Fenchurch 150: Overhaul Update February 2022

Extract from ‘Fenchurch overhaul update Febuary 2022’ by Paul Russell, Locomotive Director.

Work continues to progress well with the frames at Statfold Barn. As reported in the winter 2021 edition of Bluebell News the new cylinder block has been fitted in the frames, and while alignment is good there is still some fitting work to do to ensure the cylinders are exactly aligned in the frames as this forms the datum from which all the parts of the motion and wheelsets are measured and set. Once this has been done the motion can start to be re-assembled and the frames re- wheeled.

Work on the wheels and axles was covered in the last report. Ultrasonic and MPI tests highlighted cracks in the big end bolts and new items are being fabricated to replace these. An order has also been placed for the complete painting of the frames as this is more easily accomplished before the locomotive is re- assembled. It is anticipated that the frames will return at the end of March.

Boiler-smiths Simon Blaker and Henry Mowforth, and volunteer Andy Kelly, continue with the boiler work apace with the return and trial fitting of the new inner firebox and foundation ring. These are a good fit and a start can now be made on fitting it into the new wrapper, throatplate and backhead. The new firehole ring is also on site for fitting – this now being to the correct size for the engine, unlike its 1970’s predecessor.

The wagon containing a range of ancillary parts for Fenchurch was shunted into the maintenance shed with locomotive works fitter Ben Harvey making a start at sorting out & assessing the work required on the tanks, cladding and a whole host of other parts for the engine.

The new pair of cylinder castings are bolted together in readiness for trial fitting into the frames.

The cylinder block was lowered into position. This was achieved by measuring the old cylinder blocks and then machining the new block to suit.

A view from the rear showing the fit of the new cylinder block within the existing frames & leading horn guides.

The guide bars trail fitted to check the alignment with the frames stretcher that supports the back of the Guide bars.

The Valve rod Assembly was trial fitted too. Only a small adjustment will be needed on the valve rods to ensure the correct fit & Orientation.

A wire was used to check the positioning of the cylinders & once happy the cylinder holes were reamed through.

The eccentric straps have been white metal’d & machined. This picture shows the replacement Big End bolts, Little End Bolts & Guide bar bolts.

The new motion pins and die blocks have been made and are ready to go for hardening & then finish grinding.

The rear horn guide stretcher has been removed, repaired & refitted after being found to have been worn out through 150 years of service.

The axle boxes are in the process of being white metaled.

The new brake hanger housings have been made and riveted onto the frames.

At Sheffield Park work on the boiler has been progressing along with work concentrating on the fitment of the firebox outer plate work after marking out the inner firebox from the old plate work, with work concentrating on progressing to riveting up the outer shell.  

Photo’s courtesy of Andy Kelly.

Inside Fenchurch’s Boiler with the outer firebox wrapper fitted into place.

Fenchurch’s boiler in the works alongside Sir Archibald’s upturned boiler.

The firebox outer wrapper being lowered into position for trial fitment.

With the outer wrapper in place the adjustment necessary to the throat plate can be guaged.

Subsequent heating and adjustments being carried out to the new throatplate. 

Subsequent heating and adjustments being carried out to the new throatplate. 

An internal view up into the firebox outer wrapper plate once refitted.

With all the new plate work in place for the outer firebox work starts at drilling new rivet holes. 

Countersunk rivet holes being prepared in readiness for final riveting.

With the outer wrapper plate drilled, reamed & ready for riveting one of the many rivets being heated up in the induction heater.

The final rivet, securing the outer wrapper plate, in place & ready for being riveted home & creating a water tight joint.

Action shot showing the final outer wrapper plate being riveted up.

The newly formed rivet head cooling down & forming a water tight joint.