Watercress Line

Riveting times in Eastleigh!

Apologies for another poor pun in the title of this CanPac overhaul update!  Amongst other items, the “Wheely interesting” blog post raised a question about why Hadfields is stamped on CanPac’s driving wheels and our Managing Director, Colin Chambers, has shed some light on this.  Bulleid’s locomotives are characterised by their Bulleid Firth Brown wheels – a design that was stronger and lighter than standard spoked wheels (and, as it turns out, much harder to clean!)  Firth Brown were a steel company in Sheffield who, it turns out, had family connections with Hadfields Limited (another Sheffield based company).  So this goes a long way towards explaining why Hadfields is stamped on the wheels!

The cleaning of CanPac’s wheels is coming along well, thanks to much hard work on the part of the volunteers.  The work is particularly awkward due to the pockets in the wheels acting as scoops for grime over years of operation.  Not only are the pockets awkward to access by hand, they are also very dark.  You need a light to shine into the pockets to see where you’ve been.  The wheels have been described by one volunteer as “bleeding dirt” and you have to agree that this is fair thing to say!  There is still more to do, but the wheels are already looking much cleaner than before.

Much of the work in the last couple of weeks has focussed on being ready to complete the riveting repairs to attach the new buffer beam to the recently repaired buffer beam support and the similarly recently welded double plate frame extensions.  The volunteers made use of the Mag drill to cut out space for the countersinks (at 60o) in preparation for riveting, whilst measurements were made to find the correct size and type of rivets for the job. 

The riveting itself was completed by a team of staff from Ropley boilershop, led by Andy Netherwood.  After a brief recce on the proceeding day, they arrived on Tuesday morning.  Watching the work was fascinating and it was particularly satisfying to see the younger staff heavily involved and learning from the experience.  Happily the riveting operation went well and CanPac’s overhaul has progressed another small but significant step forward.

The preparations for riveting and cleaning of wheels are not the only operations completed by the volunteers in the past couple of weeks.  The recently serviced (very heavy!) brake cylinders have been returned to Eastleigh and have been fitted inside the locomotive frames.  The welded rubbing block has also been returned and now requires grinding to size.  Various pipework continues to be cleaned and re-fitted too, a tricky and complicated task requiring referencing drawings, photographs, labels and memories to figure out the complicated puzzle.

The cab frames are being moved from our area of Eastleigh works across the road to PSP Ltd so that they can shot blast and painted with primer – something that they are doing for a very good price, for which we are very grateful.  Once painted, the cab frames are to be transported to Ropley for new panels to be rolled and fitted.

The spring testing has been completed by the Wednesday gang, who have got to grips with the spring tester and the good news is that two of the springs have been passed, rather than the whole set.  The plan now is to order a set of six new springs for the driving wheels and the two existing will be stored as spares.

Work on the boiler is proceeding well.  The majority of the workload at this stage is directed at drilling out rivets from the firebox – a huge task.  Around CanPac’s boiler is a hive of activity, which is great to see!  The boiler will need Non Destructive Testing (NDT) in the not too distant future to confirm all is well with the boiler structure.

The pace of progress on the restoration of CanPac is as rapid as ever, for which we are thankful of our volunteers working hard to put our flagship steam locomotive back onto the loco roster.  If after reading this you have been inspired to support this project, please click here to donate.  Although we have Heritage Lottery Funding, we are still in need of funds to complete the £1.5 million project, so please help us bring our flagship steam locomotive back to life!  To keep up to date with our CanPac project newsletter, please click here to subscribe!

Until next time, thanks for reading and Happy Easter from the CanPac team!

Dave

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