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Locomotive Works News

Overhaul of LBSCR E4-class No.B473 ("Birch Grove")

Relaunch into service - 30 January 2010

Birch Grove on relaunch train - 30 January 2010 - Tony Sullivan

The photo on the right is from Tony Sullivan.

Below are some more photos from the launch day.
Derek Hayward's three photos show the residents of Birch Grove who were invited to take part in the re-launch of the locomotive named after their hamlet, Father Dr John Twisleton, the Rector of St Giles Church, Horsted Keynes and Chaplain to the BPRS, blessing the locomotive, and later in the day, a spirited departure from Sheffield Park.

The fourth photo below, from Michael Hopps, shows the engine at Kingscote in the dark, on the special evening train run for working members of the Railway.

Birch Grove residents with Birch Grove the locomotive - 30 January 2010 - Derek Hayward Chaplain blesses the loco - 30 January 2010 - Derek Hayward B473 departs from Sheffield Park - 30 January 2010 - Derek Hayward B473 at Kingscote after dark - 30 January 2010 - Michael Hopps

Birch Grove on relaunch train - 30 January 2010 - Andrew Strongitharm


Galleries of photos of the relaunch available from:

"Birch Grove" returns to steam this weekend!
Birch Grove in January 2010 - Dave Phillips Birch Grove 2010 - Matthew Cousins Sat 30th and Sun 31st January 2010

Named in 1898 after a local hamlet (within the parish of Horsted Keynes), this Victorian loco has been a stalwart of the Bluebell fleet for many years, and now returns to service after overhaul carrying, for the first time in 80 years, the 1920s Southern Railway green livery.

The relaunch ceremony takes place on Saturday, at 2pm at Horsted Keynes station.

After the ceremony, B473 will haul a special train, formed of four coaches in matching Southern Railway livery. This train is for the volunteers and staff who have worked on the project, and for residents of the parish. However, 80 seats in ex-SECR carriage No.1098 will be available to the public on a first-come-first-served basis. The train will leave Horsted Keynes at 2.45pm for a round trip of the line, and tickets (at normal all-line return fare) can be booked by ringing our Sales and Information office on 01825 720800.

B473 will also haul the set of matching coaches in normal public service on Sunday 31st January.
Timetable service 2 will be in operation for the public services on both days.

13 December 2009

B473 - 13 December 2009 - Derek Hayward B473 - 13 December 2009 - Derek Hayward

Two photos from Derek Hayward, taken on 13th December, showing just how close the loco now is to completion, with just a few minor things to be completed before running-in commences.

B473 - 10 October 2009 - Derek Hayward October 2009

More of Derek Hayward's photos, taken on 10th October, show good progress continuing, with the side tanks and their covers now fitted and being painted, with lining out of the Southern olive livery progressing well on the rest of the loco. The air-brake compressor is in place on the side of the cab, and the piston rods and cylinder covers fitted.

With unexpected work required on other locos taking up workshop time, the completion of the loco has been delayed slightly, so it will not be completed in time for Giants of Steam.

Air pump - 10 October 2009 - Derek Hayward loco from the rear - 10 October 2009 - Derek Hayward

Cylinder assembly in place - 23 August 2009 - Derek Hayward 24 August 2009

Derek Hayward's photo (right) taken yesterday, shows one of the new cylinder liners, with the cylinder/valve assembly in place in the frames. The Boiler has passed its hydraulic test and "out of the frames" steam test, and is also now back in the frames.

Derek's other photos below show that the boiler cladding is going on, and the paint finish is now at the stage where lining is starting to appear. Note the cab roof is not yet fixed, and the cab front has still to be attached - this is being fully painted, including its lining, off the loco. The side tanks have yet to be re-attached, and the tank covers are still at Horsted Keynes, being painted by the Carriage & Wagon department.

An October completion date is a possibility.

loco from the rear - 23 August 2009 - Derek Hayward Loco from the front - 23 August 2009 - Derek Hayward

1 July 2009

The rebuilt cylinders are now back in the re-wheeled frames, as seen in Derek Hayward's photo (below) taken last weekend. The paintwork on the frames and bunker is also well advanced. Derek's other photo shows that work is also progressing well with the re-tubing of the boiler.

frames - 27 June 2009 - Derek Hayward retubing - 27 June 2009 - Derek Hayward

Meanwhile, up at Horsted Keynes in the Carriage works, the loco's safety valve cover, dome cover, splashers and various bits of boiler cladding have been prepared and re-painted, as seen in Richard Salmon's photos below. The repainting of the water-tank cladding has also just started, although these are too large to easily fit in the works.

Cladding - 27 June 2009 - Richard Salmon Tank cladding - 27 June 2009 - Richard Salmon

473 re-wheeled - 25 April 2009 - Ashley Smith 25 May 2009


This photo from Ashley Smith shows that the E4 has been re-wheeled. The next big job will be to put the overhauled cylinders back between the frames.

9 April 2009

new cylinder liner in cylinder - 8 April 2009 - John Fry

The photograph (right, from John Fry) is of the first liner fitted and glued into the cylinder block. The top of the liner is 'trimmed' to be flush with the surface of the block so that the cover will fit correctly. John's other photograph below shows the two cylinders with the right hand one fitted with the liner and the left hand one bored out ready for the fitting of the second liner.

cylinders - 8 April 2009 - John Fry

6 April 2009

Start of 473 overhaul - 8 June 2008 - Richard Salmon

After withdrawal from service on 5th May 2008 this loco became a high-priority overhaul, in view of the generally good condition of the boiler which had received very major attention ten years earlier.

This photo on the right, taken on the 8th June 2008, shows the start of the stripping down. The cab roof and front have been removed, as have the cladding sheets over the water tanks.

The major work to be done was on the cylinders, which were removed for inspection. A new casting was considered, but a repair was deemed feasible.

The photos below, taken by Derek Hayward on 16 August 2008, show the loco separated into its major components: the boiler and ashpan on one of our boiler trolleys, and the wheels and the frames, with the rear of the cab still mounted on them.

473 boiler - 16 August 2008 - Derek Hayward 473 under overhaul - 16 August 2008 - Derek Hayward

473 boiler - 21 Feb 2009 - Derek Hayward


Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows the boiler in the yard on 21st February 2009, being worked on by Nick Beck. The boiler had been high-pressure jet-washed to de-rust it; but it was not primed immediately, and now needed a bit of wire-brushing before priming.

A couple of weeks after that photo was taken the boiler was able to enter the works, and the first photo below (blown up from a general shot of the workshop taken by John Fry) shows the boiler upside-down for some re-staying (with the S15 boiler beyond) and the frames (with cylinder block removed) in the works on 16th March.

The second photo - also from John - shows the new cylinder liners on 5th April, after Mike Carroll had machined the ports at the ends. You don't get the scale of these things in the photo - the cylinder liners are a foot and a half in diameter!

2473 boiler and frames - 16 March 2009 - John Fry new cylinder liners - 5 April 2009 - John Fry

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