Watercress Line

Science Experiments at Eastleigh

There was no rest for the volunteers at Eastleigh once they came back after the new year. On 3rd January Bryn Engineering came to visit us to fit the centre valve liner and bore it to the correct measurement. When Bryn visited us in May 2017 they found that our centre valve liners needed replacing and so the old ones were removed. Bryn have been working hard on making Canadian Pacific new centre valve liners and it was ready to be fitted at the start of this year.

The first job to complete for Bryn was to make sure that the centre valve was completely clean. Any small piece of dirt could cause the liner to get stuck or not fit properly. The liner itself was then sanded down to make sure that there were no high spots. We didn’t want any issues.

After the arrival of the liquid nitrogen, it was time to start the nail biting process of fitting the centre valve liners. The first part of the process was to place the liner in the liquid nitrogen. This produced an amazing amount of bubbling, making us all think of a witch’s cauldron (see photos). The liner was left in the liquid nitrogen to shrink and then taken out to be measured. It is very important that the liner shrinks to the correct size before trying to fit it in the valve. Once the liner was at the correct size it was a race against time to fit the liner before it started to expand. Bryn had about 4 minutes from removing the liner from the liquid nitrogen to fit it exactly in place. Not a very long time at all when you have to manoeuvre around a steam locomotive (see photos). Bryn then had the same process to do for the stuffing box liner that Alfie had made in the Machine Shop at Ropley. I am very happy to report that the fitting of all liners went smoothly.

This wasn’t the end of the job for Bryn. We had to wait for the liners to expand fully before the boring of the centre valve liner could be completed. For once the cold nature of Eastleigh worked in our favour and they were able to bore the liner the same day.

In December, we managed to finish fitting the springs to Canadian Pacific, which was a major task due to the lack of space. The mechanical lubricators and atomisers are back from Ropley and are now fitted back on the frames. It is nice to see them back. Progress at Eastleigh has been slow the last two months as efforts are focused on getting 30506 in service, but things will begin to pick up now the liner has been fitted. We are now looking at moving onto the slidebars, pistons and valve spindles.

Work in the boilershop has progressed. The back plate had to be sent back to the South Devon Railway in November and at the end of December we received it back. The new throatplate has now arrived in Ropley and we are now in a position to start on the inner firebox. The first step will be to fit the back plate to the boiler so that the foundation ring can be removed. This will then allow us to start working on constructing the inner firebox. A task that will require some space due to its size.

Thank you for reading

Becky, Project Supervisor


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