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Wheely Interesting!

We are pleased to report further progress with the overhaul of CanPac.  As always, the volunteers are working very hard and full credit must go to them for driving the project forward.

On subject of driving, as reported in the last update, the driving wheels have returned from South Devon after re-profiling and the not so glamorous but vital task of cleaning them has started.  They are coated with thick layers of accumulated oil and muck.  Steve Penn has put together a methodology to clean them thoroughly.  First the majority of the grime is cleaned out with scraper knives, rags and kerosene.  For the numerous pockets of dirt, a scraper knife has to be used many times on the same spots before it removes all of the gunk.  With the excess removed, the Kerosene is used again to soak into the remaining grime layer.  After this has soaked in, a needle gun can then be used. 

Cleaning the driving wheels has revealed something of interest.  They are marked with the text “Hadfields.”  Are we to assume that the Sheffield located firm made the wheels?  If so, it blows up the theory that they currently sit in the building where they were made (the driving wheel are temporarily housed in what was the Foundry).  Another point of interest is that these wheels were made in 1949 and so are not CanPac’s original wheels (CanPac was built in 1941.) To read more about why Hadfields is stamped on the driving wheels, see our next update by clicking here.

The volunteers have been working on preparing the front end of the frames, which has allowed Alex to weld repair the buffer beam supports.  We’ve been reporting on the gradual progress of this repair and it’s pleasing to see that it is almost complete.  Next we will need to rivet the bufferbeam on to the front.  We also need to rivet the double plate frame extensions, after Phil Candy returned to straighten them.  They had been bent due to the major welding repair that was carried out.

The volunteers are continuing to clean various parts and it’s no surprise that we are getting through grinding discs!  More work has been put into cleaning and painting inside the locomotive frames.  These sections were previously put on hold to allow the frame extension repairs to be carried out.

The complicated jigsaw puzzle that is the lubrication system pipework is still being put together.  With the axle boxes in Ropley, it has given the volunteers some space to lay out the pipework.  This is very much a work-in-progress but we’re getting there!

Meanwhile in Ropley there has been CP related progress.  The Wednesday Gang have been getting to grips with testing the locomotive springs (thank you Wednesday gang!)  This has required grasping some complicated mathematical formulas, so I’m glad that it’s not something that I am doing!  It’s too early to say for sure the outcome of these tests, but given that this is the oldest surviving Merchant Navy class locomotive and that it is CanPac’s third overhaul in preservation, our expectations are not high.

Also in Ropley, more stays are being drilled out from the back of the firebox.  Some of the stays are too high for our drilling machine to reach and so a drill has had to be rigged up to access them.  Even more obviously, the new smokebox has been lifted on to its end so that work to cut out the required sections can begin.  You really get a feel for the size of the smokebox when it is positioned this way up!

We are now awaiting a slot in the machine shop for the axle boxes to be re-white metalled and liners replaced.  We are also waiting to confirm a date for the boring of the cylinders from our contractors, but hopefully we will not have to wait too long.

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!


Photo gallery

  • Cooling the frames after being straightened by the Blacksmith

  • The gap between the double plate frame extensions being closed

  • One clean wheel next to two dirty wheels

  • Hadfields - did they make the wheels?

  • Parts of all shapes and sizes need to be cleaned!

  • Progress in removing stays from the firebox

  • The smokebox on its end

  • Welding repair to bufferbeam support

  • Another view of welding repairs to bufferbeam support

  • The bufferbeam in position

  • What was once rusty is now primed!

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