Villa Team News - 12 December 1997

Birch Grove's boiler repairs

All of the 80 crown stays are now fitted, and most have now been knobbled over in the same way as the copper side stays. [Click on the image for full-size picture.] [View of a knobbled-over crown stay]
[View of a backhead turret] The two turrets on the boiler backhead on which the injector steam valves are mounted have been installed. These also have mounting points for the steam valves feeding the Westinghouse pump, the steam sanding gear, and the train heating. As they are hollow castings they have been installed now so that they can by hydraulically tested with the boiler itself. The four plain-headed fasteners visible around the studs for the injector steam valve are countersunk set-screws fittes by shear-off heads.
Birch Grove's boiler is fitted with six bronze castings on the curved sides of the firebox outer wrapper plate into which the washout plugs are screwed. The central part was originally much longer and was closed with a cap, in the style of many LSWR boilers, which screwed down over an outside thread and was sealed with a copper ring. During the time it was repaired at Ashford the central part was cut down and fitted with a conventional tapered washout plug. These castings are now life-expired, with years of having plugs tighened resulting in the central part being swollen out (some are worse than in this picture). New castings are being made, which will have a longer central part, with a small tapered washout plug fitted, leaving the wall thickness greater than it is now. [View of a crown washout-plug pad]

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