Previous Restoration Progress Reports

Click here for Easter 1998 report

Click here for February 1999 report

Click here for March 1999 report

Click here for April 1999 report

Click here for May 1999 report

Click here for July (early) 1999 report

Autumn 1997


needlegunning the frames (9K)


The tender and engine are separate issues. The engine was taken into the Sheffield Park works during September for the motion (internal Stephenson) to be dropped. The overall opinion was that the condition of it was good. The tender meanwhile, as can be viewed from the picture here has been receiving attention too. Volunteers (including some of our Society members have cut the rivets that secure the tank from the chassis, to enable it to be lifted. Most if not all of this will need to be renewed. The frames of the tender have meanwhile been the subject of needle gun treatment and painting.


The boiler and cab in the yard.(26K)During the early part of 1998 the chassis was taken into the works at Sheffield Park for inspection. The motion is in very good condition and was removed for cleaning and safe storage. The lubrication pipework was also removed. The boiler has had an inspect, and has been found to be in very good condition. it is without its tubes, but the soundness of the boiler shell itself is reassuring. The boiler stands just outside the works, and as you can see from the picture has been receiving attention of late, to keep it in good condition. the cab (which is that standing in front of the boiler, has also had the treatment, with a clean up an paint job. As mentioned before, it is hoped to have the O1 running within a "reasonable" time span, but realistically this is only going to be achieved if it goes into the works for full time attention. Volunteers are doing this and that to help though. The relatively good condition of the engine, and the forthcoming 100 years anniversary of the SE&CR in 1999 are likely to act as a suitable spur to get on with the job though, so I am informed. Watch this space!

February 1999

frames in the works (13K)A lot has happened since the last report that was published. The engine has acquired new impetus to its restoration at the Bluebell with permanent workshop staff being assigned to the job, to assist volunteers, with the target of restoration in time to celebrate the South East and Chatham Railway; centenary a very realistic possibility. Take a look at this shot of the frames which are now cleaned, de-rusted and painted in SECR maroon.

The frames are, as you can see stripped just about bare. Much is going on with the relevant pieces. The piston and rods have been extracted from the cylinders, both of which you can see here. The actual condition is not that bad

 cylinder block (Bare 10K) pistons on trestles (8K)

Not all the news is good I'm afraid. When the engine was bought from Ashford works way back in 1963 the connecting rods were cut as a precursor to a trip to the scrap yard. When Mr Esmond Lewis-Evans stepped in to save the engine, they were welded up again. This was born out recently when the rods were ultra sonically tested. One rod showed up very slight cracking at the end where the "eye" of the rod is attached to the main shank. In this day and age, that's enough to condemn it. Another will have to be cast and machined.

That isn't all, take a look at this picture. What you are looking at is the journal of the leading drive axle. Its pitting is pretty bad. The wheelsets have now been dispatched to Swindon for turning. This one though may or may not skim down. The journal may have to be built up before it can be turned to a sensible (i.e.: in tolerance) size.

The other wheelsets seem OK, and passed their ultra sonic tests. You can see them here all in a line. The shot to the right shows the eccentrics on the middle set that control the inside Stephenson valve arrangement. These are in good condition give or take a bit of surface rust. As you can see they have been needle gunned, tested and received their first coats of paint.

 pitted journals on the drive axle
 wheelsets (15K) eccentrics on the driver axle (14K) 

Other preparation work involves other removed items. The final two pictures show the axle boxes which will get the white metal and machining work to allow the frames to be rewheeled when the wheel sets return from Swindon, and the cab which is in excellent shape requiring, when the time comes, just fitting and the painters.

There is nothing to report as regards the boiler, which is stripped out, but in super condition. This requires building up to a complete whole. No major problems are anticipated in this area,... we'll see!

axleboxes (13K) 
the cab assembled and ready (9K) 

March 1999

shiny journals (8K)Restoration carries on apace as the workshop team try to make the target of the centennial celebrations of the South East and Chatham Railway that will take place in July 1999. At the moment (March 1999) the engine is on schedule, but it would only take one substantial snag to blow apart the engines chances of making it to the show. Hopefully this wont happen of course. The pictures show the current state of play. The wheels sets are back from Swindon and are sporting their shiny tyres and journals. When the axles boxes have been finished off the engine can be rewheeled. The boiler is getting a lot of attention and is currently being retubed. The plan is to have the boiler in place within a month. Good luck on that one lads!. The other big focus of activity is the tender. As you can see the tender frames are on jacks whilst the tender tank gets the treatment. Its on its side as you look at it. It is having its "bad bits" cut out, so that fresh steel can be grafted in as necessary. So far so good!

tender frames (15K)

tender tank (13K)

April 1999

With the Centenary deadline getting ever closer, the workshop at Sheffield Park has gone into overdrive to get the O1 ready in time. Some ground has been covered in the 6 weeks or so since the last update. The following pictures tell the story. In the workshop, the boiler has been retubed and fitted to the frames

engine with boiler in the works (31K)

rear view of engine (38K)

Of course prior to the fitting of the boiler, and its hydraulic testing came the tube refitting. Funny to think that this was a serious major obstacle to a preservation railway in earlier days, and now its almost routine.

the tube plate ready

the retubing (11K)

The major work on the engine is matched by the efforts on the tender. The previous report showed the tank being cut down. Now the plate is in the works, being prepared and made ready to fit

Tender frames now in the works

fresh plate to graft in (38K)

Finally take a look at some of the small bits and pieces of jobs that are vital to the overall appearance, and quality of job. The often appear to be small jobs, but can in reality turn out to be as time consuming as the major jobs. They also tend to demand a wide range of skills. The 2 examples shown here certainly do!

A new tool box. A carpenters treat!

Lining out the wheels on the Wainwright scheme demands time (38K)

Extra pictures - April 28th

To keep you bang up to date, and to show how time and effort is really being put into the O1 to get it ready on time, these pictures show the current focus of activity, namely the preparation of the boiler now its past its tests, and the construction of the tender tank. The boiler is being lagged so the cladding can be fitted, and then the painters let loose to get the complex Wainwright SECR livery on. the tank meanwhile is being put together in the works, over the nearside road. the MIG welder is the ideal tool for this task (that's the red object in the middle of the tank)

boiler lagging in place tender tank being constructed (38K)

May 1999

3/4 view of the engine (40K)With the deadline for completion fast approaching, No.65 is looking everyday, more and more like an engine and tender. the tank for the tender is all but complete, having been welded together, and the tender frames stand ready. the engine mean while has be receiving various different types of attention. The last rod to go on the motion is still missing as it has not quite yet been retrieved from machining in Manchester. Fitting it however is not an onerous task. The boiler however has been lagged and clad. No mean feat. this means that the painters can get into action here having already done a splendid job on the maroon frames and with the intricate wainwright style lining out on the wheels. Take a look at the shots here and you will also see that the cab has made it into position, giving the feel the the end is in sight. Much was done to improve the condition of the cab, notably the renewal of its roof sheeting.


cab with new roof (40K)

back head (41K)

tender with hand rails even!

The next steps will be to fit the tank of the tender in place, and to fit the controls of engine onto the backhead. There's plenty of pipework to go on although lubrication reservoirs are fitted to the sides of the smokebox support, and positively gleam. naturally there's still plenty for the painters to go at, in fact they are only now really starting to get into their stride in terms of the finishing process.


July 1999

Its a race to the finishing line now, and progress is fast. A browse round the gallery for the early July collection shows that the engine and tender look like an engine and tender! Paint has been applied in numerous layers as the distinctive SECR Wainwright scheme appears once again. It looks wonderful I can tell you. The tender has been welded up and couple up to the engine, mainly to see that it will still do that initially!!, but thereafter this will become a common sight of course. The deadline is now under a month away, so take a look at the pictures here, and make sure you get to the Bluebell for the SECR centennial.

cab backhead 34K

tender front after welding up

tender side after welding

side of the engine with shiny paint

fresh paint applied

cab area after coupling the engine and tender for the first time since dismantling 25years ago

The finished article is not too difficult to imagine now!

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