August has been another busy month on the engineering front of the project. North Bay Engineering Services in Darlington have been making serious progress with the trailing truck spring beams for GSN. The beams which were water cut using CAD made by a society volunteer are currently being machined to the required specifications and should be delivered by the middle of September. The beams are the first ones made for a Merchant Navy for over 50 years and the biggest component we needed to replace on the trailing truck.
Our next working weekend will be held at Sellindge between the 28th and 30th September to which all our members are invited to attend. At this working weekend we plan to trial fit all the various components for the trailing truck should the hangers and fittings be completed in time. One of the components we have been recently working on is the axle box covers which we got cast earlier in the year. They have now been machined for us by Leaky Finders in Devon with the covers requiring the oil feed hole boring, the fixing holes reamed and the back edges milled flat to create a tight fit against the axle box. The work was done in a timely manner and ready to be fitted to the locomotive.
In July we mentioned that the Society was loaned an original Bulleid electric lamp to be use on the locomotive. The Society has now got the lamp all wired up and working to display at various stands and Society events.
Work continues on the locomotive with progress being made on the machine shop front. With temperatures a little over 80 degF in Ians workshop at school it’s time to make some more progress on the Klinger valves. All 4 bodies have had all the internal machining completed and are ready to be drilled for the cap mounting stud holes. Just waiting for a drilling jig to be made. The 2 large caps are machined inside and out and are awaiting jig drilling plus the interesting part- Machining the metric trapezoidal thread. Another one of our members has volunteered to create all the spring hangers and fittings for the trailing truck and bogie. The Society has provided all the material for the work and if anyone would like to contribute towards the cost please do get in touch.
The project was featured in this month’s Heritage Railway magazine which was a roundup of the Society’s efforts over the last year. Its great being able to get some coverage in his particular title which will hopefully gain us some supporters.
The Society is delighted to announce we have acquired a brass lamp fitted with the bullseye lens, toggle switch to side and bulb holder inside. The lamp is reported to have come off Merchant Navy’ Class No. 35024 “East Asiatic Company” and was purchased at a recent Railwayana auction. Gaining the lamp is fantastic news for the project as the use of original components helps add character to the locomotive. The lamp is part of a number of items that have been loaned to the Society on a loan term lease by one of our members to be used on 35011. Members will be able to read about the other components in the next issue of the Packet out in late September.
Lastly the Society was saddened by the death this month of project supporter and Bulleid 4DD Double Deck EMU Supporters Group Committee Member Ian Ross. Ian was a great friend of the project and helped publicize the project in the early days. His loss at such a young age came as a complete shock and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this terrible time.
The project has taken a major step forward with work being focused around General Steam Navigations trailing truck. With 35011 having the only surviving fabricated trailing truck the society has secured the matching fabricated dust covers for the spring beams. With the drawings for the cast versions not being available the society decided to go with the fabricated design which would improve the uniqueness of the locomotive rather than going down the extremely costly route of borrowing an existing cover, getting that made into a pattern, cast and then machined. The drawings for the fabricated dust covers were converted into a CAD file which enabled the pieces to be laser cut and then welded together. The two dust covers were completed in time to be taken down to the working party over the May bank holiday and were successfully test fitted to the locomotive.
The Society has also ordered of a pair of spring beams for the trailing truck. The spring beams are traditionally created by forging the steel into the correct shape and then machining the piece to the required specification however with the introduction of water jet cutting GSNs spring beams will be cut out of a block of steel using and then machined to completion. What this allows us to do is created spring beams that will have the same strength as the forged versions but for around half the price. One of our volunteers, James Pearce, converted the drawings into a CAD file which was sent directly to the water jet company. Water cut beams is a common practice used on recent locomotive restorations although GSN will be the first Bulleid locomotive to feature one and should be delivered during the summer.
Once the spring beams are completed we will have all the components required to successfully overhaul the trailing truck once it’s been released during the strip down stage. The only major remaining component will be the hangers for the springs which one of our volunteers has offered to machine and features in the machine shop section. We plan to get all the components together and test fitted on the trailing truck at Sellindge by the end of the year.
Issue 7 of the Packet was posted to our members in earlyJune which featured all the latest news from our AGM and updates on the engineering, crank and machine shop fronts. If you’d like to join the society this could be the perfect chance with GSN making excellent progress each and every month. More info on our membership can be found on our website.
The beginning of May saw our first working party of the year on the locomotive at Sellindge. The aim of the working party was to get another coat of protective paint on the boiler, trail fit a couple of the new components and carry out some more conservation work to ensure the locomotive is kept in good condition. On the Monday one of the newly complete nameplates was on display with the locomotive and quite a few of our members turned up to get some photos of the two together. A lot was achieved and members will be able to find out more in the Packet which is due to land on their doorsteps in the next couple of weeks.
Issue 7 of the Packet went to the printers on the 30th and it is another bumper issue. The magazine has 5 pages of engineering news, our HRA application, Cranking up the pressure, our AGM and much more.
This month also saw us switch web host which has enabled the society to set up an online emailing system for GSN. The new system will allow us to contact our members about all the exciting developments with the project as they happen rather than waiting every 4 months for the next issue of the Packet. Members can find out how to join the new emailing list in the Packet.
Lots of exciting progress is being made with the project and today is the perfect time for people who are considering about signning up to do so. The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society Membership costs £10 for the year with members being kept up to date with the latest goings on with the locomotive, receive our members magazine ‘The Packet’ 3 times a year with progress reports on GSN and articles about Merchant Navy’s and the light pacific’s, access to the locomotive when possible and the ability to get involved with the society. You can sign up by visiting our membership page here.
The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society are delighted to report that they have been accepted as members of the Heritage Railway Association. The Heritage Railway Association or HRA is a voluntary run trade association representing Heritage & Tourist railways, related Museums, Tramways, Cliff Lifts, Railway Preservation Groups and related organisations.
Our volunteers will be working on the locomotive at the Sellindge over the bank holiday weekend 4th – 7th May. After our first working party was cancelled due to snow this will be our first working weekend of the year at Sellindge. All our members are invited to attend even if its not to get there hands dirty and come for a chat and take some photos. On the Monday one of our nameplates and its display stand will be on site so will be a unique opportunity to get a photo of the two together.
Work continues on GSN with efforts focused on the fabricated of the dust cover for the trailing truck and the machining of the Klinger valves. The Bulleid Society on the Bluebell have kindly loaned some valves to replicate, which has enabled work to be re-started on the Klinger valves. The new fabricated dust covers will be test fitted to the locomotive at Sellindge on the 7th during our working weekend. Issue 7 of the Packet is due for release at the end of May and will feature an in depth report on our engineering efforts over the last couple of months.