It’s been some time since the last update from the Swanage Mogul Fund and we would like to apologise for this. A few personnel changes within the group have meant that it has taken a bit longer than anticipated to have updates posted.
However, on the ground so much has been happening and we would like to bring you bang up to date.
U Class No.31806
31806 was undergoing a mechanical exam one morning in March and it was discovered that the Driving Axle boxes were showing signs of the white metal. This indicates an ongoing bearing failure and if allowed to continue, the bearing would break up. It was with regret that 31806 had to be pulled from service and taken apart.
A major facilities development at Herston Works meant that the work on 31806 would differ from anything we have done before.
The Swanage Railway Trust had decided to acquire 4, 25ton lifting jacks. These Jacks were formally with Eurostar and were capable of lifting an entire 18 coach rake of in one go. Obviously we didn’t need that capacity so the LCW dept set about adapting 4 to work in unison.
Soon after this work, 31806 was brought into the works. It became the first locomotive to be lifted in house using Swanage Railway owned lifting gear which is fantastic!
In addition the Railway has also acquired a CNC lathe and this has rapidly improved the turnaround time for machining of Pins, Bushes and Stays.
Herston works has really seen massive facility improvement over the last 12 months and the works is now better equipped than it has ever been before.
During this period of maintenance, 31806 has had the following work undertaken.
• All Brake rigging overhauled with bushes replaced as required and all new CNC machined Pins installed.
• Motion has been tidied up where required.
• All new spring hangers
• Pony truck overhauled, most of the rivets on the frames replaced.
• Tyres turned, Journals polished.
• Brake cylinder stripped and overhauled.
• A selection of stays have been changed along with some copper welding in the firebox. Re riveting of the firebox door plate and retooling of the lap seams.
• New grate installed.
• New brick arch cast.
• All new Hornstays/Bolts, new horn cheek bolts and horn bolts.
• Axle box crowns overhauled.
• Horns reshimmed
• All new springs.
• Safety Valves overhauled.
• New blower pipes and new blast pipe bolts replacing ones that had snapped.
In addition 31806 is to have its original tender returned to it after an extensive overhaul. During the mainline tests, the locomotive ran with the smaller capacity tender that is intended to run with 31874. To enable 31806 to continue on the mainline, the tender has had its own GSM-R radio set installed which will be tested once back at the railway.
As you can see, 31806 has had extensive work undertaken on it. It has been a solid performer on the railway ever since its arrival and this work is intended to keep it reliable and solid.
We also intend to run 31806 on the mainline again in 2020 and to this end, the engine has to be in the best mechanical condition possible. It may well run a mainline tour or test run in 2019 but we will have to wait and see how things pan out with the reassembly.
N Class No.31874
N Class No.31784, it’s fair to say that this has been a tougher cookie than anyone could of imagined when we first started it.
Whilst we knew of some of the problems that faced us, the engine has thrown up so much more work than we had expected.
The boiler has had the most extensive overhaul yet undertaken on a Swanage Railway based locomotive, although with the T3 No.563 needing a complete new inner firebox, it will probably steal that crown! With the investment in this boiler we expect a useable life of around 20 years with only basic boiler work (Tubing etc.) required over the intervening period.
To date, 31874’s boiler has had….
• New outer backhead
• New outer side sheets (Steel)
• New Copper half sides
• New foundation ring sections
• New outer throat plate
• All new crown stays
• New rivets around the dome pressing
• New clack boxes
• All new plugs/doors
• Almost all stays renewed.
• New tubes
• New Flues to BR standard design rather than SR design
• New Longitudinal stays
• New gauge frames
• New grate
• New Ashpan
• New Smokebox
• Elements and header repaired and new element T bolts.
The end is in sight now though, the only boiler work left to do is the fitting of the Flue Tubes, hydraulic testing and a steam test. On the boilers return it will be clad, piped up and steam tested.
The chassis itself has been complete for some time now. The locomotive is fitted with a complete new lubrication system and has been fitted with conduit to allow mainline electronics to be fitted in future.
Its tender has already run on the mainline behind 31806, we are really on the home straight with this loco now. We expect an entry into traffic in the early part of 2020.
U Class No.31625
No.31625 is currently stored undercover on the railway and has been undercover since its appearance at the GDSF.
Whilst not currently on the radar, consideration is being made to facilitate its overhaul in future.
We will probably strip the boiler off it in the not too distant future to allow an extensive investigation into its condition. At this stage we don’t think it’s in too bad condition but we won’t be taking anything at face value!
Finally, the Swanage Mogul Fund would like to apologise for lateness of this update. Extensive work has been undertaken on the SR fleet of moguls and your support in ensuring these fantastic locomotives remain in service on the Swanage Railway is much appreciated.