Project 27
Restoring the Bluebell Railways forgotten P Primrose

Engineering Update January 2019

It’s been a little while since our last engineering update but despite the weather we have slowly been moving forwards on many fronts! Work has focused on setting up the frames and getting them square ready for riveting! Also whilst the weather has been against us we have been busy making a start on re-furbishing various parts of the motion cleaning, inspecting & re-machining where necessary. Off site the cylinder block is progressing well and should be ready for collection with’in the next month or too!

LHS Cylinder block on the boring machine at Statfold Barn.

LHS Cylinder block jointing face and valve face machined.

LHS Cylinder block jointing face and valve face machined.

LHS Cylinder block freshly machined ports & valve face.

Rear view of the RHS cylinder block on the boring machine at Statfold Barn.

RHS cylinder block showing the underneath & drain cock bosses machined.

The bored RHS cylinder.

The almost finished article.

Meanwhile on site, during one of the many wet weekends over the January period, the team where out adjusting and checking the frame alignment, positioning & spacing with the aid of modern laser measuring tools and some more traditional ones using a spirit level & the trusty trammel bar. Indoors one of the original frame stretchers received some building up & repair work to its original rivet holes and a start was made at assembling the rear drag-box assembly ready for fitting into the new frames.

Checking the squareness of the frames using the trusty trammels to check across the diagonals.

Centers being checked for alignment by measuring diagonally across the marked out axle vertical center lines.

A quick check of the frame spacing using the laser measure.

A consistent measurement across the frames, 4 foot in old money and to drawing!

From the scribe’d axle center lines, using a laser line, the frame plates alignment was checked.

Part of the rear drag box loosely assembled and ready to fit to the frames.

One of the frame stretchers in the welding bay receiving some repairs to the rivet holes.

Close up showing the worn holes having been repaired, re-drilled & countersunk.

On the machining front Ian has been busy with a variety of tasks from preparing the leading horn guides for their repair, truing up the valve rods and machining up the eccentric repair jig & subsequent re-machining of the four eccentrics.  

Work on the leading horn guides machining the worn out faces ready to receive new false faces.

RHS driving horn setup on the shaper ready for machining.

Ian Ferguson at the controls drilling out the eccentric machining Jig’s holding down cap.

Raw material setup in the lathe ready for turning the eccentric machining jig.

Turning in progress!

The Jig holes being precisely drilled.

Key way slot being machined out on the Jig.

Thanks to Ian Ferguson the eccentric machining Jig finished and the first eccentric being setup ready for it to be turn true.

The eccentric being clock’d to see how out of round it is to start.

The finished eccentric!

Eccentric machined round again and true to its keyway!

Slide bars being survey’d to produce replacements.

Setting up and re machining the damaged valve rod tapered end.

Truing up the tapered valve rod end.

And finally a couple of little jobs that have been progressing in the background as well as utilizing the Saturday X turn’s to help disassemble the two piston rod assemblies.

Little painting exercise whilst its cold outside.

Steam reverser oilier overhauled.

Setting up one of the pistons ready to remove the rings and piston head.

Removing the piston head nut.

Looking forwards & after a successful 2018, keeping to our predicted time line, with the initial erection of the main frames we hope to achieve the following for the coming year!


Current Plan

  • Setup & square off frames.
  • Ream & rivet up new frames.
  • Setup & fit new cylinder block to frames.
  • Machine & fit horn guides.
  • Build up rear Drag-box.
  • Continue with painting up wheels and new frame.

18 month plans

  • Re-metal axle boxes and machine with view to rolling chassis!
  • Water cut,cast & machine new valves,horn wedges,slide bars & leading horn liners.
  • Drill and fit running plates,side valances, etc.
  • Work towards a rolling chassis & re-wheeling.
  • New side tanks & bunker.
  • look into SECR bottle buffers.
  • start on pipe work (Vac/Steam heat).
  • Motion work/spring etc.

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As a small group, we rely on fundraising to keep achieving our goal of seeing the Bluebell Railways smaller fleet of engines operational. So get on board with us today no matter how large or small the contribution.