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Industrial Loco Updates

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by AlistairS, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. sleepermonster

    sleepermonster Member

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    Bagnall 2746 The Duke.

    If I didn't live in Buxton I could believe Spring is just around the corner. Warm (ish) sunshine at Wirksworth on Saturday and nine volunteers at work on the loco. The piston rings have arrived from HP Rings of Chesterfield, bang on time and very nice they look too. The major job over the last two Saturdays has been to free off the brake pull rods and their locknuts; fortunately the 8F guys can produce items such as 1 1/2" whitworth taps and die nuts at the drop of a hat. The locknuts on the cross beams were well greased and reasonably free but needed the threads cleaning up. The main brake adjustment turnbuckles were something else again; these are very close to the back of the ashpan and no doubt suffer from that, but they obviously had not moved for a very long time. At the first attempt we had two big stillsons, scaffolding poles to extend these with big men swinging on them and a propane blowtorch and they just would not budge.

    At round two, yesterday, the 8F crew set them up on firebricks and used oxy-propane until they were cherry red, then sat them on a railhead and belted them with a big hammer - you could see the powdered rust falling out of the threads. Once the turnbuckles and their locknuts were freed off we cleaned out the thread roots carefully and greased them. All brake rod nuts now turn easily with a finger and thumb. The worst of the stillson marks on the brake rods have been filed off and painted over.

    Next job will probably be to refit the pistons and then start prep work on the firebox.

    Tim
     
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  2. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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  3. davejonesf2015

    davejonesf2015 New Member

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  4. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    It will probably remain so at that price although some people might have a desperate need and be prepared to pay that.
     
  5. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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  6. davejonesf2015

    davejonesf2015 New Member

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    £150k is probably a good price with 9 years ticket. Consider an overhaul on a J94 could cost that alone
     
  7. sleepermonster

    sleepermonster Member

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    Looking solely and strictly at the 2746 project, I would hesitate to put any value on a steam locomotive just on the basis that has a boiler ticket, which is not any guarantee that the boiler, or any other part of the engine, will last the full course. In the case of an austerity we are looking at a brute simple machine which was built 70 years ago with a design life of about 3 years. When planning the overhaul there are given various options, make your choice and pay the money.

    In various areas you can opt a) to leave well alone (very rare with the boiler) b) attempt to repair in detail c) repair and renew with various degrees of thoroughness and increasing reliability as a result. Personnally, I try to keep a written record of exactly what we have done, in which materials from which source and by whom.

    Tim
     
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  8. 3855

    3855 Member

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    Alternatively you could surmise that as its been on the market for over 12 months and not found a buyer the price is too high?
     
  9. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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  10. Robert Heath No.6

    Robert Heath No.6 New Member

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    Which, from a seller's point of view, roughly translates as 'the price is too high'! ;)
     
  11. Wenlock

    Wenlock Well-Known Member Friend

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    I think that although there is a market for locos of this size/type, it is not as big as it used to be.

    Long established lines are longer than they used to be and although the locos can handle the heavy trains, they may not be suitable for the distances and speeds needed.

    Newer lines may not yet need locos that powerful, and are content with smaller machines.

    Example: the KESR used to run several Austerity type locos, there are currently just two on the line. Due to the prospect of a longer run once the RVR complete the railway from Robetsbridge to Bodiam, larger (mainline) locos have been sourced in recent years, such as 6619 now undergoing its 10 yearly and 4253 steadily coming back together from Barry condition (shares in 4253 are still available), and indeed 5668 as a longer term project.
     
  12. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    Depends how desperate you are to sell it, though.
     
  13. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    There's a fundamental problem with selling any working steam loco in that, the longer it takes, the shorter is the 'ticket' and the less its value. Perceived or otherwise.
     
  14. meeee

    meeee Member

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    It seems an odd thing to base it on really. The time left on the "ticket" isn't all that relevant seeing as the inspection regime is drawn up by the boiler inspector. Plus boilers can deteriorate at different rates depending on all sorts of factors. You might buy the loco and move it to the other end of the country with a different inspector and insurance company who promptly fails it at the next inspection. And anyway a good boiler is useless if the rest of it is knackered.

    Tim
     
  15. Avonside1563

    Avonside1563 Member

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    I can guess which austerity you're referring to Tim, but that could equally happen without the loco moving if a change of insurers or a new inspector arrive. I would also dispute your claim that the ticket time isn't relevant as buying one that has a short time left rather than one that has longer until it's ticket expires will obviously entail further expense sooner and reduce the ability of the loco to earn money towards the boiler/mechanical overhaul.

    The price of a locomotive should reflect both the condition of the boiler and the mechanical parts and if the owner thinks that both are excellent then they are at liberty to set the purchase price to reflect that. In the case of 72 I suspect that there is also an element of covering the cost of the last overhaul in the sale price and the relevance of that to the price that a prospective purchaser might want to pay will be reflected in the sale (or otherwise) of the loco.

    As regards the suitability of an Austerity for many lines of medium length, you only have to look at the East Lancs which have been quite happily operating Sapper for the last few years.
     
  16. sleepermonster

    sleepermonster Member

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    Bagnall 2746 The Duke

    Work has now begun on the firebox, and thereby hangs a tale which is perhaps worth telling in detail.

    The Austerities were built in haste for a short life in wartime conditions. There is one change from the pre-war designs which gives particular trouble, sometimes known as "Austerity firebox disease". The design cause is that the wartime engines have an extra row of tubes at the top of the tubeplate, which leaves this area weak. On the BR examples this was recognised, the top row of tubes was removed and the holes plugged with threaded plugs which were riveted over.

    The effect of this weakness is that, if the tubes are over expanded (to counter leaks for example), the mass of copper in the tubeplate expands upwards, creating a reverse bend in the crown, which then cracks. We have long known that The Duke suffers from this; the tube holes should be 1 3/4", some are up to 1 15/16". There are various repair options, any of which might well be approved by the inspector.

    a) Ream out the tube holes to remove any ovality, fit ferrules, weld up the cracks. Snags: the ovality will not always be on the centre of the original hole. On the law of averages some holes will move closer to the others. There is a minimum size for the ligature between holes - the beaded ends of the tubes must not touch. Even if the weld holds, more cracks may well open. The aim is a sound locomotive fir for intensive daily use.

    b) Cut out the tube nest - the part of the tubeplate with the holes in. Heat the crown and jack it down, make a new tube nest and weld it in. However....the long weld needed is itself a source of weakness, and expensive. We will also need to take the welded joint below the top row of front firebox stays, which therefore have to come out; the stays below have burned heads and need to come out too. In fact this is only a little less expensive than:

    c) Make a new copper tubeplate. This has the advantage that we have a brand new dimensionally accurate piece of metal. The stay holes in the throat plate can be welded up and re-drilled, so we go back to the minimum stay size. We get a new surface at the seams if caulking or fullering is required. Snag: it is blinking expensive, but we seem to be getting used to that. I think by the time the locomotive steams again we will have spent somewhere around £80,000, on what is basically a sound and relatively unworn example.

    Fortunately other austerity owners are taking route c), sometimes after cheaper options have failed, so the expertise exists . A steel tubeplate former exists and the price of arsenical copper has fallen a little. Incidentally it is now recognised practice to have a second independent analysis of the copper carried out, whatever the manufacturer may say.

    To save on cost we are carrying out as much of the preparation ourselves as we can, and the boiler team have been busy inside the firebox, cutting the heads off the tubeplate lap rivets and punching them through.

    Work is also being done on the front of the cylinder block, which is being cleaned down and generally fettled ready for the replacement of the pistons and cylinder end covers. Alen showed me a piece of industrial archaeology on the cleaned area, a small patch of copper about the size of a sixpence. The block is made in two halves and bolted together. There is a groove lengthways between the two, top and bottom. When the block has been assembled this groove is filled with a wet mix of iron filings and sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride), hammered in tight and the ends sealed with copper plugs. The cylinder block still has the hydraulic test certicate, stamped on a brass plate and screwed to one end.

    Tim
     
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  17. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    I think by the time the locomotive steams again we will have spent somewhere around £80,000, on what is basically a sound and relatively unworn example.

    Perhaps the loco being offered for sale upthread has had similar treamen - that could explain theasking price.
     
  18. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Member

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    That certainly happened to one Austerity!
     
  19. 8126

    8126 Member

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    Out of interest, will the replacement tubeplate still include the troublesome top row of tubes?
     
  20. sleepermonster

    sleepermonster Member

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    No. We will tap and plug the top row at the smokebox end.

    Tim
     

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