Watercress Line

Yoga, weight lifting…who needs the gym?

After months of tinkering away on small bits of the locomotive, the guys were given the task of fitting the slidebars. On 28th January Andrew Forster came down to Eastleigh to undertake the initial alignment. This then allowed us to have new shims made up for all three slidebars. The new shims arrived at Eastleigh on Friday 16th February and Andrew Forster was visiting us again on Wednesday 20th to check the alignment…the race was on to fit everything! When I turned up on Wednesday morning the new shims and slidebars were all fitted! I don’t usually get chance to have a noisy around the loco but that morning I did. The guys showed me all the work they had done to fit the slidebars before Andrew’s visit. Notably they took me up on the loco frames and showed me the centre slidebar. In order to get into the space underneath the centre slidebar I had to contort myself around various parts of the frame. One thing I noted was the lack of space (see photo), I was then informed that 4 of the volunteers had been in the space fitting the slidebar. I still don’t know how they did it!

Andrew arrived with Steve Humby and it was time to re-check the alignment of the slidebars, starting with the centre. By the end of the day it became clear that something had gone a bit wrong. It was all a bit of a mystery as to how everything could be so out. After some investigation it appears as if the mountings in the cylinders may have moved and we have since done some adjustments. This means that Andrew will be making his third visit to us in the near future to go through things again.

On a more positive note the bogie and trailing truck have been re-wheeled and are now waiting to be moved to Eastleigh. The aim is to get these fitted to the loco with the use of the overhead cranes at the end of March. The tender has been progressing with the volunteers working on drilling out the rivets on the axlebox horn guides…a very tedious job! The tender has now been moved into the Main Workshop which will allow us to move on with its overhaul. More importantly the volunteers will no longer be out in the rain!

On the boiler James Kidd has been welding new side plates onto the outside of the firebox. This will allow us to remove the foundation ring so we can assemble the inner firebox on the jig in the boiler shop. Andrew Netherwood has been working on mapping out the boiler stay holes on the new door plate and inner firebox plates. A very time-consuming job.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the Spring Steam Gala, where you can see what we have gotten up to.

Thanks for reading, 

Becky (Project Supervisor)

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