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Bluebell Railway Atlantic Group
Latest progress


earlier -       Sponsor a component

October 2019

A very happy Fred Bailey provides the following update!

Well a major milestone has been reached with our Atlantic project, and I must admit we are all relieved and excited by the prospect of our target of finishing the engine, being now one major step forward. Sorry to say it will not be running soon, but our unofficial target of Summer 2021 is possibly fairly realistic given no major un-forseen circumstances getting in our way.

Boiler being filled - Fred Bailey - 20 October 2019

 
YES, THE BOILER HAS NOW PASSED ITS HYDRAULIC TEST.

After a lot of work over the past few years on Tuesday 29 October the boiler was given its hydraulic test, witnessed by the Boiler Inspector. We have spent quite some time working towards this day and fortunately the day was dry (so that any leakage may be seen) and not too cold. The test pressure was raised by use of the main works' pneumatic water accumulator pump and once at the test pressure the pump was stopped.

In an hour or so the small insignificant weeps here and there (that will almost certainly take up when hot and the metal has expanded) made virtually no discernible indicated difference in pressure on the test gauge. Work can now continue on the boiler clothing, something that will take quite a lot of time especially if we get a hard winter. We do have a whole raft of work indoors too on the tender.

The photo on the right... Obviously before testing the boiler has to be completely full of water with all high spots bled of air, however our shed is some way from any water supply so we had to do the best we could. Here is Tony filling the boiler. It took quite some time!


Boiler overflowing - Fred Bailey - 20 October 2019
Mind you he could pour quite quickly - you can see here the water coming out of the safety valves which were released in order to get the air out. Seriously we used a large hose from right across the loco yard that is fed from the water tower to fill the boiler. It filled quicker than we expected hence the overflow seen here.

When taking the hose out of the boiler it looses some water, so the previous picture shows the dome being topped off before putting in the plug. The safety valves were filled in the same manner.

The reason that the safety valves do not work on the test is that we have a special clearly marked set of safety links that are short enough to gag the valves. They will be changed before the valves are assembled properly with their springs.

Test guage - Fred Bailey - 29 October 2019

 

Right: The test gauge on the boiler sitting at the test pressure, with the pump disconnected.

- x -

In Atlantic House the tender tank has been lowered on to the chassis and is in the process of being bolted down. We had another little success here too. We fitted the 26 one-inch Whitworth studs into the bushes welded into the tender base by the tank fabricators in Gloucester, and they all went through the holes in the chassis with no problems or damaged threads. Not bad considering there was only about 1/8" clearance in the holes for the studs, the holes possibly having been there since 1901 or so.

Work is continuing on the boiler cleading sheets and tender at the same time. The boiler cleading progress could possibly be hampered by adverse weather the boiler being outside, but the tender ensures that plenty of indoor work is available.

- x -

Matthew Cousins' photo below shows the new tender body as initially sitting spaced off its modified ex-LBSCR chassis, soon after it was moved into Atlantic House back in August. The all-welded tank is painted inside and out with 2-pack epoxy paint, but this will be concealed by the riveted external cladding.
Atlantic tender - Matthew Cousins - 21 August 2019

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.

earlier

Older news updates

  • Background and early progress
  • September 2001: Repairs to tender chassis.
  • More photos of the project (1999-2002).
  • 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.
  • 2017 - Major progress on the boiler overhaul, and with the safety valves.
  • 2018 - Boiler tubes fitted, tender made mobile, complex parts of the boiler cladding made.

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 31 October 2019 by Richard Salmon
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