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CanPac Overhaul Update Feb 2016

There has been much progress with the Heritage Lottery Funded Canadian Pacific project so far in 2016! 

The workspace in Eastleigh has had another upgrade.  Following a new concrete floor and lighting, we now have a three phase power supply installed, which means we should be able to install a mill and a lathe.  Many thanks go to Arlington Fleet Services for helping with this. 

The driving wheels have returned from the South Devon Railway after re-profiling and UAT testing.  They are now located in an adjacent shed in Eastleigh, the very same shed where schools class 925 Cheltenham was restored.  The volunteers have already started cleaning the wheels, to prepare them for being returned to the locomotive frames.  Unfortunately there is lots of grime to remove and although the distinctive Bulleid Firth Brown wheels are both lighter and stronger than spoked wheels, they also have lots of pockets ideal for accumulating dirt!

As has been reported previously, the boiler was transported to Ropley in December 2015 and work has since been progressing since.  After needle gunning and cleaning outside, the boiler has moved inside the boiler shop.  Since then, the old smokebox has been removed and a replacement has arrived.  Meanwhile, rivets are being drilled out from the firebox and this is proceeding at a very fast pace.  We have dedicated staff working on CanPac’s boiler and initial progress has been rapid indeed.

As reported previously, the manganese steel liners have been stripped from the driving wheel axle boxes in Eastleigh.  The very heavy axle boxes have been moved to Ropley where the linings are to have cast iron replacements as per the original design.  Interestingly, the manganese steel was supposed to last longer than iron, but in practice it made little difference and the more expensive material gives no added benefit in terms of longevity.  The axle boxes require further work before they can be returned to CanPac's frames, including white metaling.   CanPac’s springs have also been transported to Ropley and testing has started already.  Thanks go to the Wednesday gang for their help with this. 

Alfie in the machine shop has been busy, making (circa 50) new pins for the brake gear.  You may have seen the pins on display in the recent gala.  Unfortunately one of the pins went missing during the gala weekend and we assume it was stolen – so please let us know if you know or saw anything.

A welding repair of the frame extensions is progressing.  Paul Stone, a specialist welder (assisted by our Alex) spent two days to weld new plate to the outside of both double plate frames.  These were replaced due to them being bent out of shape by wear and tear of almost 75 years.  Prior to the welding repair, Phil the Blacksmith had straightened the inside of the frames and the Eastleigh volunteers had ground the new plate to size.  Since the welding repair, the volunteers ground the new plate so that it sits flush with the old.  Further work to straighten the frames is now required post-welding.

Phil has also straightened the bent buffer beam support.  Due to the angle of the original plate not allowing access by angle grinder, our original plan to re-use some supports has had to be changed and further new plates have been delivered instead.  Therefore the work to repair the buffer beam support is ongoing.

The cylinder and valve covers have been removed for measuring pending boring.  Our contractors who will carry out the boring have visited us in Eastleigh to review the locomotive to put together a methodology.  As reported earlier, bespoke stands have been manufactured to allow the angle of the locomotive frames be altered if necessary.

Much work has continued in putting back together CanPac’s the lubrication system.  The oil pipework is a complex system, made harder when the drawings do not correlate with this particular locomotive.   The piping, along with the numerous welding repairs, lots of cleaning (grinding, scrubbing, needle gunning), painting and re-fitting are really making the frames looking so much better!

The Canadian Pacific project is progressing and we have further updates that will come from the carriage shop and for something different a piece on research being carried out on the social history side of things.  So watch this space for further updates! 

If after reading this you have been inspired to support this project, please click here to find out how you can help.

Thanks for reading!


Thanks go to Sue Dixon for taking some of the photographs below.

Photo gallery

  • Driving wheels

  • A different view of the Driving wheels

  • The boiler moments after arrival into the boiler shop

  • The old smokebox

  • The new smokebox in front of the boiler

  • Drilling the firebox

  • Paul Stone welding the new plate to the frame extension

  • The frame extensions post-welding

  • A view from the opposite side post-welding and grinding

  • Aligning the buffer beam with the buffer beam support

  • Buffer beam support

  • Brian works under a front cylinder

  • Inside the frames

  • The back of the frames

  • The frames - CanPac returning back to life!

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