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2009 Archived Working Party Reports

December Team Wylfa Update

Team Wylfa is a group that has regular working parties at Dinas on Tuesday evenings. Normally during the summer months they are tasked with servicing the railway's coaches and other jobs towards keeping the railway services running. However, during the winter months they are able to spend some time working on №134. 

This last few weeks has seen them continuing the (attempted) removal of the cylinder cover studs from the cylinder castings. It is somewhat satisfying to know that they were having as much trouble with their removal as were those on the Working Party the couple of weeks before! They managed to remove 8 studs on the evening of the 1st December however, a week later saw only 1 removed! A very frustrating evening for them partly down to the lack of a decent pair of Stilsons. So, the group then expended their efforts far more successfully on the re-tapping of the holes to take the fixing bolts for the front end footplating. They also ground flat all the sheared studs in the cylinder casting ready to drill and remove the stud remnants with an extractor during a later working party. 

November Working Party Report

The November Working Party concentrated on the painting of the Loco frames in undercoat. Whilst the primer provides a good bond and anti corrosion coat to the steel it on its own is not waterproof. This first coat of undercoat will therefore help to provide some extra protection during the winter months.  On Saturday, we started painting the Loco's frames with the inside of the frames being painted in red whilst the outside and other attached components are being painted black. The red is being used as it makes visual inspection of the frames much easier whilst in service, especially with regards to the integrity of the structure. 

Unfortunately half way through the afternoon the painting had to be abandoned as the dew point was reached as it was persisting down outside(!!!) and condensation had started to form on the unpainted areas. 

Once we'd abandoned painting for the day we set to and removed the springs from the front tender bogie so as to enable these to be sent away for refurbishment. These together with the Loco's springs were duly dispatched on the Sunday in the care of one of the restoration team's members.  

At the same time as this was going on we had a couple of guys from the K1 team doing some machining work on 134's driving axle horn guides.

Sunday as it turned out was a much better day for painting  with no condensation and so all the Loco's frames are now painted as are the bogie frames and a number of other components. 

With the painting now complete we set to on other tasks such as the removal of the steam brake. This was duly refurbished and refitted. Attempts were made at removing studs in the cylinder castings, attempts as it was not wholly successful.  The studs are those that attach the cylinders and valve covers, together with those for bypass valves . Some came easily and others, by far the majority, were left for heat treatment on another day!

Another task was the clearing out of the inner valve chambers. It was realised following the removal of the drain cock pipework that the drain  passage was well and truly blocked.  After much hunting around on the inside it was realised that there was in excess of 1/2" worth of  debris in the bottom of the valve chamber. After much digging out of this, including the removal of bits of stud, rivets and piston ring we finally had a through passage for the valve drain. It is very much doubted that this has been working for many a year whilst in service in South Africa!

In all we felt it was a very useful weekend with much achieved. The painting, even though it's just undercoat, has given the team a big boost as it's the first signs of progress towards completion, as was the refurbishment and refitting of the steam brake cylinder.

The frames painted in undercoat

The Frames now painted in undercoat.
Click the picture to go to the Gallery page for more pictures

October Working Party Report

The well attended October working party took place over the weekend of the 17th & 18th.

The work concentrated on the clearing of the shed after the shot blasting of the frames and other components had taken place a couple of weeks earlier. Much of the grit had been removed from the shed floor by members of Team Wylfa and local volunteers during the previous week - to which many thanks are due as it enable a much more productive Working Party weekend. There was still the various bits of sheeting to be removed that was put in place to keep the grit away from other areas of the shed together with the removal of the last grit from the shed's various nooks and crannies in the locality of the frames.

As can be seen from the photograph the frames were painted in primer as part of the shot blasting contract and so all that was left to do was to remove the cylinder protection covers and touch up these areas together with other hidden parts of the frame where the contractors spray gun could not reach.

134 frames now painted in primer

The overall condition of the frames now revealed after shot blasting has been somewhat of a relief to the team with no 'nasties' turning up. There are some areas of wastage shown up however, and these will be attended to with a build up of weld.

It's now one year on since the restoration project was restarted in earnest and the team were very satisfied to see that progress is now visible through the painting of the frames. There is a feeling of getting somewhere.

September Working Party Report

There was no working party in August due to it being in the middle of the main holiday period and also due to the the commitments of the volunteers involved in running the peak service on the railway and manning the Scrap to Steam fundraising event. 

The weekend of 19th & 20th September saw 6 volunteers in all attending the the Loco's restoration.

The  main area of attention this month was to prepare the Loco and various components for shot blasting during the following week. A sheet was set up between the Loco and Tender frames together with the sheet over as much as possible of tools and equipment etc in order to minimise dust build up on these. In preparation the Krauss-Helmholtz truck was also prepared for sandblast by the scraping off of 50 years worth of accumulated grease and muck. 

The Loco's wheels were moved outside and again received the same cleaning up treatment.

With respect to the Loco's frames, the last of the nuts holding the rear cylinder covers were removed and now all the cylinder and valve bores are protected by simple wooden covers in order to protect them during the sandblasting operation. Finally the last of the remaining muck was cleaned off main frames so as it is all now ready for the sandblasters. 

Go to the Gallery page for some pictures from the weekend.

July Working Party Report

The July Working Party concentrated on preparing No133 ready for it's starring role in the Scrap to Steam fundraising event in Caernarfon. As much of the motion was removed as needed for the Loco's safe movement as can be seen from the photographs in the Gallery section. Team Wylfa had previously spent quite a bit of time in preparation for the move by soaking all the bearings and fastening in oil in order to make the life easier for this working party's group. 

Following removal of the rods etc the Loco was first moved into the release road at Dinas then eventually into the fuel road. It will remain at Dinas until it's needed to be moved to Y Maes for the Scrap to Steam event

June Working Party Report

The June working Party was held on the 20th & 21st June. It was the quietest to date with only Andie Shaw being there all weekend. There was help from a new to the project young lad however the main problem was that Andie's services were required on Saturday to help repair a fault on 143 after it was removed from a service train and then an Sunday Andie found himself called upon as service train driver.

Nevertheless work did continue on 134 by way of continuing with the task of scraping down the frames to remove all the thick congealed oil and grease prior to shot blasting. to drive. The shot blasting will be unable to remove this thick material thus the need to thoroughly scrape it off it all by hand.

May & June update 2009

Tuesday evenings in May and June has seen Team Wylfa working on the Loco on the days when the peak timetable is running. Team Wylfa would normally spend their Tuesday evening working parties servicing the operational carriage sets, however during the peak timetable these do not return to the carriage shed until mid or late evening. During this time Team Wylfa have been able to put in a few hours work on the NG15 whilst they wait for the public train service to finish.

Tuesday the 26th May saw them working on the removal of the wheel set from the rear pony truck. It seems there is still the odd remaining bit of dismantling to be done regardless of what was said in the 16th & 17th May working party report.

Tuesday the 2nd June saw further work done in regards to cleaning the inside of the horn guides on the frames. Also a specialist contractor paid a visit to provide a quote for the shot-blasting of the frames to thoroughly clean them prior to painting. The situation arose that evening when the work was started by Team Wylfa until a service train returned to the sheds for them to work on, however, as the service train was crewed by some the NG15 restoration team they duly took over working on 134 following their arrival back on shed.

Andie Shaw paid a visit on the 12th June to remove the horn faces and to clean off as much of the encased oil based muck as possible. This will make it much easier to shot blast it clean. We have one quote in for the shot blasting with two more awaited.

16th & 17th May 2009

The NG15 Group had a busy weekend last Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the progress with the loco, many of the guests on the special trains took advantage of the offer made on the website last week to come and see how we were progressing. In all we estimate that around 100 people came to see us over the course of the weekend. The general support for the project and the progress was very gratifying.

Three or four people were active on the loco over the weekend and this included welcoming a couple of new faces to the group. By the end of the weekend there was a good feeling of it having been a very productive session. This included the cleaning of all the suspension links and arms right down to bright metal followed by giving them a coat of primer. All the horn faces and axleboxes were measured up so that they can be re-machined and finally the rear truck was disassembled in what will be the last of the disassembly work needed on the loco.

20th & 21st March 2009

As has been mentioned elsewhere on this site the main volunteer support for the hands-on restoration of 134 is coming from the Loco crew of the railway and therefore in view that the Welsh Highland railway was running a number of training weekends throughout March to train crews for the shortly to re-open section of railway between Rhyd Ddu and Porthmadog this working party was therefore limited in numbers .

In total there were three volunteers on the Saturday and four on the Sunday.

The work carried out was therefore very limited and resulted in the stripping down of the front Loco truck that had been extracted during the January working party. This allowed various measurement to be taken to plot the future work requirements to bring it up to the requirements needed for service.

19th to 22nd February 2009

The monthly working party took place over the weekend of the 21st-22nd February, preceded by a couple of days preparation work undertaken by five volunteers during school half-term week.  The principal focus of the efforts was on the tender chassis, though the loco itself was not totally ignored. The tender tank had been already removed many years ago during the first phase of restoration work in 1999/2000 due to it's unserviceable nature. It now languishes at the back of the South in an even rustier state!

The first job was to extricate the tender chassis from its location at the far end of the long siding, where it has sat for several years under a tarpaulin.  Team Wylfa had taken a preliminary look at the bearings and pronounced it fit to move.  On a drizzly Thursday afternoon therefore, Conway Castle was fired up and a big shunt removed a line of other vehicles.  Fortunately there were no trains running so the main-line could be used to hold these wagons whilst the tender was moved temporarily to the coal siding adjacent to the 'clip shed' workshop.  The rest of the wagons were then replaced carefully and in an order which more accurately reflected the likelihood of them being used in the near future.

On the Friday, the main task was to clear a space for the tender chassis in the northern half of the clip shed.  The tender is 23 foot long and eight foot wide and will require access from all sides so it was no five minute job.  A full day of heavy work involved the removal of shelving and all its contents to the side of the shed, some rearrangement of big castings on pallets, and the transfer of the remaining construction company stores to their shed next door.  A final piece of preparatory work saw two lengths of jubilee track loaded into a B wagon and brought across from the south yard ready for the Saturday.

Saturday morning, and ten or so volunteers gathered in the mess room before starting the  challenging task of moving the tender by way of the jubilee track through a 90 degree turn to face the clip shed entrance.  Such a job takes much longer to complete than to write about.  By lunchtime the vehicle had been turned through 45 degrees but was now into a more confined space.  The afternoon therefore saw a change of technique, first running the wheels onto steel sheets rather than rails, and then finally with the bogie centres supported on rails mounted on sleepers and slid sideways into line with its future home in the shed.

Meanwhile two volunteers had been working inside, removing all of the loco coupled axle bearings and transferring them to the degreasing tank in the main loco shed.

On the Sunday morning the first job was to cut away the plywood paneling and supporting beams around the single door to make an opening big enough for the tender to run through.  After laying rails in the shed and connecting them to the jubilee track outside, the tender ran in smoothly and was in its new home by lunchtime. 

During the afternoon the tender frame was jacked up on sleepers and it proved possible to run out the front end bogie for inspection within the space in the shed.  Some additional work on the loco saw efforts commence on the dismantling of the Krauss-Helmholtz truck.  The big ball joint linking the truck to the front coupled axle appeared to be in excellent condition considering the length of time out of use, with everything still surrounded in oil or grease.  Most bolts could be removed without any difficulty.

A final blitz of clearing up and reinstalling the plywood wall took place before everyone dispersed for home.  Thanks are due to each of the dozen or so volunteers; "a very productive weekend" was the final verdict.  Similar working weekends will take place starting on the third Saturday morning of every month except August.   Just let Andie Shaw know in advance that you are coming.

Go to the Gallery page for some pictures from Sunday.

17th & 18th January 2009

The working party this weekend concentrated on the removal of the wheelsets from under the loco's frames. This involved lifting the frames up to such a height to clear the diameter of the driving wheels. We then had to repack the frames away from one end, between the rear pony truck and the rear most driver, to allow the former to be released. The rear packing was replaced to allow the three rear coupled wheelsets to be moved into the space previously occupied by the rear pony truck.
  The frames were then repacked in the middle to allow the rear packing to be removed and thus release the drivers. 

The final stage of the operation was to once again return the rear packing and moved the front Krauss-Helmholtz truck to the rear of the frames. Following replacement of the centre packing to and removal of the rear packing we finally freed the truck.

The rear packing was replaced again and the rails beneath the frames removed.  Finally the frames were then lowered to a suitable working height to allow them to be cleaned and painted.  It was a very laborious process but gave us the results that we desired. 

Go to the Gallery page to see what we got up to.

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All content webmaster or as indicated - This page updated 27th January 2010 by Laurence Armstrong