3rd June, 2019 by Steve Masters in Workshop Blog
5239 "Goliath" arrived from The Dartmouth Steam Railway and overhaul began in October 2017. Following is the latest news on the progress in the Workshop.
Having not had an update for a couple of weeks there is lots of news to report. The biggest news being that the flues are now fitted and the remaining tubes expanded and beaded enabling us to fill the boiler with water. Mac has also made a start sorting out and repairing the backhead cladding.
Over the last couple of weeks, the slidebars have been shimmed so that they are parallel and true to the cylinder bores and then the holes reamed and new bolts machined to size and fitted. The crossheads have been white metaled and a start has been made machining them.
The front and rear three rows of crown stays have been riveted over in the firebox and the majority of the tubes have been beaded. This weekend should see the flue tubes fitted, expanded and beaded too.
Although it’s been a few weeks since our last update, lots more progress has been made on 5239. The crown stays are now all fitted which is a huge relief after weeks of work. The boiler and frames even made a trip into the yard out of the workshop to have the new bunker fitted.
Another couple of milestones reached this week with Goliath’s overhaul. The coupling rods have been refitted which not only marks the final stage of a huge amount of work but also clears a lot of floor space! On the boiler, the tubes have now been expanded and next, they will be beaded.
Work has mainly concentrated on the boiler over the last week or so. A chain gang of 5 made short work of installing the boiler tubes. This included trial fitting, setting the length, marking the tube, removing the tube and cutting it before putting it back into the same hole. Meanwhile on top of the boiler over 100 new crown stays were fitted and set to length.
Over the past couple of weeks, the boiler has been making steady progress. The internal steam collector pipes have been removed, repaired and refitted, the first few crown stays have been fitted and the remaining holes tapped. We are just waiting for the remainder of the batch to be delivered before we can fit them.
The monel stays around the Firehole have been fitted and caulked to seal them. Many of the studs on the backhead have been removed or drilled out if they put up a fight!
The bunker is still progressing and so is the bottom end with the eccentrics now machined and painted.
Work is still progressing on the boiler, bunker and coupling rod bearings. On the boiler, the crown stay holes are being tapped up to the next size ready to take the new stays. There are 170 crown stays and specially made long taps are used. The top hole is tapped first and then a second long tap is used to thread the hole in the copper firebox 2 foot below. This Sunday we also riveted the new firehole as well as replacing a number of wasted rivets in the front tubeplate.
Jeff has made more progress with the bunker with all the baffles fitted and the coal plate added.
Despite most of the railway's staff being very busy with the Santa Specials, work still continues at a good pace in the workshop! The production line producing the coupling rod bearings has been in full swing. Elliot machining the grooves on the borer, then Nigel machining the outside diameters on the lathe, Steve then tins and white metals them before Matt machines the oil felt slot and then back to Nigel to machine the bores to size.
In the shed, Jeff has made very good progress building the flatpack bunker.
Lots more progress on all areas of 5239 over the past few weeks! All of the crown stays are now removed from the boiler and the Firehole patch is now fully welded in place. The bunker is also making good progress with lots of rivets being fitted into the steel profiles.
This week all the crown stays were removed, leaving just a few to keep the firebox in place.
The valves have returned from Tyseley, having had new rings made and fitted and now these valves have been fitted into the loco.
The cylinder cocks have also been refitted after being overhauled.
Lots more progress in many areas this week. The two patches in the boiler are now complete and ready for welding. The new steel sections are carefully cut out and shaped to give an even 3mm gap all round, so that the weld is guaranteed to penetrate the full thickness of the plate.
The bunker has also been progressing well, with the remains of the old bunker still being stripped and all the new laser cut parts now ready to be assembled.
Work continues on the boiler, with the crown stays and the doorplate section around the firehole being removed. Due to the awkward shape of the firehole pressing, it is not easy to determine the state of the steel plate. We cannot get an inspection camera on the inside as the copper plate restricts access and ultrasonic probes don’t work on the inside of the bend. Therefore, the condition of this plate is undetermined but knowing that so many other similar boilers of this age had defects in this area, we decided that it should be replaced just in case. Having removed the plate we were proved right, with lots of very deep pitting and corrosion thinning the plate to about half the original thickness.
Elsewhere, Jeff has been removing any useful parts off the old bunker, such as beading and handrails, as we will be making a replacement from scratch.
Having re-wheeled the frames last week, we are now at the stage where the parts that are cleaned, inspected, repaired and repainted can be bolted back into place. This is good for us, as it starts to clear our shelves and Workshop, to gives us a bit of room to work again!
So far this week some of the cylinder cladding has been fitted with fresh lagging and the front sandboxes are now in place. The rest of the cylinder casing sections have been shotblasted and are being repaired before painting.
The coupling rods had their bearings pressed out but the rods have been found to have oval holes and not exactly the right spacing, so a number of these bores are being slightly enlarged at the correct centres. Putting an 8 foot long rod onto a milling machine with only a 4 foot bed does present a bit of a challenge but we are pleased to be able to do this job in house rather than sub-contracting it out.
Work on the boiler is now taking more of a priority and a number of crown stays were cut out over the weekend.
A very busy week! All of the axleboxes were blue’d and scraped to check for fit on the axle journals, before being fitted with the underkeeps. With the last of the painting finished on the frames, they were ready to be re-wheeled. On Tuesday 11th September we had cranes in to do the tricky job of getting each axle and axlebox into their relative hornguides, as the frames were lowered. The frames are now back in the workshop where the next phase can commence.
The boiler underwent a full NDT survey last week and it didn’t highlight any further defects than the ones we already knew about, which is great news. As you can see from the photo, our lovely clean boiler from last week is now covered in white contrast paint and has chalk lines all over it!
We are also progressing well painting the frames and are in the final stages preparing to re-wheel them. The axleboxes are all machined and have been trial fitted ready to be assembled onto the axles. Finally, various fittings are now being bolted back on to the frames, such as oilers and brake hangers.
Last week we had specialist copper welders come to build up some of the firebox laps and repair some of the lap fractures. We then spent most of the weekend with cup brushes and wire wheels cleaning the firebox and boiler ready to be NDT’d this week. This is the crack detection required to check the boiler for defects. It will include dye penetrant tests on the copper plates, ultrasonic testing all over to check the plate thicknesses, as well as checking for cracking under the surface and MPI testing on the outside, which checks for cracks on the surface on the steel sections.
This week we have had a lot of progress machining the axleboxes. Having had the liners riveted to the sides, the bores and thrustfaces are machined on the borer and then the side brasses are machined to size on the milling machine. Once done, they are trial fitted in the horns in the frames.
This week the main task was to complete all the riveting in the frames. This included the new tank supports, the sole bars along the side, replacing various rivets found loose in brackets, as well as riveting the new drag box in place at the front. It’s fair to say that every single rivet was in a very awkward place meaning that we had to squeeze Chris into many tight spaces with either a rivet gun or holding on tool, whilst Steve riveted the other end with his rivet gun.
The lower dragbox had to be riveted first before fitting the top section. It was tricky enough getting the rivets into the awkward holes, let alone getting a gun on them! But we managed!
Now that the dirty work of grinding, welding, riveting, drilling etc has been finished, the cleaner task of painting the frames can now begin.
This weekend we had ‘the big measure up!’
Having finished the horn grinding, the axlebox crowns and now that the wheels/axles have been turned, we had the task of taking the many measurements required to calculate the various thicknesses and diameters required to machine the axleboxes.
The first step is to set up the optical alignment gear in the front of the left hand cylinder. Using this we were able to measure the side edges of the horns from this invisible datum (the line of sight of the telescope). Next, the telescope was used to accurately set a straight edge perfectly perpendicular to the datum, meaning that it is square to the frames. This enabled us to measure the offset of each pair of horns across the frames.
Having done that, we set up dummy axle datum bars and set them square to the frames using the offsets previously determined. The spacing of these datums were accurately set and measured using a very long stick micrometer. Finally, once confirmed to be in the right place, the horns were measured from each datum.
All these measurements, along with the measurements of the wheels were entered into a massive spreadsheet which then produces the relevant dimensions required to achieve a finish loco with the wheels in line, the correct distance apart and with the correct side to side clearances!
After a big effort this weekend we managed to get all axlebox crowns white metalled and machined to give the correct press force to fit them into the axleboxes. As reported last week, this was a very laborious job with lots of lifting but I’m pleased to say that we found a better, labour saving method. Previously, we had been turning the heavy axlebox over in the press in-between each trial fit of the bearing but we now have a method using lots of jacks to press the bearing back out leaving the axlebox in place. This sped up the process and saved our backs!
At last the horn grinding is finished! The new axlebox crowns have now returned from the wire eroders. We had previously turned the outside diameters and the lengths and the wire eroding machines were used to cut the serrations. Having returned, work has started white metalling them and then the long hard task of adjusting the amount of interference fit to get the correct tonnage to press them in to the axlebox. This consists of man handling the very heavy axlebox into the press, trying the crown until it gets too tight and then derigging the press and turning the box over to press the crown back out again before machining a little bit more off and repeating the process. Unfortunately there is not an easier way!
Lots more progress on grinding the horn guides with all but the last pair left to finish now. Also, Matt has finished machining the ends of the tank supports square and has drilled the first of the fixing holes. Edd has also cut off the remains of the old brackets and started bolting up the new ones in their place.
This week we were able to use the extremely accurate optical alignment equipment thanks to Andy Forster. A telescope is mounted in the aluminium disk fitted to the front of the cylinders. This disk is a very good fit in the end of the cylinder and the mounting for the telescope is machined perfectly concentric to ensure the highest accuracy. The telescope is aimed directly at a target plate at the rear of the loco frames. The main purpose of this telescope at this time is to ensure that we have set up our horn grinding plates perfectly upright and square to the frames. To achieve this, a straight edge is held against the horns and a precision mirror reflects a target back into the telescope. When the straight edge and grinding plates are perfectly square the target is displayed centred. If even a few thousandths of an inch out over the length of the 5 foot straight edge, the target appears miles off!
Having set up all the plates, the job of horn grinding could start. Our own design of horn grinder was used which tracks these plates to grind the opposite horn perfectly flat and parallel to it. Once done, the plate is removed, the grinder turned over and then the first face is tracked to grind the last face ending up with a pair of perfectly flat, parallel, upright and square faces.
Also this week, the wheels returned from the South Devon Railway after having the tyres, journals, thrust faces and crank pins turned. We have now made a start shot blasting and priming them.
This week we assembled and jigged the front dragbox ready for welding and drilling. We finished welding the tank supports and they were NDT crack tested before being machined to square up the ends and ensure that they are at the right length. Also, now that the frames have been levelled, the horn ties are being adjusted to ensure that they grip the bottoms of the horns securely and in the right place.
This week our main objective was to get the frames jacked up level and then supported along their length so that the frames were completely relaxed and not sagging anywhere. This is important for us in order to accurately set up and measure for axlebox alignment and also to check the fit of horn stays.
Work on the frames is still progressing nicely. All of the horn guides have now been fitted with their new interference fitted bolts. More priming of the frames has continued with just a small number of areas left to finish. The first of the tank supports have been welded up ready to be machined.
This week a lot of progress was made in fitting the horn block bolts. The holes are first reamed until they are parallel and continuous through both the frame and the block. The diameter of the hole is then carefully measured and the new bolts machined 0.002” bigger to give a tight interference fit.
Elsewhere there was lots more primer being applied to the frames and the very wasted front dragbox was cut off behind the bufferbeam.
The heavy snow this week didn’t hinder our progress too much in the workshop!
The trailing axleboxes do not have replaceable crowns, instead, they have replaceable bronze inserts at just the lower edges. The inserts are fitted into a dovetailed slot and are then pinned. These require renewing, as the axle journals are being skimmed and therefore will be a slightly smaller diameter. The bronze strips are very important and withstand the high piston loads transmitted through to the axle.
With the majority of the shotblasting and priming complete, work has started to refit the horn blocks which were found to be loose. They have all been roughly refitted on the frames.
The major task of shotblasting the frames is now complete meaning that the frames are now positioned at the back of the workshop where there is a bit more room to work on them. The boiler is now at the front of the workshop ready for work to start on repairing the lap joints and the crown stays.
Having completely stripped the frames, the job of shot blasting has started. Previously we have always needlegunned the frames which is very slow, noisy and isn’t good for the user due to the vibration. The shot blaster however is very quick, quieter without vibration and the finished results are far better.
Having removed the cab, tanks and bunker the week before, the cranes were booked finish the major dismantling. Firstly the boiler was lifted from the frames and the ashpan removed. The boiler was then put onto a wagon. Next the frames were lifted clear of the wheels and put onto the frame trolleys. Finally the wheels were lifted clear of the rails.
Having completed 41313 for the Isle of Wight Steam railway in June and then fast tracked 1719 Lady Nan through the workshops to give her a new ten year ticket, we were pleased to welcome GWR 2.8.0T number 5239 Goliath from the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway for an extensive overhaul.