inside frames have been painted.

Fixing axlebox on axle

Fitting the prepared axlebox onto the driving wheel axle.

Axlebox fitted

First axlebox fitted on locomotive driving wheel axle.

Work continues to paint the frame behind the wheels which will be inaccessible once they are fitted. Detail work includes preparing the spring assemblies for the locomotive.

Welding repairs on the blower flange are complete, with re-threading the flange done.

Planning work for the boiler barrel, the front tube plate and the smokebox wrapper is cranking up now that that funding approval to get these components manufactured has been received - the contract has been signed for rolling the barrel for the boiler. This will only take a few weeks and then it can be matched up with the firebox. Ready come summer. 

The smoke box saddle drawings are nearly complete so with the drilling jig for location welded up ready for pilot drilling the order can soon be signed.

The brief to the insurer on the material for the superheater prompted some supplementary questions on the heat stability of SGI at 800 degrees F. These are being addressed both with Boro Foundry and in-house.   

Tender Progress:

Latterly, as a consequence of the limited access to the wheel-drop, work has been focussed on the tender.

Work on the tender wheel bearings and spring hangers continues.  The prototype seal carrier is complete and work has started on the heavy duty task of torquing up all the nuts on the tender to the correct value.  The tank packing timber is cut and ready to fit.
The drop valances still need to be completely bolted into position prior to riveting. Furthermore, cleaning up threads on the spring hangers before fitting the springs is required. 
Once a clear and agreed method statement for the tender lift is produced, the wheels will be fitted.    

Apologies for the scant nature of the update - in the light of Mike's illness and death there was no report to refer to, so the above has been cobbled together from information contained in a Didcot Railway Centre Newsletter.