In the machine shop at Bridgnorth work continues on the axleboxes for the pony truck wheels and also on the valve heads, plus various pins and bushes.
On the loco itself the security holes for mounting the reversing shaft bearings to their support brackets have been recently reamed and reaming the security holes for the slide bars is a work in progress.
A further small amount of work has been done on the vacuum pipework.
Space in the erecting shop is expected to become available in the near future and it is planned to move 82045 into there during the railway’s winter no train service period. The advantages of this are better security as the build of the loco progresses and our team will not be subject to all the variations that the weather decides to throw at us. The disadvantages are that we will be out of the public and potential supporters eye and that it will not be such a simple matter to drive the company JCB alongside the loco to lift a component on or off. Our stay in the erecting shop is conditional upon an increasing rate of progress with a target of a completed chassis awaiting fitting of the boiler as soon as that component is completed. Once that is achieved it will be a final rush to get the loco in steam and on test as quickly as possible.
There is always on going expenditure on an exercise such as building a new steam locomotive but we are now into a phase when the expenditure will increase, all the valve motion is on order for manufacture as is the brake rigging. A lot of copper pipe will be required and there will be a boiler to pay for. The support of all our members and well wishers is as valuable now as it has been previously, for which we are very grateful.
Alan Harris machining a valve head.
The magnetic base drill in use to assist in reaming the mounting holes for the bearings of the reversing shaft.
Other side of the previous photo showing a reamed hole in the support bracket for the bearings of the reversing shaft.
Richard Fraser machining a pony truck axlebox. Photos: Tony Massau.
I’ve had to scrub the first paragraph of the annual round-up after having a quick look back at what I wrote at precisely this time last year and finding that it was almost word for word the same: plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose as our neighbours across the Channel might say with an insouciant shrug and a blast of garlic. I hope that doesn’t offend against the tenets of political correctness, but I’m rather hoping that you share my opinion of this modern phenomenon (to use a polite term).
Well, here we are again at the end of another year. It’s only a quarter to four in the afternoon but it’s already almost dark and the rain is coming down in sheets outside. Presumably, 60 miles to the south of where I’m sitting, it’s doing the same all over 82045 in the Bridgnorth twilight. I’d hoped to be able to tell you that the engine had been taken under cover in time for Christmas, but Tony tells me that the move is now planned for January, weather permitting: the SVR are finishing the Bridgnorth part of the overhaul of “Warwickshire”, which will then be taken down to Bewdley to be completed; 82045 will occupy the space thus vacated.
Although we will lose the prominent location we’ve occupied for so long, I’m sure our chaps will be glad that they will not have to endure another winter outside: the site faces north-south and is a wind tunnel, freezing cold in inclement weather, dirty and dusty when it’s dry. There is also the question of security, which has lurked at the back of our collective consciousness since our copper was pinched all those years ago. Tony, the engineering team and the SVR are in the process of planning the move, which is likely to involve a traversing movement on to the nearest running line followed by a shunt through the station and into the yard and shed: 82045 will be moving for the first time, albeit not under its own steam!
2018 has been a generally good year - at least as far as the engine is concerned - and we are so glad to have Neil Taylor and Martin White (Neil’s assistant) to work with: both site management and the general helpfulness on the part of the SVR have improved greatly since Neil took over at Bridgnorth. It’s been our policy not to say too much in print, but I can tell you that there have been a number of frustrations and disappointments in the past, some of them infuriating and none of them our doing. I’d better leave it at that. It is the SVR’s intention to start work on the assembly of the boiler/firebox as soon as Stanier Mogul 42968 is finished; for the work to take 15-18 months; and for 82045 to be ready to steam six months after that (!). Those of you who follow the monthly website updates will know that the side tanks arrived at Bridgnorth from the WHR in the autumn and are now stored on a bogie wagon pending trial fitting so that our engineers can start measuring up for the balancing pipe as soon as possible. In case you’re wondering what this is, it is the pipe that connects the tanks underneath and enables both of them to be filled from one side. Work has been proceeding steadily on other fronts throughout the year, and Tony gives you further details in his engineering notes.
Our finances have held up well, though there is never any room for complacency: simple logic dictates that no money equals no progress. The article and appeal in Issue 485 of Steam Railway resulted in 82045’s bank account benefiting by over £20,000 and in a number of new members joining us, and I will be redoubling my efforts to help keep up our profile in 2019. New build projects are in the news at present, with the fairly imminent completion of Lady of Legend and Betton Grange; the first sight (in November) of a superficially complete unrebuilt LMS “Patriot” since 1962; and the phenomenal success of the P2 Prince Of Wales. You’ve really got to take your hat off to the folks behind these locos, but I think we can safely claim to be following in their footsteps at not too great a distance.
As I’ve said many times before, none of this would happen without YOUR support. Thank you so much to all those who have contributed so generously: we will do everything within our power not to let you down. I’d also like to pay tribute here to the 82045 engineering team, who have worked so hard throughout the year - and many previous years - and whose efforts are there for all to admire in the burgeoning of this locomotive, the first BR Class 3MT tank to be seen since 1968: thanks chaps, and I know I can’t claim any credit here as I am not a member of the working group, having realised some time ago that I’m a danger both to myself and to everyone around me.
All the very best for this season of tinsel and balls and for 2019: floreamus atque gaudeamus!