Workshop Update – Spring 2024

May 17, 2024

At LMS the work on the locomotive’s motion still awaits the departure of 60163 Tornado although there is a chance it will have moved by the beginning of May, so hopefully progress on our loco can be restarted soon.

The cab is still being worked on with a mixture of volunteers and paid staff.  The main structure is virtually complete and just waits to be riveted together.  Attention has now turned to making and fitting all the smaller parts such as the cab roof ventilator, cab lockers and seats.  

A virtually complete cab waiting to be riveted together

A huge thank you goes to GWSR Fireman Anthony Davies for supplying the wooden seat bases and arm rests and to the GWSR carriage and wagon upholstery department for their skills adding the nicely padded quality leather material.  Thanks also to sponsors Dawn and Rob Southwell who sponsored the materials for the seats including the steelwork to attach the seats to the cab.  No engineman will complain of a sore posterior whilst on our loco!

No sore bums on our loco!

At Toddington the fitting of the firebox crinolines continues to make progress, a considerable amount of fettling has been required to get them to fit.  The boiler barrel crinolines are being made in the loco department by John Pedley, this time the old crinolines are being copied rather than making to drawings so hopefully they should fit correctly.  The Davies & Metcafe FSA type mechanical lubricators have been stripped and overhauled prior to being rebuilt.  The axlebox lubricator is almost finished, just pipe unions and the lid remain to be fitted (photo3).  The cylinder lubricator is currently being painted in preparation for its reassembly.

One of our Davies & Metcafe FSA type mechanical lubricator


Huge progress has been made with the reversing gear since my last report.  The new reversing screw and nut has been fitted into the original frame with new bearings, bearing housings and die blocks.  The complete assembly has been fitted to the loco frames and tested with the reversing shaft in place and I’m pleased to say it works very smoothly.

The new reversing screw and nut has been fitted into the original frame

Also we have taken delivery of a new set of patterns for the Reversing gearbox (photos 1, 2 and 3 below) and had sample castings produced (photos 4, 5 and 6 below), which on first inspection look very good. We are now awaiting a slot in LMS’s workshop for machining.  Once we know the patterns are right and there is enough machining allowance on them, there are a couple of other groups interested in these castings so hopefully we can recoup some of the pattern costs.

Pattern Photo 1
Pattern Photo 2
Pattern Photo 3
Sample Casting Photo 4
Sample Casting Photo 5
Sample Casting Photo 6

A new valve crosshead is being manufactured by Heritage Rail Traction Ltd which was kindly sponsored by Jeff Lacey, one of our shareholders and should be delivered soon once it’s been heat treated. Two new return cranks are also currently being made by Railway Forgings and Castings Ltd, these are being paid for by the 76084 locomotive company, to replace those Chris Hinton loaned them to get their locomotive up and running, 11 years ago.

Work on the tender has concentrated on refurbishment of the axle box housings.  A start has been made to machining the manganese liners, a 0.010” skim being all that was required to return them to as new.  We have also managed to import a single Timken bearing from China at almost half the cost of UK suppliers.  These are being sold as old stock (made in the USA), and was sent to us as a sample for examination (photos 11-13).  Having completed a dimensional and visual check against the Timken website they appear spot on. They were supplied in Timken packaging but just to be sure, we had the material compared for hardness against the original 70 year old British bearings.  The test revealed that the heat treatment of the new bearings is actually slightly better (64 on the Rockwell scale against 58 for the originals). I am confident these will be good replacements so an order for the remaining bearings has been sent to the supplier.

Timkin Bearing Photo 1
Timkin Bearing Photo 2
Timkin Bearing Photo 3

Following on from the delivery of the sample bearing and safe in the knowledge that replacements are available, Graham Gould and I removed the old bearings from the axles.  First Graham cut off all the old rollers and cages (photo 1) which just left the inner cone to remove.  These are a shrink fit on the axles and as we didn’t mind damaging the cones they were heated up to expand them and then driven off the axle with a hammer and punch (photos 2 and 3).  Unfortunately 1 of the 6 refused to move, so I will probably have to carefully cut through the bearing cone to split it without damaging the axle.  Of the five that we successfully removed all the axles were found to be in good condition.

Photo 1 – removing Old Rollers
Photo 2 – Ian and Graham Heating Old Bearings
Photo 3 – Heating and driving with a punch
Axles looking in good condition

As I’m sure you have read elsewhere fundraising for the boiler overhaul is now in full swing with almost 20% of the expected costs raised since its launch at our 2023 AGM.  With the appointment of a contractor we really need to push this appeal as we must have at least 50% of the money in the bank before the boiler leaves Toddington for overhaul.  Please support us if you can. 

Words and Pictures: Andy Meredith – TSLL Technical Director