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Bluebell Railway Atlantic Group
Latest progress

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July 2019

A short update on the Atlantic's tender tank, which was delivered to us on Wednesday 24 July. It still has to have an outer skin fitted around it, and all the coal rails, cab doors, etc, added.

We start with a couple of earlier photos, kindly provided by D G Welding, showing more of the construction details.

Top of tank - D G Welding - 26 June 2019
Tender from front - D G Welding - 9 July 2019
This is a view of the front and top of the tank, close to being finished, outside at D G Welding's premises.
The tender front with the various equipment doors added. The tank had been filled with water to ensure it was water tight, and the photo shows the water draining out afterwards.

Tender body arrives at Sheffield Park - Fred Bailey - 24 July 2019
The tank arriving at Sheffield Park early on 24 July (Fred Bailey)
The tank about to be placed on the ground opposite Atlantic House. The skids under the tank are temporary and will be removed at the time the tank is placed on the tender chassis. Our boiler is just seen to the right. (Fred Bailey)
Tender body unloaded at Sheffield Park - Fred Bailey - 24 July 2019
Once we have completed some more work in Atlantic House, the boiler will be moved out of the way, and the temporary track laid to enable the tender chassis to be brought out of our shed so that the tank can be placed on the chassis. After pushing the tender back into the works, our temporary track will be lifted and the boiler returned to its spot ready for its hydraulic and steam tests.

We are still progressing with fitting the boiler clothing sheets at present which is always a long and taxing job to do neatly. They will of course be removed for the tests to be carried out, but hopefully the time spent now will be saved off of a running test certificate later.

June 2019

Richard Proudman from Bachmann Europe presents the cheque to Atlantic
Project Chairman, Terry Cole (left) and Secretary, David Jones (right). Bachmann's website carries a report on the presentation of this cheque to help complete our H2 Atlantic 'Beachy Head'. Do also watch this video on that page too.

On Saturday 8th June 2019, Bachmann Europe Plc visited the Bluebell Railway during its Atlantic House Open Weekend to present a cheque for £10,617.50 to the Bluebell Railway Atlantic Group. Following the release of the acclaimed Bachmann Branchline OO scale model of the H2 Class Atlantic locomotive in 2018, the donation was made in recognition of the assistance provided by the group during the development of the Branchline model.

Richard Proudman from Bachmann Europe presents the cheque to Atlantic Project Chairman, Terry Cole (left) and Secretary, David Jones (right).

An update on progress, thanks again to Fred Bailey.  The photos of the tender tank construction have all come courtesy of D G Welding in Gloucester, who are making a good job of this work, and it is likely to be delivered earlier than initially expected.

The most major work at present is indeed the construction of the tender tank. Once the basic shell is finished it will be shipped to the railway for us to complete. A large amount of work will be involved here, as the tender tank has to have another skin fitted around it, and all the coal rails, cab doors and a myriad of other features need making and fitting. We start with pictures of progress on the tender tank.

Tender baseplate - D G Welding - May 2019
Tender from rear, showing the baffles - D G Welding - 29 May 2019
This was taken in early May and shows the first stage of the tender tank construction, with the baseplate taking shape with one of the internal splashers to clear the wheels visible on the left. These cover the rectangular cut outs in the baseplate. The round bosses are threaded internally on the underside to take the studs that hold the tank down to the chassis.

Photo courtesy of D G Welding.

Here is a view of the tender taken from the rear looking forward showing the baffles used internally to support the sides and the top. The inner tank is all welded where the originals were all riveted, with T shaped steel taking the same positions as the plate baffles in the welded version.

Photo courtesy of D G Welding.

Left: The tender tank seen from the cab end. The 3 smaller cut outs are to be fitted later with doors. Those on the left or driver's side will contain a vacuum air proportional valve in the lower cabinet and two gauges and the vacuum release valve in the upper one. On the fireman's side the single door is alongside the handbrake and is primarily for access to the underside of the later toolboxes and also to allow a 6 foot long container for sandwiches, rain coats or whatever. Or maybe a spare shovel or two!

Photo courtesy of D G Welding.

Tender front - D G Welding - 12 June 2019

Three final photos for now of the tender tank, courtesy of D G Welding:

Driver side cabinets - D G Welding - 17 June 2019 Tender from rear - D G Welding - 17 June 2019 Tender from rear - D G Welding - 19 June 2019
A closer view of the driver's side cabinets, with angles ready for mounting the backplates carrying the proportional valves and gauges.
Two views of the tender body from the rear, as of 17th and 19th June.


Moving on now to progress "in house", the lagging of the backhead has been completed but some has now been removed for access to stay heads etc. in case of problems under pressure test. It is likely some may leak a little and will need a bit of TLC administering to them.

This photo shows the lower portion of the backhead lagging in position. The upper parts have also been carefully made and fitted but are now removed.

Boiler backhead - Fred Bailey - 13 March 2019
Fire hole door assembly - Fred Bailey - 4 April 2019
The same lagging, as above, now with the fire hole door assembly temporarily in position. A lot of odd problems occur at each stage of these trial assemblies but they are usually minor mis-matches or tight clearances that are easily dealt with.
The dome proved a problem to produce in steel, so we opted for Premier Group sheet metal to make it from Aluminium, and a few weeks ago it was delivered to us.
New dome cover - Fred Bailey - 16 May 2019
Tony painting the lining - Fred Bailey - 6 June 2019
A lot of people believe the lining, being so even, to be transfers or painted between strips of masking tape, but no, here is Tony putting on the fine straw-coloured line next to the wider grey one.
Here we have the almost completed ashpan. We need to wait to weld it as the new health and safety regulations do not allow people to be present when welding is being carried out unless they, like the welder, have a filtered air supply helmet, or the shed is equipped with a proper filtered extractor. In Atlantic House the latter is not available, as the amount of welding that we need to do is insufficient to justify the considerable expense of the proper extraction equipment.
Ashpan - Fred Bailey - 14 March 2019
Almost complete cab floor - Fred Bailey - 19 June 2019
The cab floor is now almost finished with the exception of fitting the final screws. We still need access to the area under the floor for pipes and for various reinforcing plates to support the rear of the hinges for the fall plate between the engine and tender. On the floor at the rear is the draw-bar pin. This is accessed through a hole in the cab floor that will be fitted with a recessed cover.
Some castings received last week for the tank filler lid with its clamp bar and the forked retainer to hold the bar and hence the lid closed. To the right of the lid are castings that take the bottom of the handrail pillars. Above them are the support brackets for the injector valve spindle guide tubes and then the 8 castings required for the hinges for the cab doors.
Castings received - Fred Bailey - 19 June 2019

April 2019

Atlantic House - Open Weekend
8-9 June 2019

The annual Bluebell Atlantic Open Weekend gives the opportunity for supporters and visitors to see the latest progress with the construction of 'Beachy Head'. Atlantic House at Sheffield Park will be open both days.

There is an auction at 2.45pm on Sunday, with a large number of high quality LBSCR photos (13 lots with an average of 100 photos in each lot.) The albums are of grouped subjects rather than miscellaneous, e.g. locos classes C, C1, C2 and C3. We also have a replica King class numberplate, lamps etc. Viewing is from Saturday morning, and the team will accept commission bids if you're unable to be there on the Sunday afternoon.

The component sponsorship list has been updated.

February 2019

Fred Bailey updates us on work on the boiler and the tender.

Under the front of the tender - Fred Bailey - 23 December 2018
Here is a picture of the pipework under the front end of the tender. To the right, painted black is the air brake cylinder. All the smaller pipes are part of the air brake system. The larger one at the very top is for steam heat to the train.

Unseen here, the steam heat pipe is tucked up under the outside valance running down the left hand side of the tender, and the vacuum train pipe follows a similar route along the right hand side.

More pipework, basically as in the previous shot, but including one of the many support brackets. These are all individually made to fit in specific places where it is convenient to support the pipework. A lot of work - all completely forgotten about but vital to the security of the pipework systems.
Pipework under the tender - Fred Bailey - 23 December 2018
Tender chassis - Fred Bailey - 13 February 2019
Here is a view looking down the tender chassis which is now virtually complete, and has been fitted up with the wooden bearers upon which the tank itself sits.

Quotations are awaited for the production of the actual tender tank. The main part of this will be a welded fabrication, but the detail work consisting of the coal rails, and half round beading is all riveted and will be carried out in Atlantic House by the normal Atlantic construction team.

Most "Brighton" tenders, like the tanks on their tank engines, are double skinned. This is basically a second tank that wraps around and is bolted to the inner actual tank. It has the advantage of hiding the quick crude riveting on the original tenders or of any rippling of our welded one. This feature may well have been of an advantage as an insulator for all the tanks fitted to locomotives that condensed their exhaust steam to be used as a warm feed to the boiler via a hot water injector or a Weir or similar boiler feed pump.

This shows the boiler outside with work progressing on the making up and fitting of the crinolines that support the outer boiler cleating sheets. The boiler requires a little further work before it is ready for its hydraulic test, but a change in the dating of boiler test certificates from the steam test date to the hydraulic test date required by our boiler inspector means that we wish to delay the hydraulic test in order to gain as much time in service from the test date as possible.

To this end we are intending to fit the crinolines, smokebox etc. now rather than later. A further consideration is none of us (being older and of more experienced minds) wish to work inside a steel boiler covered in frost with a wind from the arctic blowing!

Boiler with crinolines - Fred Bailey - 23 December 2018
Boiler with smokebox fitted - Fred Bailey - 13 February 2019
Carrying on from the above, here we have the smokebox as first fitted to the boiler, supported on our lifting frames (which were built to re-wheel the loco chassis whilst in our shed).

A certain amount of adjustment was then done to get it aligned reasonably to the boiler after which the job of drilling through the holes for the fastenings can proceed.

With a recent spell of warmer weather we have started on this drilling job, and this shows our method using the usual air driven drill, supported and guided from the opposite fixing hole. A nice job if you like hot steel swarf up your sleeves or down your shirt front.
Drilling from inside the smokebox - Fred Bailey - 20 February 2019
Inside Atlantic House, the ashpan is under construction and a big pile of timber has arrived ready to start making the cab floor. With the tender tank not yet ordered we are working on a range of fronts until such time as the tender tank is delivered. At best this might be in July.

September 2018

The boiler has moved out of the shed, and work restarted on the tender, as reported here by Fred Bailey.
The component sponsorship list has also been updated.

We have recently moved the boiler outside of Atlantic House for the final work to be carried out in preparation for its hydraulic pressure test. Due to lifting and space restrictions within Atlantic House we are likely to virtually finish work on the boiler while it is outside in its present position.

At present on order from outside contractors are the rolled plates for the smokebox and also all of the folded and flat parts required to make up the ashpan. The space within our workshop made available by the boiler's exit will enable work on these two items to be continued inside.

Meanwhile given reasonable weather we are now also working on the crinolines which will eventually support the boiler clothing sheets. Our present plan is to assemble these parts together with the smokebox and ashpan to the boiler. Then with the clothing sheets temporarily removed, the final hydraulic test can be completed prior to the reinstatement of the clothing followed by its installation in the chassis, again using a mobile crane. Finishing work can then be done in Atlantic House without impinging on the space in the main works that is better utilised for repair and overhaul of existing locomotives.

At present work is progressing on the piping up of the tender chassis, prior to the fitting of the tank and coal space. Final drawings for these components are well in hand and we hope to get the whole basic welded assembly made by outside contract, ready for us to apply the more tricky riveted details on it being delivered to us. Obviously none of this is written in tablets of stone and is subject to changes depending on circumstances.

Tender chassis being lifted by the crane - Fred Bailey - 26 July 2018 To allow us room to get the boiler out from Atlantic House, since the tender chassis was in front of the boiler in the shed it had to be wheeled out onto our temporary extension track and lifted clear, as seen in the photo to the right. It was then temporarily placed on the siding in front of the shed.

The first photo below shows our boiler half way out of the shed, while mounted temporarily on the boiler trolleys. This whole job took place on what was probably the hottest day of the year, and the steel parts of the temporary track was actually too hot to pick up bare handed.

This is the first time the boiler has been outside since about 2006. All holes are blanked off and the safety valves fitted but gagged in readiness for its hydraulic test. A small amount of work still needs doing to seal some odd leaks prior to a hydraulic test.

Boiler emerges from Atlantic House - Fred Bailey - 26 July 2018 Boiler out of Atlantic House - Fred Bailey - 26 July 2018

Boiler being lifted by the crane - Fred Bailey - 26 July 2018


Here we see the mobile crane lifting the boiler in preparation for putting it on the ground in a temporary location. This was necessary so that the tender could be returned to the shed, to allow us to carry on working on it.

Boiler being lifted - Fred Bailey - 26 July 2018

Next we can see a view showing the backhead of the boiler, as it is lowered temporarily, and then lastly we see the boiler in the process of being placed in its final position outside Atlantic House.
Back view of boiler being lowered - Fred Bailey - 26 July 2018 Boiler being placed in front of Atlantic House - Fred Bailey - 26 July 2018

I am working on the drawings at present for the tender tank, which we may well order from a company that can produce the whole basic tank for delivery in one piece for final finishing back in Atlantic House. So, moving on to the work starting on the tender, our first job has been to lift it off of its wheels so that the axles can be ultrasonically crack detected. This was not done earlier as we would have lost say 10 years off of the ultrasonic test ticket once it was completed.

To lift the tender chassis from its wheels, we used the lifting frames that we had previously used for the engine as these provide a slow, safe controllable method of lifting such items. It is also very good when it comes to lowering the chassis back on to its wheels. We will also be fitting the final dust shields and lubrication pads at this time. While up in the air we may well make a start on piping up the tender for the air brakes, vacuum pipes, steam heat pipes and of course in due course the injector water feeds.

The next photos below from F. Wijenbergh show the lifting frames raising the chassis, and then a similar view, but now with the axleboxes removed and bearing crowns taken out, so allowing access to the axle ends.

Tender chassis lifted - F. Wijenbergh - 12 August 2018 Tender chassis with axleboxes removed - F. Wijenbergh - 12 August 2018

The third of his photos, below, shows a view of the tender axlebox once removed from the axle with the two access covers swung open. The top one allows withdrawal of the crown bearing and the bottom one to gain access to the Armstrong oiler that wipes oil onto the axle from the underside. On the ground to the right is the bronze bearing crown (upside down) and the keep plate that fits above the crown.
Axle with axlebox removed - F. Wijenbergh - 12 August 2018

The final photo, to the right, by S. Burdett of the Premier Group, shows one of the firebox throatplate corner boiler clothing sheets. Again an excellent job done by one of the apprentices in the apprentice training school run by The Premier Group in Coventry.

Firebox throatplate corner clothing sheet - S. Burdett of the Premier Group - 29 July 2018

May 2018

As work on the boiler continues, fabrication of its clothing is the main preoccupation of this report from Fred Bailey.

As no doubt you have seen in previous updates, we are reasonably comfortable with the machining of components, and the fabrication of heavy lumps of metal, but when it comes to the thinner sheet metal required for the details related to the boiler clothing sheets, then we are into a specialist area.

I have spent quite some time trying to find a company to make such items as the decorative mud hole door surrounds, the mouldings that fit to the boiler clothing but cover in the front corners of the firebox, plus that which encircles the backhead. Also we need a proper outer dome cover and some other parts that will not be seen (very unfortunately), these being the pockets that are inside the boiler clothing where the latter is cut away to clear the tops of the driving wheel splashers. Also we needed that company to have the capacity and capability to do this work at a sensible price. This work is far from being mass produced body panels and involves a mix of pressing onto simple tooling followed by skilled handwork for final forming and finishing.

The company now doing this work for us were very keen to put this through their apprentice school as it provided an ideal opportunity to learn the hand crafts on components with a function and use, not just an exercise. Just this last week two of the apprentices involved in this work together with their Training School Manager and Welding Supervisor visited us in Atlantic House and delivered the first components. To say I was impressed is an understatement!

Plastic tooling for mudhole door surrounds - S. Burdett, The Premier Group - 16 May 2018 The company to whom I refer is The Premier Group in Coventry. A number of the photographs that follow were taken by Mr. S. Burdett of that company and I will acknowledge his photographs accordingly. Note to other locomotive projects: please do not inundate them with work until ours is finished!

I am going to start with a few pictures showing part of the manufacturing process.

Right: The first stage is to make male and female plastic tooling and then form the dished portion with a rubber press. (S. Burdett, The Premier Group)

Below: After this the dish is clamped to the tool on an angle plate for the marking out of the shaped holes that pierce the component to allow the bridge on the mudhole door on the boiler to protrude. These doors have to be able to be removed without taking this surround off of the clothing sheet. From this point all of the work is down to manual dexterity. (S. Burdett, The Premier Group)
Next are the two finished articles, one seen from the inside, the other the outside. (Fred B.)

Marking out mudhole door surrounds - S. Burdett, The Premier Group - 16 May 2018 Completed mudhole door surrounds - Fred Bailey - 24 May 2018

Below is one of the pockets to take the splashers, after pressing using the male and female tooling, but now mounted on the male tool and robustly clamped down with a solid backing piece to prevent distortion ready for the corner radius to be hand chased.

Next we have that corner being hand chased by one of the apprentices. (Both: S. Burdett, The Premier Group)

Pressed splasher pocket - S. Burdett, The Premier Group - 16 May 2018 Hand chasing splasher pocket - S. Burdett, The Premier Group - 16 May 2018

Now, looking into the pocket itself on the finished article. We will be drilling the fixing holes in this part once we have the clothing sheets properly located. But that is some way off as yet!

They are very difficult to photograph, but as these pockets fit to the boiler clothing, the whole item is curved, the pocket as well as the flange around it, to let it match both the boiler itself as well as the clothing sheet, although not touching the boiler itself. (Both: Fred B.)

New splasher pocket - Fred Bailey - 23 May 2018 New splasher pocket - Fred Bailey - 24 May 2018

Forming firebox mouldings on English wheel - S. Burdett, The Premier Group - 16 May 2018 Here we have the start of one of the firebox mouldings, being formed on the English wheel. This is a real black art and I think something that can only be learned by practice, practice, practice. By pushing and pulling the sheet metal between the two rollers, one above and one below the sheet and with some pressure between them the metal is slowly stretched on one side more than the other so making it deform into a curved shape. The art then comes in knowing in which direction one rolls the sheet to increase or decrease the curvature in the direction required. The whole shape is then matched to sheet metal templates. I may well detail this more in a later update. (Right and below: S. Burdett, The Premier Group)

The second photo below shows our visitors from The Premier Group. Left to right: John Watkins, the Training School Manager (also seen on the English Wheel), Lewis Prewett, Sheet Metal Apprentice, Gary Horton, Welding Supervisor, and Toby Casey, Sheet Metal Apprentice. (Fred B.)

Firebox mouldings from English wheel - S. Burdett, The Premier Group - 16 May 2018 Visitors from The Premier Group - Fred Bailey - 23 May 2018

Moving on to my more normal topics, the boiler is now fully riveted and we have done some preliminary low pressure air tests to look for obvious leakage.

We designed and had built a mini hydraulic squeeze riveter specifically to put in the rivets around the fire-hole door. There is insufficient room to manouvre a pneumatic rivet gun so this was our answer. Although I did some simple FEA on the 3D model of this item, with a 25 ton ram applying the squeeze onto a very hot rivet I wanted to make sure it was up to the job, so did some tests to check on the deflections especially at full load. Fortunately they were very similar to the results from the model.

Below is the riveter in position having just put in another rivet. Keith was adjusting the riveter's position inside the boiler and once all set I was heating the rivet, putting it in the hole for Keith to grab and hold with another pair of tongs whilst I got the underside snap in the riveter onto the rivet head. Once there he could dispose of his tongs and guide the upper snap onto the rivet. I meanwhile had my head next to the riveter frame and my foot on the valve operating the ram. All done as quick as possible. I hope you will forgive me for not getting an "action" photo! This also explains my deflection test!

Compact squeeze riveter - Fred Bailey - 15 April 2018 Riveting around firehole door - Fred Bailey - 2 May 2018

Below we see all of the rivets in position. In addition to the heads one can see the plates were heavily countersunk on both sides (as made by the LNER).

Finally for this update, Keith looking for leaks with a flare - we have progressed from having our hats blown off, as you can see. Our old compressor has worked overtime at this, but about 10 psi or so can tell one a lot, and now we are using soapy water so that the bubbles show up the lesser leaks. The superheater flues are as yet only expanded and not belled or beaded. We will do this after the hydraulic test. No doubt on a full hydraulic we will find more leaks, but this method is a lot drier and certainly finds the worst of the problems early on.

New rivets around firehole door - Fred Bailey - 2 May 2018 Checking for leaks with flare - Fred Bailey - 10 May 2018
We have also made up temporary low height "track" ready to wheel the tender chassis and the boiler outside, but due to our position in the yard and the other projects taking place around us we are likely to meet with some delay in moving the tender chassis and boiler. There are always jobs we can work on however and they all move the project forward.

March 2018

Fred Bailey supplies an update, with photos illustrating the current state of this project.

First of all I must apologise yet again for the big gap in our updates, but the boiler work is not that photogenic and involves a lot of hard work (for us older folk) with a good deal of grunting and a pot or two of perspiration. However we have not all pushed off to pastures green but have been beavering away on the boiler, plus a few other bits and pieces.

Firebox throatplate - Fred Bailey - 22 February 2018 The overall result is that we are getting quite close to its hydraulic test. That will take place out of doors later on in the year as we have no wish to flood our workshop, which has no pits or drainage. It does not matter how tight the boiler is, everything near will get wet. I hope this little update will be of interest to those of you following and hopefully supporting this project.

The photo on the right is of the throatplate, now finally riveted to the foundation ring, and with new stays fitted where required in the welded-in patch plate. Also in view are the rather awkward curved mud hole doors with their bridges. All new of course to fit the patch plates.

The first below shows the right hand side of the firebox. The studs that hold the blowdown valve still need to be fitted, and of course so will the valve itself. This is finished and in stock.

All the small tubes and the superheater flues have received 2 coats of a graphite-rich coating prior to fitting as mentioned in my last update, but it is quite a time consuming (and not to mention messy) job, but hopefully it will be worth it in due course. A quick calculation shows that we have covered roughly 1/10th of an acre with graphite paint!

Right hand side of the firebox - Fred Bailey - 4 March 2018 Painting flues and tubes - Fred Bailey - 22 October 2017

Small tubes in place - Fred Bailey - 15 November 2017

The picture on the left was taken through one of the superheater flue holes, looking towards the firebox, and shows all of the small tubes in place with the exception of those that are in amongst the flue tubes. As the top of our tender chassis which sits in front of the boiler is higher than most of the small tube holes, each one had to be inserted higher up than needed, then threaded through a lower hole at the firebox end, prior to shuffling to and fro before arriving in its final place.

The flues weighing in the order of 1.5 cwt (76 kg) needed to be handled semi-mechanically, and below is the last one about to be put in to the boiler - a red letter day for us, but only the start of another process - expanding! One might be able to make out a tool filling up one of the tube holes and this is an expanding toothed collet that grips the inside of the tube and allows one to turn the tube to screw it into the thread in the copper at the firebox end.

Last flue tube - Fred Bailey - 3 January 2018 Last flue tube - Fred Bailey - 3 January 2018

Cut-price gym membership, expanding a flue - Fred Bailey - 25 January 2018

On the right, a volunteer member of the "Old mans' gang" that makes up our build team getting value for money out of his membership of the gymnasium that is The Bluebell Railway - about £20 per year for Senior Citizens at the 5 year rate. Just think what proper gym membership must cost - all that exercise to get aching muscles for no result! Here we have another flue expanded, so a few aches, but with a positive worthwhile result!

I will not go through the rest of the tubing in detail, but suffice to say, below is the front tubeplate with all the flues and tubes expanded. Unfortunately further very skilled processes need to be applied to the tube ends, especially in the firebox, but these will be carried out after a pressure test. If done beforehand and a leak is found on test it makes a further expansion of the offending tube almost impossible.

The next view below shows the backhead with most of the blanking plates and the regulator rod and its gland installed ready for testing. Unfortunately we are still waiting for the special frame for our new small hydraulic riveter to be made by one of our local sub-contractors. As usual, you find a company that produces good work, who then become known and busier and then their deliveries start to slip. The space available around the door ring (which needs riveting) is rather too limited to use two pneumatic riveting guns, a squeezer is more compact, not to say quieter.

Concurrently with all the boiler work, one of our regular volunteers has completely stripped and rebuilt a four-feed Detroit sight-feed lubricator. This has needed a lot of new parts, some made by him, some purchased and others made by our volunteer turner. This is the advantage of having a small but good team who all work together. On this fact a lot depends. It is hard enough tackling these projects without having "people" problems. They are the most destructive of all. The main thing is although a serious project it must also be fun!

All tubes and flues expanded - Fred Bailey - 11 March 2018 Backhead - Fred Bailey - 25 February 2018 Detriot sight-feed lubricator - Fred Bailey - 11 March 2018

Front footplating hiding Westinghouse pump - Fred Bailey - 11 March 2018

This is all one can see of the Westinghouse pump and its new governor, now the front footplating is in place and the pump covers installed!

Another job we could not put off any longer was drilling and tapping new holes for the front boiler support and for the centre grate support and also the drilling and burning out of old original studs that held the rear side expansion brackets and the ashpan. All of this work entailed working upside down under the boiler's foundation ring. (We do not have facilities in Atlantic House to turn boilers over). In the first photo below one can see the pilot holes that have been drilled with our small magnetic based drill.

These holes needed to be opened out to a size larger than the capacity of the smaller drill, so we used our air drill, as seen in the middle photo below. With limited room between the floor and the foundation ring some drills had to be considerably cut back and reground, but tools such as these have to be expendable up to a point - pun not intended! Even after all of this the remains of the studs needed further attention from the oxy-acetylene to get the last remnants out.

My last picture shows the safety valves bolted down on to the boiler. (They are shown with the gagging links fitted to allow for a hydraulic test to a pressure beyond its working steam pressure). These links are replaced with the final safety links after the hydraulic test. Also in view is one of the upper inspection doors with its cover / clamp plate. These door cover plates are about flush with the clothing sheets so are not too conspicuous. Only boilers for the C1's built after about 1936 had these doors. Prior to that and in common with the Brighton engines the boilers had plugs in these positions. The later doors are tricky to fit, but provide excellent access for inspecting the firebox crown and all of the crown stays etc.

Drilling holes under firebox - 29 June 2017 Drilling holes under firebox - Fred Bailey - 10 January 2018 Safety valves in place - Fred Bailey - 11 March 2018

October 2017

Fred Bailey supplies another update, with photos showing recent progress on this project.
The component sponsorship list has also been updated.

Smokebox door and surround on the smokebox saddle - Fred Bailey - 17 September 2017 On the right we have a view of the chassis with the smokebox door and its surround sitting on the smokebox saddle. Its true position is about a foot nearer the front of the engine, so that the Westinghouse pump will actually be under the smokebox. Hardly ideal for maintenance purposes but to fit it to the smokebox side would severely limit forward visibility and might also foul the loading gauge, and space between the frames is (and was) taken up with loads of other equipment. Hence the position selected by the LB&SCR for the pumps on the H classes of Atlantic.

As stated earlier the boiler has been our priority and the first row of rivets around the foundation ring have been removed and are now re-riveted by our two boiler smiths from the main workshop assisted by a couple of us from the Atlantic crew. Work on boilers is a job that is not only hard physically, but demands a great deal of thought, planning and (although not realised by the majority) precision. The folks that do this work day in and day out are the only reason you can see preserved steam ANYWHERE today! So be thankful there are such people prepared to do this work and we ought to go out of our way to ensure we keep their services.

The photograph below, although a little blurred (there is not time to pose for cameras), shows a rivet about to be put in its hole prior to being double gunned down. This means two hand held rivet guns being used, one on each end of the rivet. The remaining rivets in the upper row have now been removed although a good few were in no mood to come out without a fight, but never the less we are now ready to finish the foundation ring riveting once we can obtain the assistance of our (younger and fitter) boiler smiths once they can find a gap in their more important work in the main loco workshops which obviously must take priority.

The second photo below shows the 'J' pipe, on top of which sits the regulator, and the main steam pipe going out through the front tube-plate. We have conducted a pressure test on the joint between the 'J' pipe and the steam pipe and it seems to be satisfactory, so the studs to take the superheater header have now been installed, so filling up the holes that can be seen around the steam-pipe.

Riveting the foundation ring - Fred Bailey - 31 August 2017 J-pipe - Fred Bailey - 2 August 2017

Dead-weight pressure gauge tester - Fred Bailey - 14 October 2017

On the left is a picture of the start of the check calibration on one of the movements within the Westinghouse Duplex pressure gauge. This is being carried out on a dead-weight pressure gauge tester that works via a "sack" containing water that is pressurised by the oil used in the tester itself. This then ensures that the oil in the test machine does not come into contact with the gauge internals. The outer needle is not fitted whilst checking the inner one as shown.

A little while ago we produced some 3D CAD models of the various cast parts that go towards the making of a Westinghouse air pump governor. The patterns and castings were then made and machined. These together with all of the many other parts have now been produced by others with the result we now have in stock a brand new Westinghouse pump governor, seen in the first photo below. The machining and assembly, not to mention the "tinkering" required, have produced an excellent item that we are told works like a dream as it has been tested in service on an engine.

At long last we have now made a start with the painting and installing of the boiler tubes, as seen below. Each tube gets two coats of Apexior prior to installing it into the boiler. This is quite a slow job - the painting and drying of the tubes a few at a time taking a lot longer than their fitting. The superheater flues will be slower still as there are handling problems due to their weight to be considered. Putting them in their holes is the easy part as they all then have to be expanded and beaded. "Fun" to come!

Westinghouse air pump governor - Fred Bailey - 12 October 2017 First tubes installed in boiler - Fred Bailey - 22 October 2017

May 2017

Fred Bailey supplied this update in early May, so apologies for the time taken to get it online.

Top of tender cleared - Fred Bailey - 4 May 2017 It has been some time since we have provided an update on the Atlantic, because the progress that is being made is generally not very showy, but does provide the basis for the next major stages. Obviously the boiler is our priority but various small items have added up to a further delay.

The replacement plates with new openings for mud hole doors are now fully welded into position, the welds have passed their stringent examination satisfactorily and new copper stays to replace those removed with the old plate are now in position and await final heading.

We are now ready to start riveting the foundation ring, but due to our team's more senior age profiles we are awaiting a time when one or two of the younger, fitter, skilled boiler team members from the main works can assist us. Unfortunately they are very busy working on boilers that are needed to provide the motive power to service the core business of the railway. We hope to get underway in June with this work.

The first photo shows a sight not seen for a long time. We have cleared all of our material stocks off of the top of the tender chassis and put the larger components on one side to allow us to start preparations for tubing the boiler. We intend using a special coating on these tubes to give them a good start in life within our boiler. There is quite a lot of work here as all 134 small tubes and 32 large tubes, all 16 feet long, need to be thoroughly de-greased and then given two coats of the preservative "paint". The first few tubes can be seen laying on the tender floor. We were initially intending to raise the boiler to tube it, but we have found that this will not now be necessary.

The photos below are an earlier view of the two steam pipes in the base of the smoke box saddle (round flanges) leading into the valve chests and in the centre the exhaust exit flange, and a later view showing the blanking plates to help protect the top of the valve chests from ash etc. and the upper blast-pipe now in position - although it will be removed when adding the boiler and smoke box to the chassis.

Steam pipes in the base of the smoke box saddle - Fred Bailey - 6 July 2016 Blanking plates and blast pipe - Fred Bailey - 15 March 2017
More piping and an air reservoir in the cab - Fred Bailey - 12 March 2017 Spectacle plates fitted - Fred Bailey - 2 March 2017

At the rear of the engine (as seen on the left) more pipes are getting installed along with another air reservoir that provides the air to power the reverser.

Also in the cab (right) we have been fitting the spectacle plate window frames and (not shown) the catches that keep them closed.

Below is the valve, mounted on the cab side above the reverser, that operates both the clutch to lock the weigh shaft and applies air to the reverser to assist in reversing the engine. No air assist is required to put the engine in forward gear.

The double Ramsbottom safety valves, below, are now virtually complete. These will be pressure tested shortly to prove the body integrity and then will be re-assembled and approximately set for the blowing off pressure. Once that is done, washers are made to go between the counter-bore in the body and the underside of the adjuster to ensure that no further adjustments can be made that would increase the set pressure.
Reverser air valve - Fred Bailey - 2 May 2017 Double Ramsbottom safety valves - Fred Bailey - 16 April 2017
For some time the chassis has looked complete, and in essence it was, however it is not complete until all the fixings are tightened and retained. This operation is best left to be done as one operation moving methodically from part to part. Steam locomotives try from the first moment they move to reduce themselves to their component parts by whatever means possible and this is where the very smallest of components become the most important.

It is difficult to show the amount of work involved in doing this work but this next picture below shows an easily accessible example outside the frames. This is the big end cotter and taper bolt with its nuts behind it. Note the cotter has pinch bolts in the side, plus a cotter fitted tight to the underside of the rod, which in turn is split pinned. The taper bolt has a nut and locknut again with a fitted cotter and split pin. This sort of thing can be found throughout the chassis especially between the frames where it can't be easily seen.

Work has started on fitting up the smokebox door and its surround. The hinges were rescued off of the smokebox that came attached to the boiler all those years ago. With some slight modifications they seem to fit very well to our new smokebox door. The hinges would be difficult and expensive to manufacture today, being forgings with twists and bends to make them fit the door.

Lock-nuts, cotters and split pins - Fred Bailey - 19 March 2017 Fitting the hinges to Atlantic smokebox door - Fred Bailey - 7 May 2017


Older news updates

  • Background and early progress
  • September 2001: Repairs to tender chassis.
  • More photos of the project.
  • March 2002: Modification of front end of tender.
  • November 2004: Loco Frames ordered.
  • December 2004: Bogie frame components arrive - also Feb.2005 news report.
  • 2005 - Loco main frames arrive - tender frames nearly completed - start of construction of the shed.
  • 2006 - Loco driving wheel castings delivered - drilling of the main frames and hornguides - building of the shed completed.
  • 2007 - Main locomotive frames erected.
  • 2008 - Components for the cylinders and valve chest delivered - frames riveted - forged billets for connecting and coupling rods delivered.
  • 2009 - First motion parts water-jet cut from forged blanks - bogie frames assembled.
  • 2010 - Cylinders and valve chests fabricated, air brake cylinders completed, bogie and trailing wheelsets completed.
  • 2011 - Coupling rods and axleboxes delivered, reverser mechanism completed, crossheads cast.
  • 2012 - Valve and cylinder liners fitted - lifting and reversing arms and axlebox crowns delivered - castings for mudhole doors, regulator and whistle valves, reversing shaft clutch, blast-pipe cap, crosshead slippers, 'J' pipe and eight eccentric halves received - Bogie and trailing axle now support the frames - Valve chest and cylinders fitted to frames, covers fitted, and pressure tested.
  • 2013 - Cylinders, valves, slidebars and crossheads completed - driving wheels completed - valve gear components delivered - lifting frames constructed.
  • 2014 - Weigh (reversing) shaft and air-clutch fitted, axleboxes metalled, machined and fitted, wheel rotators constructed, eccentric rods, valve and reversing gear, pipework for brakes and steam heat completed, locomotive wheeled, cylinders clad and crossheads fitted.
  • 2015 - Rolling Chassis completed with all motion erected. Running plates and splashers completed, along with cab sides and front.
  • 2016 - Connecting and coupling rods fitted, valves set. Superheater header delivered. Revision of boiler internal pipework completed. Cab roof riveted together and fitted. Mud-hole patches welded into boiler. Flue tubes (with screw ends welded on) delivered.

Project Funding

A fund raising appeal for the money required to complete the project was launched in 2000, and a combination of gifts made via the Bluebell Railway Trust, and standing orders set up to provide a steady income to the project have provided funding for the present work. However, more is still needed to complete the project, and the best way in which you can help is by setting up a small, regular, standing order to the Bluebell Railway Trust under Gift Aid, since this enables the Trust to reclaim the basic rate tax you have paid, and (if you are a higher rate tax-payer) enables you to reclaim some tax as well.

Would you like to sponsor a specific part of the locomotive? The latest component list is available, from which you can choose a wide variety of important parts of the locomotive. You may prefer to use the combined Sponsorship and GiftAid form available as a pdf.

A combined Donation, GiftAid and Standing Order form is available as a pdf document.

For further details contact David Jones.

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Last updated 25 July 2019 by Richard Salmon
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