Workshop Update – February 2023

March 24, 2023

News from the Workshop by Andy Meredith, TSLL Engineering Director

At Loughborough, work has started on the brake gear for the locomotive.  The brake cross beams that connect to the bottom of the hangers and transfer the force from the brake pull rods to the brake blocks have had the old sleeves removed on two of them.  Interestingly the third didn’t have sleeves fitted, which does not match the drawings; so following a weld repair, the ends of this beam have been machined to match the others.  The sleeves and new pull rod bushes are being made which will then complete these items.  The original 4 brake hangers have had the old bushes removed and await new the new bushes being made in the GWSR workshop.  Those who have seen our component sponsorship scheme will know that two new hangers are required.  These will be fabricated from profiled grade S355 steel plate –  as obtaining open die forgings for these parts is now almost impossible.  Castings are not advisable for these parts as they are subjected to considerable stresses during braking, and unlike GWR locomotives the brake gear is not fitted with safety chains to guard against component failure.  Should one of these parts break in service and go under a wheel that would be enough to derail the locomotive.  At the time of writing one of these hangers is still available for sponsorship should you wish to add to your investment in the locomotive.

Machining Sleeve Away
Old sleeve broken away
End ready for new sleeve

Our volunteers in the yard at Toddington have been busy painting all the new firebox crinolines and cladding in preparation for fitting them to the boiler.  Work also continues with polishing up the valve gear –  removing decades of corrosion ready for eventual refitting.  The boiler has finally been extracted from long term storage and a start has been made removing all the old firebox crinolines footsteps and brackets.

Dan Wigg and Jamie Christie paint cladding


Rob and Graham polishing a radius rod
Andy Meredith removes RHS crinolines
LHS rotten firebox crinolines


In the GWSR machine shop, the atomisers castings have being machined and the firehole door runners produced ready to fabricate the complete firehole door assembly.  The cab roof runners for the sliding roof ventilator have been also been machined, not an easy task as each one is 60” long!  In collaboration with me, the GWSR machine shop have been making parts for the roof ventilator locking arrangement.  I will then weld the brackets together and fit to the new cab roof.

Roof vent locking arrangement prior to welding
Atomiser castings machined by GWSR


With thanks to Andy Beale our Fork truck driver, TSLL volunteers spent a worthwhile day in February clearing the area behind the David Page locomotive shed.  With the imminent return of 2807’s boiler it is hoped that we can make use of their crane and position our boiler in the newly created space.  This will enable us to work easier and safer as the boiler will be at ground level.  Once in position then hopefully rapid progress can be made with the final fabrication and trial fitting of the new boiler cladding.  The Norfolk Tin man has now finished all the complicated parts for our boiler cladding and in the next few weeks I will be taking a trip over to Norfolk to collect all our bits and some new cladding sections he has produced for 3850 and 2874.

Once again thank you to everyone for your help and support, whether it financially or practically it all makes a difference.  With the imminent start to the GWSR running season my availability to run the Saturday work days at Toddington will reduce as I take my turn to crew the locomotives.  If there is anyone that thinks they can help me organise these important work days please get in touch.  Rest assured I will give you all the information and help you need and there’s definitely plenty to do.  

Words and Photos: Andrew Meredith