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Ropley Loco Wednesday Gang - 9th May 2018 – Ropley, an Island of Calm!

A bit of a gap since my last blog. Wednesdays at Ropley have been an island of calm in a troubled sea, caused by my daughters attempt to move to a new house.  It’s a lovely house, in a lovely location – if only the builders had done anything to earn a “reputation for design and quality”.

Dave-2Jags and the tender gang haven’t had  much to do with tenders lately, but I’ll probably keep on calling them by that name. Over the last few weeks they have been tidying up the area alongside the shed and repairing the footpath marker-posts. They were given three locos to grease this week – as far as I can remember, that’s well over 200 grease nipples to top up.

When I went to see what the tender gang were doing, I strolled in spring sunshine up to the carriage and boiler shop.  The next Bulleid carriage had it’s first sheet metal attached and Gordon gave me a quick tutorial on how the window frames were assembled.  Up in the boiler shop there was evidence of progress with CanPacs firebox and noises emanating from the front tube-plate area. The boiler for S15 30506 is waiting there for it’s official test, which will be done when the rest of the loco is ready.

In the main workshop, Ollie was (noisily) sanding the S15’s cab roof so ear-defenders had become the trending fashion.  Several very large sections of S15 boiler cladding had also been prepared for painting, and were occupying the area alongside the bogie production line.  The trailing coupled wheel-set is still there, awaiting the machining of the last new axlebox – a major piece of work.

George and Andy had the unenviable job of de-gunging Cheltenham’s bogie.  The normally-inaccessible bogie had been removed from the loco, so this was a rare opportunity to scrape off several bucket-loads of gunge.  Later, I saw that some of the coil springs had been removed, but I was too busy to find out why.  The bogie is essentially the same design as the bogies fitted to Lord Nelson and the Bulleid pacifics.

The Swanage pipers have nearly finished with re-making the lubrication pipework and we were tackling the 12 pipes that sweep down along the bottom edge of the RH cabside. These are a tricky shape as they follow the delivery pipes from the injectors to the boiler, and have to allow access to the massive nut that joins two sections of the lower delivery pipe.  We developed a cunning jig to get all twelve pipes to a uniform shape, and it seems to have worked with the eight we did this week.  Next week we should finish the other four, and then cut the ends to give a tidy stagger for the connectors.

Lastly, one the the workshop staff – Paul - was leaving the railway this week.  He has been invaluable to helping us volunteers and we all wish him well in his new job.

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe

Photo gallery

  • A smoky scene with locos being prepped for service

  • Some of the tender gang greasing the 9F

  • Others grease 76017 while it receives attention from the boiler dept

  • The first metal cladding panel offered up to the Bulleid carriage

  • This shows how the bevelled window frames are soldered in

  • One of CanPacs firebox plates showing cracking around the stay holes

  • New backplate offered up for welding

  • The boiler for S15 30506 waiting to be installed

  • Ollie prepares 30506’s cab roof for painting

  • And the boiler cladding has been repaired and rubbed down

  • George and Andy de-gunging Cheltenhams bogie

  • One of the buckets of gunge they removed

  • The Swanage pipers with the precision pipe-bending template

  • Eight of the twelve RH axlebox lubrication pipes looking pretty good