Consideration is being given to repairing Fenchurch's old cylinders.
When Fenchurch was dismantled in 1994 it was soon found that the cylinders had suffered severe corrosion from the top, where acid water from the smokebox ash had lain on the castings. The exhaust manifold on one side has wasted away to leave a large hole, whilst on the other side there is no metal left to anchor the studs for the main steam pipe. It was decided to make a new set of cylinders, and for this Brian Wilkie and Roy Sterling are making a casting pattern.
The right exhaust manifold showing the corrosion hole. The lighter-coloured piece in the centre is an old patch which was probably fitted because the casting was to thin there even when new. At th bottom of the picture are the blanked-off connection to the exhaust steam condensing equipment, and the oil feed from the lubricators on the side of the smokebox.
The main steam pipe flange on left cylinder, showing stud anchorages wasted away. The connection in front is a now-redundant oil feed.
For a number of reasons it will take several years to achieve the construction of a new set of cylinders, so an earlier plan is being considered whereby the top parts of each cylinder casting (i.e. above the cylinder barrel itself) will be machined off, and replaced by a fabricated section. The cylinder barrels and valve faces are in excellent condition, so this job will save wasting them.
The making of the casting pattern will continue because it will be needed anyway (Stepney had been running for some years with a hole in one cylinder barrel patched by a hard filler).
If this method of repairing the cylinders is used then it is likely that Fenchurch will be working again by the year 2000.
Meanwhile, the first top-coat is being applied to the wheels by Freda and Sylvia Marshall.
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